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web posted December 11, 2000

U.S. Army schedules troop rotations in Bosnia for next 5 years

In a tacit admission that U.S. troops will not be leaving Bosnia anytime soon, the U.S. Army has drawn up a schedule for rotating its troops there over the next five years.

The Army on December 4 said its troop rotation plan relies heavily on National Guard and Reserve units to ease the growing burden on active-duty troops in staffing the six-month tours of duty.

That reliance is evident in the Army's placement of Army National Guard divisions in command of six of the next eight rotations of the United States' contribution to the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia.

U.S. armed forces have played a role in Bosnia since 1995, when they arrived as part of an international NATO mission to implement peace after years of civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The announcement came as the Army reports its resources are being stretched thin by the requirements of peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, both in Bosnia, and in Kosovo.

"Since 1989, the number of Army deployments has grown by over 300 percent, yet the Army's active and reserve forces have shrunk by over 40 percent," the Army said.

The Army attributes the overall reduction in troop numbers to the "missions of the post-Cold War environment" and "downsizing."

"With approximately 54 percent of the Army now in the reserve forces, the Army routinely calls upon the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard to help carry out the national military strategy," the statement said.

Report: Serious concerns remain over FBI's 'Carnivore' system

A prominent group of computer experts have released a critical assessment of a recent independent review of the FBI's Internet surveillance system, sparking further debate over its privacy and technological limitations.

The new report addresses a review of the "Carnivore" system by the Illinois Institute of Technology's Research Institute (IITRI), which released a draft report on November 17.

Although the authors of the latest report acknowledge the "good-faith effort" on behalf of the IITRI, it says the scope of their review was not broad enough to address all the pertinent matters.

"Those who are concerned that the system produces correct evidence, represents no threat to the networks on which it is installed, or complies with the scope of court orders should not take much comfort from the analysis described in the report or its conclusions," the experts wrote.

Participants in the new report are listed as Steven Bellovin and Matt Blaze from the AT&T Laboratories, David Farber from the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Neumann from SRI International and Eugene Spafford from Purdue University.

The Justice Department initially contacted members of the ad hoc group in September.

Specific technical concerns noted by the scientists include a lack of analysis between the Carnivore code and its host environment and operating system, inadequate discussion of the remote access provided by the use of the "PC Anywhere" program, and no evidence of a systematic search for bugs or serious errors. "PC Anywhere" is an application that allows computer professionals or employees to connect to a network from a remote location.

The scientists went on to urge the Justice Department to publish the inner workings of Carnivore for a public review, a request that has also been suggested by several privacy advocate groups.

Using "sniffing" technology, the Carnivore system is installed at an Internet service provider (ISP) to keep court-ordered tabs on a suspect's e-mail and instant messages. It has already been used more than 25 times during criminal investigations.

The FBI spokesman associated with Carnivore said the whole purpose of making the IITRI draft report available for public scrutiny was to solicit opinion from outside groups. He could not comment on how the scientists' information might be applied.

When correctly used, the IITRI said Carnivore "provides investigators with no more information than is permitted by a given court order."

A final report on Carnivore by the IITRI should be presented to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno later this month.

Cuban TV shows Castro with Elian

Fidel Castro played benevolent grandfather to a timid 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez as state television broadcast the first public images ever of the leader with the little castaway whose fate divided Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits.

The surprise airing on December 5 of the images recorded in July, just weeks after Elian was repatriated following a seven-month custody battle, came on the eve of the child's 7th birthday -- expected to include a celebration attended by Castro himself.

The Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, the American minister who played a central role in the fight by Elian's Cuban father for the child's repatriation, was to attend the boy's birthday party the next day in his hometown of Cardenas, a two-hour drive east of Havana.

Campbell has said she would bring Elian a new camera and film as a gift. It will be the first time the former head of the National Council of Churches has met with Elian, his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, and the boy's grandparents since the child returned to the communist island on June 28.

In the images shown on Cuban television, Castro took Elian's tiny hand in his to congratulate him for completing his first-grade studies. Castro gave Elian "The Golden Age," a children's book by the late independence hero Jose Marti.

Castro leaned down and talked to Elian softly, telling him was a friend of his father and his grandparents. At one point, he kissed him on the head.

Elian, meanwhile, looked up speechless at the bearded man in the olive green uniform as he father and other relatives looked on and smiled.

"For when you are in the fourth or fifth grade and can enjoy one of the most tender works of Marti," the Cuban leader said, reading his dedication to Elian. It was signed, "Affectionately, Fidel Castro."

Some images of day marking Elian's completion of the first grade were broadcast on state television in July, along with Castro's reading of the book's dedication off-camera. It was clear from that broadcast 4 1/2 months ago that Castro had met with Elian that day, but the two were not shown together.

Elian received his first-grade diploma in mid-July after what the Cuban government said was a special effort by teachers to help him recover the time lost during his tumultuous stay in the United States.

Elian survived a boat sinking that killed his mother and 10-other would-be immigrants.

After the child was rescued on November 25, he became the subject of an international custody dispute between his father in Cuba and their relatives in the United States, who fought unsuccessfully all the way to the Supreme Court to block his repatriation.

PETA sues Rosie over aired comments

An animal rights group is suing Rosie O'Donnell for saying the group endorses certain types of leather.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed the defamation lawsuit on December 5.

On an episode of "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," the talk show host said The Gap uses leather approved by PETA. She was apparently referring to a decision by The Gap to stop using Indian and Chinese leather after a PETA campaign highlighted alleged industry abuses in those countries.

"There's no such thing as PETA-approved leather," said Lisa Lange, a PETA spokeswoman.

The lawsuit seeks an on-air retraction and $350,000 in punitive damages. PETA said the group has many supporters who oppose leather and who may be less likely to support PETA after hearing O'Donnell's comment.

Critics complain as Ontario tables legislation to seize proceeds of crime

Police in Ontario could seize cash, cars and any ill-gotten gains from suspected crooks without a criminal conviction under legislation introduced on December 5 by the Conservative government. If passed, the Remedies for Organized Crime and Other Unlawful Activities Act would enable the province to "freeze, seize and forfeit" the proceeds of organized crime, said Attorney General Jim Flaherty.

"Everyday, organized crime victimizes ordinary, hardworking people," Flaherty said as he tabled the bill in the legislature. "It is time for organized crime to return its unlawful profits to its victi"

The legislation - the first of its kind in Canada - would allow the province to use civil law to seize assets in a bid to deter organized crime, which Flaherty said costs Canadians as much as $9 billion a year.

"It is virgin territory," Flaherty told a news conference.

"A number of other provinces are intensely interested in what we're doing . . . we're leading the way in Canada."

The bill would allow a civil court judge to authorize the seizure of assets once the Crown has proven on a "balance of probabilities" that the assets were obtained with the proceeds of crime.

That burden of proof is significantly lighter than for a criminal conviction, which requires the Crown to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The legislation has legal experts up in ar

"It's just totally ridiculous," said John Rosen, a noted criminal lawyer in Toronto known for representing suspected organized crime figures.

"It presumes guilt . . .It's contrary to our whole history of criminal justice in our country. Clearly the concept is wrong. The provinces administer the law; they don't pass the law."

Once passed, the legislation would be an improvement over existing federal law, which requires a criminal conviction before the proceeds of crime can be seized, Flaherty said.

Legally, no one but the state can claim ownership rights of anything purchased or obtained with the proceeds of crime, he said.

"The fundamental principle here is there is no legal right, there is no ownership interest, in illegally obtained property," Flaherty said. "That property belongs to the state, and to the victim."

Under current federal law, police find their hands tied by suspects with obvious wealth but no obvious source of income, said Toronto deputy police Chief Joseph Hunter.

"There's many cases we run into where people have great wealth - cars, houses, boats, airplanes, big bank accounts - but no obvious, legal means of support," Hunter said.

"This legislation would assist us in those cases as well."

The bill will almost certainly prompt a constitutional challenge, but property rights are not protected in the Charter of Rights, said Kent Roach, a professor of law at the University of Toronto.

The legislation may be more vulnerable to a challenge on the basis that it is designed to influence criminal law, which is the exclusive domain of the federal government, Roach said.

"If the courts find this is really about criminal law and getting at criminals, they'll say, 'This is really something the federal government should do,"' he said.

The bill, which is modelled after the civil parts of anti-racketeering legislation in the United States, would also give the province the power to file civil suits against two or more people who conspire to commit unlawful activities that harm the public.

Police would also be able to confiscate third-party properties such as legitimate businesses used to hide crime profits.

Seized property would be used to create a special fund to help victims of organized crime and pay for specialized police projects designed to deter organized crime.

Provisions would be built into the legislation to protect innocent people from arbitrary seizures of their property, Flaherty said.

In the United States, the RICO statute - the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act - has been successful at striking at the profitable heart of organized crime.

But even RICO takes pains to ensure that innocent people aren't punished, said Rosen.

"The RICO legislation requires the police or the prosecutors to prefer an indictment within 90 days of any seizure, so there is a criminal charge . . . and if a conviction follows then the assets are forfeited," he said.

"Up until that time, there's a presumption of innocence in this country, as there is in every other Western country."

IRS considers regulating Web speech

The Internal Revenue Service is considering the issuance of new guidelines on Internet communications by tax-exempt organizations. The tax collection agency quietly released a document called "Announcement 2000-84" soliciting public comment on possible new regulations for charities, think tanks and educational organizations.

Among the questions the IRS is addressing in its study of exempt organizations and the Internet:

"Does providing a hyperlink on a charitable organization's website to another organization that engages in political campaign intervention result in per se prohibited political intervention?"

"To what extent are statements made by subscribers to a forum, such as a listserv or newsgroup, attributable to an exempt organization that maintains the forum?"

"Does a website constitute a single publication or communication? If not, how should it be separated into distinct publications or communications?"

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, has issued a statement condemning the IRS' consideration of new regulations for the Internet.

"The IRS has no business getting involved in whether a think thank has links on its website, or how often a charity's site is updated," he said. "The idea of turning the tax man into a Net cop would have a chilling effect on free speech on the Internet. I'm glad the agency has not taken any regulatory action yet. But let's be clear about this. We will be watching what they do, and we will not tolerate any backdoor attempt to regulate the Internet."

The public comment period on this issue will close February 13, 2001, according to the IRS announcement. Comments are to be directed to Judith E. Kindell, the principal author of the announcement, at the IRS, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20224.

Her email address is TE/GE-Exempt-2@irs.gov

Clinton tells Rolling Stone: 'I probably would have run again'

Bill Clinton says he would have been tempted to run for president again if the Constitution would have let him. And, he says, he would have won.

"Oh, I probably would have run again," Clinton tells Rolling Stone in an interview.

Does he think he'd have been a three-time winner?

"Yes. I do. But it's hard to say, because it's entirely academic," Clinton said.

He adds that as life expectancy rises, there may be a reason to change the 22nd Amendment, which limits presidents to two four-year ter Maybe it should just limit presidents to two "consecutive" terms, Clinton suggests.

Just before and after leaving office, President Reagan, America's last two-term president, often said he too would have tried to stay on. "Two times isn't necessarily enough time to get all you want done, done. I still had things to do when I left," Reagan said in February 1989.

The article in the Rolling Stone's Dec. 28-Jan. 4, 2001, issue, combines information from three interviews that Jann S. Wenner conducted with Clinton between 1992 and 2000 in Little Rock, Ark., the Oval Office and aboard Air Force One en route.

The interviews covered a series of topics including his impeachment, prison reform, Clinton's feelings about former President Nixon and what he will do when he leaves the White House on Jan. 20.

In an interview just four days before the election limbo, Clinton predicted that Vice President Al Gore would win Florida's 25 electoral votes. He's not right, but he's not wrong -- yet.

"I've always thought Gore would win Florida. We worked like crazy there for eight years. And we've done a lot for Florida, and a lot with Florida. And (Gore's running mate) Joe Lieberman has helped a lot in Florida."

On impeachment, Clinton said he believes history will exonerate him. Clinton says his impeachment for actions involving his affair with Monica Lewinsky was wrong, just as it was wrong for lawmakers to impeach President Andrew Johnson in 1868.

Clinton says he became upset at times but vented his feelings in private.

"I got angry, but I always was alone with friends who would deflate me. I don't think it ever clouded my judgment on any official thing," Clinton said. "One of the things I had to learn ... was that, at some point, presidents are not permitted to have personal feelings. When you manifest your anger in public, it should be on behalf of the American people and the values that they believe in. All this stuff you can't take personally."

--Prison reform. Clinton says jail time helped his brother Roger kick a cocaine habit, but not all drug offenders would necessarily benefit from being locked up. "A lot of people are in prison today because they have drug problems or alcohol proble And too many of them are getting out -- particularly out of state systems _ without treatment, without education, without skills, without serious efforts at job placement," Clinton said.

--President Nixon. "He paid a high price for what he did," Clinton said. Later he added: "I always thought that he could have been a great president if he had been more trusting of the American people. I thought that somewhere way back there, something happened in terms of his ability to feel at home, at ease with the ebb and flow of human life and popular opinion."

--Clinton's future. "I'm sure I'll be involved in this whole area of racial and religious conciliation at home and around the world, and economic empowerment of poor people, here and around the world." The president expressed interest in global warming and economic development, racial and religious reconciliation and the breakdown of public health systems around the world. "The challenge is to trade power and authority, broadly spread, for influence and impact, tightly concentrated," he said.

Gun laws being foiled, ATF says. Criminals don't follow laws according to Dallas study

A new analysis of gun crime in Dallas concludes that local criminals are finding ways to thwart federal laws that were designed to keep modern firearms out of their hands.

The third annual Crime Gun Trace Report, released recently by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, shows that weapons traffickers are making legal purchases and then reselling weapons illegally to buyers whom the law was supposed to screen out.

More than a third of guns traced from Dallas crimes during 1999 had been purchased within the previous three years from federally licensed dealers; 12 percent of those weapons had been purchased within one year of the crime.

The ATF report, part of the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative that examined 36 major U.S. cities, including Dallas, also offers concrete evidence that upholds a theory by some law enforcement officials: Local unlicensed traffickers are feeding the appetite of young criminals for the sleekest late-model guns.

The initiative's annual research was ordered by President Clinton in part to determine the effectiveness of the gun control law named after former White House press secretary James Brady, who was shot in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The statistics were compiled from cooperating law enforcement agencies to determine who uses guns in what crimes, which firearms are in vogue and how criminals obtained them.

Dallas' short "time to crime" suggests there are a lot of illegal weapons sales, said Special Agent Tom Crowley, a spokesman for the ATF Dallas division office.

"It's an indication that these guns were purchased for resale on the street," he said. "For the longest time, law enforcement thought that crime guns were mostly stolen, and they're not."

Under the 1998 version of the Brady law, no federally licensed dealer may sell a firearm to a felon, fugitive, mentally ill person, drug addict or undocumented immigrant. All buyers from licensed dealers must undergo an instant electronic background check by the FBI at the store.

It is not illegal, however, for hobbyists and collectors in many states, including Texas, to buy and sell firearms in unregulated secondary markets such as gun shows and newspaper ads. No background check is required for such sales.

ATF Special Agent Joseph Patterson of the Dallas field office, who specializes in weapons investigations, said Dallas-area traffickers with clean records are buying large numbers of new guns favored by a younger criminal class. They are selling them at flea markets and gun shows to those who know they can't pass the FBI background check – which is a crime, he said.

"The majority of people can lawfully buy and sell guns. However, it's when they fall into this aspect of dealing in firearms that they cross the line," Agent Patterson said. "And we are seeing a lot of the weapons that are used in crime are guns that are sold through illegal traffickers."

The ATF study showed that most crimes committed in Dallas were illegal possession of firearms or firearms offenses such as domestic violence or threats. But weapons purchased illegally also were used in 58 homicides – more than one-fourth of all killings committed in Dallas last year, the study said.

'Petticoat Mafia' runs city with civic club know-how

What happens when the garden club takes over the government of a Kentucky coal town?

Think bake sales instead of tax increases, benefit concerts instead of bond measures and a thrift shop instead of fiscal belt tightening.

"We've paid for a new $26,000 police car, a $145,000 fire truck, a $58,000 garbage truck and a $30,000 dump truck," said Mayor Betty Howard. "We couldn't have done it without the shop."

Beginning next month, Howard will preside over a Town Council made up entirely of women from 54 to 80 who have worked their way to political power from the Benham Garden Club.

Over the past decade, members of this so-called "Petticoat Mafia" have used old-fashioned civic club know-how to help give this Appalachian hamlet of 700 a newfound look of prosperity.

"These gals have come up with lots of ways to pay for things," said former council member Gary Huff. "Things anybody else might do to raise money at home, they do for the city. Everybody I see thinks they do a fantastic job."

Huff gets credit for starting the garden club's political movement about eight years ago. The town needed a new fire truck to replace the obsolete pumper that was the only fire protection. Knowing the town didn't have enough money to buy one, Huff recommended yard sales to generate money. The women jumped on the idea, and the other initiatives grew from there.

They now raise about $36,000 a year – one-fifth of the town's budget – by opening their special events to neighboring communities from across eastern Kentucky.

Halloween haunted houses, gospel music shows and Christmas dances are all standing-room-only happenings, putting more money in town coffers.

While other towns in the mountain region struggle under tight budgets, Benham has been able to build a park, complete with a 1-mile-long walking track and monuments honoring coal miners who have lived and died in the town since International Harvester built it in the early 1900s.

For about 30 years, everything in Benham – houses, stores, church, barbershop, even the cemetery – was owned by the company. Everyone who lived here worked for the company and had to abide by its rules. Anyone who didn't wasn't permitted to stay.

"They gave you notice to move out, and cut you off work," said 80-year-old Thelma Brock, a newly elected member of the Town Council. "We were the closest thing you could get to a communist society in a free country, because the company told you everything you could and couldn't do."

That's not a slam against International Harvester, Howard said. People appreciated the standard of living, the health care, and the cozy houses that the company provided. And, she said, the company further endeared itself to residents in the early 1960s by selling them the homes they had been living in for an average of $400 each, a fraction of their actual worth.

Still, when a group of Russians visited Benham shortly after the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Howard said residents here could identify with them. When International Harvester disbanded the company town in 1961, residents were left to form their own government, just like the Russians.

For the first time, Benham residents had to pay for water, garbage pickup, electricity and taxes. People who had never had to worry about running their own town stepped forward.

"Here sat a group of coal miners, and they had to pass city ordinances and set the course," Howard said. "Before that, we had only the company rules to follow. It was a growing experience for people who had always been accustomed to living in a company atmosphere."

Over the past decade, the garden club brigade has built its power slowly, claiming the mayor's office in 1994 and regularly occupying three to five seats on the Town Council. But in the November election, three men now serving on the council opted not to seek re-election to allow the club members to take all six council seats.

"They have the interest of Benham at heart. The city is in good hands," said outgoing council member Councilman Tom Soltess.

English programmers aim to defeat Big Brother surveillance laws

A group of cryptographers think they have found a way to defeat the RIP Act, by making it impossible to hand over the keys to encrypted information.

The section of the act that has caused so much controversy in the UK gives the government the right to the plain text of, or key to, enciphered information. However, if a person has used an ephemeral key, they never know what the key is and so cannot pass it on to a third-party, and it is this vulnerability that the group wishes to exploit.

They state that their aim is "to defeat RIP Act Part3 and make it look silly, and to allow UK citizens to communicate and to store information without worrying about it. We are doing this so people can be private elsewhere than in our heads. We object to the idea that people should not be allowed to seek privacy from governments."

Lead by mathematician Peter Fairbrother, M-o-o-t is an amalgamation of encryption specialists and civil liberties campaigners, of whom most have chosen to remain anonymous. They aim to have software ready to ship by June 2001, in time for the "activation" of the RIP Act.

The group plans to ship M-o-o-t on CD. It is an alternative operating system that doesn't use local storage. That way, the group says, if your computer is seized by police, there will be nothing for them to find.

Fairbrother, quoted in IT paper Computer Weakly, said: "It is technically impossible to have an effective law, because of the state of cryptography. RIP says you have to give a key but you can use an ephemeral key - where you never knew what the key was."

He went on: "The thing that amazes me is that the government is putting in laws that a simple hobby cryptographer can overcome."

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