[Intelforum] Secrecy News -- 09/24/10
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from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2010, Issue No. 76
September 24, 2010
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
** AID TO FLOODED PAKISTAN SLOW TO MATERIALIZE
** AMERICAN JIHADIST TERRORISM, AND MORE FROM CRS
** INDICTMENT AGAINST PHYSICIST IS HIGHLY ENRICHED
AID TO FLOODED PAKISTAN SLOW TO MATERIALIZE
"Pakistan is in the midst of a catastrophic natural disaster that has
precipitated a humanitarian crisis of major proportions," a new report
from the Congressional Research Service observes. The widespread flooding
that has displaced millions of Pakistanis also represents a political
crisis that "may undermine the already waning legitimacy of the civilian
government" and a security crisis that has "already diverted Pakistani
resources and focus away from its struggle with Islamic militants."
Yet "despite the unprecedented scale of the flood disaster in Pakistan and
more than 20 million people affected, aid donations from around the world
have been much slower to materialize than other natural disasters such as
the earthquake in Haiti," the CRS said.
Possible reasons for the comparatively limited response include the
gradual nature of the flooding, the paucity of press coverage, the limited
death toll, Pakistan's image problem among potential donors, the worldwide
recession, and the fact that "the floods occurred in summer when many in
western nations are on vacation."
Under the best of circumstances, however, "International assistance after
a catastrophe rarely, if ever, meets the need," the CRS said. Meanwhile,
the United States government already leads international efforts in
emergency relief to Pakistan with total FY2010 aid estimated at nearly
The CRS report provides a detailed survey of what is known of the
humanitarian, economic and political implications of the flood and the
international response to date.
"The long-term effects of the flooding are likely to present daunting
challenges to the country. The long-term effects are likely to manifest
themselves in two ways that have significance to the United States and
Congress. One aspect is the humanitarian toll that is likely to emerge
from displaced people, disease, food security, and an economic decline.
Another aspect is the strategic concerns that could result from a weakened
government, and a dissatisfied and disenfranchised population."
See "Flooding in Pakistan: Overview and Issues for Congress," September
Many charities and relief organizations offer opportunities to contribute
to flood relief in Pakistan, including the American Jewish World Service,
which highlights the Pakistan crisis on its home page:
AMERICAN JIHADIST TERRORISM, AND MORE FROM CRS
An apparent spike in Islamist terrorist plots by American citizens and
residents is examined in another new report from the Congressional
"This report describes homegrown violent jihadists and the plots and
attacks that have occurred since 9/11." The report uses the term
"jihadist" to refer to "radicalized individuals using Islam as an
ideological and/or religious justification for their belief in the
establishment of a global caliphate."
The 128-page report describes the radicalization process and the responses
of government and law enforcement agencies. An appendix provides details
about each post-9/11 incident of "homegrown jihadist terrorist plots and
attacks" while a second appendix describes engagement and partnership
activities by federal agencies with Muslim-American communities.
See "American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat," September
Other new reports from CRS include the following.
"The Mexican Economy After the Global Financial Crisis," September 9,
"Deflation: Economic Significance, Current Risk, and Policy Responses,"
August 30, 2010:
INDICTMENT AGAINST PHYSICIST IS HIGHLY ENRICHED
The indictment of former Los Alamos physicist Leo Mascheroni and his wife
Marjorie Mascheroni on charges of attempting to sell classified nuclear
weapons information to a foreign government includes a garbled account of
nuclear weapons technology, potentially casting doubt on the credibility
of the allegations against the couple, the New York Times disclosed.
In the indictment (at p. 8), Mascheroni supposedly described "a secret
underground nuclear reactor for... enriching plutonium." But this makes
no sense, since plutonium is not and cannot be enriched in a nuclear
reactor. The misstatement or misunderstanding of this matter enhances the
possibility that other parts of the indictment are equally questionable.
The error in the indictment was reported in "Lawyers Look to Exploit a
Scientific Error" by William J. Broad, New York Times, September 24:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
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