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Re: What was the quid pro quo for Wassenaar countries?
Peter Gutmann may be close to the truth about Echelon's role
in the Wassenaar changes.
The NYT reports today that the US is proposing to NATO a
combined intelligence center to combat use of Weapons of Mass
Destruction by rogue states and non-state terrorists like Usama
There is some dissent among the Europeans over the US's
attempt to frighten the populace with a new worldwide menace
to replace the boogies of the Cold War.
Still, it appears that intelligence on the threat of terrorist use of
WMD is being whispered in ears of those holding out for
privacy protection. And a correlative threat of strong encryption
is surely part of those scenarios.
As in the US, it's probable that domestic restrictions on strong
crypto are being advanced to combat domestic terrorism in countries
around the world, following the precedent set during the Cold War,
which, as we all know was the evil parent of Wassenaar's predecessor
GAO put out a report (GGD-99-7) a few days ago on the FBI's
expenditures for counterterrorism from 1995-98. It shows a dramatic
increase year by year, with big leaps authorized by Congress following
each "terrorist incident," for funds for a host of domestic agencies.
GAO wonders (as does Congress which asked for the report) if it's
all being put to beneficial effect. Its description of CT activities
excludes the classified, and also omits the global efforts of US military
-- not least of which is its vast intelligence apparatus, tidbits of which
are surely being tossed to the Wassenaar puppies to get them to
go along with the Terrorism War Machinery.
The NYT has been running a series on how long the TLAs and military
have been tracking Usama Bin Laden (at least since 1991, maybe longer).
It appears that if he did not exist he would have to be invented for the
counterterrorism agenda. It's even possible that Bin Laden is their invention,
cultivated, strung along, not arrested, for that purpose. The African bombings
were probably preventable, and it will be interesting if Congress lets this
possibility go uninvestigated.
More interesting to Americans, maybe, is that there also appears to be
an effort to boost domestic militia, particularly the religious brand, as the
homefront Bin Laden. The rise of religion-based terrorism is explored at
length in Bruce Hoffman's recent "Inside Terrorism." Hoffman claims that
religious terrorists may be the worst enemies ever, for they do not
believe in political compromise: they want to kill every single opponent,
and have no reservations about using WMD.
If this theory is correct (and Hoffman has worked with RAND for years on
the issue) then the menace of terrorism is worse than that hawked during
the Cold War. The enemy is not distant, not even ICBM seconds away,
but rather it lives amongst us, it's our neighbors readying Armageddon not
merely a familiar commie takeover.
Hoffman says to expect more OKCs around the globe. To be sure, that's
his business to say that.