Warning: this is not satire--or is it?
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 29 09:03:01 MDT 2003
NY Times, July 29, 2003
Pentagon Prepares a Futures Market on Terror Attacks
By CARL HULSE
WASHINGTON, July 28 — The Pentagon office that proposed spying
electronically on Americans to monitor potential terrorists has a new
experiment. It is an online futures trading market, disclosed today by
critics, in which anonymous speculators would bet on forecasting
terrorist attacks, assassinations and coups.
Traders bullish on a biological attack on Israel or bearish on the
chances of a North Korean missile strike would have the opportunity to
bet on the likelihood of such events on a new Internet site established
by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The Pentagon called its latest idea a new way of predicting events and
part of its search for the "broadest possible set of new ways to prevent
terrorist attacks." Two Democratic senators who reported the plan called
it morally repugnant and grotesque. The senators said the program fell
under the control of Adm. John M. Poindexter, President Ronald Reagan's
national security adviser.
One of the two senators, Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, said the idea
seemed so preposterous that he had trouble persuading people it was not
a hoax. "Can you imagine," Mr. Dorgan asked, "if another country set up
a betting parlor so that people could go in — and is sponsored by the
government itself — people could go in and bet on the assassination of
an American political figure?"
After Mr. Dorgan and his fellow critic, Ron Wyden of Oregon, spoke out,
the Pentagon sought to play down the importance of a program for which
the Bush administration has sought $8 million through 2005. The White
House also altered the Web site so that the potential events to be
considered by the market that were visible earlier in the day at
www.policyanalysismarket.org could no longer be seen.
But by that time, Republican officials in the Senate were privately
shaking their heads over the planned trading. One top aide said he hoped
that the Pentagon had a good explanation for it.
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