----------- good news
In Brazil, Investing for the Good of Nature
New York Times
February 20, 2000
THE BUSINESS WORLD
By SIMON ROMERO
Issue in Depth
The New York Times: Your Money
Brazil From Merriam-Webster.
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Seated in his office in a gaudy new skyscraper here, wearing a tailored suit and cuff links, John Michael Forgach seems every bit the conventional investment banker. Then he starts talking about babassu coconuts.
Forgach beams as he describes the exotic projects in which he invests: a sustainable timber operation in the rain forest, a plantation producing carbon filters from coconut husks, a company with a plan to export acai, the protein-rich purple Amazonian fruit.
"We're not really into stocks and bonds here," said Forgach, the managing partner of Banco Axial, a three-year-old investment bank. "We're into profiting from the idea that the world would like to consume the 59 other types of potato that are not on the McDonald's menu."
With Forgach, 51, at its helm, Axial is at the forefront of biodiversity investing, a trend that began with "socially conscious" investors in the United States and Europe over the last 20 years. Unlike most of the field, though, Banco Axial fits the same description as its investments: it is a home-grown product of a developing country.
In fact, Axial is probably the leading example of how some Brazilians are harnessing market forces to help protect the country's environmental assets, especially its rain forests, from depredation. In short, these investors are backing projects that profit from preserving those assets.
Thanks to an adventurous culture inspired by Forgach at the bank, Axial's forays into far-flung parts of Latin America to seek out viable projects are gaining considerable attention. "There is really nothing like Axial around anywhere," said Bryan Husted, a professor of management at the Technological Institute of Advanced Studies in Monterrey, Mexico. "It's like they're putting the Indiana Jones into investing."
The analogy of the intrepid explorer is not all that far-fetched. Forgach hires young people fresh out of college or graduate school to scout projects, dispatching them on expeditions deep into rough terrain to study possible investments, like an organic soybean operation in eastern Bolivia. Sometimes he goes along on the trips, to size up a project's viability firsthand.
When the scouts, few of whom have banking or finance backgrounds, find something promising, Axial makes an equity investment. Typically, it risks around $1 million on behalf of the investors in its $15 million Terra Capital fund, including the Swiss government, the World Bank and other institutions and private investors.
"It's not enough to just like environmental issues," said Patricia Moles, 32, a Mexican who came to Axial as a fund manager after working as a consultant for environmental groups. "It's about balance sheets and taxes and educating people about equity."
Axial came to biodiversity investing by trial and error. The bank was the brainchild of Pierre Landolt, a Swiss billionaire who lives in Brazil. It was originally intended to focus on privatizations and mergers and acquisitions in Brazilian regions ignored by large investment banks, like Paraiba in the drought-prone northeast, where Landolt produces cheese in a demonstration project on his estate.
But many of its early deals proved unprofitable, and Axial lost money each year. So Forgach, who had previously worked for Chase Manhattan, sought to reposition Axial as a specialized money manager, investing its own capital and that of clients in what he calls "green things."
So far, most of Forgach's green things have been organic foods for export, a market with booming demand. In the United States, consumers bought $4.7 billion of organic food last year and sales are growing at 24 percent a year, compared with about 1 percent growth in conventional foods, according to the Organic Trade Association in Greenfield, Mass.
More than half of Axial's investments have been in organic food companies, including a cranberry farm in Chile and a plantation in the Amazon producing hearts of palm.
But Axial has also found other kinds of environmentally benign enterprises in which to invest, like the timber and coconut-fiber projects and eco-tourism businesses in Ecuador and Brazil.
The company's agility has a lot to do with Forgach's peripatetic history. Born to Hungarian parents in southern Brazil, he earned an undergraduate degree at Harvard before going into banking and, later, the oil business, working for the reclusive commodity trader Marc Rich in Switzerland.
After forming his own Geneva-based oil-trading outfit, a business that required him to travel extensively in Africa and Latin America, Forgach developed a passion for rare birds, amassing a personal collection of more than 200. He created an organization, the Hyazinthinus Foundation, to contribute to the protection of endangered tropical birds.
When the growing use of futures contracts began to squeeze margins in 1985, Forgach left the oil business and moved into money management. He returned to Brazil in 1995, initially intending to create a nonprofit organization to combat illegal trade in rare animals.
Soon, though, he was approached by Landolt to run Axial. "I got to combine my banker and romantic ecology hats," Forgach said in English so faintly accented that its influences are hard to pin down.
His current challenge is to make Axial not just green but also profitable. He expects Terra Capital to show a small loss in its first full year -- figures are not available yet -- but annual returns of 20 percent to 30 percent in the next few years as investments start paying off. If successful, Axial plans to raise $300 million more to create similar funds specializing in sectors like food and timber.
But fresh investment opportunities may prove harder for Forgach's young scouts to find, since Axial's success in attracting capital has lured other entrants to biodiversity investing in Latin America. The playing field was virtually empty a couple of years ago, but there are now about eight funds seeking viable investments in environmentally benign enterprises in emerging markets, and more may be on the way.
"The use of venture capital to support ecologically sound businesses is growing fast," said Tammy Newmark, manager of the EcoEnterprises fund in Arlington, Va., which invests in eco-tourism and "alternative" agriculture.
Newmark's fund, created at the beginning of this year with $10 million in capital, much of it from the Nature Conservancy, focuses on projects undertaken by local environmental organizations in collaboration with the private sector, an area she says Axial neglects. "Axial is the big kid on the block compared to us," Newmark said.
Under-fire Sellafield facing fresh attack - Minister calls for troubled plant to close
By Tamzin Lewis SUNDAY SUN, (Newcastle, North East of England) 20 February 2000
SELLAFIELD'S nuclear plant is facing renewed calls for the suspension of its reprocessing activities.
The call comes from Joe Jacobs, Ireland's energy minister, after a disastrous week for the Cumbrian complex.
It follows an admission by owner British Nuclear Fuels that safety checks had been faked.
Bosses admitted that two more workers - bringing the total to five - have been sacked after claims that 22 manual checks on nuclear containers were incorrectly carried out.
Now shocked watchdogs at the Health and Safety Executive have ordered a "root and branch" review of management.
And the plant faces prosecution over further breaches of safety regulations after concentrated nitric acid was released, injuring two workers.
Mr Jacobs has demanded an immediate halt to reprocessing until Sellafield's management culture is transformed.
He said: "I'd like to see it done forthwith, at least until changes are made to management, which will inspire confidence in the safety culture."
A damning report by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate - part of the Health and Safety Executive - blamed "systematic management failure."
Mr Jacobs added: "These most recent reports are extremely disturbing.
"I want to emphasise the depth and seriousness of the worry and concern of the Irish public."
The call comes a week after Irish MP Brian Lenihan demanded that the plant be shut down.
Union officials warned that failure to act on the report will threaten the future of 20,000 workers.
BNFL's chief executive John Taylor this week apologised to one of their main clients, the Japanese government, for any embarrassment caused.
Japan insisted that BNFL take back a shipment of poor quality uranium and plutonium mixed-oxide fuel rods.
Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Pete Roche said: "Removing one or two people at the top would be like moving deckchairs on the Titanic."
U.S. urges China restraint in Taiwan
02/20/00- Updated 10:03 AM ET
BEIJING - Trying to head off a confrontation, the United States is urging to show restraint as Taiwan elects a new president next month, U.S. officials said Friday. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Chinese officials spent much of their two days of talks discussing Taiwan, American arms sales to the island and Washington's plans to build anti-missile shields, said the U.S. officials. The U.S. diplomats said would diminish the need for U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan by showing restraint.
In Watching Hong Kong, China Loses the Shades
New York Times
February 20, 2000
By MARK LANDLER
HONG KONG, Feb. 19 -- The red wine flowed and the buffet tables groaned with Chinese delicacies like duck's tongue and webbed feet in mustard sauce. Sir Run Run Shaw, Li Ka-shing and other legendary local tycoons mingled easily with their mainland Chinese hosts, while members of Hong Kong's Democratic Party peered around the ballroom like paratroopers caught behind enemy lines.
On Thursday, the New China News Agency threw its annual spring festival reception. Always a must for Hong Kong's elite, this year's party had an added attraction. For the first time in half a century here, China's state news agency, known as Xinhua, was no longer operating under cover.
Since 1949 Xinhua's Hong Kong branch has claimed to be in the news business, when it was actually the de facto Chinese Embassy in this former British colony.
A shadowy organization that operates in a fortresslike headquarters, Xinhua employs several hundred Communist Party cadres, diplomats and intelligence operatives who woo local business leaders, mobilize trade unions, and lean on friendly newspapers to promote Beijing's views.
Xinhua also runs a news bureau with 20 or so genuine journalists, though people here tend to pay more heed to the agency's spies than its scribes.
Last month, the Chinese government finally owned up to the agency's purpose -- quietly changing its name to the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. With Hong Kong firmly under Beijing's control, China no longer feels it necessary to cling to the fiction that Xinhua is something other than its eyes and ears in this capitalist outpost.
"For the past 50 years, Xinhua has been in the same boat through rain and wind with its Hong Kong comrades," said Jiang Enzhu, the agency's powerful director, in a toast at the reception. "Now, the name of the central government's representative office has changed."
But to some, the new name does not dispel the mystery of Xinhua.
"It is nice that it has finally changed its name," said Joseph Cheng, a professor of politics at City University of Hong Kong. "But we all know that it remains a front for the Communist Party in Hong Kong. The next question to ask is, when will the party come above ground?"
Officially, the Liaison Office is supposed to represent Beijing on domestic matters in Hong Kong, ranging from cultural and educational exchanges to the role of the People's Liberation Army. Neither Beijing nor the local authorities acknowledge that the office has any ties to the Communist Party. But given Xinhua's long, murky history in Hong Kong, some people here remain skeptical of its motives.
"I fear that it could emerge as an alternative source of power," said Emily Lau, an outspoken pro-democracy politician who has clashed with the agency. "If you know that Xinhua represents the Communist Party, why bother going through the Hong Kong government?"
Martin Lee, the leader of the Democratic Party, said Xinhua's new status could embolden it to interfere in Hong Kong's politics. He noted that China already had a major presence through the Hong Kong office of its Foreign Ministry and a garrison of the People's Liberation Army.
But defenders of Xinhua note that the agency's role as an umbrella for Communist Party activities in Hong Kong is hardly a secret here. They say that by clarifying the agency's status, Beijing has made it harder, not easier, for Xinhua to meddle in the territory's affairs.
"Jiang Enzhu has been here for a long time," said Tsang Tak-sing, a former editor of one of Hong Kong's most influential pro-Beijing newspapers, Ta Kung Pao. "If he wanted to become an alternative power center, he wouldn't have needed a name change to do it."
Mr. Jiang, who is himself a senior Communist Party official, seemed sensitive to Xinhua's vaguely sinister reputation. On Thursday, he pledged to abide by "one country, two systems," the arrangement that promises Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy for 50 years following the 1997 handover.
"We will not interfere in Hong Kong affairs," Mr. Jiang said, as the territory's chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, stood next to him.
In a show of conciliation, the Liaison Office for the first time invited two members of the Democratic Party to its reception. The Democrats welcomed the gesture, though it was clear that a single gathering would not erase years of distrust.
When one of the Democrats, Fred Li, was asked whether he had shaken hands with Mr. Jiang, he became flustered and said he could not pick him out in the crowd.
Mr. Jiang was chatting with a knot of reporters just over Mr. Li's shoulder.
----------- imf/wto/world bank
U.N. Trade Meeting Brings Rich and Poor No Closer
New York Times
February 20, 2000
By SETH MYDANS
BANGKOK, Thailand, Feb. 19 -- A United Nations conference on developing nations concluded today with expressions of good will but no real narrowing of the differences that split a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in December.
Delegates offered only general expressions of hope that rich and poor nations might eventually agree on a formula that would allow them to share the benefits of global trade.
"Having a success or even a relative success at this meeting and having the machine function in good order is a way of getting back on track," said Poul Nielson, the development commissioner of the European Union.
But he added, "I would warn against easy-fix approaches."
A key unresolved issue among the 160 delegations to the 10th annual meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was a demand by poor nations that the more developed nations open their markets fully to their products, without tariff barriers.
The poor nations also reiterated their objections to standards of environmental and worker protection that the developed nations generally seek, saying such standards make it even harder for them to catch up.
The president of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn, said that although technology is rapidly bringing the world closer together, populations "remain split along a fault line that separates the lives and aspirations of the rich and poor."
Although there were daily demonstrations outside the convention center where the meeting was held, they were relatively small and did not erupt into the disorder and violence that disrupted the Seattle conference.
The Bangkok meeting was the first meeting of an international trade organization since Seattle, and some participants were hoping to use it to address their grievances and heal rifts.
But the United States and other major developed nations did not send high-level delegations, saying the World Trade Organization remains the proper and effective vehicle for setting standards for international trade.
The United Nations trade meetings are intended to provide information and expertise to help developing nations compete in the global trading system.
Expressing the views of many developing nations, Shri Suresh Pachouri, an Indian delegate, said, "The rules of the W.T.O. have been framed mainly keeping in view the interests of the industrialized countries." He said the standards demanded by the World Trade Organization often ignored the political, social and economic conditions of developing nations.
The emotional heart of the session came on Friday with a keynote speech by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, who drew applause when he said, "The have-nots are funding the haves."
"Regarding this new order of international economic relations and its proclaimed advantages for the poor," he said, "how can one refrain from recalling the fable of the fox offering the stork delicious meals on dinner plates, but making the food out of reach?"
Speaking as a spokesman for African nations, he said his continent, still suffering from the legacy of colonial rule, was now being crushed by a new world order of international trade.
"Ultimately, a new map of the world is being drawn up, and an entire continent -- Africa -- is purely and simply being rubbed out," he said.
Whenever African leaders try to take advantage of opportunities for international trade, he said, they run into barriers erected by richer nations as well as crippling demands for debt repayments.
He said rich nations seem to be offering "the macabre specter of someone visiting a dying man and saying: 'Well, die happy. You won't have any debts to pay.' "
U.S. Jets Bomb Iraqi Defense Sites
February 20, 2000 Filed at 2:26 p.m. EST
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- U.S. jets bombed an Iraqi air defense system in Iraq's northern no-fly zone Sunday in response to a missile attack, the U.S. military said.
The Iraqi forces fired multiple surface-to-air missiles at warplanes on patrol, the Germany-based U.S. European Command said in a statement. Coalition aircraft responded to the Iraqi attacks with bombs, the statement said.
All planes left the area 250 miles north of Baghdad safely, it said. The planes are based at Incirlik air base in southern Turkey.
Iraq's Air Defense Command said the warplanes attacked nonmilitary targets. It told the official Iraqi News Agency that ``enemy warplanes have bombed our service and civil installations.''
The agency did not report details on casualties or where the bombs fell.
On Saturday, Baghdad said three Iraqi civilians were wounded when U.S. warplanes bombed the same region during patrols of the no-fly zone. Saturday's attack was carried out in response to Iraqi artillery fire.
U.S. and British planes have often targeted Iraqi military sites since Iraq began challenging the patrols in December 1998.
Baghdad does not recognize the no-fly zones, which were set up after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Shiite Muslims in the south and Kurds in the north from the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Seoul Checks Report N. Korean Missile Pro Defected to U.S.
Salt Lake Tribune
Sunday, February 20, 2000
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea is checking a newspaper report that a missile expert from North Korea has defected to the United States, the government said Saturday.
Im Ki Song, 59, and a son and a nephew defected to the United States via China last month, South Korea's most prestigious newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, reported Friday.
"We are still checking. Right now, we don't have anything to say about the report," said a spokesman for Seoul's National Intelligence Service.
Communist North Korea rattled nerves in 1998 by firing a three-stage rocket that landed in the Pacific. The Pentagon seeks to develop a network of radars and missile interceptors that could defend the United States against a possible missile launch from North Korea.
U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said last month that in the next five to 10 years, North Korean missiles will be advanced enough to reach all NATO countries.
NATO Searches for Weapons in Kosovo
FEBRUARY 20, 06:10 EST
By ELENA BECATOROS
Associated Press Writer
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Yugoslavia (AP) - About 2,500 NATO-led soldiers fanned out across this ethnically divided Kosovo town early Sunday, conducting a massive operation of house-to-house searches for weapons, a NATO spokesman said, after weeks of violent clashes here.
Troops from 12 countries, including the United States, France, Germany and Canada, set out shortly after dawn to conduct a major sweep in selected areas of both the Serb and ethnic Albanian-controlled sides of town, Lt. Cmdr. Philip Anido, a NATO spokesman said. They were assisted by scores of U.N. police.
The soldiers in Sunday's operation were going from ``house to house and building to building,'' searching areas where peacekeepers suspect there might be weapons and criminal activity linked to the violence of the past several weeks, Anido said.
He said earlier that anyone found with weapons or ``suspected of spreading hatred and violence'' would be arrested.
The search was expected to last for several days, Anido said.
Nine people have been killed and dozens injured in violence in Kosovska Mitrovica in the past several weeks. The town is Kosovo's most ethnically divided, with Serbs and ethnic Albanians separated by the Ibar River.
The clashes began when a Feb. 2 grenade attack on a U.N. bus killed two elderly Serbs. Local ethnic Albanians and U.N. police have criticized the French troops for failing to provide security for the Albanians living on the Serb-dominated north side of town.
In the north, where American troops were searching, a cordon of French troops stood in front of a group of 150 Serbs as they threw snowballs at U.S. military vehicles, shouted and whistled their disapproval.
Later some of the Americans left, headed toward the south of Mitrovica in eight Humvees under a hail of rocks, stones, bricks and snowballs. It was not clear if any of the vehicles were damaged.
Oliver Ivanovic, a local Serb leader in the north, said the Americans had broken all the doors in a student dormitory and also searched for weapons in the children's hospital in the north.
``I think the Americans are trying to provoke, to show that in the north of Mitrovica you have evil Serbs,'' he said.
Military spokesman Lt. Col. Patrick Chanliau said some Kalashnikovs and plastic explosives had been found mainly in the north of the city and some arrests were made.
----------- puerto rico
Commander assigned as liaison for Vieques
02/20/00- Updated 12:38 PM ET
WASHINGTON - The Navy said Friday that Rear Adm. Kevin Green will be the main liaison in Puerto Rico for implementing President Clinton's plan on resuming bombing exercises on the island of Vieques. In a statement from Norfolk, Va., the U.S. Atlantic Fleet said it had established a new U.S. Naval Forces South Command (NAVSOUTH) and that Green would head the organization. ''He will oversee forces participating in drug enforcement operations and interaction with South American Navy forces ... (and) serve as the principle liaison with the government of Puerto Rico,'' it said. Green's career has included two years as military assistant to the secretary of defense and one as commander of a cruiser-destroyer group.
Russian Security Advisor Flies Home After Washington Talks
Russia Today Feb 20, 2000
MOSCOW, (Agence France Presse) A top security advisor to Russia's Acting President Vladimir Putin flew home Saturday after talks with President Bill Clinton and other top US officials on international security issues.
Russian Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov left here after two days of meetings, which included talks with US National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, Attorney-General Janet Reno and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis Freeh, a Russian Embassy official told AFP.
Ivanov on Friday delivered Clinton a message from the new Russian leader, who succeeded Boris Yeltsin on December 31.
The White House did not disclose the contents of the letter other than to say that it was a response to a letter Clinton dispatched to Putin in late January.
Putin, who is facing a presidential election on March 26, has expressed an interest in meeting with Clinton. But such a summit is not considered likely until after the Russia vote, which polls show Putin is likely to win.
Clinton used the 20-minute encounter with Ivanov Friday to present his views about the current state of US-Russian relations and reiterate his determination to broaden cooperation between the two countries, White House spokesman Michael Hammer said.
"The president expressed our concerns about the situation in Chechnya, the humanitarian impact of the conflict, and our strong belief that Russia needs to take meaningful steps towards a political solution," added Hammer. The two sides also discussed a US request to revise the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in light of US plans to develop a national missile defense system, according to the spokesman.
Under the ABM Treaty, each side is allowed to deploy an anti-missile defense system around just one part of its territory, but a nationwide missile defense system is not allowed.
The New York Times Saturday quoted Ivanov as saying following the meetings with US officials Friday that "If we are talking about slightly modifying the ABM Treaty at the same time as deploying national missile defense, these two things simply can't exist together."
Russia, however, could discuss a Washington request to change the assigned deployment area for a regional defense system from North Dakota to some other US state, the paper quoted Ivanov as saying.
Under the ABM treaty, the United States based missile interceptors in North Dakota but in the mid-1970s chose to dismantle them after finding them ineffective.
Russia still maintains a protective anti-missile shield around Moscow. ((c) 2000 Agence France Presse)
Congress presses Russia over missile aid to Iran
San Jose Mercury News
Sunday, February 20, 2000
San Jose Mercury News
BY JONATHAN S. LANDAY
Mercury News Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress may be heading for a new clash this week over policy toward Russia.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., has set a Senate vote for Tuesday on a bill to bar payment to Russia for work on the International Space Station unless the president certifies the halt of alleged sales of Russian missile technology to Iran. Iran is believed to be working on a intercontinental missile that could strike the United States.
Clinton is vowing to veto the bill, but proponents predict a veto would be overridden in both houses of Congress and become law. The House of Representatives approved the bill 419-0 in October, and GOP congressional aides say they believe it is supported by all Senate Republicans and all but a handful of Democrats. The bill also is backed by the powerful pro-Israel lobby.
GOP aides put the amount to be paid to the cash-strapped Russian Space Agency at $650 million.
The certification requirement could complicate Clinton's efforts to mend a deep rift with Moscow over the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia last year and the ongoing Russian offensive in Chechnya. Before leaving office, Clinton wants Russia to agree to further cuts in nuclear arsenals and to let the United States deploy a limited national anti-missile defense system, which is banned by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
The CIA says Iran is developing long-range missiles and that by 2015 the country ``probably'' will have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States. The prediction adds urgency to the U.S. desire for a national anti-missile defense.
For years, the United States has sought Moscow's cooperation in halting alleged assistance to Iran's missile programs by Russian firms and research institutes. Funding for those firms has all but evaporated in Russia's economic crisis. Their technology and expertise, U.S. officials say, have helped Iran build medium-range missiles that threaten U.S. forces and allies in the oil-rich Middle East, including Israel.
Alleged Russian missile technology sales to Iran were ``at the forefront'' of two days of talks in Washington last week between acting Russian President Vladimir Putin's national security adviser, Sergei Ivanov, and his U.S. counterpart, Samuel ``Sandy'' Berger, White House press officer Michael Hammer said.
Ivanov ``described steps that Russia is taking to enforce newly developed export controls,'' Hammer said.
Sanctions can be imposed
A Clinton administration official, who requested anonymity, said the certification requirement isn't needed because the president already can impose sanctions on firms that sell prohibited technologies to Iran.
GOP congressional aides, who also asked not to be named, said Ivanov's assurances aren't enough. They said the bill's support also reflects bipartisan revulsion to the Russian onslaught in Chechnya.
``The timing is important for other reasons, including the fact that Russia is engaged in a military action in Chechnya that may be violating all kinds of international norms,'' said Lester Munson, a staff member of the bill's sponsor, House Foreign Relations Committee chair Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y.
There may be an election-year calculation, as well: Republicans could use a Clinton veto against Vice President Al Gore, saying the administration valued relations with Russia over Israeli and U.S. security.
The Iran Non-Proliferation Act would require the president to certify ``periodically'' to Congress that the Kremlin is trying to halt sales to Iran of ``goods, services and technology'' that could be used in making missiles or nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
The president also would have to certify that missile-technology transfers had not been made to Iran in the previous year by the Russian Space Agency or organizations it controls, which experts say comprise virtually the entire Russian space and missile industry. Without such certification, NASA would be barred from paying the Russian Space Agency for work it has done on the International Space Station.
Some lawmakers allege that the Russian Space Agency itself has aided Iran's missile programs, a charge the agency denies.
Russian Policy in Iran Worries Congress
Salt Lake Tribune
Sunday, February 20, 2000
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON -- President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress may be heading for a new clash this week over policy toward Russia.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., has set a Senate vote for Tuesday on a bill to bar payment to Russia for work on the International Space Station unless the president certifies the halt of alleged sales of Russian missile technology to Iran. Iran is believed to be working on an intercontinental missile that could strike the United States.
President Clinton is vowing to veto the bill, but proponents predict a veto would be overridden in both houses of Congress and become law. The House of Representatives approved the bill by 419-0 in October, and GOP congressional aides say they believe it is supported by all Senate Republicans and all but a handful of the Democrats.
GOP aides put the amount to be paid to the cash-strapped Russian Space Agency at $650 million.
The certification requirement could complicate Clinton's efforts to mend a deep rift with Moscow over the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia last year and the ongoing Russian offensive in Chechnya. Clinton wants Russia to agree to further cuts in nuclear arsenals and to let the United States deploy a limited national anti-missile defense system, which is banned by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
The CIA says Iran is developing long-range missiles and Tehran "probably" will have an intercontinental ballistic missile by 2015 capable of reaching the United States.
For years, the United States has sought Moscow's cooperation in halting alleged assistance to Iran's missile programs by Russian firms and research institutes, whose funding has all but evaporated in Russia's economic crisis. Their technology and expertise, U.S. officials say, have helped Iran build medium-range missiles that threaten U.S. forces and allies in the oil-rich Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Alleged Russian missile technology sales to Iran were "at the forefront" of two days of talks in Washington last week between acting Russian President Vladimir Putin's national security adviser, Sergei Ivanov, and his U.S. counterpart, Samuel Berger.
Ivanov "described steps that Russia is taking to enforce newly developed export controls," Hammer said.
A Clinton administration official said that the certification requirement isn't needed because the president already can impose sanctions on firms that sell prohibited technologies to Iran's militant Islamic regime.
GOP congressional aides said Ivanov's assurances aren't enough. They added that the bill's support also reflects bipartisan revulsion to the Russian onslaught in Chechnya.
There may be an election-year motive as well: Republicans could use a Clinton veto against Vice President Al Gore, saying the administration valued relations with Russia over Israeli and U.S. security.
The Iran Non-Proliferation Act would require the president to certify "periodically" to Congress that the Kremlin is trying to halt sales to Iran of "goods, services and technology" that could be used in making missiles or nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
The president also would have to certify that missile technology transfers had not been made to Iran in the previous year by the Russian Space Agency or organizations it controls, which experts say include virtually the entire Russian space and missile industry. Without such certification, NASA would be barred from paying the Russian Space Agency for work it has done on the International Space Station.
Some lawmakers charge that the Russian Space Agency itself has aided Iran's missile programs, which that agency denies.
Taiwanese Mistake Led To 3 Spies' Executions
Sunday, February 20, 2000; Page A01
By John Pomfret
Washington Post Foreign Service
TAIPEI, Taiwan-When Chinese missiles splashed down close to Taiwan four years ago, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry issued a statement to reassure apprehensive citizens: The missiles were unarmed, it said, and the warheads contained only a device to determine their accuracy.
Issuing that statement, Taiwanese sources now acknowledge, was a bad mistake.
The information tipped off China's security services that somebody high up was spying for Taiwan. As a result, they launched a massive probe that resulted in the execution in August of a Chinese general, his mistress and a senior colonel, the sources said. Several other espionage cases also grew from the investigation, damaging Taiwan's ability to infiltrate its bigger and more powerful neighbor.
The uncovering of the spy ring was all the more painful here, the sources added, because bureaucratic foul-ups prevented Taiwanese intelligence agents from sneaking the general into Taiwan as the probe began, which could have saved his life and perhaps protected the other spies.
Although the executions were reported at the time, the sources interviewed here last week provided the first explanation of how the espionage operation was set up, how it worked and how it was detected and brought down by Chinese security.
Western diplomats and Taiwanese sources say Taiwan still maintains an elaborate and successful spy network inside China. But Beijing has scored successes recently in limiting the reach of Taiwanese espionage, including the breakup of the general's espionage team. This has occurred just as China embarks on a $7.3 billion program to improve its military with acquisition of new, high-tech equipment.
Vice Adm. Fei Hrong-po, director of the Taiwanese navy's fleet command, said in an interview that Taiwan would still have a day's warning to prepare for any Chinese missile attack. But others in Taiwan's government, citing the erosion of intelligence assets, were less optimistic.
"I understand that some intelligence operations were compromised last year," said Andrew Yang, secretary general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, an influential think tank in Taipei. "That will create some difficulty for our intelligence analysis."
Bad news for Taiwan's intelligence services is bad news for U.S. services as well. The United States has relied heavily on Taiwanese reports. Gen. Tyson Fu, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at Taiwan's Armed Forces University, said that during his recent stint in the intelligence bureau of Taiwan's joint chiefs of staff, he routinely provided information to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
"Much of this information would have been of limited use unless we shared it with our colleagues in Washington," he said, referring specifically to reports generated by his staff on the number of Russian military scientists in Shanghai, the place of their employment and the projects they are researching.
The Reuters news agency and Taiwan media reported in September that Maj. Gen. Liu Liankun, 58, and Senior Col. Shao Zhengzhong, 56, were executed following a lengthy counterespionage investigation but did not provide details. The Taiwanese sources interviewed here said Liu provided Taipei with the information about the missiles. He and Shao are believed to have been the most senior Chinese military officers convicted of espionage since 1949.
Liu was well-placed to provide Taiwan with intelligence about China's military capabilities. Starting in 1984, he was identified in Defense Department publications as a high official in the armaments department of the People's Liberation Army's General Logistics Department. By 1989, the same publications referred to him as the armaments department's director. By the mid-1990s, he had reached the rank of general and was deputy director of the entire logistics bureau. He is believed to have left that post in 1995, as his name did not appear in Defense Department publications issued in October 1996.
Sources said Liu was contacted by Taiwanese agents during a stay in Hong Kong in the 1990s, when he was representing a front company owned by the People's Liberation Army. Chinese sources said Liu was an easy target for Taiwan's agents because he felt he had been wrongly implicated in an army corruption scandal and denied a promotion. Liu also is believed to have been fined $1,250 as part of that case, further irritating the long-serving officer.
The sources added that Liu's mistress, a Chinese national, played a role in the case, often acting as a bag woman to transfer funds into his account. Investigators found $650,000 in U.S. dollars and Chinese yen at Liu's home and about $1 million in Liu's overseas bank account.
Taiwanese officials said that during the missile exercises Liu revealed that the three missiles fired by the Chinese military held dummy warheads. He also revealed information about Chinese army troop deployments, strength and capabilities, sources said.
China fired the missiles near Taiwan on March 8, 1996, as part of exercises designed to scare Taiwanese voters away from supporting any declaration of independence from China. The missile tests were conducted two weeks before Taiwan's first direct presidential election, which Lee Teng-hui won by a landslide.
The Chinese-made M9 missiles landed 35 miles off Taiwan's biggest port, Kaohsiung, in the south of the island, and 23 miles from Keelung, the second-biggest port in the north. They apparently were designed to show voters what could happen if a pro-independence Taiwanese leader came to power. China has vowed to attack the island if it declares independence.
Taiwanese officials said that after the presidential election, Taiwanese government agents began making plans to sneak Liu out of China. Apparently, one source said, a bureaucratic snag by Taiwanese authorities in issuing Liu's travel papers stranded him in China as investigators tightened their noose. It is unclear exactly when after the elections Liu was arrested, and the reasons for Taiwan's failure to move him out of China are not known at this time.
"We made two mistakes on that case," a senior Taiwanese government official said. "We should have used other methods to calm our population, and we should have moved faster with the general's visa."
As part of the probe, hundreds of People's Liberation Army officers, all its defense attaches and scores more Chinese diplomats who deal with security matters have been forced to provide information on any foreign bank accounts they possess and financial holdings, sources said.
The case against Liu is just one of several that have erupted as the security investigation has unfolded. China's tightly controlled media has been allowed to report on several of the probes, although details have been scarce.
A Chinese court sentenced a deputy head of Hainan province to life in jail last August for allegedly spying for Taiwan. The People's Daily newspaper said the official, Lin Kecheng, and nine colleagues, worked for Taiwan's military intelligence bureau from 1990 until 1997, providing economic, political and other kinds of intelligence. The New China News Agency added that the case exposed serious problems at the provincial government's headquarters.
A television station in Sichuan province last October reported that a local official in Nanchong named Wang Ping was sentenced to 10 years for allegedly working for Taiwan's military intelligence bureau. "He was very active in collecting military intelligence in China, thus harming state security," the TV report said, providing no other details.
White House: Victory against Y2K bug
02/20/00- Updated 12:38 PM ET
WASHINGTON - The White House declared ''mission accomplished'' Friday in squashing the Y2K computer bug and said it has no regrets about spending billions of dollars to battle a millennium problem that failed to materialize. Scaling down the Y2K campaign, President Clinton met with John Koskinen, his senior adviser on the problem, and members of his team for a group photo. Although the New Year's deadline passed without serious incident, Koskinen's group continues to watch for possible computer trouble.
----------- us nuc waste
Sunday, February 20, 2000; Page V06
For the Record
NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL
For: 64 / Against: 34
The Senate passed a bill (S 1287) advancing the timetable for permanently storing the nation's nuclear waste near Yucca Mountain, Nev., 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The bill changes a deadline for the Energy Department to open the underground repository from 2010 to 2007. It seeks speedier resolution of environmental, public health, national security and states' rights issues that stand in the way of licensing and building the facility.
At first, the site would receive more than 4,250 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel now stored above-ground at more than 80 nuclear power plants and federal research and military facilities in 41 states. The waste would be shipped to Nevada by truck and rail.
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Mikulski (D) No
Sarbanes (D) No
Robb (D) Yes
Warner (R) Yes
----------- us nuc facilities
The Hot Cell
A day on the job with a nuclear-waste-cleanup technician.
New York Times
February 20, 2000
by CAROLE GALLAGHER
The Hot Cell (6 photos)
Deanna Fermanich is a "hot cell" technician at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. She is one of 12,000 workers hired to clean up the facility that once produced plutonium for the Manhattan Project -- and that Gov. Gary Locke of Washington recently called an "underground Chernobyl waiting to happen." Even though the Department of Energy reports that workers at nuclear-weapons plants, including Hanford, showed elevated rates of numerous kinds of cancer, Deanna prefers this job -- which pays $45,000 a year -- to her last, making $10 an hour as an emergency medical technician. But she's not oblivious to the risk her job entails. "You've got to respect it," Deanna says. "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't dangerous."
> What's a hot cell?
> Ellen Thomas
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 07:19:58 -0500
From: Carole Gallagher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Aaaahhhh....I always cringe when I realize how the editors at a newspaper can keep the reading public from knowing what needs to be known. Had my original text been published you would have had the whole story, including what a hot cell actually is.
They also refused to include the fact that Hanford supplied the plutonium for the entire nuclear weapons arsenal, despite an aggressive but polite struggle on my part. All in a day's work, but extremely dispiriting nonetheless.
A "Hot Cell" is a box-like structure with walls of solid steel 18 inches thick. About 8 to 10 of them stand lined up in a row in "the canyon" of this building, which has severe air filtration standards and radiation detection equipment. The cell itself is used to analyze and consolidate spent reactor fuel and other highly radioactive items, getting them ready for disposal as nuclear waste. All the work done inside them is done remotely, by mechanical arms, the "master-slave manipulators" or "manips" as the workers call them, with which they can move the materials around on the inside from the outside while looking through "windows" of many sheets of thick glass with oil in between the layers of glass to keep radiation from penetrating.
The "dry storage cask" you saw pictured in the New York Times article is another transfer mechanism ... tiny "soup cans" of spent fuel are suctioned up into it from a storage carousel underneath the building, then transferred to the hot cell in it, by moving the 2,200-pound cask by overhead remote crane from the carousel to the hot cell. After fuel is consolidated into gallon buckets, about that much of the waste is put into the center of a 55-gallon drum that is lined with either solid steel or concrete of at least a foot thickness on all sides, and buried eventually at ... maybe Yucca Mountain someday. Seeing how much waste there is and how much time it takes to process just a soup can's worth makes one think twice about how really necessary a repository is. As you may know, the more high-level radioactive material there is in one place, i.e. in larger quantities than soup cans, the more possible an accidental chain reaction [criticality event] is. We realized this during the Tokaimura incident in Japan.
Happy to answer any other questions you may have. I hope people will have plenty of them and send them and their comments to the Times directly or through you. It's very important that this be done ... if only to let the editors know that not enough information appeared in the article. I don't care if it makes me look like a fool as long as there is a forum for the information to be explained.
----------- new york
A Drippy Nuclear Plant
New York Times
February 20, 2000
A leaky pipe inside a steam generator at the Indian Point 2 nuclear plant in Buchanan, N.Y., may have released a puff of radioactive gas into the atmosphere. The plant's owner, Consolidated Edison, said there had been signs of leaks weeks before, but said that radiation levels near the plant were one-fifth "the exposure you currently get just from walking in a park, standing on a rock."
The leak could doom the 26-year-old plant 35 miles north of New York City, which Con Ed wants to sell. Experts said that when a nuclear plant's generators start to go, the problems are often too costly to be worth fixing.
-- By ANDY NEWMAN
Fortunes Worsen in Nassau, but Few Speak of Raising Taxes
New York Times
February 20, 2000
By MICHAEL COOPER
Spitzer to Join Suit on Taxes in Nassau (Feb. 9, 2000)
GARDEN CITY, N.Y., Feb. 18 -- As Nassau County's financial footing grows shakier, with a large deficit looming and its bonds rated just above junk status, it seems that there is one component of any likely recovery plan that dare not speak its name: higher taxes.
The problem facing the county, analysts say, is that its budget is out of joint. It spends more than it takes in. And the only solutions for that are to spend less or take in more.
The debate has so far centered almost exclusively on the first alternative. But while cuts have been made to human services and bus routes, they have failed to impress Wall Street. Moody's Investors Service indicated as much last week when it lowered the rating on the county's general obligation bonds to Baa3, just a notch above Bb, which applies to most junk bonds.
Now analysts are saying that the county will need to cut costs and increase revenues if it is to balance its budget. This year the projected deficit has been estimated as high as $190 million.
"The problem is too big to solve with just one fix, cutting spending or raising revenues," said Helen Cregger, an analyst at Moody's. "They need to take significant action on both sides."
Michael Jacobson, who worked as a budget consultant for Republicans in the County Legislature last year, agreed. "The bottom line is you can't solve Nassau's problems only on the expense side of the budget," he said.
Trying to increase revenue through taxes and fees could meet voter disapproval. County Executive Thomas S. Gulotta has hardly mentioned the word "tax" in public since last year when he persuaded his fellow Republicans to raise taxes, only to watch them turn on him as they fought a bitter campaign that ended in November when they lost control of the Legislature for the first time in 80 years.
Those same Republicans immediately repealed one of the taxes they had enacted, a land transfer tax, blasting a $60 million hole in the 2000 budget. Since then they have voted against every tax or fee that has come before them, saying they are returning to their roots as "the party of low taxes."
That has left to the new Democratic majority the task of enacting fees that the Republicans had put in the 2000 budget. Now the Democrats merely say "everything is on the table."
Judith A. Jacobs, the Democratic presiding officer of the legislature, said today that her colleagues planned to do everything they could to cut spending before looking at new taxes or fees.
"Nobody would advocate raising taxes until you can show the community you have done everything else possible," she said. She said that the Democrats had held hearings on waste in the county jail, proposed selling a third of the county's cars and begun hearings on revamping the system of assessing property.
But she acknowledged that the scope of the county's budget problems virtually guaranteed that something would have to be done to raise more revenue. "I do expect that the final plan will have to do something on the revenue side as well," she said. "Otherwise, the math simply doesn't work."
Peter J. Schmitt, the Republican minority leader, said that he would consider higher taxes or fees only as a last resort. "When we have made every cut we can make, when we have squeezed every ounce of fat out, then we would look at that," he said.
Mr. Gulotta did not respond to several requests to discuss the county's financial options.
Several steps can be taken in the short term and the long term to shore up the county's finances, analysts, fiscal experts and elected officials said in interviews.
Soon the Legislature is likely to approve higher fees for using the county's parks. The fees were included in the 2000 budget passed by the Republicans last year but were never enacted.
Then there is the work force issue. Mr. Gulotta won an agreement from the county's union leaders in December to let the county withhold two weeks' salary from each worker until the worker leaves the job -- in effect, a temporary loan of $20 million. In return for the deferral, known as a lag payroll, he pledged to make no layoffs this year, and virtually guaranteed that there would be no layoffs for two more years.
But the deal has been wildly unpopular with the rank and file, who must vote on it soon. If the union members vote no, though, they will likely risk layoffs.
Otherwise, the county is likely to search for more revenue where it can find it. It closed 1999 in the black after selling its hospital and using its share of the nation's settlement with tobacco companies. In fact, preliminary figures indicate that the county may have ended the year with a surplus, which can be used to plug this year's gap.
Then there is the $20 million that Nassau County will get from the settlement of the Long Island Power Authority's tax dispute over the defunct Shoreham nuclear power plant.
Fiscal analysts dislike such deals, known as one shots, because they do not recur. But they acknowledge that that is better than ending the year in the red. If that were to appear likely, the county could be forced to ask the State Legislature for permission to go into more debt to close its gap.
The more time elapses, the less benefits will be reaped by cuts or new revenues. "If you're trying to balance the budget, the further into the year you get the harder it is," said Brad Gewehr, the director of municipal research for PaineWebber. "It's like turning the Queen Mary."
While struggling to emerge from 2000 unscathed, the county must come up with a balanced 2001 budget and a long-term fiscal plan.
The Democrats have been pushing for a fiscal oversight board to review the county's proposed budget figures, but Mr. Gulotta has steadfastly opposed the idea.
Whatever happens, the county will need to look at new sources of revenue. Mr. Jacobson, the budget consultant, said that the county could earn more than $5 million a year from the state by keeping inmates in its jail, which is not filled, for short sentences rather than sending them to state prisons.
Then there is the dreaded T word. The county could move to reinstate the land transfer tax, or increase property taxes, but both options carry great political risk. Some suggested alternatives are new taxes on utilities or energy and an overhauled sewer tax.
Finally, there are the big-ticket items.
Many analysts support adopting changes that would ensure future fiscal stability. Phoebe Goodman, the president of the Nassau Citizens Budget Commission, advocates more budget scrutiny.
"They need to make department heads justify staffing," she said. "They ought to look at performance figures. They should look into privatizing some things. Where it's possible, we should be comparing Nassau County with similar jurisdictions in terms of costs, staffing levels and productivity. I know we have much richer staffing than Suffolk."
Mr. Jacobson said that such an analysis could cost money in the short run but would yield dividends in the future. "You pay an analyst $50,000 and find hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings," he said.
Then there is the proposed overhaul of the county's assessment system. Proponents say the move could save $100 million a year. But even assuming that the county musters the political will to do it, reassessment would take several years to complete and would cost money in the short run.
--------- south carolina
Shopping Around for N-Waste:
S.C. is getting its fill, Utah company wants the business
Sunday, February 20, 2000
BY JIM WOOLF @ 2000, THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Gov. Jim Hodges is tired of South Carolina being the nation's "dumping ground" for low-level radioactive wastes. He says it is time for someone else to assume that dubious role.
Like it or not, Utah is a strong candidate.
Hodges has asked the South Carolina Legislature to severely restrict the amount of radioactive waste going to the state's 235-acre Barnwell disposal site. It is generally believed some form of the bill will pass before lawmakers adjourn in June.
Assuming that happens, radioactive waste will begin piling up in warehouses around the nation. And Envirocare of Utah hopes to open its Tooele County disposal facility to that waste.
Envirocare, a private company owned by Salt Lake City businessman Khosrow Semnani, already accepts mildly radioactive waste at its landfill and has submitted licenses to expand its operation into the more dangerous material now going to South Carolina. The technical review of Envirocare's application is expected to last at least a year.
The company's proposal also requires the approval of the Utah Legislature and governor; neither has taken a position yet.
"I don't know very much about it," Gov. Mike Leavitt conceded this past week. "This is the beginning of the process where we all are going to learn about it."
The top regulator of the Barnwell site urges caution. Virgil Autry, director of South Carolina's Division of Radioactive Waste Management, said Envirocare of Utah's proposal to move into radioactive waste is a big jump.
"You need to look at it very closely," he said. "You're going from stuff you can hold in your hand with no exposure to something that is very dangerous."
Still, the waste at the Barnwell site has been managed safely, Autry notes, and Envirocare could develop the skills to do the same.
Envirocare's proposal comes at a time when Utah already is being considered for two other radioactive-waste facilities that would bring in waste from around the nation. The list:
-- Private Fuel Storage, a consortium of eight public utilities, wants to build a temporary storage facility for highly radioactive spent fuel from nuclear power plants on the Skull Valley Band of the Goshute reservation in Tooele County. The waste from about half of America's power plants would be stored in above-ground casks until a permanent disposal facility is opened. Leavitt adamantly opposes this proposal, fearing once the waste arrives in Utah it never will leave.
-- Safety-Kleen Corp. is seeking approval for a plan to dispose of mildly radioactive waste at its Grassy Mountain site in Tooele County. That facility now accepts only hazardous industrial waste.
"The Utah public needs to make a decision whether they want to become the nation's dump," said Preston Truman, an activist on nuclear issues and former member of the Utah Board of Radiation Control. "It is the responsibility of the state to make sure that discussion takes place in open and public meetings. We need an overall policy."
Hodges said the Barnwell facility has benefited America's nuclear industry and generated millions of dollars in profits for the education system. But two factors are prompting the first-term Democrat to pull back from this controversial business.
The first is fairness.
Congress in 1980 attempted to convince states to band together into "compacts" and build a series of regional disposal sites for low-level radioactive waste. But most states have refused, leaving only three sites accepting this material today. They are: Envirocare of Utah, which accepts only the most abundant but least radioactive types of waste; U.S. Ecology's facility at Hanford, Wash., which accepts the full range of low-level radioactive waste from the 11-state Northwestern Compact (including Utah); and the Barnwell facility, operated for South Carolina by Chem-Nuclear Systems, which accepts all low-level radioactive waste from the remaining states.
"For 30-plus years we have borne the lion's share of the responsibility" for disposal of America's radioactive waste, said Hodges. "Clearly South Carolina has done its share."
The other factor driving Hodges' initiative is that Barnwell is filling up.
A recent study finds that unless shipments of out-of-state waste are cut back, there soon will be no space for the waste from South Carolina's seven nuclear power plants. Only two other states generate a higher per capita share of their electricity from nuclear power than South Carolina.
"That would be the worst of both worlds," said Hodges. "Here we were assuming the responsibility to handle nuclear waste coming in from across the country, and then when our time of need came, there wouldn't be a facility open in the state for us to dispose of our low-level nuclear waste."
Hodges said safety and environmental issues are a concern to many South Carolina residents, but they were not among his top reasons for restricting the flow of waste. "I've seen no evidence over the years that it [the Barnwell facility] has been operated in an unsafe manner," he said.
Barnwell, located about 80 miles south of Columbia, has been at the center of an intense political debate in South Carolina for almost two decades. Environmentalists worry about the long-term risks of burying radioactive material in the moist, sandy soil of the South Carolina coastal plain, and they don't like having the dangerous waste transported along rural roads leading to the site.
The facility has a lot of supporters, too. Taxes on the waste shipped to South Carolina have generated almost a quarter of a billion dollars for state education programs in the past five years and most nuclear experts believe the operation poses minimal risks to workers, nearby residents or the environment. The disposal operation has near-unanimous support among Barnwell County's 21,000 residents.
"There are more important environmental issues in South Carolina, but Barnwell happens to be the state's highest-profile environmental issue," said John Clark, an aide to Hodges and a member of the executive committee of the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club. "In the public's mind, if you want to do something good for the environment, you need to do something about Barnwell."
Such talk confirms the worst fears of David Cannon, a self-employed accountant who was snacking on chocolate chip cookies and milk at Anthony's, a crowded cafe in Barnwell. It is proof, he argued, that the governor is responding to political pressure from environmentalists to shut down the facility rather than looking at the facts and encouraging continued growth of a safe and profitable disposal industry.
"I get so frustrated," said Cannon. "Common sense and politics are like oil and water."
The Barnwell facility is located in gently rolling terrain dotted with small towns near the South Carolina-Georgia border. It is a pretty area with patches of pine forest and scattered fields of cotton and peanuts. The disposal site is several miles outside of Barnwell. It consists of a nondescript, two-story administration building with several smaller buildings used for laboratories, waste consolidation and truck cleaning. The waste is buried in a large, fenced area behind the buildings.
Residents of the area are familiar with radiation. Just down the road from Barnwell is an entrance to the U.S. Department of Energy's 354-square-mile Savannah River Site where five nuclear reactors produced materials used in construction of atomic bombs. The site now has 35 million barrels of radioactive wastes awaiting disposal.
Federal law divides radioactive waste into three broad categories and sets different rules for the disposal of each. One is low-level radioactive waste, which contains short-lived radioactive materials that will decay to harmless levels in 500 years or less. Most comes from nuclear power plants, but other sources include research laboratories and hospitals.
The other two main categories are high-level and transuranic waste that contain radioactive materials that will be dangerous for thousands or even millions of years. The main sources of these are spent fuel from nuclear power plants and the nuclear weapons program.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows low-level radioactive waste to be disposed of through "shallow burial" in sophisticated landfills designed to isolate the material for five centuries. The high-level and transuranic wastes must be placed in mined, underground caverns where they are less likely to be disturbed by human activities over the millenniums.
Low-level radioactive waste is subdivided into three categories. Class A waste contains radioactive materials that will decay to background levels in about 100 years. Most of the waste currently accepted by Envirocare of Utah is Class A. The next is Class B, which will decay in about 300 years. Class C waste takes 500 years to decay. Class B and C waste usually is more intensely radioactive than Class A.
Trucks loaded with Class A, B and C waste arrive daily at the Barnwell site. The least radioactive materials are transported in barrels loaded inside trailers. More dangerous waste is sealed inside specially built steel transportation casks attached to flatbed trucks. These casks shield workers and passing motorists from radiation and prevent the waste from spilling out in an accident. There have been several accidents involving vehicles hauling waste to Barnwell, but none has resulted in a spill.
Once inside the facility's gates, the waste is slipped into large concrete "vaults" that are buried in shallow trenches. The trenches are then covered with a specially engineered cap of clay, plastic, dirt and rock that is supposed to keep the enclosed waste dry for centuries. Size of the trenches and vaults varies depending on the type of waste. The more intensely radioactive waste is placed in narrow trenches where dirt walls shield workers while the waste is moved into place. t system for the Tooele County site, said company president Charles Judd.
The only significant environmental problem at Barnwell has been associated with tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Tritium moves easily in water and has been found escaping from some of the oldest disposal trenches and was found in storm runoff water last year, said David Ebenhack, vice president for community relations at Chem-Nuclear Systems.
Tritium and water are the biggest management challenges at Barnwell, said Autry, the state regulator. This is one reason disposal sites in arid regions such as Utah are more attractive than sites in wet areas. Barnwell receives an average of 50 inches of precipitation annually, while Envirocare's site receives about 9 inches to 10 inches.
Clark, the aide to Hodges, said Utahns can expect to see sophisticated political maneuvering as the Legislature and governor get involved in consideration of the Envirocare proposal.
In South Carolina, Chem-Nuclear is represented by the "best lobbyists money can buy," he said. And they successfully fought several past attempts to close the Barnwell facility. The most recent was in 1995. But rather than close the site, they turned the situation around and convinced the Legislature to open it to the rest of the country by offering to pay a $235-per-cubic-foot tax on all waste coming into the state.
The tax, which was projected to generate as much of $140 million a year, was dedicated to the construction of schools and scholarships for needy students.
The $140 million figure was overly optimistic. The first year South Carolina received $110 million. The amount declined steadily as companies found new ways to compact their waste into smaller packages. Projected revenue in 2000 is around $43 million.
"While it's not as much as we anticipated, it's real money and it has gone for the purposes outlined in the legislation," said Hodges.
Members of the Utah Legislature already have started informal discussions about how much Utah could squeeze from low-level radioactive waste going to Envirocare, said Judd. He thinks $235 per cubic foot is too high and would prompt many generators to simply store their wastes.
"If the rate is reasonable -- which is something less than that [$235 per square foot] -- volumes will stay up and the waste won't be all compacted down," said Judd.
While Envirocare is the most likely company to get the South Carolina waste, it is not the only contender. Waste Control Specialists has requested permission from the Texas Legislature to dispose of low-level radioactive wastes at its site near the New Mexico border.
However, the Texas Legislature does not meet again until January 2001. And if lawmakers approve, Waste Control Specialists still would need to submit a license application that would take another 6 to 18 months to process.
2 Workers Exposed to Nerve Agent
Sunday, Feb. 20, 2000; 10:08 p.m. EST
TOOELE, Utah Two workers repairing equipment at a chemical weapons incinerator were exposed to a deadly nerve agent Sunday when it leaked into a room where they were working.
The nerve agent did not show up in blood tests taken from the workers immediately after the leak was discovered, and the workers showed no symptoms of sarin exposure, said Deseret Chemical Depot spokesman Jon Pettebone.
When inhaled, sarin constricts the lungs and can halt breathing.
"They were exposed, but they weren't affected," Pettebone said. "There was agent in the room."
Pettebone said the sarin vapors were confined to the area and posed no danger to the surrounding communities or environment.
The two workers were in a room at the Tooele Chemical Demilitarization Facility repairing a conveyor belt that carries metal out of a decontamination furnace used to destroy traces of the nerve agent from metal, such as large containers.
The furnace had been turned off and allowed to cool before the workers entered the area. They were in the room and unprotected when a sarin-detection alarm went off, Pettebone said.
"They had their masks with them, but they did not have their masks on. The alarm went off, and that's when they got out quickly, " he said.
The Tooele incinerator, about 50 miles west of Salt Lake City, has been operating since 1996. It was built to destroy nerve and blistering agents stockpiled at the Army's Deseret Chemical Depot since World War II.
The plant's safety has been questioned by a former permit manager who last month alleged that officials at the incinerator had rigged tests and misled state regulators to conceal the plant's inability to safely destroy nerve agents.
The former permit manager, Gary Harris, also said officials at the incinerator knew residue from sarin remained on weapons parts sent to a Denver scrap metal business between 1996 and 1998.
Officials with the Army and EG&G Defense Systems Inc., the contractor that runs the plant, say the incinerator is safe.
The Army is investigating the allegations.
----------- us nuc weapons
A LOOK AT...
Rogue States A Handy Label, But a Lousy Policy
Sunday, February 20, 2000; Page B03
By Robert S. Litwak
ONCE A RHETORICAL FLOURISH, the term 'rogue state' has become an essential part of the U.S. diplomatic lexicon. That's a mistake, argues author Robert Litwak.
It sounds so irrefutable, so resolute, so well-defined: rogue state.
It is an efficient political shorthand that leaves no doubt about a country's place in the world of nations: "Dealing with the rogue states is one of the great challenges of our time," Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright declared in September 1997, "because as I have often described the international system, they are there with the sole purpose of destroying the system."
Indeed, the phrase trips off the tongue so easily that U.S. politicians, policymakers and presidential candidates use it almost daily:
* "In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now--a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed." (President Clinton, February 1998)
* "[We intend to develop] a national missile defense program to provide a limited defense for the 50 states against a long-range missile threat posed by rogue nations." (Secretary of Defense William Cohen, January 1999)
* "I'd institute a policy that I call a rogue state rollback. I would arm, train and equip . . . forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments." (Sen. John McCain, at a GOP debate in South Carolina last week)
Where the term once meant something specific--a state that had failed to adhere to the rule of law--it has become an elastic catch phrase that is used to demonize behavior and rally political support. Thus, the Clinton administration brandishes it to justify a national missile defense system ("to defend ourselves against rogue states"), while its GOP opponents can appropriate it to criticize administration policy (as one Republican did in 1998, when he urged Clinton to cancel a planned visit to China because it was a "rogue state"). Thus, the United States is actively trying to contain some states (Iraq and Libya, for example) while engaging others (Syria and Pakistan) that exhibit some of the same behavior, although perhaps not to the same degree.
The question is not whether such regimes are threatening or odious. They are. But by lumping together a diverse group of states under the "rogue" rubric, the term obscures understanding and distorts U.S. foreign policy. This is not an issue of semantics: The Clinton administration has elevated the phrase from its rhetorical roots into a basis for policy, and that has proved to be a diplomatic liability.
The current love affair with the phrase is a distinctly '90s phenomenon, which coincided with the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet threat. After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait led to war in the Persian Gulf, Bush administration officials warned that the main danger to international peace stemmed from the "Iraqs of the future"--Third World states possessing weapons of mass destruction, sponsoring terrorism and threatening U.S. interests in key regions.
The American impulse to brand behavior is not new, but the language has changed in the past quarter-century. An early favorite was "pariah state." Reagan administration officials were partial to "outlaw," while President Bush favored "renegade." Rogue state is an old standby, but it has acquired new stature in the Clinton administration.
And new meaning. Until the 1970s, "rogue" was used to describe regimes whose internal actions--how they treated their own people--were viewed as abhorrent. After 1979, with the advent of the State Department's annual report on state-sponsored terrorism, the criterion for rogue state status shifted from internal to external behavior. The Clinton administration further developed this theme. In September 1997 speeches, Albright asserted that the category of "rogue states" qualified as one of four distinct groupings of nations in the post-Cold War world (the other three are nations that work within the international system, transitional countries and failed states.) North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Libya are the countries that most consistently make the administration's list of rogue states.
Although the term ostensibly refers to violations of accepted international norms, it's a label that has no formal standing in international law. It derives instead from an American political culture that has traditionally viewed international relations as a clash between the forces of good and evil. Because it's analytically soft and quintessentially political, its selective use creates contradictions.
Cuba, a post-Cold War communist holdover (and basket-case state), has occasionally been included in the rogue category even though the Castro regime does not have a weapons of mass destruction program and no longer poses a real security threat to the Caribbean region. That is largely because calling Cuba a rogue state plays well in the politically powerful Cuban emigre community in south Florida.
By contrast, Syria, which uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy, has been exempted from the Clinton administration's list of rogue states because of its central role in the Middle East peace process. Similarly Pakistan, which tested a nuclear device in May 1998 and whose military regime was recently implicated by the U.S. government in the terrorist hijacking of an Indian airliner, has not been labeled a rogue state because of its long-standing ties to the United States.
Since the Cold War ended, one of the main objectives of U.S. policy has been the "containment" of rogue states. But this approach, and the label itself, sharply limits diplomatic flexibility. It pushes policymakers into a one-size-fits-all strategy. Once a state, such as Iran, is declared "beyond the pale" and relegated to the "rogue" category, it is politically difficult to pursue an alternative approach.
North Korea is the exception to this general pattern, as well as the best illustration of the problem. The Clinton administration, confronted with the acute danger posed by Pyongyang's maturing nuclear program, opted reluctantly to engage with the rogue. The alternatives were military strikes on North Korea's nuclear facilities or economic sanctions, either of which could have triggered a war on the Korean peninsula and neither of which could guarantee North Korea's nuclear disarmament.
So in October 1994, the two countries signed the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework. The accord commits North Korea to a freeze of its nuclear weapons activity and the eventual dismantling of its existing nuclear reactors. In exchange, a U.S.-led consortium agreed to provide two "proliferation-resistant" light-water nuclear reactors. Congressional critics have castigated the pact as a "giveaway." This demonstrates the label's problem: When a negotiation involves a "rogue," even a reciprocated concession can be cast as an act of appeasement.
Then it was the Clinton administration's turn to use the label for its purposes. To mobilize support for its national missile defense policy, it has returned to calling North Korea a "rogue state." The use of this charged term has undercut the administration's ability to conduct further talks with the North Koreans or pursue a strategy that deviates from comprehensive containment and isolation.
Iran is another case in which changed circumstances--primarily the election of President Mohammed Khatemi in May 1997--have challenged the rogue state strategy. Despite Khatemi's call for a "dialogue between civilizations" and Albright's proposal for a "road map" to normal relations, a diplomatic impasse persists because of formidable domestic political barriers on both sides. For the United States, there is no imperative for engagement, in contrast to the North Korean situation. Khatemi and his allies are locked in a political struggle with theocratic hard-liners in Iran, and the issue of relations with America, the "Great Satan," is at the core.
Will Iran remain a revolutionary state, or is it ready to rejoin the "family of nations"? The United States has the ability, if only marginally, to influence this complex, unfolding process. But the continued designation of Iran as a rogue state limits the Clinton administration's ability to respond to encouraging developments, such as Khatemi's efforts to rein in government agencies linked to international terrorism. It ensures that any American gesture that could make a real difference in Tehran would be politically risky in Washington.
The alternative to the rogue state policy is to develop what might be called "differentiated" strategies that address the particular conditions in each "rogue" country. This alternative is not an argument for blanket engagement with every unsavory regime. Iran's domestic politics create opportunities to be pursued, while Iraq's do not--because politics there simply do not exist beyond Saddam Hussein's cult of personality.
Rather than lumping some states into the rogues' gallery and selectively omitting others, the United States should focus on actions by regimes that contravene established international norms with respect to both external and internal behavior. These criteria enjoy broad international legitimacy--unlike the unilateral American "rogue state" designation--and provide a basis for accountability (such as indicting war criminals).
Above all, the shift from a generic to a targeted approach requires a different kind of foreign policy dialogue between the executive branch, Congress and the general public. That entails making the case to meet a threat on its own terms, without recourse to hyperbole or some misleading catchall category. Such a debate about how to deal with states like Iran and Iraq, each of which poses a unique challenge, will yield no ready answers. But it will provide a sound basis for choice.
Robert Litwak, director of international studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center, served on the National Security Council staff during President Clinton's first term. This article is based on his new book, "Rogue States and U.S. Foreign Policy" (Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins University Press).
National security problems much worse than cited
February 20, 2000
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Robert Charles exposed only the tip of the iceberg regarding a "slide" in our nation's security (National security slide," Commentary, Feb. 10).
Former CIA Director John Deutch may be guilty of stupidity in his careless treatment of high-security documents, but let's face it, our nation is a virtual sieve when it comes to the outflow of information, technology and high-tech weapons that can be turned against us if we fail to change our political way of doing business. In this context, our nation's virtually unreserved endorsement of free trade and unfettered commerce poses a far greater threat to our nation's security for at least two reasons.
First, U.S. corporations that provide our military with the greatest technological advantage in combat often sell their products outside the United States. High-paid corporate lobbyists using influence gained from high levels of campaign contributions from these same corporations can lower political barriers to the sale of advanced weapons to nations that may not consistently have American security interests as a top priority. Remember, it was a Rockville-based company that sold Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein the raw ingredients for the development of his biological weapons program. A recent report by the Defense Science Board's Task Force on Globalization and Security (a 27-member appointed board composed mostly of Defense Department and private-industry representatives) urges the United States to welcome and exploit an increasingly commercial and international defense industrial base.
The second, more stunning and unresolvable problem arises from the fact that the global trade of advanced technology is the primary driving force in our economy and that any technology has the inherent capability of being used for good or evil. A hammer can be used to build homes for the homeless or to crush skulls. This "dual-use" nature of a growing spectrum of increasingly powerful technologies virtually ensures the increasing availability of half a dozen general categories of weapons of mass destruction. Pharmaceutical equipment can make antibiotics, vaccines to save millions or deadly biological weapons that can kill tens of millions. Nuclear materials used for energy generation or advanced medical cures also can be the basis for crude nuclear weapons or can be used to contaminate water or food supplies.
The same processes and materials used in the production of pesticides, herbicides and disinfectants or even table salt can be used to make chemical weapons. Rocket technology used to lift communication or weather satellites into orbit also can be used to accurately deliver intercontinental ballistic missiles. Two commonplace chemical substances - fuel oil and fertilizer - can be combined in quantities sufficient to make explosives approaching the yield of a small nuclear device. Computer wares can be used to create computer viruses or launch cyber-attacks capable of disabling vital infrastructures that Americans depend on for commerce, banking, water, sanitation, travel, communication or defense.
To add insult to injury, corporations have lobbied effectively for the use of encryption technology for protecting trade secrets. The same technology also will be available for organized crime syndicates or terrorist sects that may want to hide criminal transactions, evade taxes or ship weapons of mass destruction.
What must be increasingly clear, or soon will be, is that "national security" is a myth. We will never be perfectly safe from those who want to do us harm, but we can minimize threats and maximize human freedoms by relying more on the rule of law. It worked for the Colonies more than 200 years ago. Marylanders and Virginians rarely bomb each other. The same concept of federation also could work for nations if they could give up their suicidal reliance on the law of force. Yes, Mr. Deutsch's behavior was foolish, but not nearly as foolish as the behavior of those who would have us believe that our nation's security is increased by reducing individual or corporate freedoms. Our greatest threat is ignorance of the reality that we can't have freedom, security and national sovereignty all at the same time.
Issues advocacy director
World Federalist Association Washington
------- us nuc politics
U.S. SENATE SIX CHALLENGERS PUTTING HEAT ON INCUMBENT DEMOCRATS
HAVE SIMILAR IDEAS BUT VERY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS
Columbus Dispatch Date: Sunday, February 20, 2000 Section: NEWS Page: 01C
Illustration: Photo Byline: Alan Johnson Source: Dispatch Statehouse Reporter
One has a golden political name. Another is a brainy former Jeopardy champion. The third is a Baptist preacher.
Then there's Daniel I. Radakovich, a first-time candidate and uninsured, temporary worker whose father had him model shoulder pads for the Pittsburgh Steelers he coached.
Under the Democratic Party's big tent, all four candidates -- Ted Celeste, Richard Cordray, the Rev. Marvin McMickle and Radakovich -- are hoping for the chance to short-circuit Mike DeWine's U.S. Senate career after one six-year term. They will square off in the March 7 Democratic primary election.
It's been a quiet and even friendly campaign unmarred by intraparty attacks. Instead, the candidates aim their barbed invectives at DeWine in a series of debates around the state. Radakovich was not invited to the debates.
Thus far Celeste -- a Grandview Heights real-estate agent, 10-year Ohio State University trustee and brother of former Gov. Richard F. Celeste -- has a commanding lead in the polls -- more than 3-to-1 over his nearest rival.
"I feel like I come with a set of credentials that match the needs of the the state,'' he said. "At the same time, I'm a fresh face.''
Celeste, 54, acknowledges his politically famous name is largely responsible.
The Celeste name has been on statewide ballots eight times since 1974, nine times since 1962 if you count Frank Celeste, Ted and Richard's father and the former mayor of Lakewood, Ohio, who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general.
Obviously there's ballot magic to a name shared with a two-term governor.
"That's a big part of it,'' Celeste said. "But I was involved in those campaigns, too. There's some of my blood and sweat in developing that name.
"I want people to know it's Ted Celeste, this is who I am and what I stand for.''
Celeste talks about reconnecting Ohioans disenchanted from politics. He sees the Internet as a way to make the link.
"You're watching this thing transform politics in a big way,'' he said. "It's a powerful tool.''
Cordray, 40, a Grove City lawyer and former state solicitor and state representative, says Celeste has a "powerful advantage'' even though people don't know him. Cordray has statewide experience as the Democratic candidate for attorney general in 1998, losing badly to Republican Betty D. Montgomery.
"Most people don't know anything about Ted and the fact he's not been involved in politics for 20 years,'' Cordray said. "We're raising money. But it's difficult, as we're all finding in a contested primary.''
Cordray said he wasn't thinking about the Senate race until talk- show host Jerry Springer surfaced last year as a potential candidate.
"That concerned me,'' Cordray said. "I thought that was a big mistake for our party.''
Cordray said he has government experience his opponents don't have, both in the legislature in 1991 and '92, and as state solicitor in 1993 and '94. He has been active politically for a decade.
McMickle, 51, pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, is concentrating his campaign and most of his limited resources on Cleveland, home to 20 percent of all the Democrats in the state. He's been endorsed by the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, meaning McMickle's name will appear on a slate card sent to more than 100,000 households.
But McMickle said he also will rely on other connections -- church groups, fraternal and community organizations, labor, and the Urban League -- to help spread his political gospel.
"We have networks Cordray and Celeste don't even know exist, much less how to access them,'' he said.
A native of Chicago, McMickle is a passionate orator who can wind up audiences of political supporters and church-goers alike.
He ran for Congress in 1992, losing a three-way primary battle to Stephanie Tubbs Jones. He has been on the Shaker Heights School Board for seven years and served four years on a school board in New Jersey.
McMickle was one of seven appointed members on the powerful Gateway board which handled Cleveland's stadium and arena projects.
Well-versed on national issues, McMickle talks a lot about people left out of Ohio's wave of prosperity.
At a recent debate in Akron, McMickle said two Athens County officials approached him after a speech, wished him luck in the election, and urged, "Don't forget us.''
"I celebrate the people who are doing well, but I've got to keep an eye on those being left behind,'' he said.
On the issues, there are very few differences between the three main candidates. In one of the few areas of disagreement, Cordray supports capital punishment while Celeste and McMickle oppose it.
All three support expanding health-care insurance to the uninsured, adopting a national patients' bill of rights, passage of a nuclear test-ban treaty and improving education by reducing class size.
There was a minor skirmish recently when McMickle said the idea of increasing the retirement age should be discussed as a way to help the beleaguered Social Security system.
Cordray immediately leaped on that, saying McMickle's idea would "take it out of the hide of working people and retirees.''
McMickle quickly said he was not advocating increasing the retirement age, simply suggesting that it should be considered.
Radakovich, 41, is an unusual candidate even for a first-timer.
A temporary worker by choice, a writer and historian on military affairs, he is the son of a former Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers football coach.
He has no campaign staff or money, but he is no stranger to political campaigns, having volunteered on 200 campaigns through the years.
Radakovich is on the front lines of the health-care issue: He's one of 1.5 million uninsured Ohioans.
He said he's "irritated as heck'' at being excluded from his party's debates. "This is the Democratic Party, not some third-world country,'' he said. "We're supposed to be inclusive.''
However, Radakovich will get his chance to speak at upcoming forums in Columbus and Cleveland not sponsored by the party.
Caption: (1) Ted Celeste (2) Richard Cordray (3) Marvin McMickle (4) Daniel I. Radakovich
------- us space
Endeavour Astronauts Embark on Last Full Mapping Day
ABC News, February 20, 2000
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/shuttle_endeavour000220.html This image from the space shuttle Endeavour's mapping mission on Saturday shows three Hawaiian islands, Molokai (lower left), Lanai (right), and the northwest tip of Maui. (NASA/Reuters)
By Brad Liston
C A P E C A N A V E R A L, Fla., Feb 20 - Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour began their last full day of Earth mapping today as scientists gleefully awaited the radar data that will be processed into detailed 3D maps of the planet's surface.
"What's really exciting is that we have a global snapshot," said Jeffery Plauts, a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
"In this short span of time we were basically able to establish a baseline for monitoring any kinds of changes that go on in the coming decades."
Most of the data is stored on 326 digital cassettes that Endeavour's crew has been cataloguing throughout the flight. Final processing should take about 18 months to two years, with the public release of the maps in 2003.
"The images these guys are getting are just absolutely stunning," Paul Dye, the mission's lead flight director, told reporters, referring to preliminary images beamed down from the orbiter.
"We have them posted all over the control center and the only problems we have are people just standing there and freezing in front of the pictures."
Plate tectonics, the shifting of the Earth's crust along fault lines that can cause earthquakes, is one area of study.
The astronauts themselves have been using orbital interviews and news conferences to lobby for another mapping mission several years down the road. Image comparisons might lead to earthquake forecasts that could save thousands of lives.
"That's the nice thing about this mission. We are doing something that actually affects ... most people," said Gerhard Thiele, a German astronaut on Endeavour's international crew.
Most Images for Military Use
The six Endeavour astronauts have been taking radar readings of the planet's surface since shortly after liftoff Feb. 11. Their science work is scheduled to end early Monday and the orbiter is to land at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday.
Only about two to three percent of Earth's topography has been mapped in the kind of resolution that NASA hopes to accomplish with this mission.
The U.S. military will be the primary beneficiary. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), which supplies classified maps for U.S. defense and intelligence agencies, is NASA's primary partner on this flight.
Once the astronauts complete their mapping and power down their radar arrays, they will have mapped 46 million square miles of the Earth's land area.
The orbiter began using more fuel than expected when a tiny thruster failed, so some of that area will be mapped only once, rather than twice, as initially planned. But a NIMA official said the agency was optimistic that the first-pass images would be nearly as good as those combined with a second pass.
Before the astronauts can return to Earth they must retract a 20-story radar mast that has been jutting from Endeavour's cargo bay since shortly after liftoff.
The mast deployed flawlessly in 17 minutes, but if the astronauts cannot reel it back in during the five hours allotted, they will have to detonate small explosives that will hurl the mast and its radar array into space.
The Best Defense May be a Better Map
By Paul Hoversten Washington Bureau Chief posted: 05:35 pm EST 19 February 2000
WASHINGTON -- Military planners in the 21st century will get a big boost from the radar mapping data collected by Space Shuttle Endeavour's crew, military experts say.
Instead of using paper maps and grainy black and white spy satellite photos to plot their operations, military commanders in the future will be able to use information from digital radar maps to create a computerized 3-D picture of the battlefield. That picture will tell them not only the location, but also the precise height of every tree, hill or mountaintop, and the depth of every ditch, valley or canyon.
With that much detail, jet fighter and bomber pilots could safely evade enemy radar on the way to their targets, and ground troops could get a more accurate picture of what's ahead of them. Pentagon cartographers would be able to draw up pinpoint maps that could cut down on so-called "collateral damage" to civilian areas.
"Smart weapons need smart maps, and right now the military does not have smart maps," says John Pike, space policy chief at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington. "This will give them a worldwide smart map. It's going to provide worldwide digital elevation data and they need that, because when you target a smart weapon, you need to know the vertical dimensions of your target.
Elevation data, Pike says, is "the missing ingredient" in the Pentagon's current war-planning capabilities.
During the Cold War, it wasn't necessary for U.S. military planners to have such detailed maps. After all, the positions of key Soviet military bases and ports were well known -- and well photographed by spy satellites orbiting high overhead. NATO forces were positioned accordingly throughout Western Europe to blunt any possible attack from the former Soviet Union or its allies.
But now with the Cold War over and the Soviet Union dissolved, the Pentagon increasingly is moving to an all-smart weapons armory that could be moved anywhere around the world. Instead of concentrating on a single potential foe, U.S. military chiefs today must be prepared for attacks from any of a dozen or so rogue nations trying to beef up their own arsenals.
"Ten years ago you knew who the bad guys were, but in the new world I suspect there's an impetus in the military to be better prepared map-wise," says Michael Kobrick, a project scientist for the shuttle mapping mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
"The days when soldiers would go out in the field with paper maps and film are gone," Pike says. "Everything now uses some sort of digital mission planning software that needs an accurate 3-D map. Now when soldiers go out, they need to see what the neighborhood looks like or what's beyond the next mountain. You just drape a two-dimensional model from a spy satellite over a three-dimensional digital radar map and the squad leader can know where the next hill or valley is, or what's behind that tree."
About the only weapon that won't benefit much from radar mapping data is the ground-hugging cruise missile, Pike says. Mission planners already use data from highly accurate Global Positioning System satellites to guide cruise missiles to their targets.
Overall, the radar mapping data is an advantage that could prove decisive in actual combat.
"Anything where you want to take some form of action, or you want to drop something or you need to assess a battle in a foreign country, you need to know the geography," says Jeffrey Richelson, a Washington author and expert on military intelligence. "It's providing more data and that could make a big difference."
Missile defense policy needs re-evaluation
By Michael Jones, Sunday, February 6, 2000
The recent missile defense test failure further illustrates why the Clinton administration and Congress should reconsider national policy on developing and deploying missile defenses.
Evaluation is needed not only of technological issues but also of the impacts on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) efforts to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The potential negative impacts of the current policy could result in less security for the United States, including Hawaii.
The planned national missile defense system is acknowledged to be ineffective against a deliberate attack by Russian nuclear-armed missiles. It would have no effectiveness against bombs on cruise missiles, airplanes, ships, trucks or in suitcases. These methods are easier to develop than intercontinental missiles and are more likely to be used by terrorists or nations who want to attack the United States. Should we commit $12 billion to deploy such a limited system?
The United States has done research on missile defense since the 1950s. More than $60 billion has been spent since President Reagan's "Star Wars" speech in 1983 renewed the effort to develop a system that could render nuclear weapons "impotent and obsolete."
Although defenses by themselves seem non-threatening, they have ominous implications when developed along with the thousands of offensive nuclear weap-ons still deployed by the United States and Russia. Because nuclear weapons are so destructive and any defense would be imperfect, there would be a temptation during a crisis to strike first at the enemy's offensive missiles so that the defense would face a reduced attack.
During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union also developed methods (e.g., multiple-warhead missiles and counter measures) to make sure their offensive missiles could penetrate the other side's defense.
The recognition that this offense-defense competition would prevent reductions of offensive nuclear weapons led to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in conjunction with the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation (SALT) Treaty.
The ABM Treaty explicitly prohibits a nationwide defense and limits each side to 100 interceptors deployed at a single site. The U.S. deployed ABM interceptors armed with nuclear weapons in North Dakota for a short time in the mid-1970s; Russia still has ABM interceptors deployed near Moscow.
The United States is now developing a national missile defense intended to defend all 50 states against an attack by a few long-range missiles. The main focus is the threat from missiles that may be developed by North Korea. The defense would initially consist of radars and other sensors, communication links, and 100 interceptor missiles armed with non-nuclear "hit-to-kill" vehicles based in Alaska.
The United States also is developing theater missile defenses against shorter-range missiles such as the Scuds used by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. These defenses are intended to defend small areas (Army's upgraded Patriot and Navy's Area defense) or somewhat larger areas (Army's THAAD and Navy's Theater-Wide defense). The Navy's AEGIS/LEAP defense systems will be tested near Kauai. The Air Force is also developing a laser for deployment in a 747 aircraft to shoot down missiles shortly after launch.
Washington claims these development programs comply with the ABM Treaty, but the 1997 "demarcation agreements" that specify allowable theater defenses have not been ratified, and the planned national missile defense would violate the treaty. The Clinton administration is trying to persuade Russia to amend the treaty to allow this limited defense.
A major change in U.S. policy occurred last year as a result of congressional action which declared a policy to deploy national missile defense "as soon as is technologically possible." (This legislation was co-sponsored by Hawaii Sens. Daniel Akaka and Dan Inouye and by Rep. Neil Abercrombie.) Similar legislation had been introduced in the past and had been opposed by the Clinton administration and by most Democrats in Congress. However, last year many Democrats supported this legislation after President Clinton made it clear that he would not veto it.
There are three serious problems with this policy and the planned national missile defense:
The first is that prospects for an effective missile defense are very dubious. Since the mid-1980s, there have been five successful intercepts in 20 tests of interceptors being developed for national and theater missile defense systems. The hit-to-kill vehicles on these interceptors use infrared sensors to home in on the target and must hit the target directly to destroy it.
The Army's THAAD system has two hits in eight tries. The Navy's LEAP system has no hits in four tries. Prototypes of the planned national missile defense have had two tests so far - a successful intercept on Oct. 2 and a failure on Jan. 18. Only one more test is scheduled before a decision on deployment readiness this summer. The final interceptors won't be ready for testing until 2003.
Even if future tests are successful, there will be considerable uncertainty as to whether the deployed system would be able to hit a real warhead amid decoys and other counter measures the first time it was needed.
The technical risks of missile defense testing and deployment schedules have been emphasized in several reviews.
A June 1998 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office noted that both technical and schedule risks in the national missile defense program are high. The Welch panel that reviewed test results for the Defense Department in February 1998 characterized the intense schedule pressure and inadequate test preparation as "rush to failure." This panel's November 1999 report argued that readiness to deploy national missile defense could not be evaluated until the operational versions of the interceptors were tested in 2003.
Therefore, it seems prudent to postpone any deployment decision, as has recently been suggested by some supporters and opponents of missile defense.
The second problem is that deployment of a nationwide system, and deployment of interceptors anywhere but in North Dakota, are prohibited by the ABM Treaty. The sites currently being considered for interceptors are in North Dakota and in Alaska. The Alaska sites seem to be preferred because they would theoretically be able to defend all 50 states against missiles launched from North Korea.
Declaring policy and planning to deploy a national missile defense that would violate the ABM Treaty is making it even harder to persuade Russia to ratify the START II Treaty and proceed with negotiations for further reductions.
A 1997 report by the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences contends that maintaining the ABM Treaty is crucial for reducing nuclear forces below START II levels.
Because of the technical uncertainties and likely negative impacts on further reductions in Russian and U.S. nuclear forces, prominent groups of scientists like the Union of Concerned Scientists (www.ucsusa.org), the Federation of American Scientists (www.fas.org) and the Council for a Livable World (www.clw.org) oppose the 1999 congressional action and deployment of a national missile defense.
The third problem is that focusing on missile defense diverts attention and resources from options that are likely to contribute more to U.S. and international security. For example, strengthening the Missile Technology Control Regime would help reduce proliferation of ballistic missiles. Congress could allocate more funds to the Cooperative Threat Reduction program to help dismantle Russian missiles and securely store the nuclear warheads from them.
The United States and other nuclear weapons states need to fulfill their obligation to nuclear disarmament in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which is being reviewed this year. Regrettably, the Senate's rejection last October of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty raises doubts about the U.S. commitment to international nonproliferation efforts.
The possible threat from North Korea has been cited by some of Hawaii's members of Congress and others as justification for missile defense. The July 1998 report by the Rumsfeld Commission noted an increasing threat but did not study or recommend responses to it. A member of this commission, Richard Garwin, publicly gave his reasons why national missile defense deployment is not the appropriate response.
This issue needs more public discussion, especially by Hawaii's members of Congress. The threat from missiles carrying nuclear, chemical or biological weapons should be taken seriously by the U.S. and the international community. However, overreacting to a potential future threat by deploying a missile defense system of dubious effectiveness is likely to make a bad situation worse.
Michael Jones is a physics professor at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
U.S. missile defense is feasible
Regarding the Feb. 6 commentary on missile defense policy by Michael Jones: Professor Jones is calling for a re-evaluation of the anti-ballistic missile defense program that was started in the early 1960s by some farsighted engineers, military officers and politicians.
It was re-emphasized in the '80s by President Reagan (nick-named "Star Wars" by his political opponents) and contributed significantly to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
Most objections to the ABM program are political in nature and have little to do with the engineering problems that are being solved by the test programs. In fact, much negative press has been received because of some "failures" of test missiles. Yet, missile test programs are by nature subject to failures, which then generate improvements, and eventually result in reliable and accurate missile systems that will accomplish their purpose, which is to defend the United States against attack from long-range nuclear missiles.
Most Americans seem to be totally unaware that we have no defense against a missile attack, short or long range. We do have about 6,000 nuclear warheads available for "retaliation" should any be used against us.
We are currently prevented from deploying an anti-ballistic missile defense network because we are signatories to the START and ABM treaties - which were signed with the U.S.S.R., an entity that no longer exists. Russia, however, has defensive missiles deployed near Moscow.
An agreement to cut both Russian and U.S. ICBM missile inventories in half has been passed by the U.S. Congress, but has never been approved by the Russian Duma - so we are still living in the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) environment first implemented by Robert McNamara in the late '60s. The "hit to kill" technology is one of the most difficult ways to destroy incoming ICBMs, and is being used primarily for political reasons.
Using high-explosive or nuclear warheads to destroy incoming nuclear missiles is much more effective, but is not very popular with politicians and environmentalists. Yet, the destruction caused by a miss would kill everyone - including the objectors, who would certainly change their minds, given the opportunity.
I am certain that the interception of long-range missiles is technically possible, since I have personally witnessed (and documented) many successful ICBM interceptions in the early '60s at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. The program was very successful, yet it utilized very old technology, including vacuum tube computers that filled buildings the size of a gymnasium, but had less than 1/100th the power or speed of the laptop computer I'm using to type this letter. Those "ancient" missiles usually either hit their target precisely, or else they failed completely - which is the usual result in any test program.
In summary, a viable defense against long-range missiles is technically feasible. It only awaits funding approval by politicians. If you want to be protected, tell your congressman. If you don't care, fine. At least you know the facts.
Bud Weisbrod Engineer and Photo-Optics Supervisor Nike-Zeus Anti-Ballistic Missile Program Kwajalein, Marshall Islands
-------- us uranium
Wall Street backs Arkansan's vision
Sunday, February 20, 2000
KATHERINE M. REYNOLDS
WASHINGTON -- William J. Rainer has turned the U.S. agency that regulates commodities trading 180 degrees in his first six months on the job -- away from tight controls and more toward markets policing themselves.
Rainer, 53, a boyhood friend of President Clinton and one-time outfielder prospect of the Los Angeles Dodgers, co-founded Greenwich Capital Markets Inc. in 1981 after working earlier as a bond salesman on Wall Street.
That financial background helps explain why the El Dorado native moved quickly to reverse policies of his predecessor as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born.
She defended regulation and explored putting government controls on unregulated derivatives -- to the alarm of traders, exchange officials, fellow regulators and congressional leaders.
Rainer's "greatest asset is that he's been in the marketplace," said Stephen Walsh, managing partner at WG Trading Co. in Greenwich, Conn., who was a partner at Kidder Peabody & Co. with Rainer in the 1970s. "He's very practically oriented, with no particular ax to grind."
The Rainer-led Commodity Futures Trading Commission is now in line with the free-market thinking of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.
Congressional leaders say they will move quickly to enact the regulators' proposal to sharply restrict the commodities commission's role in the derivatives market.
After decades of seeing lawyers and academics in charge of the commission, which regulates the commodities futures and options markets, Wall Street executives say they are relieved to have one of their own at the top.
Rainer got the market's attention in an October speech to futures lawyers that enumerated the old reasons for regulating futures -- to establish the price of a commodity, prevent market manipulation and transfer risk -- and said they are defunct.
"These markets are simply too important to the nation's economy to ignore the potential damage from disparate regulatory structures," he said.
So far, no organized opposition has arisen to the concept of deregulating the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
BATS TO BONDS
Rainer received a bachelor's degree and a master's in business administration at Southern Methodist University in Dallas -- both finished while he was trying to make it to the majors, playing in the Dodgers' farm system.
When an arm injury ended his baseball career, he went to work for Kidder Peabody, initially as a bond salesman and then in other divisions in New York.
After 10 years, he and Ted Knetzger founded Greenwich Capital and built it into one of fewer than three dozen dealers that are authorized to buy securities directly from the U.S. Treasury.
"He started a primary government dealer with minimal capital, no employees, no furniture, no nothing," said Van R. Hoisington, president of Hoisington Investment Management Co. in Austin, Texas, who's known Rainer since the mid-1970s. "To even begin that task and face competition from Salomon, Goldman, Merrill, is rather daunting."
Rainer and Knetzger sold the firm in 1988 for $144 million to the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, which sold it for $590 million to National Westminster Bank in October 1996, before Japan's government took control of Long-Term Credit in 1998 due to bad loans and low capital.
Rainer retired after selling Greenwich Capital and moved to New Mexico to manage his investments, including real estate, Merck Inc. stock, a weekly newspaper and a radio station.
Rainer and Clinton grew up about 130 miles apart -- Rainer in El Dorado, Clinton in Hot Springs -- and met in the summer of 1963 at Boys State, where high school boys learn about government.
Rainer and his wife, Carolyn, contributed to Clinton's presidential campaigns and have been overnight guests at the Clinton White House.
Clinton first called on Rainer to get the government out of a business enterprise in 1994. As the part-time chairman of the U.S. Enrichment Corp., Rainer steered the privatization of the federal corporation that managed government uranium stockpiles. That required balancing national security interests with profit margins and labor negotiations.
He ruffled some feathers in the process. Critics say Rainer ignored dissenting views and kept the public in the dark while pushing ahead with a privatization that hurt U.S. plant workers and jeopardized an important pact with Russia to convert bomb-grade uranium into nuclear fuel.
Unions sued the government, and the case is still pending.
"I feel that I was deceived, and I don't say that lightly," said Rep. Ted Strickland, an Ohio Democrat whose district lost about 250 jobs in the privatization and could see another 450 cut in July. "There was a concerted effort to conceal, to mislead and to get this accomplished as quickly as possible. Few things have ever troubled me like this."
Rainer points out that the Treasury Department, which had congressional authority to do so, approved the privatization. "It was a very open process, a very fair process," he said.
As chairman of the commodities commission, Rainer worked again with the Treasury -- as well as the Fed and the Securities and Exchange Commission -- on a proposal presented in November to restructure the complex web of futures laws to exempt derivatives from oversight.
"There seems to be a team approach here now that was not apparent in our hearings two years ago," Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Richard Lugar said after a Feb. 10 hearing at which Rainer and Greenspan sat side by side and agreed that government control would present a problem for derivatives.
Lugar now expects Congress to be able to put the joint plan into law during the next three months.
Before that happens, futures exchanges want the Commodities Futures Trade Commission or Congress to eliminate almost all rules governing them.
How were the regulators able to reach consensus?
"Three words: William J. Rainer," said Philip McBride Johnson, a former commission chairman. "It isn't every day that you can get these folks to agree and sign on the same document."
Former colleagues describe Rainer as a thoughtful listener who holds off on important decisions until he has all the relevant facts.
In an interview or meeting, he'll often cup his ear when listening to someone, or take an uncomfortably long pause to think about his answer to a question, old colleagues say.
"I've never seen him where his emotions ever got the better of him," Walsh said. Still, he said, "Bill is not the kind of guy who is ever going to be pushed around."
Though Congress has tried for years to rewrite futures laws, the commission has been loath to give up control. Most notably, Born's enthusiasm for regulation alarmed derivatives users in 1998.
Companies from Citigroup Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. use futures and derivatives to limit the risk of price changes in commodities, interest rates, currencies or other assets.
In the past seven years, the derivatives market has grown ten-fold, while the U.S. futures market has grown 63 percent.
Almost all parties involved in the issue agree that current laws, last overhauled in 1992, have been outdated by market developments. The question of how to rewrite them has taken on new urgency with the growth of computerized trading, which creates new competition for old-line U.S. exchanges that dominated the futures markets.
Alarm bells went off when the Swiss-German exchange Eurex overtook the Chicago Board of Trade as the largest derivatives market last year.
"If we don't figure this out in the very, very near future, the center for this market may not be in the United States," said Lee Sachs, assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets.
This article was published on Sunday, February 20, 2000
Skill level of pilots in Air Force, Navy seen as 'degraded'
February 21, 2000
By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Air Force and Navy are producing combat pilots of "degraded skill and quality" due to aging aircraft and a shortage of flying hours, a congressional report charges.
"At our premier air combat training facilities we have too few instructor pilots, too few aircraft for them to fly; old, sometimes structurally failing aircraft . . .," said the report compiled by a senior Senate defense staffer.
"These aging aircraft are inadequately supplied with spare parts and they routinely lack basic weapon system components that student pilots will be required to use in combat."
The report, now being circulated to key lawmakers as they write the fiscal 2001 defense budget, was based on the Senate defense staffer's inspection of the Air Force's and Navy's key air combat training centers in Nevada: Nellus Air Force Base and Fallon Naval Air Station, home to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center. These two desert bases provided pre-deployment pilots vast airspace to practice demanding aerial combat and air-to-ground warfare.
The Pentagon has been beset with combat readiness problems since 1997, when an increased number of overseas missions and shrinking defense budgets combined to create personnel and equipment shortfalls.
Today, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and the service chiefs contend the downward cycle has been reversed by two straight years of arms budget increases.
But the Senate defense staffer found the new money has not trickled down to these two important bases.
"Student pilots, while highly professional, are coming to these training facilities with less flying experience and proficiency than previously, and more and more time is used to bring them up to minimum levels of skills," the report states. "Given the inadequate material support and the diminished time routinely available to give pilots complete combat-ready skills, we are producing a combat pilot cohort that, while not second-rate, compares poorly to what the Navy and Air Force have produced in the past."
Among the report's findings:
* Air Force pilots are missing their normal training rotation at Nellis because they are on peacekeeping duty abroad.
* Neither Nellis nor Fallon has an adequate number of "aggressor" aircraft to mimic enemy tactics.
* Nellis' contingent of F-15E ground-attack fighters can generate only half the daily flights needed. "A-10s [tanker killer jets] are all quite old and are experiencing frequent engine and gun problems. The aircraft in better shape are frequently sucked out by operational units. . . . The spare parts to keep these maintenance-hungry aircraft operating are simply not available."
* Both bases lack sufficient numbers of high-tech targeting attachments so pilots can drop laser-guided bombs.
"At Nellis, instructors emphasized the importance of using real munitions in air-to-ground operations, not training rounds and certainly not simulations. The budget, however, simply does not allow it. . . . Both Navy and Air Force pilots are sent back out to operational units without sufficient amounts of experience in delivering basic types of live guided munitions."
The report concludes that millions of readiness dollars appropriated by Congress the past two years have yet to show up in the form of new spare parts. And, rebutting Pentagon claims, the report says operational units are facing some of the same parts shortages as rear-echelon forces.
The report said cannibalization rates - taking parts from one airplane to fix others - is on the increase militarywide.
Mr. Cohen conceded before the Senate Armed Services Committee this month that it's taking 18 months to two years for spare parts to start showing up at the unit level.
"It has a very demoralizing impact when they have to cannibalize various pieces of equipment to keep things running," he testified. "We are trying to address that by continuing to put money into spare parts and to try to narrow that gap in terms of the spare parts. Part of the problem is that some of the suppliers are no longer in business. So it requires the start-up of a new company with the new types of tooling, and it takes time to get that into the field."
The spare-parts lag time has caught the attention of two powerful House Republicans, Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young of Florida, House Appropriations Committee chairman, and Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, who heads the panel's defense subcommittee.
The two asked the General Accounting Office to investigate the spare parts shortfall, saying it's the prime complaint of troops.
U.S. Expels Cuban Diplomat Who Is Linked to Spy Case
New York Times
February 20, 2000
By IRVIN MOLOTSKY
U.S. Moves to Expel a Cuban Diplomat (Feb. 20, 2000)
Immigration Official Charged as Spy for Cuban Government (Feb. 19, 2000)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 -- The United States today ordered the expulsion of a Cuban diplomat linked to an American immigration official charged on Friday with spying for the Cuban government.
James Foley, a State Department spokesman, said that the diplomat, whom he did not identify, was given seven days to leave the United States for activities "incompatible with his diplomatic status."
Mr. Foley said that Felix Wilson, the acting head of the Cuban interests section -- an embassy in all but name -- was summoned to the State Department by Charles Shapiro, the coordinator of Cuban affairs, and told that the diplomat was being expelled.
When expulsions like this are made, the targeted country usually retaliates by expelling a diplomat from the country that sent off the first one.
Asked about the likelihood of such a reprisal, Mr. Foley said: "We don't see any grounds for that. Our diplomats are operating in an open and acceptable manner."
But a spokesman for the Cuban interests section, Luis Fernandez, said: "It depends. They need to convince our government that they have proof."
Mr. Foley declined to identify the expelled diplomat. "He is making arrangements to depart and it doesn't serve any interests to identify him."
An official said that Mr. Wilson had maintained that the expulsion was groundless but that Cuba would comply.
Although the United States and Cuba do not have formal diplomatic relations, they are represented in each other's country by an interests section under the flag of another country, in this case Switzerland.
It is a sort of intermediate diplomatic severance. In the cases of Iran or Serbia, for example, the United States does not even have an interests section.
The American charged with spying, Mariano M. Faget, is a senior official in the Miami field office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He was born in Havana and left Cuba for the United States as a teenager.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it arrested him late Thursday after he was caught passing along to a Cuban-born New York businessman false information that American officials had fed him about a Cuban intelligence agent's plan to defect to the United States.
Federal officials said they could not recall another case in which a government official was charged with spying.
Mr. Faget's arrest further complicated Cuban-American relations already strained by the custody battle over Elián González, the 6-year-old boy who survived his mother's drowning when she fled Cuba with him in November. Elián's relatives in Florida are trying to continue custody of the child in the United States over the objections of his father in Cuba.
At the Cuba mission today, Mr. Fernandez, the spokesman, said: "This is a very dirty maneuver to try to create a smokescreen."
He was referring, he said, to the incident involving Elián.
When asked whether he knew Mr. Faget, Mr. Fernandez said he did not but that the interests section might have. "We are in contact with many persons," he said.
In response to a question in an interview outside the gate at the interests section as to whether the expulsion would hurt relations between the two countries, Mr. Fernandez said, "This is a very traumatic situation."
State Department expels Cuban official
02/20/00- Updated 12:38 PM ET
WASHINGTON - The State Department ordered the expulsion Saturday of a Cuban diplomat linked to the Cuban-born U.S. immigration official arrested in Miami on spy charges. The diplomat, whose name was not released, was given seven days to leave the country, a spokesman said. The Cuban official was ordered out of the country for activities ''incompatible with his diplomatic status,'' the spokesman said. The diplomat apparently was a Washington contact of Mariano Faget, a 34-year veteran of the Immigration and Naturalization Service who was arrested Thursday night as the result of a government sting operation.
----------- other activism
Thousands protest Austrian government
02/20/00- Updated 10:03 AM ET
VIENNA, Austria - Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Vienna Saturday in the largest protest yet against the inclusion of Joerg Haider's far-right Freedom Party in the new Austrian ruling coalition. Despite pouring rain and low temperatures, more than 30,000 people gathered at several points throughout the city, blowing whistles and chanting anti-Nazi slogans. A banner hung from police barricades around the parliament building read: ''Haider is Hitler.'' The outrage stems from Haider's opposition to immigration and rapid EU expansion, as well as previous statements praising some Nazi policies. He has since apologized. The European Union, Israel and the United States have taken measures to isolate Austria diplomatically, and dozens of anti-Haider rallies have been held in cities across Europe.
Rise of Haider's Party Brings Out Large Protest in Vienna
New York Times
February 20, 2000
Austria Won't Crawl, Its Chief Says, Scolding Europe By ROGER COHEN
VIENNA, Feb. 19 -- Unbowed by the rain, more than 100,000 people gathered in central Vienna today to protest the formation of a government that includes Jörg Haider's anti-immigration Freedom Party.
To the sound of drums and whistles, beneath banners saying "Resistance" and "No to Racism," they marched through the streets before assembling in Vienna's vast Heldenplatz, scene of Hitler's first speech to the Austrians after the widely supported Nazi invasion of 1938.
Hitler's face, or caricatures of it, were much in evidence on the banners denouncing Mr. Haider, who has occasionally praised aspects of the Third Reich but has also denounced the regime as "barbaric."
The demonstration, organized by human-rights groups, was by far the largest since the coalition government took office two weeks ago. Attended by artists and intellectuals from throughout Europe, it appeared to draw from a very broad swath of Austrian society, including state employees, factory workers, professionals and students.
"I am here to show the Austrian government and also the international community that not all Austrians are Nazis," said Martin Hochegger, a psychologist from Graz. "I do not believe that Haider is a Nazi, but he is a racist, and that is unacceptable."
The demonstration elicited only contempt from Mr. Haider himself. "Those who who were in power for the past 30 years, the Social Democrats, cannot stand to lose," he said today. "That is why they try to mobilize the population, and if that does not work, even pay people to go out and protest."
The Social Democrats angrily rejected the charge that anyone had been paid, and Mr. Haider produced no evidence to support his allegation.
The formation of a government made up of the Freedom Party and the conservative People's Party of Wolfgang Schüssel has provoked outrage in Europe because it has appeared to legitimize the far right.
Several countries, including Belgium, Italy and France, face the problem of how to deal with far-right parties and are deeply concerned that Mr. Haider's inclusion in government could make it more difficult to stop alliances of mainstream conservatives and extremists.
Austria's 14 partners in the European Union have downgraded diplomatic relations with Vienna in what amounts to an unprecedented intrusion in the political affairs of a member state.
Several demonstrators said that while it was a good thing for Austria's long-blocked democracy to have a change after three decades of government by a coalition of Social Democrats and conservatives, this particular change was abhorrent.
"I was proud to have an Austrian passport, and now I am ashamed," said Agnes Schmidt, who moved here from her native Hungary 30 years ago and took Austrian nationality. "Even if we needed change, we did not need this one."
Those attending include Bernard-Henri Levy, the French philosopher, and Michael Friedman, who is prominent among German Jews. Several Austrian artists and actors were also present. "The pages of history have turned back to our darkest chapter," said Gerald Matt, the director of the Kunsthalle Wien gallery.
Many of the demonstrators were young, and it seemed clear today that the arrival of Mr. Haider's party in power has abruptly politicized what had been a largely apolitical Austrian youth.
The government has vowed to cut the public sector, deregulate Austria's highly bureaucratic economy, promote capital markets and generally bring something resembling a Thatcherite revolution to Austria.
These economic aims have provoked almost as much alarm among Austrians as Mr. Haider's anti-immigrant or revisionist declarations. Several banners said, "No to social cutbacks," and a large labor union presence was evident.
Anna-Maria Maio, a lawyer, said the Freedom Party justice minister, Michael Kruger, aimed to cut jobs in the justice department and courts throughout Austria. "I cannot accept this any more than I can accept a justice minister who is against foreigners," she said.
Ms. Maio added that she was married to an Italian in the Tyrol area of Austria and had frequently encountered racism, although the situation had improved in recent years. "From my private life, I have learned what racism is, and there is no question that Mr. Haider stirs up racism in this country," she said.
Posters for Mr. Haider's last election campaign showed fair-haired girls as emblems of the threatened essence of the country, while others in Vienna appeared to equate black people with drug dealers.
Mr. Schüssel, the chancellor, dismissed the importance of the demonstration. "Those from the old left, the generation of 1968, can have a good romp with the young and the Internet generation," he said. "Then we will return to normality and get on with the work that has to be done."
But it appeared from the breadth of the demonstration, and the strong presence of powerful unions, that the work of the conservative government will be arduous, both in its efforts at home and its attempt to overcome a hostility from abroad.
Thousands of Lebanese protest Israel, USA
02/20/00- Updated 10:03 AM ET
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Thousands took to the streets Friday to denounce Israel and the United States as Lebanon's president threatened to deal Israel ''more painful blows'' if it carried out reprisals against Lebanese civilian targets. The main demonstration was largely peaceful, but student demonstrators in a smaller protest outside the offices of CNN were confronted with tear gas and sprayed with water. The protest was the biggest since a 1993 demonstration against Israeli-Palestinian peace accords ended with the army killing eight protesters. Men and women, many wearing Islamic headscarves, chanted ''Death to America'' and ''Death to Israel'' as the protest, guarded by several hundred policemen and army troops, made its way from the Barbir district to downtown Beirut. And elsewhere in Beirut, more than 1,500 demonstrators gathered outside the offices of CNN to protest what they saw as bias in its coverage of the Israeli airstrikes.