February 25, 2006

TRIBUTE to Late Mr. Surjan Singh Bhandari N.S.G. Commando

By Nagesh Bhushan

Late Mr. Surjan Singh Bhandari N.S.G. Commando

During The Attack on Akshardham temple on 24th September 2002 this Brave Man fought the greatest battle of his life. Yes he was the N.S.G. Commando Late Mr. Surjan Singh , who sacrificed his life for the Nation. Sadly On 19th May 2004 he lost the Toughest an d Longest battle against life exactly after 600 Days being in Coma, he lost this life.

The Bullet which hit him in the head made him Unconscious for almost 600 days. His family members were hoping that one day their Hero will open his eyes but he didn't.

It was the Longest Wait for the family members of this Brave Man. When the whole India was busy in Guessing Who will be the Next PM of the country - Will it be Sonia or will it be Manmohan Singh, This man was fighting his Last battle. But it's so sad that in the hype of all the Political Drama, the News about his Death was Lost like a needle in a hay stack! Even the leading News Papers & So Called Best News Channels
of India which Works on 24 X 7 basis, failed to highlight this story of the Brave Man. Unfortunately it was mentioned somewhere on the middle page of some newspaper.....This was the Reward for the Brave task for which he lost his life.

Besides his Family members, only one thing was there with him during those toughest 600 days. It was there near his bed till the last Moment. Can you guess what it was?............... It was the "Tiranga", yes! Our National Flag, which was saluting him for his Great cause. Absolutely No words can suffice our Gratitude towards him...

If news papers refuse to cover, TV channels refuse to cover, let us do our bit.

Please forward this mail to as many people as you can.

This is the only way we can salute his Bravery...


NAXAL MENACE and Civil Rights groups : Interview with DGP Swaranjit Sen

Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen is an expert in dealing with Naxalites. Some of the other ‘Maoist-affected states’ seek his help in setting up anti-Naxalite commando forces or training personnel for anti-Naxalite operations. However, the inability of the state police to nab the Cobras, who are on a killing spree, has earned him the wrath of civil rights activists. They have accused the state police of connivance with the Cobras. Tehelka spoke to Sen on issues relating to the Naxal problem in the state and its lethal fallout, the Cobras. Excerpts:

By PC Vinoj Kumar


Not Our Men: DGP Swaranjit Sen

‘Civil rights groups are a nuisance as far as Naxalites are concerned. They should back down when the government is sincere in its efforts and the police is acting with restraint’
How have you dealt with the Naxal issue?

I firmly believe that we can root out Naxalism. This has been my attitude since the time I became dgp, and earlier too when I was home secretary. In my view, Naxalism cannot sustain for long. Times are changing very fast and nobody wants to remain in the forest and be deprived of the fruits of development. Highly qualified people are not joining the Naxal movement anymore. There are only a handful of them controlling the organisation. We estimate the total strength of the Maoists in the state to be about 850-900. Naxalism is definitely a socio-economic problem. This government is quite serious about improving the plight of the downtrodden. On our part, we are very careful about whom we arrest. We made a decision to arrest only hardcore Naxals and not those who might have helped Naxals by providing them food or shelter out of fear. In the last four months we have recruited about 3,000 tribals from Naxal-affected areas in the Andhra Pradesh Special Police Battalion. Physical and educational requirements were relaxed for them. Such measures would further dry up the recruiting ground for Naxals.

What about civil rights groups?

Civil rights groups are an absolute nuisance as far as Naxalites are concerned. They are doing a fine job otherwise. I’ll probably join them after my retirement from service. As for the Naxalite issue, they should back down a little, when they see the government is sincere in its efforts and police is acting with restraint. I am not saying that the police should be given an absolute free hand. But don’t discourage them by spreading false stories and glorifying the deeds of the Naxals. They should apply human rights equally to the police and Naxals. But they are not being objective. There are a number of organisations, which are actually fronts of Naxalites. VIRASAM (Revolutionary Writers Association) was one such outfit, which is now banned.

What about allegations of Police-Cobra nexus?

There is absolutely no truth in the charges. The police is a disciplined force. There is an established command structure in place. We, as leaders of the police force, can control the emotions of our men. But we have no control over the people. The so-called human rights groups find it convenient to blame the police for everything.

Why haven’t you made any arrests so far in the Cobra-related cases?

There were just four incidents (of murder) in a whole year (2005). Investigations are underway and they are proceeding on correct lines. We will make arrests once we gather evidence. It is not an easy thing. We have not apprehended the culprits in many murders committed by the Naxalites too. If we had to, we could have had Cobras all over the state.

A suspended police constable, Javed, was arrested in 2004 for threatening activists in the name of Green Tigers. How do you explain that?

In a 90,000-strong police force, you may find one person who is a deviant. It is like a drop in the ocean. You cannot paint an entire department with the same brush. There are so many good officers. It is neither fashionable nor profitable for the media to present the government or police in positive light.

Mar 04 , 2006

February 24, 2006

Economic Brief: U.S. Ports Deal, Italian Banking Sector"

Last week, Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, purchased British-owned Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. for US$6.8 billion. The acquisition, approved by the Bush administration, gives control of ports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami to Dubai Ports World, sparking controversy in Washington and in state capitals among Democrats and Republicans.

Many lawmakers have questioned whether handing control of major U.S. ports to the U.A.E., which is considered an ally in the "war on terrorism" but has a mixed record, is in the best interests of national security. In a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, who also heads the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (C.F.I.U.S.), several members of Congress asked that he conduct a 45-day investigation of the acquisition that "could result in control of a person engaged in interstate commerce in the U.S. that could affect the national security of the U.S." The letter also cited the fact that two of the 9/11 hijackers were U.A.E. nationals, that the FBI found that the U.A.E.'s banking systems were used to transfer funds for the 9/11 attacks, the U.A.E. had recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan and that the Treasury Department criticized the U.A.E. for a "lack of cooperation" in tracking down Osama bin Laden's bank accounts.

Much of the commentary on the deal focuses on the fact that the U.A.E. is an Arab and Muslim state, and that the major issue is whether the U.S. should entrust its ports to such states. However, a key motive behind this argument is that Democrats, depicted by Republicans as weak on defense since 9/11, are seizing the opportunity to appear tough on national security and portray the White House as negligent ahead of the 2006 and 2008 elections. As such, lawmakers have pledged to pass legislation that would ban companies controlled by foreign governments from acquiring U.S. port operations, regardless of the fact that firms from England, Denmark, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan currently operate other U.S. ports

The Dubai Ports World deal was quietly approved as a precursor to a free trade agreement between the U.S. and the U.A.E. that recently entered a fourth round of talks. Trade between the two countries will rise significantly as a result of a free trade agreement.

The heavy secrecy under which the White House usually operates is another motivation for Congressional resistance. The Bush administration's disregard for Congressional approval, especially with regard to the N.S.A. spying program, has angered many members of Congress, who undoubtedly see the ports deal as an opportunity to strike back. In calling for hearings on the matter, Democrat Nancy Pelosi stated, "In the meantime, Congress must put an immediate halt to this deal that the administration hastily approved in secret without input from the Congress or state officials."

The White House now finds itself in unfamiliar territory of asking Congress to look beyond the 9/11 attacks so that the U.S. may cultivate relationships with friendly Muslim states. Bush has threatened to veto any measure that would block the deal, and members of Congress claim to have the support to overturn a veto. Bush now faces unprecedented opposition from Republicans in Congress and needs the U.A.E. deal to pass in order to save face.
Expect Congress, particularly Democrats, to continue to point to this deal as a major lapse by the Bush administration, and for Bush to struggle to maintain his steadfast commitment to national security and free trade.

Italy: Measures for Enhancing National Banking Sector Proposed

Italian Minister of Economy Giulio Tremonti declared on February 22 that Italy welcomes the merger of Italian banks with foreign counterparts, but only as long as common economic rules are established.

According to Tremonti, mergers are vital to give birth to more powerful and competitive Italian players in an increasingly globalized banking sector. Tremonti, however, said that Italy's liberal legislation on the issue -- and especially on foreign takeover bids of domestic banks -- could cause problems to the country's competitiveness. The reason, he explained, is that France and Germany continue to employ some tough measures designed to avoid foreign takeovers of national strategic assets, among which are major banks. Therefore, he declared, Rome would gain very little by opening up Italy's market if competitors prevent Italian players from taking over their national champions.

As a result, he concluded, it would be in Italy's interests to favor the merger of major national banks in order to create new giants better able to compete globally. In that way, the need for the sector's consolidation would be fulfilled without losing the grip on a field crucial for the national economy. [See: "Economic Brief: Italy's Loss of its Strategic Markets"]

After Bankitalia chief Mario Draghi succeeded Antonio Fazio (who, in 2005, was accused of illegal activates in a major banking scandal), many Italian and European financial analysts expected Italy's banking sector to open up and opt for a decidedly liberal turn. However, in global economic competition, stronger states are likely to favor the opening of other powers' markets, while often maintaining national control over their own.

In fact, Tremonti's proposal resembles very much that of French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and his government. Paris is trying to update economic nationalism by enhancing its economic intelligence structures and aiding its major economic players to effectively counter hostile foreign bids. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Poland, France"]

Since Italy entered the decisive stage of the election campaign (polls are scheduled for April 9), it is possible that Tremonti's words were designed to align those favorable to an Italian version of "economic patriotism" with the right-of-center coalition.

However, Italy lacks -- at least at the moment -- a coherent set of policies designed to protect its own strategic markets. Moreover, the recent banking scandal and Fazio's exit has placed Italy in a difficult position when it comes to restricting the opening of its banking sector.

Although Tremonti's stance is likely to progressively gain support among Italian decision makers, chances that his proposals will be successfully implemented in the short term are grim.

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of inquiries@pinr.com. All comments should be directed to content@pinr.com.

Quite of the day : On behaviour of Indian Left / Communists

On behaviour of Indian Left / Comunists

"They traduce, they abuse, they denounce, they spit and run, but if you so much as ask them to substantiate what they are saying, they are deeply offended. A highly personalised attack, they scream." --- ARUN SHOURI

“Sonia is communal” --Dr Subramanian Swamy

Dr Subramanian Swamy

We must be clear that the fundamental truth about India is that it has a Hindu character and foundation. But Hindus also must know that being a good Hindu is not merely going to temple and performing puja but a multidimensional commitment to safeguard the Hindu foundation of
India. Ever since the UPA came to power, it is this Hindu foundation that is being eroded and devalued, for instance the arrest of Kanchi seer Swami Jayendra Saraswati on a bogus murder case. In fact, it is an announcement by anti-Hindu forces that they can devalue such an ancient Hindu institution without any reaction, said Dr Subramanian Swamy in a seminar.

“UPA Travel Back to Pseudo- Secularism Disowning the Indian roots” said Dr Subramanian Swamy in a seminar organised by BJP Think Tank in Constitution Club, New Delhi, recently.
Dr Swamy said the recent declaration by the UPA government for reservation to Muslims and Dalit Christians was another assault on the Hindu foundation of India. It is similar to the separate electorate promised by the British imperialist to Scheduled Castes. Therefore, patriotic Hindus must oppose this reservation on the principle that Muslims and Christians are part of the former ruling class of 1000 years and therefore do not deserve reservation.

Reservation is only for those classes that have been exploited for centuries, he observed. Dr Swamy mentioned in his address that the UPA government had given a free hand to Christians to convert but it blocked any attempt by other religions to reconvert Christians, i.e., Benny Hinn and Ron Watts had been allowed and treated as state guests even though in their own country in USA they were under criminal investigation. Similarly, Israeli rabbis were denied visa by UPA government because they were coming to India to reconvert Mizo Christians to Judaism. Mizo Christians are considered lost tribes of Jews. Similarly again, Article 370 was brought into the Constitution to preserve the communal composition of Jammu and Kashmir so that Hindus from the rest of India could not go freely to Kashmir. But terrorists have been given a free hand to drive out Hindus and thereby change the communal composition in favour of the Muslim community, said Dr Swamy.

Christian and Muslim fundamentalists in India have a clear agenda as to what to do. But Hindus do not have a clear agenda to challenge this. We have to recognise that the key nodal point of the Christian and Muslim fundamentalists is Sonia Gandhi and our agenda should be drawn up recognising this fact, Dr Swamy maintained.

source:Secularism combat, Vol. 4 No. 1, Editor: Dr. T.H. Chowdary, JANUARY, 2006

February 23, 2006

Saudi Oil Facilities: Al-Qaeda's Next Target?

By John C.k. Daly

At a time of record-high oil prices, analysts are beginning to consider the implications of possible terrorist attacks on Middle Eastern oil facilities. The crown jewel of these facilities is Saudi Arabia's oil production infrastructure. It is worth noting that Saudi Arabia possesses 261.9 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

On January 19, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden broke a 14-month-long silence to warn that his organization is preparing further attacks against Western targets. Bin Laden said, "The war against America and its allies will not be confined to Iraq…As for similar operations taking place in America, it's only a matter of time. They are in the planning stages, and you will see them in the heart of your land as soon as the planning is complete" (al-Jazeera, January 19).

Saudi Arabia and its oil have long been in bin Laden's thoughts; in 1996, he said, "The ordinary Saudi knows that his country is the largest oil producer in the world, yet at the same time he is suffering from taxes and bad services…Our country has become a colony of America…Saudis know their real enemy is America" (UPI Intelligence Watch, March 21, 2005).

Neighboring Iraq demonstrates the crippling effects of an insurgency on oil installations. Since June 2003, there have been 298 recorded attacks against Iraqi oil facilities (Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, http://www.iags.org/iraqpipelinewatch.htm). As of December 2005, Iraqi production was averaging around 1.9 million barrels per day as compared with its January 2003 2.58 million barrels per day production rate (U.S. Energy Information Administration, December 2005). Moreover, the costs of infrastructure attacks are becoming staggering, with the Iraqi oil ministry announcing on February 19 that insurgent attacks had cost the oil industry $6.25 billion in lost revenue during 2005.

Aside from Saudi crude oil production capacity being the world's largest, at 10.5-11 million barrels per day, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, controls the world's only significant excess production capacity, an extra 2.5-3 million barrels per day. This makes the kingdom the world's only guarantor of liquidity in the oil market. The Saudi economy is heavily dependent on energy, with oil export revenues bringing in around 90-95 percent of total Saudi export earnings, and generating around 40 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

The country's hydrocarbon infrastructure, with its massive production fields, ports and 10,000 miles of pipelines, presents a number of opportunities for potential attackers, whose success would have implications far beyond the kingdom, driving the world into recession or depression as energy costs soar.

Over half of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves are contained in just eight massive fields, including the huge 130-mile long, 20-mile wide Ghawar field, covering 2,600 square miles. Ghawar alone accounts for nearly half of Saudi Arabia's total oil production capacity. Aramco's skein of pipelines depends on 30 pumping stations, powered by six generators, which would shut down the flow if destroyed. Port facilities are concentrated on a 20-mile stretch of Persian Gulf shoreline from Juaymah to al-Khobar.

Saudi Arabia's offshore Safaniya oilfield is the largest of its kind in the world, with estimated reserves of 35 billion barrels. Continuing the trend toward gigantism, the Abqaiq refinery 25 miles inland from the Gulf of Bahrain processes about two-thirds of Saudi Arabia's crude oil. On the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia's Ras Tanura facility is the world's largest offshore oil loading facility, accounting for a tenth of the world's daily oil supply. A second loading facility is at Ras al-Juaymah, while Yanbu terminal is located on the Red Sea, supplied from Abqaiq via the 750-mile East-West pipeline.

Terrorist attacks could be easily launched against onshore facilities and tankers. Over 60 percent of the world's oil is shipped on 3,500 tankers through a small number of "chokepoints" including the Strait of Hormuz, which alone transits 13 million barrels of oil per day.

Al-Qaeda has already carried out maritime attacks on both warships and tankers. On October 6, 2002, the 299,364 DWT-ton French Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) tanker Limburg, carrying a cargo of 397,000 barrels of crude from Iran to Malaysia, was rammed by an explosives-laden boat off the port of Ash Shihr at Mukalla, 353 miles east of Aden. A crewman was killed and the double-hulled tanker was breached. The impact on the Yemeni economy was immediate, as maritime insurers tripled their rates.

Al-Qaeda issued a statement following the attack warning that it "was not an incidental strike at a passing tanker but...on the international oil-carrying line in the full sense of the word," prompting the U.S. Navy's Maritime Liaison Office in Bahrain to issue a warning stating that "Shipmasters should exercise extreme caution when transiting...strategic chokepoints such as the Strait of Hormuz, or Bab el-Mandeb, or...traditional high-threat areas such as along the Horn of Africa."

Al-Qaeda's cadre of maritime specialists recently received a boost when on February 3, 23 prisoners escaped from a jail in Sanaa. Five days later, Interpol issued a global security alert, a Red Notice, to its 184 member states, as law enforcement officials believe that at least 13 of the fugitives have links to al-Qaeda. Among those who broke out of the prison was Jamal al-Badawi, who was serving a 10-year sentence for his part in the October 12, 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Aden harbor during a refueling stop; 17 sailors died and 39 more were injured in the attack.

The most worrisome scenario revolves around al-Qaeda crashing a hijacked commercial passenger jet into an oil installation. To consider just one scenario, a jetliner crashing into the Ras Tanura facility could remove 10 percent of the world's energy imports in one shot.

Former CIA agent Robert Baer has considered the implications of terrorist attacks on Saudi oil facilities, writing, "At the least, a moderate-to-severe attack on Abqaiq would slow average production there from 6.8 million barrels a day to roughly a million barrels for the first two months post-attack, a loss equivalent to approximately one-third of America's current daily consumption of crude oil. Even as long as seven months after an attack, Abqaiq output would still be about 40 percent of pre-attack output, as much as four million barrels below normal—roughly equal to what all of the OPEC partners collectively took out of production during the devastating 1973 embargo" (see Robert Baer's Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold our Soul for Saudi Crude). An al-Qaeda assault on Abqaiq would have the added propaganda effect of killing Americans. Abqaiq is an oil-company town; in 2005, nearly half of its approximately 2,000 inhabitants were U.S. citizens.

In the last few years, the Saudis have moved to tighten security around their oil installations. Unlike in Iraq, where insurgent attacks are focused mainly on the country's hydrocarbon infrastructure, thus far al-Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia have focused on "soft targets," namely the 3,000 foreign oil workers employed in the kingdom.

On December 16, 2004, bin Laden released an audiotape making an explicit connection between U.S. forces in Iraq and the region's oil reserves; in the audiotape, he praised the terrorists who attacked the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah. Bin Laden said, "Targeting America in Iraq in terms of economy and losses in life is a golden and unique opportunity. Do not waste it only to regret it later. One of the most important reasons that led our enemies to control our land is the theft of our oil. Do everything you can to stop the biggest plundering operation in history—the plundering of the resources of the present and future generations in collusion with the agents and the aliens...Be active and prevent them from reaching the oil, and mount your operations accordingly, particularly in Iraq and the Gulf, for this is their fate" (BBC, December 16, 2004). Three days later, the "al-Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula" posted a message on its website urging its members "to strike all foreign targets and the hideouts of the tyrants to rid the peninsula of the infidels and their supporters. We call on all the mujahideen to target the sources of oil which do not serve the Islamic nation but serve the enemies of the nation" (Agence France Press, December 19, 2004).

Judging by al-Qaeda's pronouncements, an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities seems to be only a matter of time. In terms of the global impact of such a strike, Robert Baer provides an extreme but not altogether improbable scenario: "Such an attack would be more economically damaging than a dirty nuclear bomb set off in midtown Manhattan or across from the White House in Lafayette Square…[and] would be enough to bring the world's oil-addicted economies to their knees, America's along with them."

February 22, 2006

Killer Heat : Attacking a target that is likely to contain chemical and/or biological agents

Killer Heat

At some point, forces will need to attack a target that is likely to contain chemical and/or biological agents. The U.S. Navy has patented a weapon system that can penetrate and destroy targets associated with weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. Navy has patented a weapon system, more particularly weapon systems, that can penetrate and destroy targets associated with weapons of mass destruction, including manufacturing and storage facilities. In particular, the concept is for weapon systems that can penetrate and destroy chemical and biological manufacturing and storage facilities and warhead and weapons storage and bunker facilities without dispersing chemical and biological agents that could cause severe collateral damage.

Weapon systems have been designed to effectively destroy myriad types of targets. Most of these systems have been designed with two criteria in mind. First, the weapon system must be able to reach the target. Second, the weapon system must then be able to destroy the target. However, in dealing with targets that contain chemical or biological agents, such as manufacturing and storage facilities, a third criterion also must be addressed. These chemical and biological agents must be destroyed in such a manner to preclude or minimize the release of the chemical and biological agents outside the facility to minimize dispersal of these agents to avoid severe collateral damage.

Previous Concepts

While many current chemical and biological manufacturing and storage facilities are located above ground, in the future these facilities could well be relocated to underground, fortified locations that are more difficult to reach or may not be reachable by conventional weapons systems due to their deeply buried hardened construction. Various weapon system concepts have been developed to address delivering a destructive payload to these hardened deeply buried targets and other such difficult-to-reach targets.

For example, a 1990 patent from Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm GmbH of Germany describes a warhead that uses a forward hollow charge in order to create a passageway for an internal, follow-up projectile to be fired into fortified or armored targets.

A 1998 patent from Diehl GmbH & Co. of Germany details a similar type of two-stage device comprising an armor-piercing hollow charge that clears a region or path for the missile to reach its final destination, where upon impact, a post-firing fragmentation explosive charge is released due to inertia.

A 1996 patent by Rockwell International Corp. discusses a projectile that includes multiple warheads separated by casings with independent detonators wherein the warheads are detonated sequentially in order to penetrate the target.

A 1999 patent from Raytheon Company describes a missile warhead comprising a tungsten ballast to provide high warhead cross-sectional density to increase pressure upon impact.

Finally, a 2001 patent by the United States of America as represented by the secretary of the Navy describes a variable output warhead comprising several compartments separated by a shock-absorbing shield, each filled with explosive material. The shield prevents sympathetic detonation from one compartment to another. Depending upon the target, a specific number of compartments can be selected for initiation.

While these and other designs have provided some success in attacking hardened and deeply buried targets, none of these weapon systems addresses the need to destroy the final target in such a manner to minimize dispersal of chemical and biological agents. There have been systems designed to safely destroy chemical and biological agents.

A 2000 patent by Battelle Memorial Institute describes a method to destroy chemical weapons by acid digestion. Further, a 2002 patent describes a method and apparatus to destroy terrorist weapons by detonation of these weapons in a contained environment. However, these and other known methods were developed to destroy chemical and biological agents that are in the users’ control and in some type of controlled and contained environment.

With no other known solutions, the Navy still needs a weapon system that can penetrate both surface targets, or soft targets, and deeply buried hardened targets, or hard targets, containing chemical and biological agents and destroy these agents in such a manner to minimize dispersal of these agents and avoid severe collateral damage.

The Navy Way

A concept proposed by the Navy comprises a weapon system capable of meeting the requirement to engage both surface and buried targets that contain chemical and biological agents. It also can be used to engage surface and buried targets that are sensitive to incendiary devices such as petroleum and fuel storage facilities, conventional weapons bunkers containing high explosive and blast fragmentation weapons, and other targets. In engaging chemical and biological manufacturing and storage facilities the system then destroys the chemical and biological agents to minimize dispersal of these agents to ensure that collateral damage is also minimized.


The target is reached using a kinetic energy penetrator warhead that can engage both surface and buried soft and hardened targets. One kinetic energy penetrator warhead is the 2,000 pound BLU-109 penetrator. Another is the 1,000 pound J-1000 warhead. However, depending upon the target, various warheads could be used.


The warhead contains a high-temperature incendiary (HTI) fill capable of destroying chemical and biological agents in such a manner to minimize dispersal of these agents.

The high-temperature incendiary fill, through reaction, produces convective heating, thermal radiation and a biocide in order to defeat both chemical and biological agents while minimizing dispersal of these agents. The high-temperature incendiary fill comprises either a single- or two-stage intermetallic composition that generates heat. These intermetallic compositions generate a thermal impulse having a maximum temperature from about 750 to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, depending upon the size of the target engaged, in order to destroy the agent with high heat, by exceeding its normal temperature range and by agent combustion.

The thermal impulse needs to maintain a high temperature for as long as possible in order to ensure that the chemical and biological agents are destroyed by raising the temperature of the agent outside the bounds at which it can survive. A preferred thermal profile would include a thermal impulse burning rate of over 400 degrees Fahrenheit for several minutes, and preferably over five minutes.

The intermetallic composition also will contain a large number of wicking fibers in the fill. The purpose of the fibers is to “wick” up chemical and biological agent and to present a local to ignite the chemical agent by the burning fill, much like lighting a candle wick, and to initiate and maintain the burning of the agent in pool fires.

Finally, the intermetallic composition needs to achieve the desired thermal impulse above low-overpressure, normally in the range of 0.2 to 0.5 psi, in order to ensure minimal dispersion of the chemical and biological agents during defeat.


Bomblets are incorporated into the warhead and are ejected, with the HTI fill, to penetrate the chemical and biological agent containers and tanks. This allows the product of the reaction of the warhead fill to react with and destroy the agents.

The bomblets are designed to penetrate tanks and containers of chemical and biological agents so that the agents spill out of the containers. Any number of bomblets may be used, although a standard range for the number of bomblets for a BLU-109 warhead is from about five to 10. The function of the bomblets is to open a sufficient number of biological or chemical agent storage tanks in a “limited damage” approach where the bomblets will not, in general, open and release more biological agent or chemical agent than the weapon can destroy, thus reducing collateral damage.

Typically, bomblets have copper plates with a rubber backing with a high explosive material placed against the rubber backing, and perhaps C-4, RDX or HMX-based fills. The bomblets are attached to a thermal detonator that initiates them when the reaction temperature of the high-temperature incendiary fill reaches a certain point, usually somewhere between 300 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Finally, the system may also contain a layer of material capable of generating a biocide immediately upon ejection from the warhead prior to the ejection and burn of the bomblets. The biocide agent is added to the back of the payload to address a situation where the warhead penetrates a container containing a biological agent before the high temperature incendiary fill can be deployed.


There are a variety of warhead guidance systems including a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kit. The JDAM employs a GPS-updated inertial guidance system to effect guidance to the target coupled with a movable tail control kit, for aerodynamic control, which retrofits to the existing bomb inventory including, but not limited to, Mk-84, 82 and 80 series bombs and BLU-109. Another option is the semi-active laser guidance system which is used in the Guided Bomb Unit-24. In use, this system illuminates the target with a laser beam and the weapon guidance kit interprets the reflection of the laser energy from the target in such a way to provide steering commands to the canards on the nose of the bomb to effect aerodynamic control to steer the bomb.


Preventing collateral damage is a high priority to protect non-combatants as well as any localized friendly forces. When dealing with any weapon of mass destruction agent, the potential collateral damage is more far-reaching because blast and concussion damage is not the only concern. Agents released into the open air can spread in a variety of uncontrollable directions multiplying the risks exponentially. Developing a single system that can not only reach and breach the location of the agent but also neutralize it at the same time is a necessary weapon in the toolkit.

Nano air vehicle program : Tiny unmanned aerial platforms for Special Ops

Nano Nano

The nano air vehicle program expects to develop the smallest of tiny unmanned aerial platforms that may be custom-made for SOF missions. DARPA is soliciting innovative proposals for the research and development of a NAV system.

By Jeff McKaughan

The military forces of the United States and its allies have an ever-present need for improved capabilities enabling the timely collection of comprehensive intelligence information, particularly on the ground in urban terrain. Information gathered and transmitted by unattended ground sensors of various types may be critical to the successful execution of many military missions, including various special operations. For many scenarios, the effectiveness of such sensors is strongly dependent on their precise location. Achieving optimal performance with respect to both monitoring designated areas and the ability to reliably communicate useful collected information often requires that the sensors be placed in locations that are not readily accessible: on buildings, walls (exterior or interior, e.g., in tunnels), windows, bridges, caves, tunnels, towers, rocks and other vertical or steeply angled surfaces. Emplacing unobtrusive reconnaissance/surveillance sensors in remote or special high-security areas also demands sophisticated means for delivery. Nano air vehicles (NAVs)—small, recoverable aircraft no larger than 7.5 centimeters in length, height or width, and gross takeoff weight (GTOW) less than or equal to 10 grams—may provide an effective means for precision delivery and emplacement of small, multi-element sensor packages to locations of interest.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting innovative proposals for the research and development of a NAV system. DARPA envisions that a NAV system may be based on either conventional or nonconventional air vehicle designs, or potentially a combination of both. While systems that minimize acoustic and visual signatures, and offer some form of natural stealth (by mimicry), are highly desired, no such requirements are expected be defined as part of the solicitation. Nano air vehicles are envisioned as fully functional, militarily capable, fully integrated, very small flight vehicles.

The NAV program is an exploratory development program with an overall goal to develop and demonstrate flight and operation of affordable NAV systems with the potential to perform useful indoor and outdoor military missions, and to develop and demonstrate flight-enabling technologies for advanced NAV systems. Flight-enabling technologies will most likely include aerodynamic design tools; lightweight, efficient propulsion and power; navigation; communications and control; and advanced manufacturing and packaging.

Notional Mission Requirements

The mission performance requirements for the nano air vehicle include, but are not limited to:

Maximum GTOW of 10 grams (with a reserved payload fraction of 2 grams)
Maximum dimension in any direction of 7.5 centimeters
Fast forward speed of 5 to 10 meters per second
Slow forward speed of 0.5 meters per second
Range greater than 1,000 meters at 5 to 10 meters per second forward velocity
Ability to transition to the slow forward speed of 0.5 meters per second after completing the 1,000-meter high-speed ingress and maintain the slow speed for more than 60 seconds
Ability to hover in place for more than 60 seconds after completing a high-speed 1,000-meter ingress and the 60-second low-speed ingress
Ability to land from hover in a controlled manner
Ability to navigate within a 0.5-meter mean square residual error (MSRE) and drop/release a payload at the end of the high- and low-speed ingress and return to the operator
Fortunately, biology offers some hints: Insects and hummingbirds have evolved the ability to fly at this scale. In addition, recent advances in the understanding of low Reynolds number (a numbering and comparative system used in fluid dynamics—in this case airflow) physics may permit human-made flight at this scale. Thus, in order to accomplish the goal of developing a nano air vehicle system capability for military operations, this program will pursue radical and quantifiable innovations in four technical areas, each with distinct objectives:

Computational Aerodynamic Modeling and Wing Design/Manufacture Tools

This technical area involves the use of fundamental physics models at a low Reynolds number to design highly efficient (high lift to drag) airfoil geometries that can be used to manufacture and build monolithic 1 to 7.5 centimeter wings or rotors. The modeling tool should clearly demonstrate how it will be used to design and develop appropriately scaled, very lightweight wings that can be seamlessly integrated into a nano air vehicle design. For this capability, the ability to design, simulate and optimize the aerodynamic performance over an arbitrary articulation path of motion on this small scale would be necessary. In addition, a clear process for how these wings or rotors will be manufactured and integrated to other subsystems must be demonstrated. The design tools may include the ability to simultaneously analyze structural loads while possibly incorporating some level of multifunctionality to improve overall system performance.

Propulsion and Power

This will involve the integration of a reliable power source with sufficient energy and power density to carry out the notional mission objectives discussed above. In addition, the propulsion system must be capable of demonstrating highly efficient conversion of stored energy to mechanical work or thrust to propel the air vehicle system in both hover and forward flight modes of operation. Thus, highly efficient transduction actuators are required for nano air vehicle designs. Such actuators may include servos, integrated smart material elements, or nanoscale or micro-electrico-mechanical engineered actuators. System must be sized to deliver power to the communication and navigation subsystem over a range of 1 kilometer (km) for approximately 20 minutes.

Navigation, Guidance, Communication, and Command and Control

This objective area of a NAV system involves the development of reliable avionics, including necessary sensors (gyros, accelerometers, optics, etc.), actuators, electronics, software algorithms, communication system and ground control elements, for guiding a vehicle from point A to point B and back in the presence of 5-knot wind gusts in an urban environment. While autonomous operation is desired, line of sight (LOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) tele-operation strategies that achieve minimal on-board processing but enable flight both external and internal to building structures are acceptable. The system must be capable of operating in GPS-denied environments and enable the operator to avoid obstacles of 0.5-meter diameter or larger. The communication link must be capable of providing a data link over a range of 1 kilometer. It is important to note that the avionics software and hardware are not considered as part of the payload of the NAV system. The NAV system must be able guide itself along a path within a 0.5-meter (1-sigma) MSRE.

Preliminary Integrated System Design

The design involves evaluation of the integrated nano air vehicle system that incorporates enabling technologies from the computational propulsion and navigation technical areas. The NAV system must also include all of the necessary ground control stations for LOS command and control electronics and software for communicating to air vehicle, as well as the necessary hardware and software interfaces for launching and retrieving nano air vehicles. System elements must demonstrate a sufficient level of performance and risk reduction at a preliminary design review level to ensure ability to conduct flight missions in Phase II.

Development Path

The Nano Air Vehicle Program is expected to be executed using a multiphase approach. The base period, Phase I, will have a period of performance of 18 months and include a trade analysis and subsystem risk reduction demonstration, and conceptual and preliminary design reviews encompassing efforts under all four technical areas defined above. Phase I will be awarded with a base-line and negotiated option separated by a technical go/no-go to be suggested by the contractor for use as a “DARPA HARD” metric to graduate to completing Phase I.

A Phase II is expected to be at DARPA’s discretion based on performance and results from Phase I. If executed, Phase II will include an 18-month period of performance in which a completely integrated nano air vehicle system’s flight is demonstrated. Phase II proposed efforts will be based on a critical design review, an assembly plan for integrating the components of the nano air vehicle system, and a series of end-to-end flight demonstrations against the notional mission requirements to confirm the performance of the NAV system.

The earliest that DARPA anticipates any awards from their effort is March 2006.

Phase I Go/No-Go Metrics

Technical Area Figures of Merit
1. Aerodynamic Performance and Airfoil/Wing/Rotor Design and Manufacture Develop computational aerodynamic modeling tools to design a high performance airfoil at a low Reynolds number.
Demonstrate reliable wing manufacturing principles and achieve wing loading of > 0.1 kg/m2.
Demonstrate airfoil section steady lift to drag capability > 8 at low Reynolds number (Re < 15,000).

2. Propulsion and Power Demonstrate system electrical power to mechanical transduction conversion efficiency of at least 20 percent. Demonstrate an ability to meet power requirements for a notional mission of 1 kilometer with a total hover time of > one minute.

3. Navigation Algorithm Design and Development for Precision Time, Position and Attitude Determination Develop LOS navigation capability that ensures delivery of nano air vehicle within 0.5 meters of target location over a range of 1 kilometer in 5- knot wind gusts.
Develop LOS navigation capability that enables robust guidance inside of enclosed buildings without GPS.
Demonstrate simulated navigation of NAV system inside a building.

4. Integrated System Design Achieve preliminary design review level of integrated nano air vehicle system with command and control.
Integrated nano air vehicle system must be able to hover for longer than one minute, translate at forward speeds of both 0.5 and 5 to 10 meters per second, and support command and control over a 1 kilometer distance for approximately 20 minutes.
Integrated nano air vehicle systems must achieve a GTOW of less than 10 grams and a minimum payload mass of at least 2 grams with dimensions of 10 millimeters in diameter by 5 millimeters in depth with a uniform density.
Demonstrate measured thrust to weight ratio of greater than one at optimal GTOW.
All this must be capable between 0 and 5,000 feet MSL.
System must be capable of being tele-operated from a ground control station over a range of 1 kilometer.

INTERVIEW : Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict

Interview with Thomas W. O’Connell

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict

Thomas W. O’Connell was confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict on July 23, 2003.
Prior to his confirmation, O’Connell served as a Senior Manager for Raytheon Company’s Intelligence and Information Systems, often serving as a frequent Task Force member of the president’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.

A 1968 Distinguished Military Graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Economics, O’Connell began his career as an infantry officer in Germany. He served in Southeast Asia as a field advisor to Vietnamese forces including duties with the PHOENIX Program. O’Connell was assigned as an instructor in combat intelligence at the Army’s Intelligence Center and School at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., prior to spending three years in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., as an intelligence officer at battalion, brigade and division levels. During attendance at the Army’s Command and General Staff College, he earned an M.A. in Management from Central Michigan University.

O’Connell then spent two years on exchange duty with the British Army at the Joint Intelligence Centre in England, where he commanded the Foreign Armed Services Branch. From 1980 to 1983, he was the senior intelligence officer for a U.S. Army special mission unit. He then commanded the 313th Military Intelligence Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division for two years, followed by attendance at the Naval War College, graduating with highest distinction and completing a master’s degree in International Relations.

He returned to Fort Bragg as the Director of Intelligence (J2), Joint Special Operations Command, and continued in the special operations intelligence field as a brigade commander for two and a half years.

After a brief assignment in the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Washington Office, he served three years at the Central Intelligence Agency as Deputy for Command Support, retiring in October 1995. O’Connell’s career included participation in four conflict arenas (Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and Southwest Asia) and various assignments in 33 countries. He holds a Master Parachutist rating and received numerous awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star for Valor, Purple Heart and Air Medal.

Interviewed by Jeffrey McKaughan, SOTECH editor

Q: Last year, in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee regarding the fiscal year 2006 budget, you mentioned five areas of focus—my words, not yours—that the budget would allow SOCOM to concentrate on. Have those five areas changed since last year? What would those five look like this year?

A: The five critical areas I testified to for fiscal year 2006 are still very much relevant. We must continue to transform special operations forces through robust investment in our ability to find, fix, fight, follow and finish the global terrorist network and individuals. Our continued research and development in existing, emerging and new technologies will improve upon our previous advancements.

The exact nature of our programs may look somewhat different five years from now, but the fundamental requirements for SOF will remain constant. In the next five years we will achieve real returns on our investments. We will provide a significantly increased capability for the SOF operators to conduct missions in challenging terrain, uncertain environments and under adverse weather conditions, with a responsive command and control system to direct those world-wide operations. SOCOM has taken positive steps to provide new capabilities for persistent surveillance from sources on the ground to overhead platforms.

Moreover, SOF have taken the lead in developing their own battlefield intelligence and quickly exploiting it to maximum effect. The blend of technological advances and human ingenuity is creating new opportunities every day.

Q: The ramp-up to fight the global war on terror is over and the system is now adjusting to a high and steady OPTEMPO. Has this changed the way your office supports SOF in the execution of its mission?

A: Several things have changed since we adjusted to the demands of the war. First, the persistently high OPTEMPO has taken its toll on our equipment. Maintaining needed readiness levels for some of our systems has proven increasingly challenging.

This high OPTEMPO has not only resulted in multiple rotations at the unit level, but has also increased the numbers and locations of SOF warriors working globally. This has increased the influence of SOF around the world in a way that reflects the increased role SOCOM is playing in the war, but it has also further strained our personnel resources. Here in SO/LIC [Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict] we have been involved more broadly and more frequently in a host of policy discussions both within the Pentagon and around Washington. We are busier than ever, but we remain focused on our main missions involving SOF issues.

Q: Have you been receiving any feedback as to the benefits or drawbacks to the increase in personnel allotments for some areas of SOF? Have any of the new operators reached the operational tip of the spear yet, and have you heard any suggestions to further grow from where the numbers are now?

A: In FY2005 a record number of students successfully completed the Special Forces Qualification Course and are now assigned to operational units. We increased the staff [instructors] at both Army Special Forces training and Navy SEAL initial training which has improved the capability to produce new operators. The 18X program which recruits Special Forces candidates directly into the Army has proven to be very successful. The Naval Special Warfare Center is working closely with the Navy recruiters to enhance the screening of recruits to increase graduates from the SEAL qualification course—Basic Underwater Demolition. Of all our forces, building up the SEAL community will likely prove the most difficult challenge. The Department is currently engaged in the Quadrennial Defense Review and the potential requirement for additional special operations forces is being reviewed and discussed. It is too early at this point to have specifics, but certainly something we are analyzing. It does appear that we will be authorized to add to our Special Forces, SEAL and Ranger populations. We will likely lose many Reserve civil affairs positions in a shift back to the Army Reserve command, but increase our active civil affairs population.

There are other ways we can relieve stress on the force. One thing that General Brown and the theater special operations commands have done is to partner with foreign SOF to increase capacity to operate against a global network. Last year General Brown convened the first International SOF Conference in Tampa. Fifty-eight nations participated, including Iraq and Afghanistan. The leaders were told of their value to our global effort when Vice President Cheney addressed the group. He said “Special ops are the ones who hunt down, engage, kill and capture enemies—yet also set up hospitals, call in humanitarian aid, and help villages to become self sufficient . . .leaving behind men, women and children who feel gratitude for your kindness and good will for our country. Special ops, it’s been said, play every role from warrior to physician to diplomat to engineer. And at times, you have to switch from one role to another in the blink of an eye.”

Q: The responsibility and roles of acquisition and technology development for SO/LIC is unique. Can you explain your role and relationship to SOCOM and discuss other areas of technology development?

A: Overseeing SOCOM and supporting their acquisition activities is only one aspect of our involvement with technology development. As for SOCOM, SO/LIC is responsible for the overall supervision of the preparation and justification of SOF programs and budgets. We accomplish this task by closely teaming with SOCOM and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology on acquisition priorities and requirements for SO and LIC-related materiel and equipment.

In addition to teaming with SOCOM, moreover, SO/LIC has a number of other advanced technology programs for which we provide executive oversight and funding that incorporates a larger DoD and interagency effort. These programs focus on counter-narcoterrorism, explosive ordnance disposal [EOD] and combating terrorism.

Q: We learned that technology for counter-narcoterrorism is playing a key role in the GWOT, can you expand on this program?

A: The Department of the Navy is DoD’s executive agent for the department’s counter-narcoterrorism [CNT] research, development, testing, and evaluation program [DoD CN RDT&E]. The DoD Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office [CNTPO] at Dahlgren, Va. is the Navy’s executing agent for the DoD CN RDT&E program. CNTPO develops and deploys releasable and non-releasable capabilities and provide services and equipment to combatant commanders, law enforcement agencies, and foreign security forces that aid disrupting, deterring and denying the flow of drugs, people, information, money and weapons related to illegal drug trafficking.

Like many of our programs, CNTPO is an interagency effort that supports all our combatant commanders and law-enforcement. One significant ongoing effort is in Afghanistan, working closely with USCENTCOM. The CNTPO is executing a variety projects totaling over $160 million. These projects include inspection, communications and surveillance technologies. [More information is available at www.cntpo.com]. As we see the nexus between terrorism and drug dealing grow closer, we can leverage the significant flexibility of our CN authorities to contribute effectively to the GWOT. For all of our recent successes, however, we will continue to struggle until we find ways to reduce demand.

Q: There seems to be a number of programs directed at explosive ordnance, can you explain your program and its role?

A: We sponsor the explosive ordnance disposal/low-intensity conflict [EOD/LIC] advanced technology demonstration program. EOD/LIC technology is focused primarily upon detection, clearance and safe disposal of explosive threats including conventional ordnance, NBC munitions and improvised terrorist weapons.

The EOD/LIC program provides rapid prototyping and advanced technology development in response to the needs of military EOD, and SOF personnel as they face the challenges of force protection and the war on terrorism.

EOD/LIC technology developments are focused primarily on detection, access, identification and neutralization of conventional explosive ordnance and improvised explosive threats on land, sea, and underwater. The objectives of the program are to provide solutions that are usable, affordable and practical within 18 months, and to facilitate transition into an acquisition program or directly into production. Requirements are submitted by joint service EOD, SOF and other EOD-oriented users, and are prioritized and approved in the Pentagon’s Policy Office.

Q: Can you briefly expand on your role in the Combating Terror Technology Support [CTTS] Program? What are the program’s current priorities?

A: We provide executive direction, funding and programmatic oversight of this important program. DoD honors its commitment to the U.S. national, interagency combating terrorism research and development [R&D] program via the Technical Support Working Group [TSWG].

Under SO/LIC’s program management and technical oversight, and the policy direction of the Department of State Coordinator for CT, and with membership from organizations across the federal government, the TSWG pursues a diverse portfolio of advanced research and development projects in eleven functional areas across the four main pillars of combating terrorism: antiterrorism, counterterrorism, intelligence and consequence management.

The CTTS Program continues to focus on technology for use by our military forces and by federal agencies in support of national defense and homeland security. In addition to our traditional customers, we are engaged in support of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Task Force. In this capacity we are intimately involved in advanced technology development to both counter improvised explosive devices and our most important initiative, improve the protection of the warfighter. I recently met with retired General Monty Meigs who will head the Pentagon’s IED effort. His office will continue to leverage many of the TSWG programs.

We also look forward to concluding agreements this spring with both Singapore and Australia, who will be added to our roster of select nations with whom we conduct cooperative, bilateral R&D. These collaborative efforts allow the U.S. government to benefit from the experience, expertise, and resources of major NATO and non-NATO allies to combat terrorism across the globe. [More information is available at www.tswg.gov]

Q: What benefits do you glean from international collaboration?

A: In 1993, in order to build upon TSWG’s domestic successes, Congress tasked the DoD with conducting collaborative research and development in the areas of combating terrorism with selected NATO and major non-NATO allies. Commencing immediately with the Government of Israel, the TSWG International Program then added separate bilateral agreements with the United Kingdom and Canada in 1995, and will add Singapore and Australia in 2006.

The portfolio of collaboration extends across all eleven subgroups and totals over $30 million for FY 2005. This international cooperation allows the TSWG to leverage foreign experience, expertise and resources to develop capabilities for warriors and first responders. Each foreign partner brings unique perspectives that allow a broad exchange of views and skills not always identified in a single nations program. We look forward to strengthening these bonds and to developing relationships of similar productivity with Singapore and Australia over the next decade.

Q: I know it is just a little early to talk FY07 funding, but could you give us a glimpse of what you would like to see in next year’s budget?

A: The president has yet to submit his FY 2007 budget request to Congress. What I can say is that the president and Secretary Rumsfeld have provided unprecedented support for SOF in the past and I do not anticipate that to change.

We expect an increase in the FY 2007 budget for SOCOM. SOCOM and SO/LIC have put together a proposal that grows the force and continues to transform and improve SOF’s capability to plan and fight the global war on terrorism.

We will continue to focus on intelligence and C2 capabilities, and the force structure needed to continue the long-term GWOT fight. We will 1) expand SOCOM’s Center for Special Operations and the geographic combatant commander’s theater special operations commands needed to enable the geographic combatant commanders to better exercise their assigned GWOT synchronization responsibilities; 2) add a Marine Corps [MARSOC] component to SOCOM to provide additional operators and trainers; 3) increase the number of psychological operations and civil affairs units; 4) increase the number of combat aviation advisors needed to train indigenous Air Force personnel in GWOT-focused countries, and 5) Increase persistent surveillance capabilities to include the addition of UAV capabilities.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: Yes. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to our special operations forces. Our service members, like the ones before them, are performing admirably despite serving in very dangerous environments where the enemy is not easily identified and is using techniques that violate the rules of war. Our nation and allies truly thank them and their families for their sacrifice and valor. One way we can show our thanks is to make sure they are equipped with the best technology and training possible to deny, deter and defeat our enemies.

General Brown and his SOCOM staff and component commanders—ARSOC, AFSOC, NAVSPECWARCOM, and soon MARSOC—have worked tirelessly to fight both an ongoing war in support of General Abizaid and Central Command, and look to the future requirements of our SOF across the globe. I have the significant responsibility to sit with the SOCOM commander, his component commanders and my director of resources, Tim Morgan, on the SOCOM board of directors during the exhaustive deliberations on SOF structure and acquisition issues. We face an unprecedented OPTEMPO with little relief in sight, a transforming military with new opportunities to leverage their emerging capabilities—such as operating with high speed vessel prototypes and Littoral Combat Ships, intelligence and C3 advancements, tagging, tracking and locating technologies, and new aviation and undersea delivery platforms. SOCOM has received superb support from the service secretaries and chiefs as they respond to the initiatives of their own organizations, General Brown and those of the secretary and deputy secretary.

There are other important developments in the future. We’ve worked hard to gain additional authorities for SOCOM and forces in the field. Section 1208 of the Defense Appropriation/Authorization Bill gave the department authority to recruit and train surrogate forces with SOCOM drawing on their MFP funds, the secretary’s approval and Congressional notification. This authority can open enormous opportunities to grow a network and build partner capacity against a terrorist network that aims to destroy us. We have the personnel, skills, and determination to do just that. Moreover, we’ve worked with the deputy secretary and the Defense Science Board to develop a new DoD Directive on Stability Operations that will move the department to put Phase IV operations on a more equal footing with combat operations. SOCOM expertise can contribute greatly to that effort to build partner capacity and control ungoverned areas and defeat terrorist initiatives. It is critical that we help the State Department to succeed in their reconstruction initiatives.

Let me leave you with two thoughts. First, SOCOM has done its part to produce the world’s finest SOF warriors. Humans are more important than hardware. But we need every possible innovation from both industry and government technologists that can give us an edge in this war. The performance of SOCOM’s personnel has been extraordinarily superb as they have answered the call of OIF and OEF, the conflict in Colombia, in African operations and our efforts in PACOM’s AOR. Second, it is both a humbling and inspiring experience to serve among these quiet professionals. One of my highest honors is to be present at many of the funeral services of our SOF warriors at Arlington Cemetery. The families are inspiring; there is no quit in their eyes, and they’re so very proud of the service of their loved ones. They support the President and offer encouragement for the Administration to drive on. The entire special operations community constantly strives to honor that request.

February 21, 2006

What the fu#% is going on with PTI ? Sycophancy, thy name is PTI

What type of news report is this from PTI? Sycophancy = PTI
What type of news report is this from PTI? Sycophancy, thy name is PTI.

News reporting has reached its depths of sycophancy. This is one instance of a report from PTI which is flashed across as an earth-shaking scoop by a PTI reporter. Is it possible that someone in the Press tries to explain the word called swaabhimaan in the Bharatiya idiom?

I have sometimes used the picturesque phrases: chamcha, jaalra. I think these do not convey adequately the sense of shame which PTI editorial staff should feel in clearing such 'stories'. This is the budget season, right? Who cares about Developed Bharatam 2020? Or, even about US interference in Nagaland or even King George's visit to Rajghat? Should he, a true believer as a Born-again Christist even set foot on the land which has been polluted with the ashes of Nehru? Maybe, Pope Paul kissing the earth on stepping down from his private jet has purified the land.



Proud Sonia looks at Rahul, smiles

Press Trust of India
Posted online: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 at 1500 hours IST

New Delhi, February 21: It was a rare sight in Lok Sabha as the mother-son duo apparently exchanged notes, sat together for a while and then left the House together.

After reading a hand written note, Sonia Gandhi, seated on the front row, looked back thrice with a smile on her face.

But her son, Rahul Gandhi, could not establish eye contact, as he was holding an intense discussion with Sachin Pilot, both seated on the ninth row towards the rear end.

Shortly thereafter, Sonia moved towards back rows and sat with Rahul for a while before gesturing him to accompany her. Rahul then followed his mother out of the House.


Sonia guides Manmohan. Who guides Antonia?

Bharatam was colonised when the East India Trading Company came in taking the route from Karachi to Delhi. Now colonisation occurs in more sophisticated forms.

Who is the principal economic advisor to GOI? Certainly not Rangarajan. It is Jean Dreze a naturalised Belgian who has just succeeded in committing the GOI budget to an annual dole out of Rs. 30,000 crores.

Who are the principal political advisors? Dr. Subramanian Swamy has already listed many ISI agents in 10 Janpath. The list goes on -- too hot even to be mentioned in closed lists. It is money-speak of the World Trade in the Global marketplace. Natwar Singh's nemesis is only a thin end of the wedge.

There are many ways to place the national security at risk.



A crippling entente?- Scuttling India's Future
By M.D. Nalapat

Certainly Manmohan-as he himself admits-is "guided" by Sonia. But who manages the UPA Chairperson herself? In the course of searching for the roots of the efforts of the UPA government to destroy India's long-term energy future and its deterrent against sneak nuclear attack, it became clear that the UPA is singing a song scripted by others, none of whom are citizens of India.

In mature democracies, the activities of the powerful are always under a scanner. In our country, both the goings-on and the doings of 10 Janpath are cloaked in secrecy. This is the reason why the back-channel that is aggressively and clandestinely pushing for the nuclear sellout-and which is the same team that has also been responsible for the discarding of national interest in theatres such as Assam and Kashmir-has thus far not been given media attention. This is despite the existence of a significant volume of evidence concerning such links. For instance, two Delhi-based envoys are in regular touch with Sonia Gandhi. Such easy access of selected foreign envoys with the effective Head of Government in India is unprecedented in our history.

Sonia Gandhi needs to make public the nature of the conversations she has had with foreign envoys and with their principals, in the interests of transparency. She is not an Orbassano housewife but the UPA chairperson, and the country has a right to know exactly what pressures are being brought on her by countries keen that she issue suitable instructions to Prime Minister.

This is not the first time that foreign powers have sought to use the Gandhi family to attempt to scuttle India's nuclear defences. Flashback to 1968, to a Cabinet meeting when the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, proposed to the Union Cabinet that India sign the newly-minted Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). By her side was the then Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, who mouthed the same arguments that are being repeated today by those eager to sell out India's nuclear deterrent and indigenous expertise to an international non-proliferation lobby that has always winked at Pakistan and China. These were that "India desperately needed foreign technology" and that otherwise "the nuclear power industry would grind to a halt" and-most laughably-that signing the discriminatory and minatory NPT would "promote Indian interests". It was the then Deputy Prime Minister of India, Morarji R. Desai, who opposed the signing of the NPT in that Cabinet meeting, pointing out that the treaty would permanently confer an inferior status to India while doing little to halt the multiplication of nuclear weapons. Taken aback by Desai's vehemence, that failed to be lessened by an intervention by the AEC Chairman requesting him to agree to India's signing the NPT, Smt Gandhi wisely pulled back. She rejected the advice given to her by the then AEC Chairman and by a member of her Council of Ministers.

Several goodies have been vaguely promised, but the record of delivery of such promises is not promising. Brazil, for example, was promised a raft of incentives when it disarmed, but has got very little ever since. In the case of India itself, the Bush administration promised access to space and satellite launch technology four years ago. Till now exactly zero has been delivered.

Ten years later, the then US President Jimmy Carter travelled to India to seal the deal in 1978, only to meet his nemesis in Morarji Desai,who flatly refused to sell out. Small wonder that the Janata Party government headed by Desai fell within a year.

The UPA chairperson may be a high school dropout, but she is no fool. Sonia Gandhi fully understands just how heavy the sacrifices being demanded of India by those calling on her in New Delhi and calling her from certain world capitals are. After four decades of effort, that overcame not simply the total technology denial enforced by the US, the EU and China but deliberate underfunding by the Union Finance Ministry-especially during 1992-96-India has mastered the three-stage Fuel Cycle, enabling the country to generate energy using relatively small amounts of uranium. Once the thorium-based Fast Breeder Technology becomes operational, the country's dependence on imports for its nuclear fuel will end, as India possesses the bulk of world stocks of thorium. Since the 1980s, the mysterious inability of the country to utilise its abundant oil and gas reserves has led to an economically-crippling dependence on imported petroleum feedstock. All the more reason to ensure that the next big source of energy-nuclear power-be based on domestically available feedstocks and technology

Those parroting the lies perfected by the anti-India groups in North America, East Asia and Europe claim that nuclear energy is "dirty and unsafe", when in fact the specific technologies being developed by India are designed to minimise waste and improve environmental safety. Now that Japan, Australia and Canada have withdrawn from the front-line of the anti-India chorus, their slot has been filled by the Scandinavian countries, each of whom exhibits an open contempt for India in its denunciations of this country at the IAEA and in other international bodies. If Sonia Gandhi has admonished these countries for their consistent hostility towards India being given the same rights as the UK and France, that has escaped even her attention. Instead of telling the Scandinavian closet racists where they get off, the UPA chairperson has given them attention and access on a scale far in excess of their geopolitical weight, ignoring their virulent and consistent opposition to her adopted country's security and energy interests

The Bush administration spoke of "helping" to make India a Great Power. Clearly, Texlish has a connotation entirely different from English. For what the US administration is openly seeking is nothing less than the gutting of India's nuclear deterrent and its indigenous nuclear industry. The Bush negotiators want Manmohan Singh to agree to all facilities except the decrepit CIRUS reactor and the 40-year-old Tarapur reactor to be placed under fullscope safeguards of the kind prescribed for Iran. Both these units are just years away from decomm-issioning, and once this takes place, there would be no further fissile material for the Indian bomb programme, thus effectively capping the same. Even before such a shutdown, the very limited amounts of fissile material generated by both would place severe constraints on the weapons available to India. Once both CIRUS and Tarapur are decommissioned, the production of nuclear weapons would stop entirely

What this means in practice is that once the fissile material in the existing weapons in the Indian stockpile decays, they would not get replaced, so that within a few years, all nuclear weapons would become inoperational. This is the fate that the many foreign buddies of the UPA are seeking to foist on India. Despite the lies and obfuscation peddled by "strategic experts" close to certain embassies in Chanakyapuri, India's nuclear scientists and technologists, led by DAE chief Anil Kakodkar, have been battling in seeking to save India's nuclear programme from the extinction planned by the neo-racists.

In particular, the likes of US Under-Secretary Robert Joseph seek to place the entire Indian Fast Breeder Reactor programme under safeguards, thus enabling them (and through them, China and Pakistan) to access technology that India has created over decades of painful effort, and which is the key to energy independence in the future.

In exchange for this murder of the Indian programme, several goodies have been vaguely promised, but the record of delivery of such promises is not promising. Brazil, for example, was promised a raft of incentives when it disarmed, but has got very little ever since. In the case of India itself, the Bush administration promised access to space and satellite launch technology four years ago. Till now, exactly zero has been delivered. All that New Delhi has got so far from the much-hyped New Steps Towards Strategic Partnership with the US are excuses for non-delivery and more commands for the dismantling of Indian scientific capabilities. Hopefully, patriotic elements in Parliament will not keep silent much longer on this state of affairs. Led by Sonia Gandhi, the UPA seems on the brink of destroying India's energy security as well as its defence against nuclear attack. Unless the country rallies behind Anil Kakodkar and his gallant team, we are in for a bleak future.

Manisha provided police protection over dog's name

Manisha provided police protection over dog's name

Tuesday, 21 February , 2006, 11:10

Mumbai: Film actress Manisha Koirala has been provided police security in the wake of a controversy that one of her pet dogs was named after a revered Muslim figure.

Police have provided security to Koirala at her residence to prevent any trouble from those who have protested over the alleged naming of the dog, Additional Commissioner of Police Bipin Bihari said on Monday.

A leading English newspaper had created a flutter when it recently published news stating that Koirala’s pet dog was named after the revered Muslim figure, leading to demonstrations in the city.

Police later found that Koirala had no pet dog or any pet named after the Muslim figure, police said, adding that a case has been registered for inciting people.

The Rediff Interview / Manisha Koirala

Congressman says US Dollar Heading for Collapse



Reveals that shortly before we attacked Iraq, Saddam Hussein ceased accepting the U.S. Dollar for oil sales and next month, March 2006, Iran will do the same thing; opting to accept only EUROS.

Before the US House of Representatives, February 15, 2006

A hundred years ago it was called “dollar diplomacy.” After World War II, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, that policy evolved into “dollar hegemony.” But after all these many years of great success, our dollar dominance is coming to an end.

It has been said, rightly, that he who holds the gold makes the rules. In earlier times it was readily accepted that fair and honest trade required an exchange for something of real value. First it was simply barter of goods. Then it was discovered that gold held a universal attraction, and was a convenient substitute for more cumbersome barter transactions. Not only did gold facilitate exchange of goods and services, it served as a store of value for those who wanted to save for a rainy day.

Though money developed naturally in the marketplace, as governments grew in power they assumed monopoly control over money. Sometimes governments succeeded in guaranteeing the quality and purity of gold, but in time governments learned to outspend their revenues. New or higher taxes always incurred the disapproval of the people, so it wasn’t long before Kings and Caesars learned how to inflate their currencies by reducing the amount of gold in each coin – always hoping their subjects wouldn’t discover the fraud. But the people always did, and they strenuously objected.

This helped pressure leaders to seek more gold by conquering other nations. The people became accustomed to living beyond their means, and enjoyed the circuses and bread. Financing extravagances by conquering foreign lands seemed a logical alternative to working harder and producing more. Besides, conquering nations not only brought home gold, they brought home slaves as well. Taxing the people in conquered territories also provided an incentive to build empires. This system of government worked well for a while, but the moral decline of the people led to an unwillingness to produce for themselves. There was a limit to the number of countries that could be sacked for their wealth, and this always brought empires to an end. When gold no longer could be obtained, their military might crumbled. In those days those who held the gold truly wrote the rules and lived well.

That general rule has held fast throughout the ages. When gold was used, and the rules protected honest commerce, productive nations thrived. Whenever wealthy nations – those with powerful armies and gold – strived only for empire and easy fortunes to support welfare at home, those nations failed.

Today the principles are the same, but the process is quite different. Gold no longer is the currency of the realm; paper is. The truth now is: “He who prints the money makes the rules” – at least for the time being. Although gold is not used, the goals are the same: compel foreign countries to produce and subsidize the country with military superiority and control over the monetary printing presses.

Since printing paper money is nothing short of counterfeiting, the issuer of the international currency must always be the country with the military might to guarantee control over the system. This magnificent scheme seems the perfect system for obtaining perpetual wealth for the country that issues the de facto world currency. The one problem, however, is that such a system destroys the character of the counterfeiting nation’s people – just as was the case when gold was the currency and it was obtained by conquering other nations. And this destroys the incentive to save and produce, while encouraging debt and runaway welfare.

The pressure at home to inflate the currency comes from the corporate welfare recipients, as well as those who demand handouts as compensation for their needs and perceived injuries by others. In both cases personal responsibility for one’s actions is rejected.

When paper money is rejected, or when gold runs out, wealth and political stability are lost. The country then must go from living beyond its means to living beneath its means, until the economic and political systems adjust to the new rules – rules no longer written by those who ran the now defunct printing press.

“Dollar Diplomacy,” a policy instituted by William Howard Taft and his Secretary of State Philander C. Knox, was designed to enhance U.S. commercial investments in Latin America and the Far East. McKinley concocted a war against Spain in 1898, and (Teddy) Roosevelt’s corollary to the Monroe Doctrine preceded Taft’s aggressive approach to using the U.S. dollar and diplomatic influence to secure U.S. investments abroad. This earned the popular title of “Dollar Diplomacy.” The significance of Roosevelt’s change was that our intervention now could be justified by the mere “appearance” that a country of interest to us was politically or fiscally vulnerable to European control. Not only did we claim a right, but even an official U.S. government “obligation” to protect our commercial interests from Europeans.

This new policy came on the heels of the “gunboat” diplomacy of the late 19th century, and it meant we could buy influence before resorting to the threat of force. By the time the “dollar diplomacy” of William Howard Taft was clearly articulated, the seeds of American empire were planted. And they were destined to grow in the fertile political soil of a country that lost its love and respect for the republic bequeathed to us by the authors of the Constitution. And indeed they did. It wasn’t too long before dollar “diplomacy” became dollar “hegemony” in the second half of the 20th century.

This transition only could have occurred with a dramatic change in monetary policy and the nature of the dollar itself.

Congress created the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Between then and 1971 the principle of sound money was systematically undermined. Between 1913 and 1971, the Federal Reserve found it much easier to expand the money supply at will for financing war or manipulating the economy with little resistance from Congress – while benefiting the special interests that influence government.

Dollar dominance got a huge boost after World War II. We were spared the destruction that so many other nations suffered, and our coffers were filled with the world’s gold. But the world chose not to return to the discipline of the gold standard, and the politicians applauded. Printing money to pay the bills was a lot more popular than taxing or restraining unnecessary spending. In spite of the short-term benefits, imbalances were institutionalized for decades to come.

The 1944 Bretton Woods agreement solidified the dollar as the preeminent world reserve currency, replacing the British pound. Due to our political and military muscle, and because we had a huge amount of physical gold, the world readily accepted our dollar (defined as 1/35th of an ounce of gold) as the world’s reserve currency. The dollar was said to be “as good as gold,” and convertible to all foreign central banks at that rate. For American citizens, however, it remained illegal to own. This was a gold-exchange standard that from inception was doomed to fail.

The U.S. did exactly what many predicted she would do. She printed more dollars for which there was no gold backing. But the world was content to accept those dollars for more than 25 years with little question – until the French and others in the late 1960s demanded we fulfill our promise to pay one ounce of gold for each $35 they delivered to the U.S. Treasury. This resulted in a huge gold drain that brought an end to a very poorly devised pseudo-gold standard.

It all ended on August 15, 1971, when Nixon closed the gold window and refused to pay out any of our remaining 280 million ounces of gold. In essence, we declared our insolvency and everyone recognized some other monetary system had to be devised in order to bring stability to the markets.

Amazingly, a new system was devised which allowed the U.S. to operate the printing presses for the world reserve currency with no restraints placed on it – not even a pretense of gold convertibility, none whatsoever! Though the new policy was even more deeply flawed, it nevertheless opened the door for dollar hegemony to spread.

Realizing the world was embarking on something new and mind-boggling, elite money managers, with especially strong support from U.S. authorities, struck an agreement with OPEC to price oil in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. This gave the dollar a special place among world currencies and in essence “backed” the dollar with oil. In return, the U.S. promised to protect the various oil-rich kingdoms in the Persian Gulf against threat of invasion or domestic coup. This arrangement helped ignite the radical Islamic movement among those who resented our influence in the region. The arrangement gave the dollar artificial strength, with tremendous financial benefits for the United States. It allowed us to export our monetary inflation by buying oil and other goods at a great discount as dollar influence flourished.

This post-Bretton Woods system was much more fragile than the system that existed between 1945 and 1971. Though the dollar/oil arrangement was helpful, it was not nearly as stable as the pseudo–gold standard under Bretton Woods. It certainly was less stable than the gold standard of the late 19th century.

During the 1970s the dollar nearly collapsed, as oil prices surged and gold skyrocketed to $800 an ounce. By 1979 interest rates of 21% were required to rescue the system. The pressure on the dollar in the 1970s, in spite of the benefits accrued to it, reflected reckless budget deficits and monetary inflation during the 1960s. The markets were not fooled by LBJ’s claim that we could afford both “guns and butter.”

Once again the dollar was rescued, and this ushered in the age of true dollar hegemony lasting from the early 1980s to the present. With tremendous cooperation coming from the central banks and international commercial banks, the dollar was accepted as if it were gold.

Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, on several occasions before the House Banking Committee, answered my challenges to him about his previously held favorable views on gold by claiming that he and other central bankers had gotten paper money – i.e. the dollar system – to respond as if it were gold. Each time I strongly disagreed, and pointed out that if they had achieved such a feat they would have defied centuries of economic history regarding the need for money to be something of real value. He smugly and confidently concurred with this.

In recent years central banks and various financial institutions, all with vested interests in maintaining a workable fiat dollar standard, were not secretive about selling and loaning large amounts of gold to the market even while decreasing gold prices raised serious questions about the wisdom of such a policy. They never admitted to gold price fixing, but the evidence is abundant that they believed if the gold price fell it would convey a sense of confidence to the market, confidence that they indeed had achieved amazing success in turning paper into gold.

Increasing gold prices historically are viewed as an indicator of distrust in paper currency. This recent effort was not a whole lot different than the U.S. Treasury selling gold at $35 an ounce in the 1960s, in an attempt to convince the world the dollar was sound and as good as gold. Even during the Depression, one of Roosevelt’s first acts was to remove free market gold pricing as an indication of a flawed monetary system by making it illegal for American citizens to own gold. Economic law eventually limited that effort, as it did in the early 1970s when our Treasury and the IMF tried to fix the price of gold by dumping tons into the market to dampen the enthusiasm of those seeking a safe haven for a falling dollar after gold ownership was re-legalized.

Once again the effort between 1980 and 2000 to fool the market as to the true value of the dollar proved unsuccessful. In the past 5 years the dollar has been devalued in terms of gold by more than 50%. You just can’t fool all the people all the time, even with the power of the mighty printing press and money creating system of the Federal Reserve.

Even with all the shortcomings of the fiat monetary system, dollar influence thrived. The results seemed beneficial, but gross distortions built into the system remained. And true to form, Washington politicians are only too anxious to solve the problems cropping up with window dressing, while failing to understand and deal with the underlying flawed policy. Protectionism, fixing exchange rates, punitive tariffs, politically motivated sanctions, corporate subsidies, international trade management, price controls, interest rate and wage controls, super-nationalist sentiments, threats of force, and even war are resorted to – all to solve the problems artificially created by deeply flawed monetary and economic systems.

In the short run, the issuer of a fiat reserve currency can accrue great economic benefits. In the long run, it poses a threat to the country issuing the world currency. In this case that’s the United States. As long as foreign countries take our dollars in return for real goods, we come out ahead. This is a benefit many in Congress fail to recognize, as they bash China for maintaining a positive trade balance with us. But this leads to a loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas markets, as we become more dependent on others and less self-sufficient. Foreign countries accumulate our dollars due to their high savings rates, and graciously loan them back to us at low interest rates to finance our excessive consumption.

It sounds like a great deal for everyone, except the time will come when our dollars – due to their depreciation – will be received less enthusiastically or even be rejected by foreign countries. That could create a whole new ballgame and force us to pay a price for living beyond our means and our production. The shift in sentiment regarding the dollar has already started, but the worst is yet to come.

The agreement with OPEC in the 1970s to price oil in dollars has provided tremendous artificial strength to the dollar as the preeminent reserve currency. This has created a universal demand for the dollar, and soaks up the huge number of new dollars generated each year. Last year alone M3 increased over $700 billion.

The artificial demand for our dollar, along with our military might, places us in the unique position to “rule” the world without productive work or savings, and without limits on consumer spending or deficits. The problem is, it can’t last.

Price inflation is raising its ugly head, and the NASDAQ bubble – generated by easy money – has burst. The housing bubble likewise created is deflating. Gold prices have doubled, and federal spending is out of sight with zero political will to rein it in. The trade deficit last year was over $728 billion. A $2 trillion war is raging, and plans are being laid to expand the war into Iran and possibly Syria. The only restraining force will be the world’s rejection of the dollar. It’s bound to come and create conditions worse than 1979–1980, which required 21% interest rates to correct. But everything possible will be done to protect the dollar in the meantime. We have a shared interest with those who hold our dollars to keep the whole charade going.

Greenspan, in his first speech after leaving the Fed, said that gold prices were up because of concern about terrorism, and not because of monetary concerns or because he created too many dollars during his tenure. Gold has to be discredited and the dollar propped up. Even when the dollar comes under serious attack by market forces, the central banks and the IMF surely will do everything conceivable to soak up the dollars in hope of restoring stability. Eventually they will fail.

Most importantly, the dollar/oil relationship has to be maintained to keep the dollar as a preeminent currency. Any attack on this relationship will be forcefully challenged – as it already has been.

In November 2000 Saddam Hussein demanded Euros for his oil. His arrogance was a threat to the dollar; his lack of any military might was never a threat. At the first cabinet meeting with the new administration in 2001, as reported by Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, the major topic was how we would get rid of Saddam Hussein – though there was no evidence whatsoever he posed a threat to us. This deep concern for Saddam Hussein surprised and shocked O’Neill.

It now is common knowledge that the immediate reaction of the administration after 9/11 revolved around how they could connect Saddam Hussein to the attacks, to justify an invasion and overthrow of his government. Even with no evidence of any connection to 9/11, or evidence of weapons of mass destruction, public and congressional support was generated through distortions and flat out misrepresentation of the facts to justify overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

There was no public talk of removing Saddam Hussein because of his attack on the integrity of the dollar as a reserve currency by selling oil in Euros. Many believe this was the real reason for our obsession with Iraq. I doubt it was the only reason, but it may well have played a significant role in our motivation to wage war. Within a very short period after the military victory, all Iraqi oil sales were carried out in dollars. The Euro was abandoned.

In 2001, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia spoke of Venezuela switching to the Euro for all their oil sales. Within a year there was a coup attempt against Chavez, reportedly with assistance from our CIA.

After these attempts to nudge the Euro toward replacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency were met with resistance, the sharp fall of the dollar against the Euro was reversed. These events may well have played a significant role in maintaining dollar dominance.

It’s become clear the U.S. administration was sympathetic to those who plotted the overthrow of Chavez, and was embarrassed by its failure. The fact that Chavez was democratically elected had little influence on which side we supported.

Now, a new attempt is being made against the petrodollar system. Iran, another member of the “axis of evil,” has announced her plans to initiate an oil bourse in March of this year. Guess what, the oil sales will be priced Euros, not dollars.

Most Americans forget how our policies have systematically and needlessly antagonized the Iranians over the years. In 1953 the CIA helped overthrow a democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadeqh, and install the authoritarian Shah, who was friendly to the U.S. The Iranians were still fuming over this when the hostages were seized in 1979. Our alliance with Saddam Hussein in his invasion of Iran in the early 1980s did not help matters, and obviously did not do much for our relationship with Saddam Hussein. The administration announcement in 2001 that Iran was part of the axis of evil didn’t do much to improve the diplomatic relationship between our two countries. Recent threats over nuclear power, while ignoring the fact that they are surrounded by countries with nuclear weapons, doesn’t seem to register with those who continue to provoke Iran. With what most Muslims perceive as our war against Islam, and this recent history, there’s little wonder why Iran might choose to harm America by undermining the dollar. Iran, like Iraq, has zero capability to attack us. But that didn’t stop us from turning Saddam Hussein into a modern day Hitler ready to take over the world. Now Iran, especially since she’s made plans for pricing oil in Euros, has been on the receiving end of a propaganda war not unlike that waged against Iraq before our invasion.

It’s not likely that maintaining dollar supremacy was the only motivating factor for the war against Iraq, nor for agitating against Iran. Though the real reasons for going to war are complex, we now know the reasons given before the war started, like the presence of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s connection to 9/11, were false. The dollar’s importance is obvious, but this does not diminish the influence of the distinct plans laid out years ago by the neo-conservatives to remake the Middle East. Israel’s influence, as well as that of the Christian Zionists, likewise played a role in prosecuting this war. Protecting “our” oil supplies has influenced our Middle East policy for decades.

But the truth is that paying the bills for this aggressive intervention is impossible the old-fashioned way, with more taxes, more savings, and more production by the American people. Much of the expense of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 was shouldered by many of our willing allies. That’s not so today. Now, more than ever, the dollar hegemony – it’s dominance as the world reserve currency – is required to finance our huge war expenditures. This $2 trillion never-ending war must be paid for, one way or another. Dollar hegemony provides the vehicle to do just that.

For the most part the true victims aren’t aware of how they pay the bills. The license to create money out of thin air allows the bills to be paid through price inflation. American citizens, as well as average citizens of Japan, China, and other countries suffer from price inflation, which represents the “tax” that pays the bills for our military adventures. That is, until the fraud is discovered, and the foreign producers decide not to take dollars nor hold them very long in payment for their goods. Everything possible is done to prevent the fraud of the monetary system from being exposed to the masses who suffer from it. If oil markets replace dollars with Euros, it would in time curtail our ability to continue to print, without restraint, the world’s reserve currency.

It is an unbelievable benefit to us to import valuable goods and export depreciating dollars. The exporting countries have become addicted to our purchases for their economic growth. This dependency makes them allies in continuing the fraud, and their participation keeps the dollar’s value artificially high. If this system were workable long term, American citizens would never have to work again. We too could enjoy “bread and circuses” just as the Romans did, but their gold finally ran out and the inability of Rome to continue to plunder conquered nations brought an end to her empire.

The same thing will happen to us if we don’t change our ways. Though we don’t occupy foreign countries to directly plunder, we nevertheless have spread our troops across 130 nations of the world. Our intense effort to spread our power in the oil-rich Middle East is not a coincidence. But unlike the old days, we don’t declare direct ownership of the natural resources – we just insist that we can buy what we want and pay for it with our paper money. Any country that challenges our authority does so at great risk.

Once again Congress has bought into the war propaganda against Iran, just as it did against Iraq. Arguments are now made for attacking Iran economically, and militarily if necessary. These arguments are all based on the same false reasons given for the ill-fated and costly occupation of Iraq.

Our whole economic system depends on continuing the current monetary arrangement, which means recycling the dollar is crucial. Currently, we borrow over $700 billion every year from our gracious benefactors, who work hard and take our paper for their goods. Then we borrow all the money we need to secure the empire (DOD budget $450 billion) plus more. The military might we enjoy becomes the “backing” of our currency. There are no other countries that can challenge our military superiority, and therefore they have little choice but to accept the dollars we declare are today’s “gold.” This is why countries that challenge the system – like Iraq, Iran and Venezuela – become targets of our plans for regime change. Ironically, dollar superiority depends on our strong military, and our strong military depends on the dollar. As long as foreign recipients take our dollars for real goods and are willing to finance our extravagant consumption and militarism, the status quo will continue regardless of how huge our foreign debt and current account deficit become.

But real threats come from our political adversaries who are incapable of confronting us militarily, yet are not bashful about confronting us economically. That’s why we see the new challenge from Iran being taken so seriously. The urgent arguments about Iran posing a military threat to the security of the United States are no more plausible than the false charges levied against Iraq. Yet there is no effort to resist this march to confrontation by those who grandstand for political reasons against the Iraq war.

It seems that the people and Congress are easily persuaded by the jingoism of the preemptive war promoters. It’s only after the cost in human life and dollars are tallied up that the people object to unwise militarism.

The strange thing is that the failure in Iraq is now apparent to a large majority of American people, yet they and Congress are acquiescing to the call for a needless and dangerous confrontation with Iran.

But then again, our failure to find Osama bin Laden and destroy his network did not dissuade us from taking on the Iraqis in a war totally unrelated to 9/11.

Concern for pricing oil only in dollars helps explain our willingness to drop everything and teach Saddam Hussein a lesson for his defiance in demanding Euros for oil.

And once again there’s this urgent call for sanctions and threats of force against Iran at the precise time Iran is opening a new oil exchange with all transactions in Euros.

Using force to compel people to accept money without real value can only work in the short run. It ultimately leads to economic dislocation, both domestic and international, and always ends with a price to be paid.

The economic law that honest exchange demands only things of real value as currency cannot be repealed. The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or Euros. The sooner the better.

February 17, 2006 Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.