enero 28, 2011

21.12.2007: EMBASSY MINSK WEEKLY POL/ECON REPORT - December 21, 2007

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MINSK 001045

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, ECON, ENRG, BO

SUBJECT: EMBASSY MINSK WEEKLY POL/ECON REPORT - December 21, 2007

1. The following are brief items of interest compiled by Embassy

Minsk.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Civil Society

-------------

- Market Vendors Conduct Nationwide Strike (para. 2)

- Opposition Groups Protest Social Benefit Cuts (para. 3)

- BGKB Resumes Malady Front Criminal Case (para. 4)

- Small Business Activists Jailed and Fined (para. 5)

- BKGB Raids Opposition Office (para. 6)

- Court Denies "For Freedom" Registration (para. 7)

Domestic Economy

----------------

- GOB Purports to Simplify Business Registration (para. 8)

- First U.S. Investment in Belarus´ Banking System (para. 9)

International Trade

-------------------

- Direct Investment Increases (para. 10)

Quote of the Week (para. 11)

-----------------

-------------

Civil Society

-------------

2. Market Vendors Conduct Nationwide Strike

Tens of thousands of market vendors around Belarus took part in a

one-day strike December 19, protesting recently announced hiring

restrictions and last week´s court rulings against five small

business activists. Anatoliy Shumchenko, the leader of the

pro-entrepreneur group Perspektiva, led the strike. Vendors in all

regional capitals except Vitebsk participated. Another association

of small business owners, For the Free Development of Enterprise,

plans to begin an open-ended nationwide strike against the employee

restrictions on January 1, the day the new restrictions are to be

implemented.

3. Opposition Groups Protest Social Benefit Cuts

United Civic Party (UCP) activists demonstrated in Minsk December 15

and distributed leaflets protesting social benefit cuts. According

to UCP Chair Anatoliy Lebedko, authorities denied approval for

approximately 800 rallies across Belarus, but could not prevent

activists from distributing printed materials. Over 10 people

staged an authorized hour-long rally in a remote part of Mogilyov

December 16. About 100 people demonstrated for 45 minutes and

peacefully dispersed in Gomel. Police briefly detained two

opposition youths in central Brest December 16 for passing out

leaflets to protest the cuts, seizing 64 fliers. On December 17, 20

opposition activists organized a flash mob in Brest. Two activists

there were also briefly detained and released without charges.

4. BGKB Resumes Malady Front Criminal Case

The Gomel BGKB December 14 resumed its criminal case against youth

opposition activist Andrey Tenyuta on charges of acting on behalf of

the unregistered organization Malady Front (MF). The BGKB initially

opened a criminal case September 18 after repeatedly questioning

Tenyuta and confiscating his computer during a raid on his

apartment. Tenyuta unsuccessfully petitioned for the return of the

equipment after authorities suspended the case in November. He is

now facing up to two years in jail on charges of "discrediting state

agencies, destabilizing the social and political situation, and

engaging youth with radical propaganda."

5. Small Business Activists Jailed and Fined

A Minsk district court December 17 sentenced small business activist

Nikolay Sergeyenko to ten days in jail on petty hooliganism charges.

The police detained Sergeyenko December 6 during a search of his

offices, charging him with disorderly conduct and using profanity.

In a separate case, a judge in Gomel December 18 fined small

business activist Irina Kaminskaya 350,000 rubles (USD 170) on

charges of violating laws regarding mass events. Kaminskaya has

been active distributing printed materials protesting new business

regulations.

6. BKGB Raids Opposition Office

BKGB officers raided the United Civic Party (UCP) Gomel office

December 14 and seized printed materials and DVDs. The officers

MINSK 00001045 002 OF 002

asserted that they were looking for fliers calling for protests

against social benefit cuts. On December 15, the BKGB searched the

apartment of Gomel UCP office Deputy Head Vladimir Katsora and

confiscated over 5,000 leaflets.

7. Court Denies "For Freedom" Registration

The Supreme Court December 18 upheld the Ministry of Justice´s (MOJ)

registration denial for opposition leader Aleksandr Milinkevich´s

movement "For Freedom" (FF). It is the third registration denial

based on violations of laws governing mass events. The MOJ asserted

that the group´s founding convention held August 11 was illegal and

unsanctioned. FF Deputy Head Yuriy Gubarevich maintained that the

FF would hold additional founding conventions and continue to submit

registration applications.

----------------

Domestic Economy

----------------

8. GOB Purports to Simplify Business Registration

President Lukashenko December 17 signed Decree Number 8, to simplify

the registration process for new businesses. Starting on January 1,

registration agencies will no longer examine application papers,

instead holding applicants liable for any non-compliance with

regulations. The decree also halves the required charter funds of

new businesses, cuts the number of required application papers,

reduces application processing time from twenty to five working

days, and eases the liquidation process.

9. First U.S. Investment in Belarus´ Banking System

Management company Monister Investments Ltd., a Cyprus-based

division of the U.S. firm Horizon Capital, December 14 acquired a

31.5 percent stake in Minsk Transit Bank. Currently, the bank´s

major shareholder (60 percent) is car dealer Atlant-M. Bank

managers in a press conference expressed their belief that Belarus´

banking sector is the country´s most attractive sector for foreign

investors.

-------------------

International Trade

-------------------

10. Direct Investment Increases

The Belarusian Ministry of Economy reported December 18 that foreign

direct investment has risen during the last three years, totaling

USD 451.3 million in 2005, USD 748.6 million in 2006, and USD 905

million in the first nine months of 2007. According to the

ministry, Russia accounted for 30.4 percent of all foreign

investment in the Belarusian economy in the first nine months of

2007, up from eight percent in the same period of the previous year.

The United Kingdom was the next largest investor in Belarus,

accounting for 19.8 percent of all foreign investments, followed by

Austria (10.9 percent), Switzerland (9.3), Germany (7.2), and Cyprus

(6.8). The industrial sector reportedly received 43.8 percent of

all foreign investments, up from 22 percent in 2006.

----------------------

11. Quote of the Week

----------------------

BKGB Chairman Yuriy Zhadobin on why his organization no longer

investigates paranormal phenomena:

"Unlike during the USSR, the department is not engaged in studying

paranormal phenomena. [Back then,] we had greater means and

opportunities which we could spend on anything and everything.

Today the situation is different. Then, when society was excited by

something, it entered our sphere of interest. But when it comes to

healers, UFOs and such, we just can´t deal with them any more."

Stewart

____________________________________________________________________

03.01.2003: CLONING CLAIM PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON QUEBEC-BASED RAELIAN GROUP

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTREAL 000001

SIPDIS

E.0. 12958: N/A

TAGS: TBIO, ECON, KIRF, CA, Health

SUBJECT: CLONING CLAIM PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON QUEBEC-BASED

RAELIAN GROUP

1. SUMMARY: THE FOLLOWING IS SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON

THE MONTREAL-BASED RAELIAN GROUP, WHOSE MEMBER DR. BRIGITTE

BOISSELIER ANNOUNCED AT A DECEMBER 27 PRESS CONFERENCE IN

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA THE BIRTH OF THE FIRST CLONED HUMAN

BEING, A 7 POUND BABY GIRL NICKNAMED EVE. AND ITS TWO MAIN

FIGURES LEADER CLAUDE VORILHON, BETTER KNOWN AS RAEL, AND

DR. BOISSELIER. ONE LIKELY RESULT OF THE BOISSELIER

ANNOUNCEMENT IS THAT CANADA´S PENDING LEGISLATION TO BAN

HUMAN CLONING COULD CONTAIN STRICTER RESTRICTIONS. END

SUMMARY.

2. THE RAELIAN MOVEMENT WAS FOUNDED BY FRENCHMAN CLAUDE

VORILHON, A FORMER SPORTS JOURNALIST, FAILED SINGER, RADIO

COMMENTATOR AND AVID STOCK CAR RACER. VORILHON CLAIMS TO

HAVE BEEN CONCEIVED ON DECEMBER 25, 1945, BY A FRENCH MOTHER

AND AN ALIEN FATHER. SPECIALISTS SAY HE WAS BORN IN VICHY,

FRANCE IN 1946. VORILHON WHO USES THE NAME RAEL (GOD´S

LIGHT) (PRONOUNCED RA-EL IN FRENCH (RHYMES WITH KAL-EL AND

JOR-EL)) SAYS HE CREATED THE MOVEMENT AFTER ALIENS VISITED

HIM IN CENTRAL FRANCE IN 1973. AT THAT TIME, LITTLE GREEN

ALIENS (APPROXIMATELY 4 FT TALL) TOLD HIM --IN FLUENT FRENCH-

- EARTHLINGS HAD BEEN CREATED IN A LABORATORY 25,000 YEARS

AGO. SINCE THESE ALIENS WHICH HE CALLS THE ELOHIM (THE

HEBREW WORD FOR GOD) ARE 25,000 YEARS AHEAD OF US, RAEL SAYS

CLONING IS VERY SIMPLE TASK FOR THEM.

3. ALTHOUGH THE SECT IS BASED IN MONTREAL--AND NOT

SWITZERLAND AS THE BRITISH TABLOID PRESS HAS REPORTED --RAEL

MOVED HIS PERSONAL HEADQUARTERS TO FLORIDA IN THE EARLY

NINETIES. WHEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED RAEL WAS MOVING TO FLORIDA,

RADIO COMMENTATORS JOKED HE WAS SIMPLY IMITATING QUEBEC

SNOWBIRDS OR THAT HE WANTED TO GET CLOSER TO NASCAR

CIRCUITS. HOWEVER, SOME SAW U.S. EXPANSION AS A LOGICAL

BUSINESS MOVE. ON THE ONE HAND, SINCE THE 1960S, QUEBEC HAS

PROVEN TO BE TOUGH RECRUITING GROUNDS FOR ALL RELIGIOUS

GROUPS, MAINSTREAM OR OTHERWISE. ON THE OTHER, THE U.S.

OFFERS MUCH BIGGER POOLS OF MONEY AND TARGET AUDIENCES FOR

RAELIAN COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES. BECAUSE THE GROUP IS

RECOGNIZED AS AN ATHEIST RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION BY THE

QUEBEC GOVERNMENT IT ENJOYS THE SAME FISCAL ADVANTAGES AS

OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS.

4. THE GROUP OPERATES A THEME PARK CALLED UFO LAND IN

QUEBEC´S EASTERN TOWNSHIPS AREA. THE FACILITY, WHICH

CONSISTS MAINLY OF A LARGE FLYING SAUCER, A LARGE-SCALE DNA

MOLECULE AND SOME ROOMS FOR SUMMER SEMINARS AND MEDIA

INTERVIEWS, WAS RECENTLY VANDALIZED BUT IS SCHEDULED TO

REOPEN THIS SUMMER.

5. IN PHOTOS AND TELEVISION APPEARANCES, RAEL SURROUNDS

HIMSELF WITH BEAUTIFUL WOMEN. RAELIAN MEDIA KITS INCLUDE

MANY PICTURES OF SCANTILY DRESSED "MEMBERS." RAEL PREACHES

"SENSUAL MEDITATION" WHICH ENABLES THE FAITHFUL TO REACH THE

"COSMIC ORGASM."

6. DESPITE THE SECT´S TWO POWERFUL MARKETING TOOLS, SEX AND

UFOS, THE RAELIANS HAVE VERY FEW MEMBERS. THEIR WEB SITE

WWW.RAEL.ORG CLAIMS -IN TWENTY LANGUAGES-- TO HAVE 55,000

MEMBERS IN 84 COUNTRIES. HOWEVER MIKE KROPVELD, EXECUTIVE

DIRECTOR OF THE MONTREAL-BASED INFO-SECTE (NO RELATION WITH

THE PARIS ORGANIZATION OF THE SAME NAME) TOLD POST THAT THE

RAELIANS INFLATE THEIR FIGURES WITH PAST AND OCCASIONAL

MEMBERS. BECAUSE OF ALL THE MEDIA ATTENTION, THE GROUP

CREATES A LOT OF CURIOSITY -A RAEL SPOKESMAN STATED IN THE

LOCAL PRESS ON DECEMBER 30 THAT THE WEBSITE WAS GETTING ONE

MILLION HITS PER HOUR ON DECEMBER 26 -- BUT MOST VISITORS

ONLY ATTEND A FEW MEETINGS. THE ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP IS BETWEEN

2,000 AND 3,000 WORLDWIDE AND ABOUT 700 IN MONTREAL, SAYS

KROPVELD.

7. ACCORDING TO LOCAL NEWS ANALYSTS, THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF

RAELIANS IS TO CREATE LIFE IN A LABORATORY WHICH WOULD MAKE

HUMAN BEINGS IMMORTAL AND ENABLE THEM TO CREATE ANOTHER

CIVILIZATION ON ANOTHER PLANET. IN THE MEANTIME, RAEL WANTS

TO BUILD AN EMBASSY IN ISRAEL TO WELCOME THE ELOHIM WHEN

THEY COME BACK IN 2035. THE GROUP HAS ALSO BEEN CRITICIZED

FOR ADVOCATING THE USE OF GENETICS FOR EUGENIC ATTEMPTS AT

IMPROVING THE HUMAN RACE. THE GROUP´S STRUCTURE WITH PRIESTS

AND BISHOPS IS BASED ALONG THE LINES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

8. UNTIL RECENTLY THE GROUP AVOIDED SERIOUS CONTROVERSY.

THERE HAVE NOT BEEN ANY STORIES OF FORMER MEMBERS

COMPLAINING ABOUT BEING CONNED OUT OF THEIR MONEY OR

PHYSICALLY ABUSED OR SEDUCED, AND NO INVOLVEMENT WITH MINORS

-- EXCEPT ONE CASE IN FRANCE.

9. NONETHELESS, THE RAELIANS KNOW HOW TO PIGGYBACK ON

STORIES TO GET PUBLICITY. WHEN IN 1993, AUTHORITIES IN

QUEBEC DECIDED AGAINST INSTALLING CONDOM DISTRIBUTORS IN

SCHOOLS, RAELIANS VISITED THE KIDS WITH FREE SAMPLES. IN THE

WAKE OF THE RECENT PEDOPHILE CHARGES AGAINST VARIOUS

RELIGIOUS ORDERS, THE GROUP WENT BACK TO THE SCHOOLS IN

QUEBEC. THEIR PLAN THIS TIME WAS TO HAND OUT SMALL WOODEN

CROSSES FOR THE STUDENTS TO BURN. BUT PUBLIC AND

GOVERNMENTAL OPPOSITION STOPPED THE LATER PROJECT. IN BOTH

CASES, ALMOST ALL THE PUBLICITY THEY GARNERED WAS BAD.

10. SENSING A SIMILAR WAVE OF CONDEMNATION, RAEL HAS

PUBLICLY DISTANCED HIMSELF FROM DR. BOISSELIER, A RAELIAN

BISHOP, AND HER CLONING WORK, SAYING HE HAD GOTTEN RID OF

CLONAID TWO YEARS AGO. HOWEVER, KROPVELD BELIEVES THAT

CLONING IS BY FAR THE GROUP´S MOST DANGEROUS WORK. KROPFELD

EVEN DOUBTS RAEL REALLY BELIEVES IN CLONING HUMAN BEINGS

BEYOND ITS MARKETING POSSIBILITIES FOR HIMSELF AS SECT

LEADER.

11. AS FOR DR BRIGITTE BOISSELIER, SHE WAS BORN IN 1956 IN

FRANCE. SHE HOLDS TWO PHDS IN CHEMISTRY, ONE FROM THE

UNIVERSITY OF DIJON IN FRANCE AND ONE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF

HOUSTON. AFTER HOUSTON SHE WAS HIRED BY AIR LIQUIDE THE

FRENCH INDUSTRIAL AND MEDICAL GAS MULTINATIONAL TO WORK ON

REVERSIBLE OXYGEN BINDING. IN 1989, AIR LIQUIDE PROMOTED HER

TO VP RESEARCH.

12. PRIOR TO JOINING CLONAID (SEE WWW.CLONAID.COM) IN 1997,

DR. BOISSELIER HAD NOT WORKED IN BIOLOGY OR REPRODUCTION

TECHNIQUES. THE LAS VEGAS-BASED CLONAID RECEIVED $500,000

FROM MARK HUNT TO BUILD A LABORATORY IN WEST VIRGINIA BEFORE

MR. HUNT DECIDED TO STOP FINANCING THAT PROJECT. CLONAID

ALSO CLAIMS TO HAVE RECEIVED $200,000 FROM 250 DIFFERENT

DONORS IN THE HOPE OF CLONING A FAMILY MEMBER. ON MARCH 28,

2001 DR. BOISSELIER AND RAEL DEFENDED THEIR CLONING PROJECTS

BEFORE A SENATE COMMITTEE.

13. COMMENT. THE PUBLICITY GARNERED BY THE CLONING

ANNOUNCEMENT MAY BE USED BY THE RAEL ORGANIZATION TO GAIN

NEW ADHERENTS IN THE UNITED STATES.

14. CANADA LIKE MANY OTHER COUNTRIES IS IN THE PROCESS OF

ADOPTING LEGISLATION BILL C-113 WHICH WOULD BAN HUMAN

CLONING. ONE LIKELY RESULT OF THE BOISSELIER ANNOUNCEMENT IS

THAT SUCH LEGISLATION COULD CONTAIN STRICTER RESTRICTIONS.

END COMMENT.

KANTER

____________________________________________________________________

19.12.2007: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 12/19/07

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 005603

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;

WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;

TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;

SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,

DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA

FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;

CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: OIIP, KMDR, KPAO, PGOV, PINR, ECON, ELAB, JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 12/19/07

Index:

1) Top headlines

2) Editorials

3) Prime Minister´s daily schedule (Nikkei)

Defense and security issues:

4) Japan successfully intercepts missile in Hawaii test, but debate

over cost effectiveness of MD continues, with 1 trillion yen

allocated for system (Mainichi)

5) Government to change guidelines for emergency responses to allow

missile intercepts under prior-approval set up (Mainichi)

6) Antiterrorism bill to allow MSDF refueling mission to continue

expected to be finally rejected by the opposition-controlled Upper

House on Jan. 11 (Nikkei)

7) Former GSDF Samawah commander turned lawmaker makes pitch in

Upper House for adopting the antiterrorism special measures bill

(Yomiuri)

8) Agreement between U.S., Japan reached on host-nation support, but

issue of phasing out labor allowances for Japanese employees remains

(Yomiuri)

9) Differential pay to local employees remains as the sole issue in

the now settled host-nation support agreement (Nikkei)

Defense scandals:

10) Moriya to be re-arrested yet again as more bribe money

uncovered, but his wife released from jail (Mainichi)

11) Former Yamada Corp. exec Miyazaki, now under arrest, gave

"fixer" Akiyama 100 million yen to set up channels between Japan,

U.S. that he could tap (Mainichi)

12) Akiyama to be summoned to testify before the Diet as a sworn

witness (Mainichi)

13) LDP´s Taku Yamasaki sets up political subcommittee on the Korean

Peninsula, aiming at normalizing Japan´s relations with the DRPK

during Fukuda tenure (Sankei)

14) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, who says he absolute believes

in UFOs, unhappy with government´s official view rejecting their

existence (Sankei)

DPJ election strategy:

15) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to focus election strategy on

the urban voter, plans to run female candidate in Tokyo against

former defense chief Koike (Tokyo Shimbun)

16) DPJ expects to have 250 candidates lined up by early next year

to run in next Lower House election (Yomiuri)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:

Wheat price to be raised again in April, likely to affect bread,

noodle prices

Mainichi:

Moriya rearrested over taking 3.64 million yen in bribes

Yomiuri:

Moriya served fresh arrest warrant for allegedly extending favors

for 7 types of defense equipment in return for 3.63 million yen in

TOKYO 00005603 002 OF 010

bribes

Nikkei:

Matsushita, Canon, Hitachi in talks to form alliance to build flat

TV panels

Sankei:

MSDF succeeds in missile intercept test, paving way for major role

in MD system; Constitutional review imperative

Tokyo Shimbun:

New students at nursing care schools drop 13 PERCENT

Akahata:

Hokuriku Electric Power Co. hides 8 active faults near Shiga nuclear

power plant

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:

(1) Former Vice-Defense Minister Moriya rearrested

(2) Austerity essential in compiling supplementary budget

Mainichi:

(1) MD test: It is not a dream system yet

(2) Medical fees must be used to stop doctors from leaving

hospitals

Yomiuri:

(1) Moriya´s acceptance of cash must be condemned

(2) Medical-related budgets expose limits to automatic cuts

Nikkei:

(1) Economy needs close watch

(2) Lisbon treaty gives flexibility to EU

Sankei:

(1) Moriya rearrested: Shed light on possible involvement of

lawmakers

(2) Strengthened Japan-U.S. alliance expected to follow successful

Aegis missile test

Tokyo Shimbun:

(1) Moriya rearrested: MOD procurement system must be corrected

(2) Working conditions must be reviewed in order to stop declining

birthrate

Akahata:

Unidentified pension accounts issue requires greater efforts

3) Prime Minister´s Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister´s schedule, December 18

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

08:11

Attended a private-sector/government executive council meeting on

promoting work/life balance. Later, attended a study meeting on

priority strategy for supporting children and families.

TOKYO 00005603 003 OF 010

09:03

Attended a cabinet meeting in the Diet building. Later met Health,

Labor and Welfare Minister Masuzoe. Then met Education Minister

Tokai. Followed by New Komeito President Ota.

10:07

Met former Secretary General Nakagawa at the Kantei. Followed by

Resources and Energy Agency Director General Mochizuki and Deputy

Vice METI Minister Toyoda.

11:04

Met Lower House member Taku Eto. Later, LDP headquarters chief

Sakamoto, and others.

13:21

Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

15:14

Met Futahashi. Followed by Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani.

16:01

Met Cabinet Office Vice Minister Uchida. Later, met Deputy Foreign

Minister Yabunaka and Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director

General Sasae.

17:02

Attended a ceremony to grant certifications for special reform

district plans, regional revitalization plans, and shopping district

revitalization plans. Later, attended a meeting of cabinet ministers

responsible for monthly economic reports.

18:10

Met New Komeito Policy Research Council Chairman Saito.

19:11

Returned to his private residence in Nozawa.

4) MD test successful: Cost effectiveness the next topic of

discussion

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

The Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully carried out a sea-based

Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor test off a U.S. Hawaiian

island. Japan has already deployed the ground-based Patriot Advanced

Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor system. The government will now

start operating Japan´s missile defense (MD) shield system

consisting of the SM-3 and the PAC-3. The government plans to lay

down a MD network throughout the country by fiscal 2012 in order to

deal with the threat of North Korea´s ballistic missiles. The total

cost of SM-3 and PAC-3 shielding, however, is estimated at 800

billion yen to 1 trillion yen. It will be even more costly to

introduce an advanced MD system of the next generation. This will

likely give rise to arguments for cost effectiveness due to the

country´s dire fiscal straits.

"I wonder if you can gauge the effectiveness of something or the

cost of saving the lives of people. You only say the price is so

high. That doesn´t hit the nail on the head, and you are thinking

with your heart rather than your head," quipped Defense Minister

Shigeru Ishiba, visibly upset in a press conference when asked about

TOKYO 00005603 004 OF 010

the cost effectiveness of MD and aware that the high cost of

introducing an MD system has been a target of criticism.

Ishiba is concerned about the threat of North Korea´s ballistic

missiles. In 1998, North Korea launched a long-range Taepodong

ballistic missile that flew across over Japan. At the time, the then

Defense Agency had just started its study of an MD system. The

agency then geared up for its introduction.

According to the Defense Ministry, the budget for MD introduction

will peak at 186.3 billion yen in the current fiscal year, the

initial year of interceptor missile deployment. The MD budget for

the remaining fiscal years up to 2012 is estimated to be lower than

the current fiscal year´s budget, according to the Defense

Ministry.

Japan and the United States plan to co-develop an advanced SM-3

system of the next-generation type by fiscal 2014. The government

has yet to decide on whether to mass-produce the advanced MD system.

However, the government´s financial burden will skyrocket if the new

MD system is to be introduced. The interceptor missile fired off

Hawaii was imported from the United States for approximately 2

billion yen. A domestic defense-related business also says, "The MD

budget is huge, but there´s no merit for us. It doesn´t have a

future-oriented aspect to it."

5) Prior intercept order eyed for SDF counteraction

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged)

December 19, 2007

The Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully shot down a projectile

in its test-firing of a sea-based Standard Missile 3 (SM-3)

interceptor, and the SM-3 will go operational early next month.

Ahead of SM-3 deployment, the government decided yesterday to revise

its emergency action guidelines for missile defense (MD) operation.

The government will revise the MD guidelines for the ground-based

Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor system, which was

first deployed in March. If and when a foreign country prepares to

launch ballistic missiles, the defense minister will be allowed to

order the Self-Defense Forces in advance to intercept ballistic

missiles with the SM-3. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will

hold a joint meeting of its defense-related divisions today to

approve revising the MD guidelines. The government will shortly make

a cabinet decision on this matter.

6) DPJ executive predicts that new refueling bill will be voted down

in Upper House on Jan. 11

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full

December 19, 2007

A senior member of the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan

(DPJ or Minshuto) indicated yesterday that the bill to resume the

refueling operation in the Indian Ocean would be voted down in a

House of Councillors plenary session on January 11. After New Year´s

break, the Upper House Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is

scheduled to meet on Jan. 8 and 10. The senior DPJ member indicated

that chances are high for the committee´s adoption of the bill on

Jan. 10 and the plenary session´s vote on Jan. 11, saying, "We will

work hard until the last moment." If a vote is not taken on Jan. 11,

TOKYO 00005603 005 OF 010

60 days will have passed on Jan. 12 since the legislation was sent

from the House of Representatives, allowing the ruling camp to

regard the Upper House´s inaction as de facto rejection under the

Constitution.

7) "Mustached commander" appeals to public

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

"People don´t know very much about the new antiterror legislation´s

significance and importance."

On Dec. 18, the House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense

Committee met. Masahisa Sato, a House of Councillors member of the

ruling Liberal Democratic Party, expressed his view before the

committee. Committee members present in the room were straightened

up when the committee meeting was in a mood to wind up.

Sato headed an advance team of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, and

he is known as the "mustached commander." The LDP yesterday set up a

corner on the Japanese version of YouTube. On it, Sato explains the

new antiterror legislation as an SDF-member-turned lawmaker. He also

visits various places in the country to speak on the legislation. He

seems to be most directly feeling the public´s lack of understanding

on the legislation.

In the committee meeting, Sato talked about his visits to Niigata,

Hokkaido, and Fukushima for three days from Dec. 15. He stated: "I

explained the bill´s significance. One person said, ´Oh, is that so?

Then I support it.´"

"We´ve now discussed the bill." With this, the ruling coalition is

now seeking to take an early vote on the legislation. The LDP has

told its members to limit their question time to about 10 minutes.

However, Sato continued his questions for about 20 minutes. He made

an appeal there: "It´s important to give easy-to-understand

explanations about how we are actually affected (in the aftermath of

halting the Maritime Self-Defense Force´s refueling activities in

the Indian Ocean). I will do so. I want the government to do so

together."

8) Review of sympathy budget settled, but setting timeframe for

abolishing pay allowances remains a challenge

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)

December 19, 2007

Now that an agreement has been reached between the Ministry of

Defense (MOD) and the All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union

(Zenchuro) to abolish the allowances to Japanese employees working

at U.S. bases, the question of reviewing Japan´s host nation support

(the so-called sympathy budget) for U.S. Forces Japan has generally

been settled. Although a MOD official described the agreement to

abolish the allowances as a major achievement, a timeframe for the

phase out has yet to be determined.

Given the nation´s tight fiscal situation, the government aimed at

deep cuts in Japan´s HNS as a whole, which is far higher than that

of other countries. At the same time, the government needed to give

consideration to Japan-U.S. relations which have become unstable due

to the suspension of the refueling operation in the Indian Ocean and

TOKYO 00005603 006 OF 010

other factors. This prompted the government to put emphasis on

reducing the differential pay and language allowance to Japanese

employees that would not increase the burden on the United States.

Although Zenchuro agreed to abolishing the allowances at an early

stage, talks with MOD on measures to mitigate radical changes face

rough going. Zenchuro staged two strikes, which started to worry the

U.S. side about the effect on base operations. The government had to

heed to a U.S. request for making efforts to avoid strikes, and MOD

settled the matter by making concessions to Zenchuro.

MOD intends to end the drastic change alleviation measures in five

years. But a senior Zenchuro official said: "From the perspective of

their welfare, the allowances will have to stay beyond the next five

years." There still remains a seed of conflict for future talks.

9) Sympathy budget generally settled; Step to be taken to alleviate

drastic change in differential pay

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

Negotiations on Japan´s host nation support (the so-called sympathy

budget) for U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) have generally been settled. An

agreement was reached between the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the

All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union (Zenchuro) to abolish the

"differential pay" of adding a 10 PERCENT allowance to the civil

servants´ base bay and the language allowance. The only remaining

matter is how to handle the USFJ facilities maintenance costs that

will go into in the fiscal 2008 budget bill.

Labor and management also agreed to abolish the pay raise system

that allows salaries to increase beyond the pay scale. In the fiscal

2008 budget bill, the sympathy budget will be reduced by 370 million

yen from this year. As a measure to alleviate drastic change, MOD

will pay 50 PERCENT of the differential pay and the language

allowance for five years and review them thereafter.

10) Moriya rearrested over bribes

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)

December 19, 2007

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public

Prosecutors Office rearrested former Administrative Vice Defense

Minister Takemasa Moriya yesterday on suspicion of accepting about

3.64 million yen in bribes from a former executive of defense

contractor Yamada Corp. The former executive was also rearrested for

giving the alleged bribe. It has been found that Yamada Corp. spent

a total of approximately 7.5 million yen in bribes and expenses for

golf trips for Moriya.

Prosecutors also rearrested Osamu Akiyama, former chief of Yamada

Corp.´s US subsidiary, for giving the bribe the same day. Moriya´s

wife Sachiko, who had been arrested over her involvement in Moriya´s

receipt of bribes, was released for the reason that she played a

minor role and that she regrets what she did.

11) Yamada Corp. former executive gave 100 million yen to Japan-U.S.

center in anticipation of influence peddling

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)

TOKYO 00005603 007 OF 010

Evening, December 18, 2007

It is now suspected that Yamada Corp. gave funds not only to former

Administrative Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya but also to

Naoki Akiyama, executive director of the Japan-U.S. Center for Peace

and Cultural Exchange. Akiyama is close to lawmakers lobbying for

defense interests. Motonobu Miyazaki, a former executive of the

defense contractor, told persons around him that he transferred

approximately 100 million yen into a bank account of Akiyama. He

also admitted to the remittance during questioning by the special

investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office,

saying: "We offered money in anticipation of its influence peddling

to help us receive orders."

Akiyama reportedly has acted as an intermediary between Japanese and

American defense companies and politicians. The Japan-U.S. center

makes arrangements for visits to the U.S. by Japanese lawmakers and

regularly holds a meeting of the Japan-U.S. Security Strategy

Council by inviting American defense experts. Since fiscal 2003, the

center has arranged visits for 21 lawmakers, including Finance

Minister Fukushiro Nukaga and former Democratic Party of Japan

President Seiji Maehara.

12) Upper House committee decides to summon Akiyama as sworn

witness

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)

Evening, December 18, 2007

The House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has

decided to summon Naoki Akiyama, executive director of the

Japan-U.S. Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange, to the Diet as a

sworn witness. The committee initially planned to summon him on Dec.

20, but since Akiyama has said he would accept the summons, a

decision on the date has been entrusted to the chairman.

13) In first meeting of LDP North Korea panel, Yamasaki says ties

should be normalized under Fukuda administration

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)

December 19, 2007

The Liberal Democratic Party´s subcommittee on issues related to the

Korean Peninsula, chaired by former Defense Agency Director General

Seishiro Eto, held its first meeting at party headquarters

yesterday. The panel was created to back up the government´s policy

toward North Korea. Former Vice President Taku Yamasaki, who assumed

the post of supreme advisor, expressed hopes that the party will

strengthen ties with North Korea through the panel, saying: "I would

like to normalize diplomatic ties between Japan and North Korea

under the Fukuda administration."

The first meeting brought together about 30 members of the Diet,

including former Defense Agency Director General Gen Nakatani.

Yamasaki emphasized that the establishment of the panel is in

accordance with Prime Minister Fukuda´s wishes. He then implied that

he would visit to Pyongyang, remarking: "We will be very busy next

year in dealing with issues with the Korean Peninsula. The party

will take proper steps to address the situation."

Yamasaki is known for having his own personal networks in North

Korea. In April 2004, he held a meeting with Jong Thae Hwa, then

TOKYO 00005603 008 OF 010

ambassador for normalization talks with Japan in Dalian, China. He

also visited North Korea this January and reportedly met with Kim

Yong Kon, National Defense Committee counselor, and others. The

visit was criticized as "dual diplomacy."

14) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura: UFOs definitely exist,

unhappy with government´s formal response

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)

December 19, 2007

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura stated in a press

conference yesterday: "I am sure that unidentified flying objects

exist." He elaborated: "Otherwise, it is impossible to explain the

Nazca Lines (in Peru, which some believe were created by aliens),

isn´t it?"

The government yesterday adopted in a cabinet meeting an official

response to a question by Ryuji Yamada, a Democratic Party of Japan

member. The statement says that the government has not confirmed the

existence of UFOs. It was the first time for the government to deny

the existence of UFOs. Machimura, while stressing that it was his

personal view that UFOs exist, said: "The government has offered

only a boilerplate response in its formal statement."

15) DPJ to place importance on urban areas in next Lower House

election

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

The largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)

has begun setting forth a clear stance of placing importance on

policy measures for urban areas in campaigning for the next House of

Representatives election. The DPJ won a sweeping victory in the July

House of Councillors election, by playing up its policy of giving

priority to improving regional economies by narrowing socioeconomic

disparities regional. What are reasons for the party trying to

review its campaign strategy?

DPJ head Ichiro Ozawa along with Takako Ebata, a former associate

university professor, whom the party has informally endorsed as its

candidate to run in the Tokyo No. 10 electoral district held a press

conference yesterday. In it, Ozawa emphasized: "We must do our best

to have her win the race." Ebata will compete in the race with

former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike. It is unusual for Ozawa to

introduce a candidate in a press conference.

Ozawa stressed his party´s policy of attaching emphasis on urban

areas, saying:

"We must set our goal to secure the majority of seats in the Tokyo

metropolitan area, which includes Tokyo and three other prefectures,

the Kansai region such as Osaka and Hyogo Prefecture, and Fukuoka

Prefecture in the Kyushu region."

In the background, there are many single-seat constituencies in

urban areas. In the 2005 Lower House election, the DPJ suffered a

crashing defeat. Ozawa noted: "If we are defeated in those areas, it

will be difficult for us to get the majority of the Lower House

seats." He predicts that the outcome of races in the urban areas

will be the key to a change of government.

TOKYO 00005603 009 OF 010

However, election cooperation between opposition parties seems

difficult in some electoral districts in Tokyo and Kanagawa in which

candidates backed by the DPJ and Social Democratic Party are decided

to run. The DPJ has many challenges to overcome, including coming up

with policy measures attracting unaffiliated voters.

DPJ to field woman candidate in Tokyo No. 10 district, facing off

LDP´s Koike

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) decided yesterday in

a meeting of its standing secretaries general to file eight

candidates for the next House of Representatives election, including

Takako Ebata, 47, former associate professor at the University of

Tokyo, who will run in the Tokyo No. 10 electoral district.

Former Defense Minister Koike now represents the No. 10 district.

The DPJ has not filed candidates in 72 districts of the 300

electoral districts across the nation.

16) DPJ to be ready to field 250 candidates by early next year for

next Lower House election due to delay in coordination on

candidates

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)

December 19, 2007

The government and ruling parties have decided to set up a national

council on social security affairs. The main opposition Democratic

Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) sees this move as a favorable wind

blowing in its direction. The DPJ, however, has yet to craft a

strategy for the next House of Representatives election due to a

delay in coordinating candidates and other reasons.

When asked by reporters yesterday about the plunging approval

ratings for the cabinet of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in opinion

polls by various news companies, DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa

responded: "(Regarding the issue that identifying holders of a huge

number of national pension accounts have become difficult)

distrustful and irresponsible remarks by Prime Minister Fukuda and

other government officials have enraged the public." He continued:

"I want to see a dissolution of the Lower House as early as possible

for a snap general election. If public opinion calls for an

election, (the Prime Minister) will have no choice but to dissolve

the Lower House and call it. It is not a technical issue to manage

Diet affairs."

Even if the House of Councillors adopts a censure motion against the

Prime Minister, it would not be legally binding, although there is a

view that the adoption of a censure motion should trigger Lower

House dissolution. In the DPJ, a cautious view on the submission of

a censure motion is spreading, with one senior party member saying,

"We won´t be able to get public support only by the Lower House´s

overriding a decision by the Upper House on the new antiterrorism

special measures bill. I think it is not enough even with the

pension-record fiasco."

The DPJ has been slow in its election coordination. In a meeting

yesterday of its standing secretaries general, the largest

TOKYO 00005603 010 OF 010

opposition party informally endorsed candidates to run in eight

electoral districts. The number of the DPJ candidates now totals

227. Therefore, the party´s target of filing 250 candidates before

the end of the year is likely to slip to early next year.

The DPJ has not yet fielded candidates in eight of the 25 electoral

districts in Tokyo. The reason is that the party has not overcome

the legacy of a crushing defeat in the 2005 Lower House election, in

which it won only one seat out of 25; and so it has worked on the

selection of candidates from scratch, considering that the Tokyo

races would affect its performance across the nation.

SCHIEFFER

2007-12-19 01:34

____________________________________________________________________

30.01.2008: ECUADOR: CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY FOCUS UNCLEAR

C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000090

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018

TAGS: PGOV, EFIN, SNAR, KCOR, EC

SUBJECT: ECUADOR: CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY FOCUS UNCLEAR

REF: A. QUITO 55

B. 07 QUITO 2580

Classified By: Ambassador Linda Jewell for reason 1.4 (B, D)

1. (SBU) Summary: As the Constituent Assembly reaches the

two-month mark, members are meeting with various interest

groups and holding private committee meetings, but have yet

to debate publicly any constitutional language. The Assembly

has approved six laws or other documents, including the

controversial tax reform. President Correa´s speech to the

Assembly marking his first year in office and the

government´s denunciation of bribery attempts have been

highlights. End Summary

60 DAYS AND COUNTING

--------------------

2. (SBU) Since its inauguration on November 29 in

Montecristi, the Constituent Assembly has sometimes appeared

more interested in legislating than in drafting a new

constitution. So far it has approved the tax reform law (Ref

A), three "constituent mandates," and two resolutions.

Democratic Left Assembly member and former Finance Minister

Diego Borja explained to poloff the differences between these

legal instruments: Laws are equivalent to those that the

suspended Congress would approve, constituent mandates are

approved under an expedited process and last only as long as

the Assembly is in session, and resolutions are the

Assembly´s internal rules.

3. (U) The Assembly´s legislative and oversight committee is

currently analyzing two additional bills submitted by the

executive branch. One would regulate land transport,

transit, and road safety. The other deals with restructuring

management of public finances, including bringing the

petroleum funds into the central budget.

4. (C) Proud and Sovereign Fatherland (PAIS) political bureau

member Augusto Barrera, who is serving as a liaison between

the Executive and Assembly on substantive matters,

acknowledged to the Ambassador on January 24 that each law

the Assembly passes has a political cost. While claiming

that 80% of past constituent assemblies in Ecuador have also

legislated, he said the government would seek consideration

of only a minimum number of laws, namely those necessary for

effective governing.

5. (SBU) The constituent mandates have addressed diverse

topics. One approved mandate regulates salaries in the

public sector so they do not exceed that of the President.

It sets a monthly ceiling of $5,000, with the exception of

personnel representing Ecuador abroad and "specific strategic

jobs." Another mandate suspended the elections of members of

congress representing two new provinces, Santo Domingo de los

Tsachilas and Santa Elena, until after the official results

SIPDIS

of the referendum on the new constitution. Ref B described

the first constituent (or constitutional) mandate, which

affirmed the Assembly´s full powers.

INTEREST GROUPS SWARM TO MONTECRISTI

------------------------------------

6. (C) The work of the Assembly´s nine

constitutional-drafting committees has centered thus far

around consultations with interest groups, plus executive and

judicial officials, and private committee discussions. The

committees and Assembly leadership have been besieged by

requests for meetings on every imaginable constitutional and

legislative topic. Several committees are also holding

meetings outside of Montecristi to solicit citizen input in

specific constitutional areas under their jurisdiction.

Barrera mentioned that PAIS was struggling with how to

balance being responsive to citizen groups with the need to

focus on substance ) he cited a recent meeting between a

group that believes in UFOs and the Sovereignty committee as

an example of how things were out of control to the point of

near absurdity.

7. (SBU) There are indications that the committees are hard

at work debating constitutional issues behind closed doors.

For example, after a draft text leaked to the press, PAIS

assembly member Betty Amores, the vice president of the

Committee on Reform of State Structure and Institutions,

explained during a January 22 television interview that the

committee is contemplating a number of changes, including the

elimination of the vice presidency and extension of the

presidential term from four to six years. Amores stated that

the committee had not yet reached a consensus on whether

immediate reelection of the president would be allowed under

the new constitution.

8. (SBU) An encouraging sign of seriousness as well as

open-mindedness on at least some issues, the international

donor community has been approached for technical assistance

in several areas, in most cases by request from ministries

working with given committees on specific policies. USAID,

for example, has been asked to provide technical assistance

on several issues under review by the Environment committee.

CORREA SPEAKS TO ASSEMBLY

-------------------------

9. (SBU) On January 15, President Correa delivered a speech

to the Constituent Assembly describing his government´s

accomplishments during his first year in office and detailing

ambitious plans for the coming year. Perhaps harking back to

his days as a professor, Correa spoke for more than two

hours, accompanied by a 133-page PowerPoint presentation. A

system for governing through seven regions was among the new

proposals. Correa also urged amnesty for several groups

involved in protests and release from prison of individuals

charged with carrying small amounts of drugs as "mules."

Some opposition Assembly members walked out at the start,

arguing that the Constitution required that the President´s

annual speech be delivered to the Congress, not the Assembly.

A WEEK OF CONTROVERSY

---------------------

10. (SBU) Minister of Government Fernando Bustamante and

Anticorruption National Secretary Jose Luis Cortazar

announced January 22 that a bribery attempt in the Assembly

had been discovered. Authorities detained Bolivar Lopez and

Cao Lay Munoz after PAIS assembly member and former

Anticorruption Secretariat employee Gabriel Rivas claimed

that they had offered him USD 3 million to obtain 25 assembly

votes against the new constitution and for re-opening

Congress.

11. (SBU) A video recording that is being used as evidence by

the authorities mentions Patriotic Society Party (PSP)

Assembly member Julio Logrono, which triggered angry

responses from the PSP. During a press conference, Minister

Bustamante cast blame on former PSP President Lucio

Gutierrez, who categorically denied any involvement in the

matter.

COMMENT

-------

12. (C) Suspicions that PAIS already has a written

constitution in its pocket continue to worry commentators,

although PAIS leadership strongly denies it. The

government´s investigation of acts of corruption implicated

the second largest bloc in the Assembly, which in turn gave

the latter ammunition to claim political persecution. With

the perceived lack of results thus far and with corruption

rearing its evil head, the Assembly needs to demonstrate a

greater focus on constitution drafting if it is going to

retain a wide measure of public support.

JEWELL

____________________________________________________________________

26.05.2006: Tsunami Destroys Casablanca - Next Thursday

UNCLAS CASABLANCA 000571

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, CACS, ZH, ZT, MO

SUBJECT: Tsunami Destroys Casablanca - Next Thursday

-----------------------------------------

Out of All the Cities in All the World...

-----------------------------------------

1. (U) On Monday afternoon, May 22, 2006, hundreds of

Moroccan children returned home from school with a dire

prediction that a giant tsunami would strike Casablanca in a

mere three days. Some schools threatened closures and word

of the disaster washed over the city sending people

scurrying to find more information and seek higher ground.

A few wealthy, educated expats fled their palatial homes by

the sea to find refugee in the high-rise dwellings of

friends well above the predicted level of destruction. Less

fortunate Moroccans, meanwhile, could be found heading to

mosques to pray for protection against the storm, images of

Indian Ocean tsunami still fresh in their minds. Moroccan

National Press reported some Moroccans were packed and ready

to head to the mountains or even travel to other countries.

Consulate Casablanca´s Consular Section received numerous

emails and phone calls requesting information on the

impending doom as well.

---------------------------

He Had to Blog Into Mine...

---------------------------

2. (U) The tsunami prediction originated with French author

and UFO "kidnapping victim" Eric Julien, director of the

Ufological Research Center. Julian claimed he had received

information psychically that a comet fragment would crash

into the Atlantic Ocean on May 25, 2006, and cause a giant

tsunami. He asserted that the waves would be up to 200

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meters high and impact all countries bordering the Atlantic.

In Morocco, Julien´s forcast was taken so seriously that the

head of the Moroccan Meteorological office, Mustapha Janah

made an official statement to the Moroccan press denying the

possibility of the tsunami and quoting "NASA" officials who

noted that the comet in question would be approximately ten

million kilometers away when it passed the earth.

--------------------------------------

Maybe not Today, Maybe not Tomorrow...

--------------------------------------

3. (U) Why did the rumor spread so quickly and why was it

taken so seriously? According to some Moroccans, the answer

may be twofold. First, Morocco is a land of oral history

where word of mouth has been the preferred method of

communicating news for generations. With literacy rates

hovering around fifty percent, gossip is a more common

method of disseminating information than the newspapers.

Second, for the very religious of Casablanca the idea that a

giant wave would sweep through the city and wash it "clean

of evil and vice" is not such a stretch of the imagination.

Historically, images of floods sweeping away the sinners of

the world have peppered religious doctrine and some here

believe Casablanca may be overdue for a cleansing.

-----------------------------

Here´s Lookin´ at You Casa...

-----------------------------

4. (U) We can confirm nearly twenty-four hours after the

predicted tidal wave, Casablanca has been left unscathed.

Despite a few nervous moments during the week when the sky

darkened and the surf increased slightly, Casablanca remains

intact.

GREENE
____________________________________________________________________