Warning: this is not satire--or is it?

Louis Proyect 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.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/politics/29TERR.html

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