Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Zelikow takes state department post | Zelikow takes state department post: "Zelikow takes state department post

By Kate Andrews / Daily Progress staff writer
February 26, 2005
Philip Zelikow is leaving the University of Virginia to serve as a senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, government officials announced Friday.

He has left his post as executive director of UVa’s Miller Center of Public Affairs to become counselor of the U.S. Department of State, a full-time job. As counselor, he will serve as a senior adviser on foreign policy issues, including international negotiations.

Zelikow, 50, was executive director of the 9/11 Commission, which examined the lead-up to the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Virginia. Its work concluded in July.

“Philip and I have worked together for years and I value his counsel and expertise,” Rice said in a statement. “I appreciate his willingness to take on this assignment.”

Zelikow and Rice go back a long way, having worked together under the first President Bush. They also co-authored a 1999 book, “Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft.”

“It’s a job that absolutely suits him to a T,” said George H. Gilliam, director of the Miller Center’s forum program. “His job will be to wrap his arms around great big, complex problems.”

The position has a personal side as well, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher noted Friday.

“It’s been somebody the secretary could turn to, rely on for projects, advice, thinking, coordination - a lot of different things,” he said. “It’s a very personal position, sort of, for the secretary.”

The last time the post was filled was in 2001, when Wendy Sherman served under Secretary Madeleine Albright.

Zelikow declined an interview request Friday, but Gilliam said the job offer took him by surprise.

He was “fully committed” to staying at UVa, Gilliam said, but added, “He’s a patriot, and it’s very hard to say no.”

Zelikow’s six-year tenure at the Miller Center saw a greater focus on presidential politics, including the publication of eight volumes of Oval Office recordings from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

“He had a very clear vision of the Miller Center’s mission,” Gilliam said. Zelikow’s main objectives were to help scholars and to uncover the decision-making process in the U.S. government’s highest reaches.

The center expects to name an interim director in the next week or so, Gilliam said. The national search for a permanent replacement will take longer - probably six to nine months.

“Philip Zelikow has brought tremendous energy and vision to the Miller Center, and he leaves an indelible imprint,” said Dan Frierson, chairman of the center’s governing council. “While we hate to see him depart, we commend and honor his tremendous commitment to public service.”

Contact Kate Andrews at (434) 978-7261 or"

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Iran News - EU to sell Iran Airbus plane as incentive

Iran News - EU to sell Iran Airbus plane as incentive: "EU to sell Iran Airbus plane as incentive

Thursday, February 24, 2005 - ©2005
LONDON, Feb 24 (IranMania) - European Union wants to sell Iran an Airbus plane as an incentive to move forward its nuclear talks, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told a summit with US President George W Bush on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

A participant quoted the German leader as saying the EU needed to offer incentives in non-sensitive goods to make it difficult for Iran to walk out of negotiations for curbing its nuclear program and ending uranium enrichment that could be used to make a bomb.

Schroeder cited as an example selling one Airbus now and raising the prospect of further aircraft deliveries if the talks were concluded successfully, the source said."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Haaretz - Israel News - Want to know what Bush thinks? Read Sharansky

Haaretz - Israel News - Want to know what Bush thinks? Read Sharansky: "Want to know what Bush thinks? Read Sharansky

By Yoav Stern
BOSTON - Even though he was standing on a high stage, Natan Sharansky was swallowed up in the crowd that pressed around him. Behind him stood federal security agents and burly policemen, in front of him stood young people and adults, Americans and foreigners, who wanted his autograph on his new book. There were also those who had not managed to obtain the book, which sold out quickly at the shops; they made do with an autograph on the flyer that Harvard University had handed out before Sharansky's lecture in the prestigious forum of the Kennedy School of Government. The large space where the lecture was held was absolutely full.

Minister Sharansky's lecture 12 days ago was planned as part of the crowded timetable of a four-day visit to the Untied States, during the course of which Sharansky met with members of Congress in Washington, gave radio and television interviews and met with various forums.

The great interest in the Israeli government minister responsible for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs does not derive from the way in which he is carrying out his duties, or from his heroic past as a freedom fighter in the Soviet Union, but rather from the fact that none other than United States President George W. Bush has enlisted in the publicity campaign for his new book.

The brand new secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, told Sharansky about this in November, when she was still serving in her previous role as national security advisor. She said she wasn't reading the book because it is a best-seller, but rather because the president is reading it, and she had to read every book that her president reads.

Many others in the United States are reacting in the same way. This week the book is at number 18 on The New York Times Bestseller List, after taking the list by storm two weeks ago and appearing in 15th place after President George W. Bush mentioned it in his inaugural address.

It all began in November with the appearance of the book "The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror," which Sharansky wrote in English with the help of Ron Dermer, an American-Israeli who lives in Jerusalem, and who has served as political advisor to Sharansky and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On November 11, the day Yasser Arafat died, Sharansky received an urgent summons to the Oval Office at the White House. Rice too took advantage of the opportunity of his visit to Washington to meet with him.

Bush, who defined the book as "part of my presidential DNA" and of "my philosophy," mentioned it not only in his inaugural address on January 20 but also in his State of the Union address several days later. Since then everyone who wants to know what the White House is thinking has been trying to understand Sharansky's philosophy.

The basic principle of the theory is simple. Terror and war stem from the existence of tyrannical regimes that deny their peoples' liberty. In order to maintain their regimes, the tyrannical rulers must direct the anger of the masses to an external enemy - and lead them to war. The toppling of these tyrannical regimes, not by force but rather by means of economic and public pressure, will lead to the expansion of the circle of free democracies - which do not fight one another.

The criterion by which Sharansky assesses whether a given state is free is the "town square" test: If a person can come to the square and preach his opinions without being attacked or arrested, then he is in a free country, which maintains human rights; otherwise, it is a dictatorship. Thus, plain and simple: either "a free society" or a "fear society," with no nuances in between.

Sharansky stresses that he is basing his ideas on his personal experience. In the book, as well as in the lecture at Harvard, he relates with great charm how his awareness of "double-think" developed - a person's ability to regulate outwardly his real thoughts about the regime. This happened to him at the age of five, in 1953, when Stalin died.

The father of young Anatoly, as he was known, explained to him and his siblings that it was "a good day for the Jews," because Stalin had wanted to embark on a new wave of executions. The father added that a miracle had happened, but warned them not to tell anybody. The next day they went to kindergarten and there, like the other children, they wept over the death of the "Sun of the nations." Those who are aware of "double-think" can be found everywhere there is a dictatorship, argues Sharansky; they cannot express their opinions freely because they will be harmed if they do so.

Sharansky directs the thrust of his criticism at the Arab states and the Muslim countries. Their rulers, who are trying to preserve their regimes, are directing the masses' anger, as he sees it, at an external enemy. In most cases in the Arab world, this is Israel.

One of the examples that Sharansky gave at Harvard is Egypt, which, though far from being a democracy, has gained a lot from its peace agreement with Israel. But it lost Israel as an enemy and therefore has become "one of the main producers of anti-Semitic propaganda in the form of television programming and print material," including "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

Another example of anti-Semitism is Saudi Arabia, which according to Sharansky is spreading Wahabbism (an extreme Sunni Islamic belief that is at the basis of the Saudi regime) and instability throughout the world in order preserve its own internal stability.

David Gergen, a lecturer in public service at the school of government at Harvard who for 30 years served as an advisor to American presidents, was the moderator of the evening. He believes that its success derived from the personal charm of Sharansky, telling Haaretz that the audience was enchanted by his personal story and by the philosophy he presented.

When asked whether he agrees with the theory itself, Gergen explained that everyone is in favor of democracy, but life is a bit more complex. Examples that support his approach may be found for example in Egypt, where only two months ago a large demonstration against President Hosni Mubarak was held, and in Lebanon, where opposition elements are expressing themselves openly against the continued Syrian presence in the country.

"The question is how to act, on a case by case basis, in countries that are not democratic," Gergen said. "The differences of opinion have more to do with whether or not to use force against them."

Sharansky lightly fended off the questions that were directed to him on the matter of the occupation in the territories. One woman in the audience asked him cynically whether the American administration should cut off its ties with Israel because it is treating the Palestinians tyrannically. Sharansky replied with a smile that the person who is saying that the extent of the concessions to the Palestinians should be proportional to their democratic reform is none other than the president of the United States, George Bush, adding that back in June 2002, he had declared that the administration was not prepared to work with Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat.

"The Palestinian state has to be democratic," Sharansky declared.

It is hard to grasp from Israel the way in which Sharansky is perceived in the United States. In February 1986 he was received in Israel and the world with great affection after he crossed the bridge between East Berlin and West Berlin. In the 1990s he established the Yisrael b'Aliyah party, which has in the meantime been swallowed up in the Likud.

Many people in Israel perhaps see Sharansky as a gray figure with an uncompromising rightist image, but in the United States they don't see it this way.

"Why in fact can't he be the next prime minister, after [Ariel] Sharon?" an American student who attended the lecture asked in total seriousness.

Sharansky himself looks pleased with his new status as an idol of the masses. He enjoys joking with the audience, and speaks proudly about his meetings in Washington.

The book is causing concern in Egypt

The Washington correspondent of the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram, Khaled Daoud, has concluded that Sharansky's book is threatening to the Arab world to the extent that it merits a series of reports in his newspaper, and the third article in the series is slated to be published today. The two that have already been published review the central idea of the book and criticize it.

"The book is very dangerous, especially in light of the fact that Bush praises it," wrote Daoud, adding that the conclusion from reading the book is very frustrating, and that the many lies and deceptions with which Sharansky is inundating Bush are giving rise to a sense of danger.

In response, Sharansky said in a press release: "I'm happy that Egyptian citizens will become familiar with the thesis presented in the book - I am sure that our region is ready for the era of democratization, and that the interest in the book will encourage discussion of the issue."

His aim has been achieved to a large extent, as the reports do indeed present the main idea of the book. What is not in the reports is self-examination - a discussion whether the arguments apply to the Egyptian regime.

Daoud does not miss the opportunity to express criticism of Sharansky at his weakest point. On the one hand, Sharansky divides countries into only two groups - free societies and fear societies - with no nuances in between. On the other hand, Daoud argues that Sharansky gives a discount to Russia, and claims that he is prepared to admit that the attempt to establish a democracy there has not been very successful.

In the end, argues Daoud, "the book is a primitive attempt to justify international involvement led by the United States in the concerns of all the countries of the world."

"Members of Congress ask me how to behave in the manner of President Bush," he said in an anteroom before the lecture. They too, incidentally, ask him to autograph his book for them."

Monday, February 21, 2005

ABC News: Author: Secretly Taped Bush for History, Not Money

ABC News: Author: Secretly Taped Bush for History, Not Money: "Feb. 21, 2005 — The friend of the Bush family who secretly recorded nine hours of conversations with George W. Bush says he never intended for the tapes to become public but felt he had a duty to accurately represent a man who he believed would one day become president.

Doug Wead, the author of the new book "The Raising of a President," surreptitiously recorded his conversations with Bush beginning in 1998, when Bush was governor of Texas and considering a run for president.

"I didn't do it for money. I could sell the tapes even now for tremendous amounts of money," Wead said in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America," adding, "I didn't do it to sell books." Wead said his publisher wanted him to release his book during the 2004 presidential campaign so it could benefit from sales to Bush supporters, but he refused. "My publicist told me at the time, 'That cost you a million dollars,'" Wead said.

Wead, a former Assembly of God minister, said he had had second thoughts about secretly taping the future president. "If I had to do it over, I wouldn't do it at all," he said, "but I love history."

The candid conversations suggested Bush's strategies to deal with questions about whether he used drugs, to reconcile his born-again Christian faith with a tolerance toward gays, and other issues.

Wead, who has written extensively about other first families, including the Kennedys and the Roosevelts, believed Bush would become a "pivotal figure in history."

"I had a choice to either write propaganda about the Bushes or write accurately and fairly based on what I knew," said Wead in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America."

Wead said his publisher insisted on listening to the tapes to confirm anonymous sources cited in the book. The New York Times then got wind of the tapes, and from there, it "all became unraveled," Wead said.

Wead played about a dozen tapes to a reporter from the Times over the past several weeks, and the paper confirmed their authenticity with an audio expert, according to an article in the paper today.

Questions of Possible Drug Use

On the tapes, Bush discussed strategies for stonewalling questions about past marijuana use.

"Do you want your little kid, to say, 'Hey daddy, President Bush tried marijuana; I think I will?'" said Bush on the tapes. "That's the message we've been sending out. I wouldn't answer the marijuana question."

In a taped segment played on "Good Morning America," Bush also addressed how he would deal with questions about cocaine use.

"The cocaine thing, let me tell you my strategy on that," Bush said on the tape. "Rather than saying no … I think it's time for someone to draw the line and look people in the eye and say, you know, 'I'm not going to participate in ugly rumors about me and blame my opponent,' and hold the line. Stand up for a system that will not allow this kind of crap to go on."

When asked if past drug use was a big issue to Bush, Wead said, "He brought the subject up often."

Bush has acknowledged having a problem with alcohol in the past but has not publicly admitted any illegal drug use.

Instead of being a negative for the president, Wead sees Bush's past indiscretions as a positive story of redemption.

"Leo Tolstoy said, 'Everyone wants to change humanity, but no one is willing to change themselves,' " said Wead. "I see George W. Bush as an example of someone who changed themselves."

Tolerance for Gays, Disdain for Rivals

The tapes also show Bush's concern about keeping his evangelical Christian base happy while appearing tolerant to gays.

In one conversation, Wead said on the tape: "He's saying you promised you would not appoint any gays to office."

Bush replied: "No, what I said was I wouldn't fire gays. … I'm not going to discriminate against people."

A more bawdy side of Bush also is apparent on the tapes, as he mocked then-Vice President Al Gore for admitting to marijuana use, predicted that Sen. John McCain's, R-Ariz., appeal would "wear thin," and called his father's vice-president "ugly."

"Dan Quayle, gosh, he's ugly. He's gone ugly on me, man," Bush said on the tapes.

Terse Response

The White House response to the six-year-old tapes has been terse.

"These were casual conversations with someone [the president] considered a friend," said a White House spokesman.

Wead said he's keeping some of the material private, because it's too personal and could land him in legal trouble. He also said he made all of the recordings in states where it is legal to do so.

Though Wead said he has spoken to the White House since the release of the tapes, he has stayed mum on the president's response.

"He's a leader, and he prefers to lead," said Wead of his old friend, adding, "I write history."

Yahoo! News - President Bush Plotted to Hide History of Years of Drug Abuse

Yahoo! News - Secret Tapes Show Bush's Concern Over Past: "Secret Tapes Show Bush's Concern Over Past

WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) was concerned "his mistakes as a youth" would disqualify him from running for the nation's highest office, said an old friend who secretly recorded private conversations in which Bush appears to acknowledge past drug use.

"I don't want any kid doing what I tried to do 30 years ago," Bush said in recordings made when he was governor of Texas and aired Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "And I mean that. It doesn't matter if it's LSD, cocaine, pot, any of those things, because if I answer one, then there will be another one. And I just am not going to answer those questions. And it may cost me the election."

The recordings were made by Doug Wead, a former aide to George W. Bush's father, in the two years before the younger Bush became the Republican nominee for president in 2000.

"I think it bothered him — the fact that when he was younger he was irresponsible," Wead said in an interview on the ABC program. "I think early on he felt disqualified, that he couldn't run for office because of his mistakes as a youth."

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Sunday that the president does not dispute the content of the tapes. McClellan would not comment further, other than to say they were "casual conversations that then-Governor Bush was having with someone he thought was a friend."

Wead also played some of his recordings for a New York Times reporter. The newspaper reported Sunday that they show Bush crafting a strategy for navigating the tricky political waters between Christian conservative and secular voters. He repeatedly worried that evangelicals would be angered by a refusal to bash gays and that secular Americans would be turned off by meetings with evangelical leaders, the newspaper reported.

Wead said he didn't intend for the tapes to become public in his lifetime, but he was forced to release them by his publisher. Wead is the author of "The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders," which was published by Atria and went on sale last month.

Wead said he made the tapes as a historical record. He denied that he released them to make money or sell books.

"This book could have been released before the election, driven by partisan sales," Wead said. "The publisher wanted it. I wouldn't let it, and my publicist told me at the time, `That cost you a million dollars.'""

Friday, February 18, 2005

Elliott Abrams - From Iran-Contra to Bush's democracy czar. By Michael Crowley

Elliott Abrams - From Iran-Contra to Bush's democracy czar. By Michael Crowley: "Elliott Abrams
From Iran-Contra to Bush's democracy czar.
By Michael Crowley
Posted Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005, at 10:41 AM PT

Abrams: Bush's Henry Kissinger?

Hours before the president's State of the Union address earlier this month—a perfect moment for burying inconvenient news—the White House announced the ascension of Elliott Abrams to the highest ranks of its foreign-policy team. Abrams has moved from the staff of the National Security Council to the post of deputy national security adviser. It's a significant promotion, one that gives Abrams both an elevated stature and new management powers. Specifically, the White House says Abrams will be in charge of "global democracy strategy," effectively making him Bush's democracy czar. In other words, Abrams is now the brains behind George Bush's grand mission to fix the world. Over the next four years, he may come to represent, more than anyone, the id of the Bush administration's foreign policy.

Why would the White House bury Abrams' promotion? Because he still hasn't shed his image as a Reaganite villain. As Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh prepared to bring a multicount felony indictment against him in 1987, Abrams pleaded guilty to misleading Congress, a misdemeanor crime. Many Democrats also revile him as the lead apologist for brutal Central American dictatorships in El Salvador and Guatemala during the 1980s. He's "the guy who lied and wheedled to aid and protect human rights abusers," The Nation's David Corn wrote upon Abrams' 2001 return to government. Surely the White House grasps the ironies here: A man accused of subverting the Constitution is leading its charge for democratic government; a reputed defender of dictators is working to depose them. In this sense, Abrams embodies Bush's foreign policy as a whole. The goals are noble—but are the methods sound?

Abrams is a neocon with almost cartoonishly pure credentials. He grew up in a liberal Jewish household in New York. While a student at Harvard Law School, he lived in the attic of the sociologist Nathan Glazer, a pioneer of neoconservative social thought. In the 1970s Abrams worked for the two Democrats to whom neocons still pay homage, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late New York senator, and Henry "Scoop" Jackson, the famously hawkish senator from Washington state. He married Rachel Decter, whose mother, Midge, is married to the neocon Yoda-figure Norman Podhoretz. He is also a longtime friend of Natan Sharansky, the Russian dissident turned Israeli parliament member who is a pro-democracy hero to neocons and whose tome on democracy recently graced Bush's bedside table.

Like so many other neocons, Abrams ditched the Democratic party in the late 1970s because of its post-Vietnam foreign-policy timidity. After a meeting with Jimmy Carter, he declared the president "hopeless" about confronting the Soviets. He joined Reagan's State Department and in the name of anti-communism placed himself on the front lines of the administration's Central American proxy wars with the Soviets. Abrams was among the first to agitate for the downfall of Manuel Noriega, and his loathing of Augusto Pinochet led him to feud openly with Republican Sen. Jesse Helms, who urged cooperation with the Chilean strongman. But Abrams undercut his credibility by stubbornly defending the U.S.-backed military regime in El Salvador even after evidence emerged of regime-sponsored massacres. This made him a villain among liberals like New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, who accused him of whitewashing human rights abuses. A famously tough political operator, Abrams gave as good as he got. "I would like to take a machine gun and mow Anthony Lewis down," his wife once told the Washington Post. "I wouldn't waste the bullets," Abrams rejoined. "I would rather have them go to the contras."

That sort of self-certainty helped to enmesh Abrams in the Iran-Contra scandal. Though not a principal architect, he was well aware of Oliver North's secret aid program to the Nicaraguan rebels and played his own memorable role in the skullduggery. In a classic bit of John le Carré intrigue, Abrams traveled to London in 1986 armed with a Swiss bank account number and the code name "Mr. Kenilworth." He met in Hyde Park with an agent of the Sultan of Brunei and solicited a $10 million donation for the contras. When the Iran-Contra investigation revealed his role, Abrams took a beating and then hung on for the duration of Reagan's presidency. He wasn't invited to join the new team when George H. W. Bush took office in 1989, however, though Bush later granted him a Christmas Eve pardon to clear his legal record. Abrams never apologized for his Iran-Contra doings. "I don't have any regrets at all," he proclaimed upon leaving government. Much like the defenders of the Iraq war in the current administration, he felt he had done the right thing in the name of a larger, heroic cause.

Abrams used his time out of government to develop the new specialty that paved his path back: religion and the Middle East. In 1996 he became president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Washington outfit dedicated to applying faith-based morality to public policy. To boost support for Israel, Abrams urged a new kinship between observant Jews and evangelical Christians. He promoted a strongly pro-Israel stance toward peace negotiations with the Palestinians, criticizing the 1993 Oslo accords as too demanding of Israel.

When Abrams returned to government in 2001 as a National Security Council staffer (a position that did not require a sure-to-be-bloody Senate confirmation), his unflinching belief that only strong American power can catalyze democracy and human rights abroad wasn't a Bush priority. Abrams seemed bound to be a secondary figure. Like his fellow neocons Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, however, his ideas gained sudden new currency after Sept. 11. Unlike Wolfowitz and Perle, however, Abrams hasn't been tarnished by the Iraq war. They made public assurances that proved fanciful; Abrams was a supporter of the war but not a key planner.

He has instead spent the past couple of years as a senior adviser to Bush on the Middle East peace process. In that post he has used his clout to undercut the administration's "road map" to peace because he thought it demanded too much of Israel. Abrams has compared Ariel Sharon to Winston Churchill, an enthusiasm that has translated into a White House policy of few concessions to the Palestinians. His promotion, then, would seem to suggest a more pro-Israel slant. But there is also a school of thought, expressed to me by one administration official, that only someone with Abrams' bona fides can convince American Jews that a U.S.-brokered peace deal is worth supporting. If Bush is to Ramallah as Nixon is to China, then Abrams is the Henry Kissinger.

Meanwhile, Abrams' central task is to implement Bush's call for "the expansion of freedom in all the world." Ill-defined as it may be, the concept presents a quandary for liberals, who may admire Bush's democratic ends but loathe his means, and who may wish for democracy in Iraq but feel the Bush administration has lied in its effort to achieve it. Elliott Abrams' career has been defined by similar contradictions. In that sense, he is a perfect face for George Bush's foreign policy."

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

31 NGOs in Afghanistan Support Nacotics Trade

Iran Daily "Anti-Drug War in Afghanistan Questioned

This picture taken 9 April 2004, shows an Afghan poppy farmer using a blade to score the surface of an opium poppy in order to extract raw opium in Laghman, Afghanistan. (AFP File Photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 2--Afghan authorities and the international community have declared war on drugs in Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer, but the debate about exactly how to wipe out the problem is just starting, AFP reported.
This week 31 non-governmental organizations wrote to new US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice urging America to reconsider its emphasis on eradicating poppy crops, saying it could destabilize the country.
The open letter shows the widespread concern among aid officials and diplomats, who say eradication is not enough while there is no real policy for giving farmers an alternative livelihood once their crops are destroyed.
They say the West must also tackle the problem at the other end, starting with the addicts who consume Afghan drugs and moving up to the traffickers and even the companies who export chemicals used to make heroin.
"There is no silver bullet," one of the aid officials who signed the letter to Rice told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"Development is going to take many years. So rather than throwing a lot of resources, the US should take a look at the bigger picture."
The letter, released Monday by groups including CARE, the International Crisis Group and Oxfam International said the current anti-drugs policy placed "premature and excessive emphasis" on eradication.
"It has the potential to turn millions of Afghans against a government which is struggling to extend its reach and strengthen its authority," the document added."