Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush Targets Assets Tied to WMD Proliferation

ABC News Online:
United States President George W Bush has announced that he is freezing the assets of North Korean, Iranian and Syrian entities thought to be tied to the spread of weapons of mass destruction. READ MORE

The move was announced by the White House in an executive order that did not name specific countries, but an annex to the decree listed three entities linked to North Korea, four linked to Iran and one linked to Syria.

The annex named the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation; Tanchon Commercial Bank; Korea Ryonbong General Corporation; Aerospace Industries Organisation; Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group; Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group; Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran; and Scientific Studies and Research Centre.

Mr Bush's goal was "to combat trafficking of weapons of mass destruction and proliferation-related materials by cutting off financing and other support for proliferation networks," the White House said in a fact sheet.

The order specifically targeted "any foreign person determined ... to have engaged, or attempted to engage, in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a risk of materially contributing to, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery."

Such activities include "any efforts to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use such items, by any person or foreign country of proliferation concern," Mr Bush said in the order.

The decree was among a host of measures announced in response to recommendations made by an official commission formed in 2004 to look into the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The White House said it was approving 70 of the panel's 74 recommendations, including the creation of a "Nation Security Service" specialising in intelligence and national security issues within the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mr Bush also proposed the creation of a new assistant attorney-general position at the US Justice Department "to centralise responsibility for intelligence and national security matters at the Department of Justice in a single office".

The President also backed extending the duration of electronic surveillance in cases involving agents of foreign powers who are not US citizens.

Mr Bush endorsed the creation of a national centre to coordinate the US intelligence community's activities concerning proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and their delivery systems.