The Michigan Militia Corps'

Weekly Update
Internet Edition

Volume 6, Issue 1

Weeks of December 21 through January 11, 1999

North Korea Says it is Ready for War

North Korean Central News Angency
From the KCNA of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)
December 2, 1998

"The U.S. imperialists have recently gone beyond the danger line in their arrogant aggressive attempts to stifle the DPRK with military strength.

According to a report, the American President Clinton, during his recent visit to South Korea, made the final inspection of war readiness the US troops and it warplanes against our nation over the nuclear issue. Clinton unabashedly boasted that his troops are "ready and able" to do any things in defense of the American citizens and an allied nation.

The South Korean puppets have prolonged their miserable remaining days with flunkeyism and blind obedience to their master. They are now currying favor with their master and demanding that we must allow inspections of an underground facility. The Japanese reactionaries, who have slandered our nation by falsely depicting our artificial satellite as a ballistic missile, have also raised their ugly heads again.

The U.S. war hawks have threatened to break the DPRK-U.S. agreed framework and to take 'an appropriate counterattack' if we continued to refuse inspections of our underground facilities. This is a veiled declaration for Korean War II.

The American military has drawn up Operation Plan 5027 - a plan for invading our nation. This plan has five stages:

A control stage: - Under the pretext of controlling the actions of the DPRK, the United States is to amass its forces in and around South Korea and impose a complete blockade of our nation by air, seas and land borders. This stage is already in process.

Stage of strikes for neutralization: This stage aims to neutralize us by making mounting strikes at all areas of our nation with field artillery, war planes and cruise missiles. The U.S. imperialists have stealthily deployed naval and air forces around our country. They have been practicing this stage for several years.

Ground offensive operation: This stage involves comprehensive ground offensive operations that combine large-scale operations for landing on the East and West coasts of our nation with airplane-and helicopter-borne paratroop landing and special forces operations. The US imperialists plan to encircle Pyongyang, the heart of the our revolution, and "occupy" our land as far as the River Chongchon.

Stage of expanding successes in war: This stage is to occupy the whole area north of the River Chongchon.

Stage of concluding war: The U.S. will achieve unification through the 'liberal democratic' system.

The U.S. imperialists are ready to employ over 545,000 American soldiers, 630,000 South Korean puppets. They will employ the most advanced war assets, including 5-7 aircraft carrier groups, stealth fighter bombers F-117 and F-111, nuclear-capable strategic bombers B-1, B-2 and B-52. From the outset, our revolutionary armed forces have expected little from the "appeasement policy" of the United States that seeks to demolish our socialist system. Particularly, we have followed with sharp vigilance the behavior of the United States, the other warring party, which has turned away from our proposal for general-level officers' meeting. The prevailing situation proves that the sharp vigilance and revolutionary position of our revolutionary armed forces are absolutely reasonable.

To answer fire with fire is a character of our revolutionary army. We have our own operation plan. "Surgical operations" and "preemptive strikes" are by no means exclusive options of the United States. There is no limit to the strike of our People's Army and that on this planet there is no room for escaping the strike.

The target of our strikes in Korean War II will not be limited to the U.S. imperialist aggression forces employed in Operation 5027. We will strike at the South Korean puppets who are willing to serve as the American gun fodder, Japan and any other nations that offer bases or act as servants behind the scenes. We neither want nor avoid a war, but if war comes, we will go all out to destroy the warmongers and their lairs.

Now that the U.S. imperialists have taken off their false masks of 'dialogue and negotiation' and have brought the situation to the brink of war, we solemnly declare that our revolutionary armed forces will rise to meet the US war mongers' challenge and answer blow for blow."

Pentagon Confident On Y2k, Worries About Russia

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military is 100 percent ready to fight any Year 2000 computer problems that may arise but fears nuclear power Russia is not as well prepared, a top Pentagon official said on Thursday.

In an upbeat briefing about the Pentagon's preparedness for any Y2K computer glitches, Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre was also confident other crucial U.S. sectors, such as banking, telecommunications and power grids would be ready.

Allaying fears of missiles being fired without warning or planes crashing due to computer glitches, Hamre said 1,673 out of the military's 2,300 "mission-critical" systems had been fixed and all of them would be ready by midnight on Dec. 31.

"The Department of Defense will be able to protect the people of the United States and its allies in 351 days and 12 hours. There is not a question about that," said Hamre, pointing to a digital clock counting down to 2000. "We will be 100 percent ready by the end of the year."

Mission critical systems range from early warning systems and nuclear command and control to individual weapons that are heavily reliant on computers for direction.

The so-called Y2K problem is the inability of many computers to interpret correctly the century that dawns at the end of this year. This hitch stems from the past practice of expressing years in two-digit shorthand. As a result many computers will read 2000 as 1900.

"We don't know what problems might occur, but we think they will be modest because the bulk of the country seems to be doing what we are doing -- really getting on top of this problem," said Hamre.

Hamre voiced some concern Russia was not as active in tackling the Y2K problem as the United States, especially for early warning systems, adding that a delegation was going to Russia next week to discuss working together on the issue.

"My sense is that Russia is not as fully aware of the extent that this is a problem. They don't seem to have the same level of urgency that we have over it. But we are comfortable they will retain positive control over their nuclear inventory," said Hamre.

"We are not anxious there are going to be accidental occurrences as a result of Y2K for nuclear command and control systems. But we want to have the least amount of uncertainty," he said.

The early warning systems rely heavily on computers to mesh data from satellites, radars and other sensors and are used by Russia and the United States to monitor impending threats such as missile launches or unidentified aircraft.

Hamre said the private sector in the United States was well prepared for next year and he was impressed by work that had been done in areas such as telecommunications and energy.

"We have a lot of insight into what is going on in the private sector and we are really very confident that we are not going to have the wide-scale disruption that some people had been forecasting," he said.

Lt. Col. Warren Patterson, assigned to the military's Y2K Task Force, was involved in a series of tests over three days last month to check Year 2000 compliance of an early warning detection system.

During that period, over 30 simulated missile tests were conducted and the systems involved coped with those successfully from beginning to end, said Patterson.

Hamre said Defense Secretary William Cohen had motivated his staff to find solution to the Year 2000 computer problem by describing it as a "war-fighting" issue.

"Rarely (in war) do you know the time, the place and the date precisely when the enemy will attack. But we do know in this case and it is at midnight on the 31st of December.

"He (Cohen) is not just a computer geek issue and I am holding you responsible for it," said Hamre.


Iraq vowed yesterday to "liberate" its skies from U.S. and British jets that "support the most evil man in the world" - President Clinton.

The declaration, by Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majeed, a key figure in Saddam Hussein's Revolutionary Command Council, followed two exchanges of missiles this week between U.S. warplanes and Iraqi anti-aircraft sites in "no-fly" zones.

Majeed repeated Baghdad's boast that "heroes of our air defenses" shot own a Western jet - while the United States ridiculed the claim as propaganda.

In a telegram to Saddam, Majeed said Iraq's battered military would attack the "devils who are supported by the biggest adulterer in the world ... who is aided by some evil Arabs, among them the rulers of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia."

His comments were part of a series of defiant warnings to the U.S. jets enforcing a 7-year-old ban on flights in the northern and southern no-fly zones.

"The battle against the aggression and aggressors has not stopped. It will continue," Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said in a front-page commentary in the Al-Thawra newspaper, which is published by the ruling Baath Party.

But there were no reports of military confrontations or sightings of Iraqi aircraft in the no-fly zones yesterday.

The Pentagon said F-16s attacked - and apparently destroyed - Iraqi air-defense sites on Wednesday, after ground-to-air missiles were fired at a group of Western warplanes on routine patrol in the southern zone.

The no-fly zones were set up to protect Kurds in Iraq's north and Shiite Muslims in the south, two ethnic groups that rose up against Saddam's government after the 1991 Gulf War.

Despite the latest clashes, the United States is scaling down its presence in the region.

The Pentagon said yesterday the USS Enterprise battle group carrier was set to leave the Persian Gulf region, as planned, by the end of this week.

The number of U.S. troops there would drop to about 22,000 - down from about 29,900 during the four-day bombardment of Iraq that ended Dec. 19.

AmeriCorps Ruining Voluntarism?

Critics Call Program A Political, Financial Mess
by Michael Chapman

AmeriCorps sounds good. A national service program to fight poverty, mold better citizens and help young adults pay for college.

But the 4-year-old AmeriCorps program is already riddled with financial, bureaucratic and political problems. It looks like another federal welfare plan gone awry. And there's apparently no stopping it.

AmeriCorps, the "domestic Peace Corps," seeks to extend programs started under President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, like the Teacher Corps, the Job Corps and VISTA Volunteers in Service to America.

AmeriCorps started in '94 with a $363 million budget and 20,000 "members" - paid volunteers - working nationwide. They are placed in government and nonprofit agencies. This fiscal year, AmeriCorps has about 40,000 members and a budget of $426 million.

To date, the program has spent about $2.1 billion. More than 100,000 members have passed through its ranks.

Every AmeriCorps member gets a $4,725 education voucher and a living allowance averaging $7,200 in exchange for 1,700 hours of service over 10 months. Members can return for two additional terms of service, but can earn no more than one additional education voucher. The vouchers help pay college tuition or pay off student loans.

In addition to the vouchers and living allowances, AmeriCorps spends about $4,000 a year per member for administrative costs and provides health insurance. Depending on the program chosen, members may also receive child-care assistance and relocation expenses.

There are 487 AmeriCorps programs, and not all of them follow a standard definition of "voluntarism."

Several thousand members have worked in federal regulatory agencies. AmeriCorps has aided partisan political campaigns, and its funds have been used to promote ideological agendas, including environmental causes and sex education.

The program has its fans, though, including Gen. Colin Powell and former President George Bush. President Clinton has called AmeriCorps "citizenship at its best." And there's no denying that AmeriCorps members are devoted to public service.

They teach. They clear streams and maintain fire roads. They build homes with Habitat for Humanity. They clean streets and parks and graffiti-smeared buildings. They recruit and train people to work in literacy programs. They're busy "getting things done," according to the Web site of the Corporation for National Service, the agency that oversees AmeriCorps.

But the idea, its consequences and its costs cause concern.

A "volunteer" project usually means that the people paying for it are also volunteers, donating their money and time freely, says David Kelley, executive director of the Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based Institute for Objectivist Studies and author of "A Life of One's Own Individual Rights and the Welfare State."

But with AmeriCorps, Kelley said, "Taxpayers have no choice about the matter.

"Instead," he added, "a bunch of bureaucrats simply say, 'We'd like to see this (project) done, and we're going to take the money to get it done."'

Morris Janowitz, a sociology professor at the University of Chicago, whose ideas have been cited by AmeriCorps supporters, has said that national service generates the manpower "essential to achieve the goals of the welfare state."

AmeriCorps is like a Great Society program, said John Walters, president of the Philanthropy Roundtable, a group that tracks charitable organizations.

"Its very premise - using federal resources to promote voluntarism - contradicts the principle of self-government that lies at the heart of citizenship," Walters said.

"AmeriCorps turns voluntarism into a political spoils system (and) government favors - and undercuts the real voluntarist tradition," said David R. Henderson, an economics professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

There's "no constitutional support for this," said Henderson, adding that AmeriCorps is a welfare program and should be ended.

How much of AmeriCorps is welfare? That's difficult to say.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Oversight and Investigations, asked several independent auditors to examine books of the Corporation for National Service. They found that the books for the agency from fiscal years '94 through '97, the latest available, were "unauditable."

Harris Wofford, chief executive of the CNS and a former Democratic U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, has pledged to provide auditable statements for '96 and every year thereafter.

Anne Bushman, a spokeswoman for the CNS, says that the total cost to taxpayers in '98 per AmeriCorps member is about $16,000.

The General Accounting Office had figured the cost to federal taxpayers for '94 and '95 was $17,600 per member. But when the GAO and Hoekstra's subcommittee added in all costs -federal, state, and local - the figure came out to around $26,000.

That number equals the "total resources" spent on average per member nationwide, counters Bushman. It includes funds from the nonprofit groups that took AmeriCorps members in, she says.

Bushman also says that AmeriCorps has kept its promise to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a critic of the program, to drop the federal cost per member by $1,000 each year until the average hits $15,000 in 2000.

Per-member costs may be dropping. But a senior Senate staffer who tracks AmeriCorps says that the CNS estimate of $16,000 is too low.

AmeriCorps is a "financial mess," the source said. "It lacks financial integrity. The CNS hasn't spent enough time to fix the (funding) problem because it doesn't see it as a priority."

Hoekstra says there's no way to get reliable data about AmeriCorps or detect possible fraud. He called the CNS "nothing more than a huge government bureaucracy seeking new ways to spend taxpayer money."

Grassley has called in the GAO to re-examine AmeriCorps before it gets any money for fiscal year 2000.

Is AmeriCorps needed? The Capital Research Center reports that more than 7 million college students now get more than $15 billion in federal aid annually. More than 60% of Americans ages 12 to 17 already volunteer an average of 3.2 hours a week each.

In addition, about 94 million adults volunteer a total of 19.7 billion hours yearly. The value of their donated time is estimated at $200 billion.

AmeriCorps' activities appear to "reinforce the bureaucratic state, not rebuild the voluntary sector," Walters said.

In AmeriCorps' first year, for example, more than 25% of its members worked in federal, state and local government agencies.

Hoekstra's subcommittee also found that AmeriCorps has engaged in "partisan political activities" and "AmeriRallies" to solicit money for political purposes and hand out political literature for left-wing causes.

Some of those activities include

Sponsoring a "Maxine Waters Day of Caring" in association with the Democratic Los Angeles congresswoman who heads the Congressional Black Caucus. AmeriCorps also has participated in rallies for other congressional Democrats.

Attending Earth Day rallies.

Giving $400,000 to the Human Resource Development Institute, a subsidiary of the AFL-CIO.

Paying $400,000 for the Washington-based National Multicultural Institute to conduct diversity training.

Aiding the Environmental Protection Agency's "environmental justice" campaign.

Still, the CNS says that since '94, AmeriCorps members "have assisted 33 million people, tutored more than 2 million children, built or rehabilitated more than 25,000 homes and recruited more than 2 million volunteers."

Thousands of AmeriCorps troops run Teach for America and literacy programs nationwide.

Carmelita Gallo, director of program development for the YMCA of the USA, says her group has placed AmeriCorps workers in 60 sites since '94.

Members urged teen-agers to perform community service in many ways, she says, and trained them to improve school safety, run block watches, mentor children and become more aware of the urban environment. Wofford says that such programs, backed by federal dollars, display "national service as a cost-effective way to involve citizens in community problem-solving."

But Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, says that there are many tasks that would never be done unless government spending created a "need" for them. Spending tax dollars on programs like AmeriCorps promotes the view that public service is better than private service, he says.

Shelving books in a government library is no more laudable than shelving them at a Crown Books store, Bandow says. And there's no reason to believe that a dollar spent on a national service program provides more to the community than a dollar kept in the private economy.

How far could that dollar go - let alone $2.1 billion? Bandow says that's one question no politician can answer.

Times have changed.

There was a time when the police was, indeed, your friend. That was back when you could stroll up to one on the street corner and make small talk with him. You could treat him as if he were just another member of your family without worrying about whether or not you might look suspicious enough for him to start interrogating you about things that are none of his business. That was when the policeman who came to your door on a call knew your name even though he had never previously arrested you. You could drive down the street and wave at the policeman in the patrol car that just passed you by, and he would wave back.

Some blame it on the crime rate. They say that more people are killed every year than the year before. There is a need for more prisons, isn't that proof enough of the rise in crime? There seem to be more robberies, more rapes, and more drug dealers.

This problem does not end with crime, however. The people in the neighborhoods that are frequented by policemen on patrol are more and more distrusting of those that are hired to serve and protect them. Many come away from visits with these patrolling men and women feeling harassed and intimidated. Why is the rate of crime equal to the rate of distrust? Instead of waving at the policeman driving by we seem to sink low into our seats, look straight ahead, and hope he doesn't notice us, even if we've done nothing wrong.

Oh, but let's look at the policeman today. They have quotas to meet. The meaning of success for these men is meeting their quotas every day, no matter what. If they fail to meet their quotas, why the man above, who gives him his raise, may think that he isn't "observant" enough. So what does the policeman do? He looks for something wrong in everyone. He searches for a reason to "get" you. He has to make that quota.

I think the question we need to be asking is to what extent will a policeman go in order to meet his quota? Is this the reason for the rapid violation of the 4th Amendment? Ask yourself if random checkpoints, sting operations, and random searches are really necessary. Do they protect your right to be "innocent until proven guilty"? Or, do they automatically label you guilty enough to be detained until the policeman is assured that you are innocent?

Shonda P. Wigington, President
Freedom-Lovers International
5308 Robinsdale Lane
Austin, Texas 78723

Government plans war games to battle Millennium Bug

WASHINGTON -- The federal government is gearing up for top-level war games designed to grapple with possible calamities the "millennium bug" might wreak in the United States and abroad.

The "tabletop exercise," as it's being called, will mark the first time since the end of the Cold War that Cabinet secretaries have assembled to plot responses to what could be a nationwide crisis.

Clinton administration officials say they expect any disruptions that might result from computer confusion when 2000 dawns will be minor. But they want to make sure the government is prepared should that forecast be wrong.

Planning for the war games, tentatively scheduled for June, is in its early stages, so officials can't say which Cabinet secretaries will take part, how long the exercises will last or what mock disaster scenarios the leaders will be wrestling with.

According to administration officials, those almost certain to participate are Defense Secretary William Cohen, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, Attorney General Janet Reno, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and Jamie Lee Witt, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is taking a lead role in preparing for any year 2000, or Y2K, glitches.

Governments, from the city and county level up, are racing to make sure their tens of thousands of vital systems will not fall prey to a programming problem that might cause computers to misinterpret the turn of the century on Jan. 1, 2000, and shut down or otherwise fail. Given the proliferation of computer chips in everything from traffic signals to medical devices to air traffic control towers, significant disruptions in vital services are at least theoretically possible.

The administration wants to be able to respond rapidly if those occur. One major focus of the war games is expected to be on how to coordinate a response. At least one other high-level war game is slated at the Pentagon, where the top brass along with Cohen will gather to brainstorm sometime between March and the national exercise in June, according to Pentagon officials. Their focus won't be so much on handling defense computer foul-ups -- for which a massive preparatory fix now is underway -- as on how the armed forces might be able to help communities in which they are based cope with a crisis, particularly those overseas.

If, for instance, the electrical power fails in Ramstein, Germany, troops at the U.S. Air Force Base there could provide generators to help restore the power, officials said.


U.N. plans for global chaos
Bennett says no plans in U.S. for martial law

SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- As preparations for widespread global panic and disorder over the Y2K crisis begin at the United Nations, the U.S. senator considered the most knowledgeable about the millennium bug, assures the United States does not have plans in place for martial law.

Representatives from 130 nations met in a closed-door meeting Friday to discuss the Y2K crisis and the predicted problems that will occur around the world. The use of SWAT teams and martial law are being planned, according to a source present for the meeting at the U.N.

Many underdeveloped nations expressed concern because they have had no ability to prepare for the Y2K problems, and many other smaller nations are far behind where they should be, the source told WorldNetDaily.

The discussions at the meeting turned to how to handle public panic and unrest that is expected to result on January 1, 2000, if the Y2K computer bug shuts down power, communications, and transportation.

The meeting was only the first of many more to come. Eventually, a formal request may be made to the U.N. for coordinated military action, according to the source. Representatives in the meetings openly expressed their fears of unrest, and voiced a need for martial law, and the use of military and police SWAT teams.

Meanwhile, Bennett, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, has been actively sounding the alarm about domestic problems that may result because of the computer glitch. But he says martial law is a minimal threat in the U.S.

"I'm not one of those who think that Bill Clinton will automatically, or in some diabolical way, try to manipulate this problem (Y2K) to impose improper force on anybody," he stated. "I just don't see any indications of that. Until I see some suggestion that that really is happening I won't believe that it's under consideration."

Bennett did acknowledge that Canada is formulating plans to initiate martial law because of Y2K.

"The Canadian armed forces are organized very differently than American armed forces," explained Bennett. "We don't have the provision to turn out the military from the Pentagon in a presidential declaration of martial law like the Canadians do."

Although Bennett has been personally speaking out about the reality of the problems that could result from the Y2K bug, he has begun to tone down his predictions. He blames some of the fear being generated about the problem on businesses selling survival and preparedness supplies.

"There's no question but that some of the hysteria is being whipped up by people who have products to sell," Bennett told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview. "At the same time, there are people who have legitimate products to sell that could have an impact on the Y2K problem, who have every right to talk about the problem in their legitimate marketing efforts."

"Sometimes the lines between those two get blurred, but I don't want to be party to helping sell any particular product or service. That's not the appropriate thing for a United States senator or a United States Senate committee to do."

Bennett was critical of most government agencies and private businesses for not working on the problem sooner. He said the Social Security Administration is to be commended for getting an early start, but most others failed to work on the problem soon enough to solve it in time.

The total cost to fix the Y2K bug is expected to exceed $600 billion, with legal expenses in excess of $1 trillion, according to Bennett. Those numbers do not include estimates of lost business revenues, and corresponding loss of tax revenues. Potential damages and repairs are also not part of the estimates.

Of all government agencies, Bennett said his greatest concerns are with the Defense Department. He said the Pentagon began work on the problem too late.

Bennett listed the priorities of his committee as power, telecommunications and transportation. He explained that it will do little good for businesses to fix the Y2K problem within their company if they don't have power, communications, or transportation.

"If there is no electricity, it doesn't matter whether your computer is Y2K compliant or not," said Bennett. "Your laptop batteries won't last long enough to solve all your problems."

When Bennett first began spreading the alarm about Y2K, he stated that there was a 40 percent chance the nation's power grid would not function because of Y2K.

"Now I think that 40 percent has shrunk down to single digits -- 5 percent, 3 percent -- pick your number, it doesn't really matter, it's a relatively small chance that the power grid will fail," said Bennett confidently.

"I still think we will have brownouts," he added. "I don't know how long they will last. I don't know where they will hit, and I don't know how severe they will be. The very nature of the problem indicates that we cannot get through this with complete, absolute, 100 percent assurance, although there are people in power companies that are now telling me that's what we can depend on.

"My own sense of the thing says, no, there's got to be some brownouts. There will be some interruptions, but the power grid will not fail. Don't go out and dig up your backyard and bury propane tanks, or go out and buy your very own generator, because I think we will have power."

"I think the telecommunications system will work," predicted Bennett. "There will be individual exchanges or switching companies, or what have you, that will have problems. We won't know until we can test the whole system end to end. But there are enough heartening indications that things are going to be alright that leads me to believe that the telecommunications system will work."

The nation's power grid is also dependent on a telecommunications system which enables all the various computers to communicate and keep the grid functioning. The telecommunications systems depend on the power grid to provide the necessary electricity.

"If we have a breakdown in the transportation system, it could eventually shut down the economy by itself," said Bennett. "For example, if the trains don't work because the switching systems don't work, you can't get coal from coal mines on the trains to the power-generating plants, which means eventually you don't get any power and the power grid goes down and then the dominoes can fall in various directions."

The most vulnerable transportation system which may be interrupted is maritime shipping, according to Bennett.

"Getting oil out of foreign countries onto ships through customs with all the paper work that is involved with all large transoceanic shipments. And, of course, all of the paper work is controlled by computers," explained Bennett.

Ships are computer-operated and must dock in ports that are also computer mechanized. Customs procedures are also dependent on computers to deal with the enormous amount of cargo coming into the country every day.

"A breakdown (could occur) in that kind of transportation chain which depends not only on Y2K compliance in this country, but in many countries including the countries that license the ships, and the countries where the oil is produced," Bennett said. "I think the chances of a breakdown somewhere in that chain are probably higher than the single digits, and that could create some interesting and challenging economic difficulties."

Bennett also took time to give advice to those who wish to determine how they may be impacted personally by the Y2K problem. Many people are planning to take their money out of banks prior to the start of the year 2000. Bennett is not personally concerned about access to his bank account.

"You have every right to contact your institution, whether it's a bank or a credit union, and ask, 'Are you going to be Y2K compliant?' If you don't have the answer that you deserve, then take your money out," said Bennett.

He said there will be individual banking institutions where checks will not clear and ATMs will fail. Some banks and ATMs will work, and others may not.

"You have the responsibility to take care of your Year 2000 problem, just as your bank has the responsibility to take care of theirs, or just as Bill Clinton has the responsibility to take care of America's," he explained.

Despite his own sometimes-dire warnings, Bennett says no one should have fear.

"I think fear is too strong a word, but I think all of us should have some concern," he explained. "Concern enough to inform ourselves. You need to find out as much as you possibly can about what's really going to happen to you, and then make intelligent contingency plans."

He advises talking to city, county, and state officials to determine if local government is prepared to continue to provide services in the year 2000. Bennett also advises that everyone should contact businesses they depend on for goods and services, and evaluate to what extent they will be impacted by Y2K.

The task is complicated by the need to evaluate the entire chain of supplies. It is not enough ask your local grocery store if it is Y2K compliant. It must also be determined if the chain of supplies to the grocery store will be able to continue to deliver goods.

"The contingency plan may be very minor, it may be non-existent," said Bennett. "You may say, 'In my job, with my employer, in my city, everything is going to be fine, I don't need to worry about anything.'

"Or you may say, 'Where I live there is a 20 percent, 30 percent chance that the trucks might not be able to get to the supermarket where I buy food. I probably ought to have a little extra food. In my city the water purification plant is proving to be far more troublesome than it would be someplace else, and in my city I better have a supply of fresh water that can take me through while they're trying to get this taken care of.'

"That's not fear," explained Bennett, "that's intelligent planning based on sound information. Everyone of us has to take the responsibility for gathering his or her own information and then making personal decisions.

Russia Still Building Nukes

MOSCOW - The military declared 10 newly designed nuclear missiles ready for combat Sunday in its first deployment of the Topol-M, developed to maintain Russia's position as a global nuclear power.

The single-warhead Topol-M, whose range has been reported to exceed 6,200 miles, will be the new heart of Russia's missile forces, and 40 are expected to be built by the end of 2000 taking the place of heavier, multiple-warhead missiles. The missile is designed to be fired from a vehicle, and its mobility makes it more safe from preemptive strikes than silo-based missiles.

The 10 Topol-M's were deployed in the Saratov region, about 450 miles southeast of Moscow, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

The deployment was a major step for Russia's cash-strapped government, which doesn't have enough money to maintain all its armed forces, and decided to concentrate defense spending on developing the missile.

"This is a very important event, because even in the difficult financial conditions of 1998 we have managed to find funds for financing this top priority area," said Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, according to ITAR-Tass.

Russia is facing its worst economic crisis since the Soviet collapse.

A parliament committee is drafting a bill that would guarantee funding to the strategic missile forces until 2010, regardless of the country's economic situation, the Interfax news agency reported.

The measure would ensure that Russia maintains nuclear parity with the West, according to Roman Popkovich, chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

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