Thursday, May 29, 2003

SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. President, I am very honored to again welcome you to your State Department. I also want to welcome the distinguished members of the House and Senate who are here with us today, the distinguished ambassadors behind me, [Secretary] Thompson, and our many other guests who are here today to witness this very, very important and historic signing ceremony.

As the President has said, "The advance of freedom and hope is challenged by the spread of AIDS." With President Bush's leadership and the overwhelming bipartisan support of the Congress, the United States continues to be the world's most powerful force for freedom and for hope. The spread of political and economic liberties, and breakthroughs in technology, permit us to truly envision a day in this century when most of humanity can be freed from tyranny and poverty.

Yet these promising trends, which America has done so much to advance, can be reversed if AIDS is left to rage. HIV is one of the biggest killers on the face of the earth. It is more devastating than any army, any conflict, or any weapon of mass destruction. Responding to HIV/AIDS is not only a humanitarian and a public health issue; HIV/AIDS also carries profound implications for prosperity, democracy and security. President Bush's leadership in the international campaign against AIDS is a dramatic demonstration of his deep commitment to work at home and abroad for a safer, freer, better world for all people.

As the President has said, "Seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many." And the passage by Congress of the "U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003" helps us seize that opportunity.

I want especially to thank Senator Bill Frist for his skillful stewardship of the legislation and for his passion as both a statesman and physician in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I also want to thank Congressman Tom Lantos and Chairman Henry Hyde, who is not here with us today but is here with us in spirit, as well as the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for their energetic efforts to see the bill successfully through both houses of Congress. The initiatives funded by this pathbreaking legislation are in the best tradition of the American people. I am pleased to have so many ambassadors here. AIDS is a challenge for all of our countries
and the United States will be your partner in this fight.

My colleague, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, has been a tireless advocate for this legislation. He has seen first-hand the catastrophic effects of AIDS, and I could not ask for a more determined or effective colleague in the President's campaign against HIV/AIDS than Tommy Thompson.

And so now it is now my pleasure to introduce to you all the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and my good friend, Secretary Tommy Thompson. (Applause.)

SECRETARY THOMPSON: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you, Secretary Powell. I want to thank all of the members from Congress and the Ambassadors for their tremendous support in this legislation. But like Colin and all of our colleagues, I am very proud to work for a President who cares so much about health that he exercises and eats right. (Laughter.)

He encourages our fellow Americans to develop healthy habits. Best of all, he encourages Congress and State Legislators to ensure that Americans have more choices for health insurance and healthcare, and the high quality of care that such competition provides. Thanks to people like him, Americans have an optimistic view of their health. We are living longer and living better; and we like it.

Until very recently, that view in Africa and the Caribbean was just the opposite; particularly when it comes to AIDS. The spirit I saw there can only be described as hopelessness. As recently as a few months ago, the health ministers of those affected nations waged a lonely and a doomed fight. Look at what they confronted:

In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 9% of adults have HIV/AIDS. That is already more than 25 million people, including 3 million younger than 15. Every day more than 14,000 additional Africans contract the virus and every day almost 8,500 die from it.

Experts projected that over the next 20 years it would kill 55 million Africans. In 10 years there would be 40 million orphans. In Botswana, 38 percent of adults have the virus and life expectancy has fallen below 40 years. AIDS ruthlessly strikes people down before their time, destroys economies, families, orphans, children and breeds despair.

This year, the spirit and the reality have changed. Last week in Geneva, I met with the health ministers from the countries included in the President's plan. Their eyes were glowing. Their plans were energetic. For the first time in years, hope was in their hearts. And they give the credit to the willingness of one nation and one President to fight beside them to prevent and to treat and to turn the tide against AIDS. As Chairman of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis, I share their passion, their gratitude and their thanks. And every one of them says, "Please tell the President thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

So I am very privileged today to introduce a wonderful leader, a great friend, a person leading on a very noble cause, ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States of America. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. I'm so pleased that so many could be here to witness this historic moment, as our nation sets forth a great mission of rescue. The United States of America has a long tradition of sacrifice in the cause of freedom. And we've got a long tradition of being generous in the service of humanity. We are the nation of the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, and the Peace Corps. And now we're the nation of the Emergency Plan for AIDS relief. (Applause.)

HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest medical challenges of our time. The disease has killed more than 20 million people. Today, 42 million more are living with HIV. Across Africa, this disease is filling graveyards and creating orphans and leaving millions in a desperate fight for their own lives.

They will not fight alone. Because they will have the help and the friendship of the United States of America. (Applause.) The legislation I sign today launches an emergency effort that will provide $15 billion over the next five years to fight AIDS abroad. This is the largest, single up front commitment in history for an international public health initiative involving a specific disease.

America makes this commitment for a clear reason, directly rooted in our founding. We believe in the value and dignity of every human life. (Applause.)

In the face of preventable death and suffering, we have a moral duty to act, and we are acting. I want to thank Tommy Thompson and Colin Powell for their leadership on this crucial issue. There are no better people than to trust in seeing that the great heart and compassion of America is recognized in our world through accomplishment.

I appreciate -- Tony Fauci is here. Tony has been on the front line of the war against HIV/AIDS for a long time, and I appreciate you representing the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. (Applause.) I appreciate Rich Carmona, is the U.S. Surgeon General, for joining us. Thank you for being here, Rich. (Applause.)

I want to thank a member of my staff, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, Dr. Joseph O'Neill, for his leadership. (Applause.)

It is my honor to recognize Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia is with us today, as well. (Applause.)

I'm grateful that the ambassadors and the senior officials from African and Caribbean nations are with us. I appreciate their leadership. Send a message back home that we are earnest and determined to help you wipe out AIDS in your country. (Applause.)

I want to thank all the faith-based and community activists and leaders who are here who share our passion and desire to help those who suffer. Your efforts took place long before we arrived here in Washington -- or, at least, I arrived here in Washington -- and all we want to do is stand by your side as we march down the road of a hopeful tomorrow for people who suffer.

I want to thank the members of the House and the Senate who are here. Bill Frist has been a leader on this issue and he, along with Senator Richard Lugar and Senator Joe Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered. Mr. Leader, thank you. (Applause.)

I appreciate my friend, Congressman Tom Lantos, for being here. He represents the House Foreign Relations Committee. Chairman Hyde is not here but, nevertheless, the two worked really well together. (Applause.)

I am pleased to see Senator Santorum and DeWine are here. Thank you all for coming, and thank you for your leadership on this issue. I also want to thank the members of the House, Congressmen Pitts, Smith, King, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee for joining us, as well. Thank you all for your interest and thanks for coming. (Applause.)

When I stood in front of the Congress four months ago, I was confident that the U.S. Congress would respond. I was confident that they would hear the call for a bold initiative, and they responded. And they have my gratitude and they have the gratitude of millions around the world for their leadership on this issue, and I want to thank you all very much. (Applause.)

This Act of Congress addresses one of the most urgent needs of the modern world. Because of the AIDS pandemic, a child born today in sub-Sahara Africa has a life expectancy of 47 years. This disease falls most heavily on women and children. Nearly 60 percent of those infected by HIV in sub-Sahara Africa are women. Three million African children under 15 have the AIDS virus, 3 million. And the disease has left 11 million orphans, more children than live in the entire state of California.

Behind these numbers are names. There is Mbongeni, a 15 year old boy who lost both his mother and father to AIDS, and now struggles to feed his two siblings and two nephews.

There is Leonora, the mother of five in Kenya, who cares for five other children she has taken into her home -- all of them AIDS orphans, all of whom would be on the streets without her love. There is Ruth, a young mother dying of AIDS at 24, ostracized by her late husband's family, asking, "Who will take care of my children?"

This is the daily reality of a continent in crisis, and America will not look away. This great nation is stepping forward to help. The fight against AIDS is difficult, but not hopeless. We know how to prevent AIDS, and we know how to treat it. The cost of effective medicines has fallen dramatically. And we made progress here in our own country where we have increased spending for domestic HIV prevention and care and treatment by 7 percent in next year's budget. We will also help the people across Africa who are struggling against this disease, and those who have proven on a day-by-day basis the battle can be won.

We see hope in the work of individuals like the former President of Zambia who lost his son to AIDS, a son who left several children to the care of their grandfather. The good President turned his grief to good works and created the Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation. His foundation pays for food and medical care and schooling for AIDS orphans. Mr. President, we honor you for your service and for the example you have shown to others who live on your ravished continent. Thank you for coming today, sir. (Applause.)

We see hope in the many religious and educational institutions that are doing effective work on the front line of the AIDS crisis. Catholic Medical Mission Board, for example, runs 15 clinics in southern Africa and Haiti, where more than 20,000 pregnant women each year receive HIV testing and counseling and drug therapy to prevent the transmission of the virus to their children.

I want to thank Jack Galbraith for the fine work of Catholic Medical Mission. And I want to thank all of you all who have heard that call to love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. Thank you for your service to those who suffer. May God continue to bless your work. (Applause.)

We see hope in the actions of African governments that are acting responsibly and aggressively to fight AIDS. The nation of Uganda is pursuing a successful strategy of prevention, emphasizing abstinence and marital fidelity, as well as the responsible use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission. The results in Uganda have been remarkable. The AIDS infection rate has fallen sharply since 1990, and in some places the percentage of pregnant women with HIV has been cut in half. The Uganda plan is proving that major progress is possible.

And now we must spread that progress to suffering nations throughout the world. By the legislation I will sign today, the United States of America will take the side of individuals and groups and governments fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa and other parts of the world. We'll provide unprecedented resources to the effort. And we will keep our commitment until we have turned the tide against AIDS. (Applause.)

Under this legislation, America will provide additional money for the Global Fund for AIDS Relief, and additional funding for our efforts in many countries to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease. And we will focus our efforts on 12 African and two Caribbean countries where HIV/AIDS is heavily concentrated.

We will purchase low-cost anti-retroviral medications and other drugs that are needed to save lives. We will set up a broad and efficient network to deliver drugs to the farthest reaches of Africa. Even by motorcycle, or bicycle. We will train doctors and nurses and other health care professionals so they can treat HIV/AIDS patients. We will renovate and, where necessary, build and equip clinics and laboratories. We will support the care of AIDS orphans by training and hiring child care workers. We'll provide home-based care to ease the suffering of people living with AIDS.

We'll provide HIV testing throughout all regions of the targeted countries. We'll support abstinence-based prevention education for young people in schools and churches and community centers. We will assist faith-based and community organizations to provide treatment prevention and support services in communities affected by HIV/AIDS. We are developing a system to monitor and evaluate this entire program, so we can truly say to people, we care more about results than words. We're interested in lives saved. And lives will be saved. (Applause.)

This comprehensive program has the potential in this decade to prevent 7 million new HIV infections, provide life-extending drugs to at least 2 million infected people, give humane care to 10 million HIV sufferers and AIDS orphans. This is a massive undertaking, and the dedicated men and women of the United States government are eager to get started.

To coordinate this effort, I will soon nominate a global AIDS coordinator who will have the rank of ambassador. This coordinator will work closely with the Departments of State and Health and Human Services, as well as with USAID and the Centers for Disease Control, to direct the efforts in the worldwide fight against AIDS.

I'm going to Europe here at the end of this week, and I will challenge our partners and our friends to follow our lead and to make a similar commitment made by the United States of America so we can save even more lives. (Applause.)

I will remind them that time is not on our side. Every day of delay means 8,000 more AIDS deaths in Africa and 14,000 more infections -- every day, 14,000 more people will be infected. I'll urge our European partners and Japan and Canada to join this great mission of rescue, to match their good intentions with real resources.

The suffering in Africa is great. The suffering in the Caribbean is great. The United States of America has the power and we have the moral duty to help. And I'm proud that our blessed and generous nation is fulfilling that duty. (Applause.)

Now, it is my honor and high privilege to sign this life-saving piece of legislation. God bless you all. (Applause.)

(The bill is signed.) (Applause.)

The weakening dollar means trouble for Europe.

This time it isn't American bombs that are falling with ruinous effect, but the American dollar. Some attribute this new onslaught on Europe's well being to the Bush administration's public abandonment of the "strong dollar" policy that was former Treasury secretary Robert Rubin's contribution to Clintonomics. Economists know better. It is economic fundamentals that determine exchange rates, and neither interventions by central bankers nor speeches by politicians can indefinitely and costlessly prevent currencies from realigning in response to those fundamentals.

So much for those who see in the dollar's decline a Bush administration plot to retaliate against France and Germany for their U.N. antics by unleashing the dogs of economic war. The White House has insufficient power over exchange rates to claim credit for those countries' plight. That credit must go to the European Central bank and the French and German governments.

The ECB has stubbornly refused to lower interest rates sufficiently to accommodate the needs of Europe's largest slumping economies. And now it is too late. Experts estimate that the recent rise in the euro has a growth-stifling impact equivalent to a two-percentage-point rise in interest rates. Since the Bank has cut rates by only a 0.75 percentage point until now, it would have to lower them by 1.25 percentage points more from the current level of 2.5 percent when it meets next month to offset the dollar's plunge.

A reduction of that magnitude won't happen. Wim Duisenberg, ECB president, says he sees no problem with the euro's rise against the dollar. He continues to fight the last war, aiming euroland monetary policy at preventing inflation when the real threat is a deflation, a phenomenon with consequences best described by John Maynard Keynes 80 years ago. Deflation, he wrote, "amounts to giving notice to every merchant and manufacturer that for some time to come his stock and his raw materials will steadily depreciate, . . . and to every one who finances his business with borrowed money that he will, sooner or later, lose . . . on his liabilities. . . . Modern business . . . must necessarily be brought to a standstill. It will be to the interest of everyone in business to go out of business for the time being; and of everyone who is contemplating expenditure to postpone his orders so long as he can."

Fortunately, the dollar's decline is an unmitigated plus for the United States. Indeed, it may be the final piece of the policy mix needed to put the economy on course to more rapid growth. Start with looser fiscal policy. Even though the $350 billion, 10-year tax cut that the president will get from congress is trivial in an economy that should produce something like $140 trillion in goods and services over that decade, the extra dollars in consumers' pockets might shore up confidence by giving them a sense that "compassion" is not being neglected by the conservative they sent to the White House a few years ago.

Monetary policy is also just about right to help the economy along. Despite what Alan Greenspan last week called "disappointing" labor market and production data, the Federal Reserve Board chairman told congress that "the consensus expectation for a pickup in economic activity is not unreasonable. . . . The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative. . . . Interest rates remain low, and funds seem to be readily available to creditworthy borrowers." Meanwhile, consumers are refinancing their mortgages so as to "continue to bolster consumer spending and the purchase of new homes."

Add lower energy prices, the recent increase in the backlog of orders for non-defense capital goods (excluding aircraft), rising profits, and continued improvements in productivity, and you have a rather bright picture--although one not without clouds. Should those clouds darken dangerously, Greenspan points out that he has not "run out of monetary ammunition" with which to dispel them.

The final bit of good news is that the dollar is likely to remain "under downward pressure," according to White House adviser turned consultant Larry Lindsey. The American trade deficit is at record levels, and low interest rates and a shaky stock market make it less attractive for foreigners to hold dollar assets. The cheaper dollar, equivalent to the stimulative effect of a 1.5 percentage point cut in interest rates, according to the Fed's models, should stimulate exports and make imports increasingly costly, both of which will give the labor market a fillip. And in this best of all possible worlds, the presence of excess capacity and intense competition should prevent the dollar's decline from triggering domestic inflation.

Meanwhile, euroland watches as the Chinese keep the renminbi pegged to the dollar, and the Japanese intervene to drive down the yen, at least temporarily. That is forcing euroland to absorb virtually the entire impact of the dollar's fall, threatening to throw the region into recession.

Whether that prospect will finally force Germany and France to implement the economic reforms that successive American presidents have been urging upon them is uncertain. Intrusive regulation, rewards for staying out of work, penalties for creating jobs, and stifling taxes are deeply embedded in those nations' welfare states. The falling dollar might, just might, provide the impetus for economic regime change that the first D-Day provided for political change almost 60 years ago.

It turns out that the Arab TV network was on Saddam's payroll. Surprise!

AS FIERCE FIGHTING in southern Iraq claimed the lives of coalition fighters in early April, Ali Moh'd Kamal, the marketing director for al Jazeera, defended his network's willingness to show British and American soldiers captured by the Iraqis.

"This is the first time the Arab media have had the upper hand on the western media," he told the Mirror, a London newspaper.

He was right, of course. On Tuesday, when al Jazeera fired its director general, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, the world was reminded once again of one significant reason--Saddam Hussein's regime infiltrated media outlets throughout the region, including al Jazeera.

According to a dispatch from Agence France Presse, hardly a pro-American outlet, al-Ali was canned after the Sunday Times of London reported earlier this month on documents uncovered linking him and two other al Jazeera employees to Saddam's regime. Al Jazeera has confirmed the report of Al-Ali's dismissal, but denies that he was let go because of suspicions about his ties to the Iraqi regime.

On May 11, 2003, the Mirror's Marie Coyle wrote: "A document headed 'Presidency of the Republic, Mukhabarat Service,' indicates apparent contact between the intelligence agency and Mohammed Jasim Al-Ali, the station's managing director." While Coyle reported that there was not yet evidence that al-Ali had been paid off, the documents directly implicated two other al Jazeera employees.

According to one document, authored by an Iraqi operative working in the regime's embassy in Qatar, an al Jazeera employee Iraqi intelligence referred to as Jazeera 2 passed letters from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein. "[Jazeera 2] has a distinguished stand in the co-operation with us, continuously providing us with the information we request. I made him aware of the appreciation of his efforts. He has been presented with a set of gold jewelry for his wife."

The documents also stressed the importance of keeping quiet the contacts between al Jazeera and the regime for fear that any disclosure of the relationship could cause Iraq to "lose [Al-Jazeera] as an instrument employed by us."

These revelations support claims in a CIA document first reported by The Weekly Standard earlier this month. That report, "Baghdad's Propaganda Apparatus," offers a detailed analysis of the regime's efforts to co-opt Arab journalists with cash and gifts. It also named Rahim Mizyad, a close associate of Uday Hussein, who coordinated Iraqi media, as one of the agents working for al Jazeera:

"Saddam's son Uday . . . assigned a writer, closely associated to him, Rahim Mizyad, as the correspondent to the al-Jazirah satellite television channel. Mizyad also is head of several weekly newspapers in Iraq and General Press Coordinator of all Iraqi governates, but Uday oversees his work."

The efforts of the regime to win propaganda were hardly limited to al Jazeera. The CIA report, along with firsthand accounts from Arab journalists, paints a troubling picture of the Arab media coverage--or, as important, lack of coverage--of the Iraqi regime.

The Iraqi Ministry of Information, under the guidance of Uday and Tariq Aziz, "focused on determining the stories to be pushed, and assigning Iraqi resources overseas to conduct media operations." The Information Ministry coordinated its efforts with the Iraqi Intelligence Service (the Mukhabarat), which, according to the CIA report, "participates in the internal decision-making process, recruits media and other assets, delivers propaganda material and instructions to them, and provides payoffs. A variety of reporting indicates that journalists in the Middle East and Europe have been recruited to assist Iraq."

Some of the transactions were obvious--like cash handouts to journalists at the Iraqi Embassy in Amman, Jordan. Others were hidden. Saddam "would award big contracts to newspapers in Jordan to publish all sorts of stuff, like Iraqi schoolbooks and other things," says Salama Nimat, a Jordanian journalist who investigated connections between the Iraqi regime and politicians and journalists in Jordan. "The contracts were worth millions, and no one ever found out if they ever printed the books. No one cared."

These practices are not new. They were covered both before and after the first Gulf War. "For years, the Iraqi leader has been waging an intensive, sometimes clandestine, and by most accounts highly effective image war in the Arab world," wrote Wall Street Journal reporters Jane Mayer and Geraldine Brooks in an exposé published on February 15, 1991. "His strategy has ranged from financing friendly publications and columnists as far away as Paris to doling out gifts as big as new Mercedes-Benzes."

Curiously, as the American press struggles with questions about its own credibility, editors here have taken a pass on what one might think is a major story overseas. The New York Times ran a 98-word item on the al Jazeera firing on May 28, and it got a brief mention on MSNBC. It may be that the news about the dismissal broke too late to include it in newspapers out Wednesday. But the broadcast networks have largely skipped the story and only a handful of reporters followed up on the previous reports of collusion between the Iraqi regime and al Jazeera.

Will this time be different?

Digital technology transforms logistics in Iraqi Freedom
Time and digital technology helped win Operation Iraqi Freedom, even if huge gambles were taken with extended supply lines, said Army generals in charge of logistics at a video teleconference May 19.

The build up to both wars in the Persian Gulf took about six months but there were big differences in getting soldiers to the front line, said Brig Gen. Vincent Boles from Baghdad.

There was virtually no equipment pre-positioned in the Persian Gulf area before Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and moving that equipment there was critical, said Boles, the commander of Army Material Command's Logistics Support Element in Iraq.

Port size and the numbers of ports were probably one of the biggest differences between Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, said Brig. Gen. Jack Stulz, the deputy commander of the 377th Transportation Support Command.

Kuwait has just one port dedicated to commercial shipping and that limited the number of ships that could be in port, he said.

There are three big ports in Saudi Arabia and that allowed a larger amount of ships to off-load at the same time during Desert Storm, he explained.

The "key" for OIF was the Army Pre-positioned Stocks of vehicles, ammunition and supplies that floated or sat in warehouses before the war, Stulz said.

Those supplies and vehicles were enough to field five brigade-sized units, he said.

Distances in the two wars were very similar but their approach to the building up for those eventual wars was vastly different, Stulz said.

In Saudi Arabia the distance from the port to the frontline was about 600 kilometers while that distance in Kuwait was only about 75 kilometers, Stulz said.

But the distances those supplies had to travel from Kuwait into Iraq extended to about 600 kilometers, he said.

During Operation Desert Storm the Army tried to build mountains of supplies, about 60 days worth, he said.

For Operation Iraqi Freedom there were only about five to seven days of supplies on hand, Stulz said.

"We didn't build mountains, we moved it and smoothed it out much like you do in civilian business," said Stulz, who is an activated Army Reservist, of the build up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The advent of digital technology also helped track what supplies were on a ship, where on that particular ship they were and where the ship was, said Boles.

During Desert Storm, the Army could track what was on the ships bound for Saudi Arabia, but not where a certain container of spare parts was because that technology simply wasn't around then, he said.

But it was new technology in OIF -- that proved the transformation idea -that also helped track where supply convoys were on the ground in Iraq, said Brig. Gen. Jerome Johnson.

The new Blue Force Tracking system that uses Global Positioning Systems proved instrumental to finding out where supplies were, said Johnson the director for plans, operations and logistics readiness for the Army's G-4.

Often times a unit from the 3rd Infantry Division might report a particular location and be gone before a supply convoy could arrive, he said. Commanders could track the movement of that unit and direct the supplies to that new place, he said.

While the tracking system isn't on every vehicle in the Army, the war proved that the system does work and funding to put on every vehicle is being worked out, Johnson said.

What went exceedingly well was the joint effort between the branches of the U.S., Stulz said.

"We took combined equipment to war as one team, in one fight," he said.

Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies opens

The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, a joint research collaboration between the Army and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, formally opened during a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., May 22.

Founded in March 2002 by a $50 million grant from the Army, the institute's mission is to develop technologies for advancing soldier protection and survivability, officials said, by combining basic and applied research in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Scientists and engineers will be reaching for large results from the smallest of objects. Often at the level of manipulating individual atoms and molecules, nanotechnology involves the design and production of new materials or complex devices at the nanometer scale. A nanometer is about 50,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.

The research may be obtuse, but the benefits are clear, said Charles Vest, president of MIT, during the ceremony. The vision is a 21st century lightweight bulletproof and waterproof battle uniform no thicker than ordinary spandex that monitors health, eases injuries, communicates automatically and potentially lends superhuman abilities.

"We already have the smartest soldiers. Now we're going to give them the smartest uniforms," said Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

Maj. Gen. John Doesburg, transition team director, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (Provisional), said the importance of the new institute "cannot be overstated."

"When you look back to the Middle Ages and fast forward to today, we can't say we've come a long way," Doesburg said. "The technology that we saw today is revolutionary. What better place than this to do it."

Nanotechnology once seemed far-fetched, but new equipment and tools can already create new materials, and in coming years we'll develop new machines for nanomaterials, said Vest.

Bolton said it was only in the last 10 years that scientists were able to

actually see atoms.

"You can't do better than at the atomic level," said Richard Smalley, a professor at Rice University, who further emphasized the thought expressed by previous speakers that the benefits of the institute affect more than the military. "In all this nurturing, we may make the next new technology that leads all people to prosperity. This research will lead to other discoveries that will help the world."

Spc. Jason Ashline from the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, N.Y., testified to the importance of the work to be done before cutting the ribbon to open the institute. During a firefight in Afghanistan, the infantryman survived a hit to the chest from an AK-47 rifle round because of the protective body armor he was wearing.

Guests at the event were guided on tours of the Institute's 28,000 square feet of space on the fourth and fifth floors of 500 Technology Square on MIT's campus. The space consists of extensive, flexible laboratories; offices for students, visiting researchers and MIT faculty; and headquarters.

Research is currently under way in protection, performance improvement, and injury intervention and cure.

At three stations, demonstrators showed how fluids could be used to engineer a dynamic armor system that automatically changes from flexible to stiff when a ballistic threat is detected, how two separate nanoscale coatings for water resistance and microbe-killing can be combined and applied to textiles, and a method of creating artificial muscles that could provide extra strength for lifting or jumping, or serve as automatic tourniquets.

The facility contains state-of-the-art nano-fabrication and nano-characterization capabilities along with easy access to the rest of MIT's research infrastructure.

About 150 faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral research associates divided into seven research teams will apply their skills on nearly 50 research projects. Several visiting scientists from Army laboratories and participating industrial partners also will be part of the staff.

Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md.; U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center and U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, both at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass.; and industry partners illustrated their roles in making an

advanced uniform system with displays at a first floor exhibit.

Roaming about the displays were soldiers wearing the latest uniforms for Objective Force Warrior and Future Warrior. Both are product concepts that will incorporate nanotechnology.

While a transition government is to be installed in the Congo in June, the UN program for voluntary disarmament remains a failure. The recent violence in Ituri, where hundreds have died horrifically, illustrates MONUC's impotence. A new approach is needed to disarm and reintegrate Hutu rebels in eastern Congo. The UN monitoring mission urgently needs deployment of a rapid reaction force to restore order in Ituri and prevent further massacres of the civilians it is already mandated to protect. It also needs military capacity to deter Hutu rebels from destabilising Rwanda and to back renewed diplomatic efforts for voluntary disarmament. The Security Council should seize the opportunity of a new transitional government to give a dynamism to disarmament efforts, and the international community must convince Rwanda that the solution to ending the violent spiral is its own political opening.

The Indonesian government has set a 12 May 2003 deadline for the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to accept Indonesian sovereignty or face all-out war. However the International Crisis Group has repeatedly warned that a military approach alone will not solve this conflict, largely because of the Indonesian military's inability to control its own troops. The move toward war in Aceh underscores the urgent need for military reform to get back on track, and for domestic and international pressure to be exerted toward that end. Opportunities for resumption of negotiations should be continuously explored and all possible effort made to ensure that military operations are kept as limited, as transparent and as short as possible.

While the world’s attention for the past decade has focused on the struggle between Myanmar’s military government and the political opposition, the underlying conflicts between the central government and ethnic minority groups perhaps represent a more fundamental and intractable obstacle to peace, development and democracy. The basic grievance of ethnic minorities in Myanmar is their lack of influence on the political process. However, they also face a major challenge to build political and organisational capacity to ensure that they are not left out of potential negotiations on the future of the country and can continue to represent the interests of their communities.

ICG Middle East Report N°14

Scepticism about the Middle East Roadmap is warranted: in its current form, it is unlikely to lead to its stated destination – a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 2005. But it could still be a catalyst for change. The Roadmap has two major flaws. It basically adheres to the same failed gradualist, sequential logic of the Oslo agreement, and it does not provide a detailed, fleshed-out definition of a permanent status agreement. But it is a very public reminder of first principles: the need to end violent confrontation, to cease settlement activity, and to rapidly replace occupation and conflict with a permanent political settlement in which a viable and sovereign Palestinian state lives alongside a secure Israel. This report makes specific recommendations to the Quartet, U.S., Israelis and Palestinians about how to maximise the effectiveness of the new approach.


A simple but effective formula exists for peace in diverse societies. It consists of a civic contract: the government recognises and supports special rights for minorities, and minorities acknowledge the authority of the government. No elements of such a contract currently exist in Kosovo. The Albanians remain reluctant to support enhanced rights for the Serb minority, and the Serb community does not recognise the authority of Kosovo's institutions. Moreover, Kosovo is not a state and the future status of the province remains unresolved. After four years of United Nations authority in Kosovo, the foundation of this civic contract and of sustainable peace has not been laid.

Instead the status dilemma has become a zero-sum game. The Albanians will accept nothing less than independence, and the Serbs firmly want to remain part of Serbia. Serbs argue that their rights will not be protected in an independent Kosovo. Albanians believe that their security will only be guaranteed with independence, and threaten renewed conflict if their independence aspirations are not met.

This report outlines a way out of the dilemma that avoids the dangerous option of partition yet recognises the need of the Serb minority to be protected. The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), with the support of the international community, must begin to build the foundation of a civic contract. UNMIK's vague and unrealistic policy of multiethnicity and integration, as well as the unclear "standards before status" process, cannot build this foundation. Serbs and other minorities must be given credible guarantees that they will have institutional space in Kosovo - the ability to protect and promote their rights through Kosovo's institutions. In the interests of protecting the Serb minority and creating a more stable environment in Kosovo it is important that action commence immediately to create this institutional space. Such action would facilitate necessary final status negotiations but should not be seen by either Albanians or Serbs as prejudicing or predetermining their outcome.

ICG proposes the creation of a real incentive structure to treat minorities as full and equal citizens, with clear penalties for bad behaviour and rewards for good behaviour. A committee on public services for minorities should also be established, outlining what needs to be done to improve service provision and formulating a gradual plan to dissolve parallel structures. The electoral system should be reworked so that politicians (of all ethnicities) at the central level are more accountable. A Charter of Rights outlining individual and group rights should be established, accompanied by a strong judicial instrument that ensures the enforcement of these rights. And while the decentralisation initiative should pay special attention to the needs of minority communities, UNMIK and the Council of Europe should exercise extreme caution before drawing any boundaries on an ethnic basis, even for sub-municipal units. The focus should be on improving local governance and ensuring that municipal bodies have the capacity and resources to do their job.

Establishing this institutional space for minorities ultimately depends on the willingness of Serbs and Albanians to cooperate, and both need assistance and encouragement from UNMIK and the broader international community. Albanian politicians must go beyond their current rhetoric and recognise that rights for minority communities are not concessions undermining the potential future independence of Kosovo but an essential precondition. During status negotiations Albanian leaders and the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) will be judged on how they treat Serbs and other minorities. Albanian leaders - from all political parties - must proactively work to respect minority rights in concrete terms and foster a more tolerant environment.

The majority of the Serb population hesitates even to engage with UNMIK. Previous agreements have produced few benefits of cooperation for pragmatic Serb leaders to show their community. A renewed and tangible commitment from UNMIK and the international community to create institutional space for minorities could reenergise relations with the Serb community. Instead of constantly turning to Belgrade, Serb leaders should utilise this opportunity to fight for their rights within Kosovo’s institutions.

A cooperative Belgrade will also be essential. Through continued support to parallel structures of government and inflammatory statements about partition, Belgrade acts as a spoiler to the establishment of a civic contract between Kosovo’s Serbs and Albanians. After the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the international community appears reluctant to place pressure on it to play a constructive role in Kosovo. While democratic reform in Serbia needs strong support, it is in Belgrade’s long-term interest to cooperate with UNMIK to create a stable political environment in Kosovo. Serb nationalists in both Belgrade and Kosovo will no doubt be inclined to resist anything they see as prejudicing retention of Serbian sovereignty in the final status negotiations, but it can be put to them that their constructive engagement with Kosovo governing institutions in this respect would not in itself require any modification of their position on sovereignty, would enhance their international standing in the run up to those negotiations, and at the same time deliver immediate and tangible benefits to the Serb minority.

The report advocates a phased approach to create a civic contract governing ethnic relations in Kosovo. The foundation for the contract – the measures outlined above to establish an institutional space for minorities – should be implemented immediately. During status discussions, the civic contract itself would then be finalised. This requires the international community to send a clear message to Albanian leaders that their goal of independence within existing boundaries can only be realistic if the majority community ensures that minority communities are able to live in Kosovo as free and equal citizens.



1. Clarify and refocus existing efforts to establish an institutional space with credible guarantees for Kosovo’s minorities. Work with both Albanian and Serb leaders in Kosovo to establish elements of that space, including by:

(a) establishing a system of rewards and penalties – financial bonuses, recognition for municipalities and institutions that perform well, penalties and fines for individuals and institutions, loss of employment and prosecution for those who engage in discriminatory practices – to ensure institutions at both the central and local level have an incentive to behave appropriately towards minority communities;

(b) creating a committee on services to minority communities that would assess the current level of services, examine how to improve it, and plan for gradual disbandment of parallel structures;

(c) producing a Charter of Rights that would outline the rights of the individual as well as minorities, include all existing provision of the Constitutional Framework, and expand minority rights if deemed necessary;

(d) putting in place a strong judicial mechanism to implement the Charter, initially utilizing existing international judges and prosecutors; and

(e) reworking the electoral system to ensure greater accountability of central level representatives.

2. Exercise caution in downsizing international staff, ensuring that appropriate mechanisms to protect minority rights are in place before withdrawing internationals.

3. Engage actively with Serb leaders and communities to rebuild the trust needed to establish the foundation for the contract.

To the United States and the European Union:

4. Encourage UNMIK to clarify and refocus its current efforts – such as the “standards before status” process – to build a real institutional space with credible guarantees for Kosovo’s minorities, particularly the Serb minority.

5. Support UNMIK in creating this institutional space for minorities through demarches to the PISG, as well as to leaders of the Albanian and Serb communities, strongly encouraging them to cooperate.

6. Commit the resources necessary – particularly in the crucial justice sector – to undertake activities associated with establishing institutional guarantees for minorities.

7. Encourage Belgrade, with financial incentives and disincentives if necessary, to cooperate with UNMIK in its efforts to disband the parallel structures gradually.

8. Begin preparations for final status discussions, including exploration of appropriate institutional ties between Serbia and Kosovo’s Serb community.

To the Wider Donor Community:

9. Support the advocacy efforts of the United States and the European Union through demarches to UNMIK, the PISG, Albanian and Serbian political leaders, as well as Belgrade.

10. Provide additional human and financial resources as needed to support UNMIK’s effort to establish an institutional space for minorities.

To the Council of Europe Decentralisation Mission:

11. Exercise extreme caution on any ethnically based decentralisation strategy and focus efforts to improve local governance on capacity, establishment of clear lines of authority between centre and municipality, and resources.

To Authorities in Belgrade:

12. Stop inflammatory statements on Kosovo partition.

13. Support the establishment of an institutional space for Serbs and work with UNMIK to disband parallel structures in Kosovo.

14. Cease attempts to link Kosovo’s final status with the status of Republika Srpska in Bosnia.

To Kosovo Albanian Leaders:

15. Support the creation of the institutional space for Serb communities and other minorities, including the elements outlined above, and exercise leadership on minority right issues by undertaking concrete measures including by:

(a) implementing the right for minorities to use their language freely and have education, including higher education, in their own language;

(b) carrying out Prime Minister Rexhepi’s strategy of providing equal employment opportunities in the public sector to minorities; and

(c) allocating a fair share of public resources to minority communities.

16. Discipline members of political parties and public officials who do not respect the rights of minorities.

To Kosovo Serb Leaders:

17. Take every opportunity to use judicial and institutional instruments to advance their rights.

18. Stop boycotts and walk-outs from the Assembly and actively participate in Assembly committees and the Transition Council.

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