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Betting On Terror - CBS News

The Pentagon has requested $3 million for the program for next year and $5 million for the following year.

The Web site says government agencies will not be allowed to participate and will not have access to the identities or funds of traders.

According to its Web site, the Policy Analysis Market would be a joint program of the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, and two private companies: Net Exchange, a market technologies company, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, the business information arm of the publisher of The Economist magazine.

The market is a project of a DARPA division called FutureMAP, or "Futures Markets Applied to Prediction." FutureMAP is trying to develop programs that would allow the Defense Department to use market forces to predict future events, according to its Web site.

The description of the market on its Web site makes it appear similar to a computer-based commodities market. The market would initially be limited to 1,000 traders, increasing to at least 10,000 by Jan. "Make-believe markets trading in possibilities that turn the stomach hardly seem like a sensible next step to take with taxpayer money in the war on terror."

Traders who believe an event will occur can buy a futures contract. Spending millions of dollars on some kind of fantasy league terror game is absurd and, frankly, ought to make every American angry. "The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it's grotesque," Sen. According to the Associated Press, defense officials hope to gain intelligence and useful predictions while investors who guessed right would win profits.

Two Democratic senators demanded Monday that the project be stopped before the registration period for investors, which is set to begin on Friday. Wyden said the Policy Analysis Market is under retired Adm. The two versions will have to be reconciled.

"Can you imagine if another country set up a betting parlor so that people could go in ... and bet on the assassination of an American political figure, or the overthrow of this institution or that institution?" said Dorgan.

"Just last week the 9/11 report proved that the basics of communication and follow-through ought to be our primary weapons against the terrorist threat," said Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a statement on his Web site. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, in a joint statement with Wyden. recognition of a Palestinian state.

"The rapid reaction of markets to knowledge held by only a few participants may provide an early warning system to avoid surprise," it said.

"This is an appalling waste of taxpayers' money," said Democratic Sen. economic and military involvement in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.

People could also bet สมัคร fun88 on specific future events, like the chances of a Palestinian state being declared in 2005.

Wyden said the Senate version of next year's defense spending bill would cut off money for the program, but the House version would fund it. Investors would buy and sell futures contracts - essentially a series of predictions about what they believe might happen in the Mideast. Contracts would be available based on economic health, civil stability, military disposition and U.S. Those who believe the event is unlikely can try to sell a contract. The market, to be conducted in partnership with two private companies, would work this way. Futures markets have proven themselves to be good at predicting such things as elections results; they are often better than expert opinions."

"Surely such a threat should be met with intelligence gathering of the highest quality - not by putting the question to individuals betting on an Internet Web site," they said.

Wyden said $600,000 has been spent on the program so far and the Pentagon plans to spend an additional $149,000 this year. 1.

Dorgan described it as useless, offensive and "unbelievably stupid."

The Pentagon office overseeing the program, called the Policy Analysis Market, said it is part of a research effort "to investigate the broadest possible set of new ways to prevent terrorist attacks." It said there would be a re-evaluation before more money was committed.

Although the Web site described the Policy Analysis Market as "a market in the future of the Middle East," the art on the site at first also included the possibility of a North Korea missile attack.

DARPA has received strong criticism from Congress for its Terrorism Information Awareness program, a computerized surveillance program that has raised privacy concerns. "We need to focus our resources on responsible intelligence gathering, on real terrorist threats. What on Earth were they thinking?"

The Pentagon is reportedly setting up a futures-style market system in which investors would bet on terror attacks, assassinations and other events in the Middle East. John Poindexter, the head of the Terrorism Information Awareness program and, in the 1980s, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal.. 1. The Web site does not address how much money investors would be likely to put into the market but says analysts would be motivated by the "prospect of profit and at pain of loss" to make accurate predictions.

It said the markets must offer "compensation that is ethically and legally satisfactory to all sectors involved, while remaining attractive enough to ensure full and continuous participation of individual parties."

Registration for a beta test of the system is to begin Friday, for trading beginning Oct. They noted a May 20 report to lawmakers that cited the possibility of using market forces to predict whether terrorists would attack Israel with biological weapons.

In a statement Monday, DARPA said that markets offer efficient, effective and timely methods for collecting "dispersed and even hidden information. Holders of a futures contract that came true would collect the proceeds of investors who put money into the market but predicted wrong.

A graphic on the market's Web page showed hypothetical futures contracts in which investors could trade on the likelihood that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be assassinated or Jordanian King Abdullah II would be overthrown.

That graphic was apparently removed from the Web site hours after the news conference in which Senators Wyden and Dorgan denounced the planned new futures market.

Contracts would also be available on "global economic and conflict indicators" and specific events, for example U.S. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said.

Dorgan and Wyden released a letter to Poindexter calling for an immediate end to the program

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