|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Wednesday, March 31, 2004
UN CONFERENCE ON WIRELESS INTERNET INITIATIVES
: "The 'Wireless Internet for Underserved Populations and Local Communities' programme had been designed to achieve one of the leading development goals of our time -- universal connectivity. The initiative involves all key stakeholders, from government and civil society to the private sector and field practitioners. Among global partners participating in the programme, are IBM, Intel, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, the European Commission, the World Bank and regional and local professional organizations. Speakers emphasized that wireless Internet had the potential to bridge the digital divide by providing low-cost broadband Internet connectivity to underserved areas and communities" 3:44:30 PM
Venture 'overhang' at $68 b
: "Excess cash left from the capital raised in the venture community since 1997 shows that $68 billion remains untapped. While funds raised prior to 2000 are nearly completely invested, a quarter of the record funds raised in 2000 have not been invested, according to San Francisco-based VentureOne. ..
Venture capitalists, however, plan on using the majority of the extra funds for future investments. More than half of what remains of the 2000 vintage is earmarked for follow-on investments in existing portfolios, with the investments completed by 2005, according to the report. .. Those funds will be competing with capital raised in 2001 as well. More than half of the funds raised in 2001 have yet to be invested." 9:51:00 AM
Shifts from bin Laden hunt: "In 2002, troops from the 5th Special Forces Group who specialize in the Middle East were pulled out of the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for their next assignment: Iraq. Their replacements were troops with expertise in Spanish cultures. The CIA, meanwhile, was stretched badly in its capacity to collect, translate and analyze information coming from Afghanistan. When the White House raised a new priority, it took specialists away from the Afghanistan effort to ensure Iraq was covered. ..
Bob Andrews, former head of a Pentagon office that oversaw special operations, says that removing Saddam Hussein was a good idea but "a distraction." The war in Iraq, Andrews notes, entailed the largest deployment of special operations forces — about 10,000 —since the Vietnam War. That's about 25% of all U.S. commandos. It also siphoned spy aircraft and light infantry soldiers. Iraq proved such a drain, one former Pentagon official notes, that there were no AWACS radar jets to track drug-trafficking aircraft in South America. Saddam was not an immediate threat. "This has been a real diversion from the longer struggle against jihadists," especially in the intelligence field, he says."
Further confirmation of the 5th Special Forces role: "Abu Ghraib is a town in Baghdad's sprawling suburbs, just north of the international airport. .. US Special Forces worked secretly with Iraqi townspeople on the outskirts of Baghdad for months before the war with Iraq got under way. Soldiers from the U-S Fifth Special Forces Group worked for over eight months with the people of Abu Gharib. It is unclear whether Special Forces remained in Abu Gharib throughout the months leading to the start of the war. However, Pentagon officials have in the past indicated some Special Forces units moved in and out of Iraq before the war, without maintaining a permanent presence. " 8:47:37 AM