January-February 2007

P.O. Box 190, Mount Holly, Virginia 2252
Volume 37, Number 1, Jerry Strope, Editor


  “It is rewarding bad behavior of the North Koreans by promising fuel oil. It’s a bad signal to North Korea and it’s a bad signal to Iran. If you hold out long enough and wear down the State Department negotiators, eventually you get rewarded.”      

                                                Former UN Ambassador John Bolton Feb. 15, 2007


North Korea Starts to Disarm 
Iran Starts to Arm
Meet the Post-Katrina FEMA

North Korea Starts to Disarm 

  As we surmised, North Korea has made the road to a denuclearization agreement in the resumed six-nation talks rough by pushing for additional fuel oil and other energy payments. The key negotiations began on Thursday, February 8, with high hopes because our chief negotiator, Christopher Hill, had met “accidently” with the North Korean negotiators in Germany during January.  Even so, despite three days of hard bargaining, the talks were still hung up over the energy aid  the North would receive for closing its operating nuclear reactor. Kim  Jung Il was trying to get all he could.

  The impasse ostensibly was over the amount and timing of aid to compensate Kim for shutting down the Yongbyon reactor and readmitting international nuclear inspectors. Behind the scene though was a much larger issue—the fate of Kim’s regime. The Bush Administration has been hotly divided on the issue of regime change in North Korea. Last summer George W Bush is said to have startled the visiting Chinese president by suggesting that perhaps the time was ripe to develop a peace treaty to end the Korean War, which still is governed by an armistice. The remark must have been pleasing to China, which does not want the communist government in the north changed. The remark must have been even more pleasing to Kim Jung Il since preservation of his regime would necessarily be assured by a peace treaty. Moreover, policy students of North Korea have long argued that what the regime really wants is good relations with the United States. Yet, there have been in the US Departments of Defense and State powerful groups backing a policy of regime change.    

  President Bush apparemtly has made a decision against regime change. So,  in the face of an impasse, diplomats from the six nations made plans to return to the negotiating table for additional sessions on Sunday and if necessary into the following week. The Sunday session lasted 16 hours and lasted into the early morning hours of Monday, when a weary Christopher Hill emerged and announced that a tentative agreement had been reached on the initial steps toward North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, steps that would be the first concrete progress after more than three years of six-nation talks. Chris Hill gave away the presidential decision when he said during his announcement “We’re trying to do more than just do denuclearization for energy. We’re trying to address some of the underlying problems.”

  These negotiations have been based on the agreement of September 2005 that never was implemented partly because there was no schedule of implementation and partly because the US froze the assets of North Korea in a Macao bank accused of money laundering. 

  The latter disagreText Box:        IN MEMORIAL   TO
Jane Kahn and Cresson Kearney
In December 2003 we suffered the loss of two well-known civil defenders of the Cold War generation. Cresson Kearney passed away on December 18 at the age of 89 after a long illness. He is best known for his book, Nuclear War Survival Skills, and his invention of the Kearney Fallout Meter. Jane Kahn, who died a few days later, is best known as the widow of Herman Kahn.
ement is being resolved by one-to-one negotiations between the US and NK in which the funds in the bank are being analyzed as to which are legitimate and which are profits from drugs, counterfeiting and other criminal enterprises. Some funds are being freed up as a result.

  As to the implementation, the initial agreement requires North Korea to close down and seal the Yongbyon reactor within 60 days and allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA). A promising development is that Kim did not wait his 60 days but almost immediately announced the closedown of the reactor (albeit labeled “temporary” for NK citizens) and invited the director of IAEA to visit. Senior IAEA officials have met regularly with NK diplomats in recent months preparing for the inspections and inspectors could be on site “in days.”

  In return, Kim will receive 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, a “modest” down payment from the total aid amount of 1 million tons of fuel oil when the NK ultimately disarms. Meanwhile, the reactor will no longer be producing plutonium. Christopher Hill said the total aid package was worth about $250 million at current prices. 

  No timetable has been set for subsequent steps or dismantling of all NK nuclear programs. Four or five working groups have been set up to prepare these steps for the negotiating table One of these groups is working on a peace treaty to end the Korean War.

  The deal reached by the six nations on February 12 was immediately criticized as making too many concessions to a NK regime that had violated past agreements. The loudest objections came from John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations. A sample of his criticism is this issue’s “quotable quote.” Henry Sokolski, a former defense official in President Bush’s father’s administration, said, “The Bush administration thinks it can succeed where the Clinton adminis-tration failed because it can be trusted and is more vigilant. All of this remains to be seen. It’s not a sure thing. This, again, is ‘Trust us.’” The response of the Bush people to this is that if Kim violates this agreement or cheats, he is violating a agreement with China and Russia as well as the US.

  John Bolton and Henry Sokolski are leaders of the hard-nosed “regime change” policy advocates. Their screams of dismay are recognition that their policy position has been rejected by President Bush. 

Iran Starts to Arm

  Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been noisily locked in a nuclear standoff with the United Nations while his regime is supporting and encouraging the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon and helping train al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Iraq. In January, six Iranian gun-runners were captured in Irbil, Iraq. Near the end of January, Iran refused to admit 38 IAEA inspectors, as required under a month-old UN resolution. Iran was also under a unanimous UN Security Council resolution giving it until February 21 to suspend all enrichment and reprocessing activities.

   Iran blithely celebrated the deadline by announcing that it was about to start industrial-scale uranium enrichment by installing 3,000 centrifuges in a huge underground factory at Natanz. The report from IAEA to the Security Council confirming Iran’s refusal to suspend nuclear activities was almost an afterthought. Anticipating a negative IAEA finding, the Bush administration is readying a new resolution containing sanctions for Security Council consideration.

  A New York Times news analysis by William Broad and David Sanger suggests that Iran’s announcement of industrial-scale uranium enrichment is a piece of “political showmanship.” The many setbacks and outright failures of Tehran’s experimental program suggest that its bluster may outstrip its technical expertise, according to the authors. To enrich uranium on an industrial scale, the centrifuges must spin at very high speeds for months on end. But the latest IAEA report said the primitive machines of the Iran pilot plant ran only intermittently. Also, the Iranians were able to set up just two of the planned six groups of 164 centrifuges at the pilot plant. Observers said the industrial push made little sense given Iran’s problems in getting its experimental centrifuges to run smoothly. “From a technical point of view,” one said, “it’s illogical to stand up 3,000 centrifuges before you know how to do it.”

Meet the Post-Katrina FEMA 

  On October 4, 2006, President Bush signed into law the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act. That Act established new leadership positions within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), brought additional functions into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and amended the Homeland Security Act. On January 18, 2007, Secretary Michael Chertoff informed affected employees of the changes that will take effect on March 31, 2007. What is going to happen then? For one thing, some 500 DHS employees will be transferred into the new FEMA.

  FEMA will continue to be headed by R. David Paulison and he will take on the new title of Administrator. The new position of Administrator of FEMA is by law a Level 2 position. Now, Secretary Chertoff as a cabinet member is a Level 1. He has a deputy, the Under Secretary, who is a Level 2, same as the Administrator of the new FEMA. Will the FEMA head report to the Under Secretary? We don’t think so. Recall that Michael Brown, the putative “goat” of Katrina, told Congress he bypassed Chertoff’s offices and went directly to the White House because he couldn’t get any response otherwise. The legislative history will have Paulison reporting directly to Chertoff. There may even be circumstances under which he will report directly to the president.There will be two Deputy Administrators. One will be the Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer. This will be the principal deputy, with overall operational responsibilities at FEMA. Harvey Johnson will remain in this role. The other deputy will be the Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness, heading a new division within FEMA.

  The transfers to the new FEMA include the United States Fire Administration, the Office of Grants and Training, the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Division, the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program and the Office of National Capital Region Coordination. The new National Preparedness Division will focus on policy, contingency planning, exercise coordination and evaluation, emergency management training and hazard mitigation with respect to the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness and Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program. It will have two divisions. Readiness, Prevention and Planning will be the central office within FEMA handling preparedness policy and planning functions. The National Integration Center will maintain the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the National Response Plan.

  The Office of Grants and Training will be moved to the new FEMA and renamed the “Office of Grant Programs.” The Training and Systems Support Divisions will be transferred to the National Integration Center.

  The foregoing transfers are from the Preparedness Directorate. The legacy Preparedness Directorate will be renamed the National Protection and Programs Directorate(NPPD). It will continue to be led by Under Secretary George Foresman. It will be responsible for infrastructure protection and cyber security. Does any of this make sense to you?