Reed Irvine - Editor
|September B 1982|
SOVIET TERROR LINKS FOUND IN LEBANON
Our major media have long ignored or downplayed evidence linking the Soviet Union and its satellites to international terrorism. When Robert Moss, co- author of The Spike, told an international conference on terrorism held in Jerusalem in 1981 that the PLO had become a Soviet surrogate in the Middle East, the reaction of the representatives of the press was one of cynicism mixed with hostility. Wall Street Journal correspondent Susan Weaver explained the negative reaction to Moss's statement, saying that linking the KGB with world terrorism through the PLO "cast a dark shadow on what remained of Henry Kissinger's carefully designed policy of detente."
Secretary of State Alexander Haig also met with criticism from the media for daring to score the Soviet Union for its support of international terrorism. The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post both engaged in a massive effort to debunk the State Department White Paper which revealed that documents captured in El Salvador showed that the Soviet Union and its satellites were arming the terrorists in that country. Both of these papers relied heavily on an analysis of the White Paper prepared by Philip Agee, the notorious ex-CIA agent who, with the help of communist intelligence services, has been trying to cripple the CIA by identifying its agents.
Washington Post writer Blaine Hardin attacked The Terror Network, an excellent book by Claire Sterling exposing the international terrorist movement and its close ties to the communist countries when it was published last year. Hardin informed Miss Sterling that it was a mistake to publish material, which would provide aid and comfort to the "radical right." Claire Sterling disregarded Mr. Hardin's counsel She published an important article in the September 1982 issue of Reader's Diqest exposing the links between Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish terrorist who tried to kill the Pope, and the Bulgarian secret police, who are under the control of the Soviet KGB. The media have given this sensational article little attention.
The charges of Soviet involvement in the international terrorist movement that have been made by Robert Moss, Alexander Haig, Claire Sterling and others were strikingly confirmed by documents captured by the Israeli Army in Lebanon. But rather than catapulting this long ignored fact to the front pages, the documentary evidence found by the Israelis has also been largely ignored by Big Media.
In the The Terror Network, Claire Sterling showed that the Soviet Union had long been deeply involved in training and equipping every Palestinian terrorist group. She said, "Russian military hardware and expertise had in fact furnished the officers' corps, tactics, and superb modern armament for all the Palestinians' combined forces, the most formidable guerrilla army on earth." She charged that Palestinians had been sent in large numbers to the Soviet Union for terrorist training. They traveled to Moscow in Aeroflot planes. They received indoctrination in Marxism-Leninism and training in the use of a variety of Soviet weapons, explosives, and urban guerrilla tactics. Miss Sterling said that the training camps in the USSR and Eastern Europe offered 54 courses for Palestinians and other foreigners in 1977. She said that 35 of these courses were given in the Soviet Union itself. Eight were given in East Germany, four in Bulgaria, four in Czechoslovakia, and three in Poland.
One of these Soviet-trained terrorists described the use that he made of his training to Herbert Krosney of the Canadian Broadcasting System in 1979, not long after his capture by the Israelis. His name was Muhammed Abu Kassem, but he was known as "Hader." After six months of training in the USSR, he was assigned to participate in a Fatah raid that became known as the "Sabbath Massacre." He and his group killed 37 drivers and pedestrians on an Israeli coastal highway.
Hader's next assignment was much more ambitious. He and his fellow terrorists were to attack the beach at Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba on the Rosh Hashanah holiday weekend, when the beach would be crowded. They took an old steamer that had been bought by Fatah, which carried four tons of dynamite and was fitted with 42 Katyusha rockets. The plan was to use the rockets to set fire to the oil storage tanks near the shore and then to ground the ship, timing the explosion of the dynamite to coincide with the grounding. The terrorists were supposed to make their escape on a rubber raft before the ship was grounded. The Israeli Navy foiled the plan, and Hader and his fellow terrorists were captured.
Despite the evidence that was provided by captured terrorists such as Hader and information obtained from other sources, our media and Western governments in general went along with the fiction that the Soviets had nothing to do with terrorism. The Soviets contended that they had no control over the use the Palestinians made of the arms they gave them. Claire Sterling says that Western governments were all too willing to go along with that fiction. She points out that in the spring of 1980, Dutch police arrested four Spanish terrorists who were heading home after receiving terrorist training in South Yemen, a Soviet satellite. They confessed that they were part of a group of 13 that had been sent for training by the Basque terrorist group, ETA. Miss Sterling says this made headlines all over Western Europe, but no government was willing to confront the Soviets or the Palestinians with this evidence of their meddling in the internal affairs of Western Europe, employing terrorism.
Indeed, the Soviet involvement has been admitted and even boasted of by PLO spokesmen. In 1979, Zehdi Labib Terzi, the PLO representative at the UN, said publicly: "The Soviet Union, and all the rest of the socialist countries, just like the rest of the world, almost, they give us the full support--diplomatic, moral, educational, and also they open their military academies to some of our freedom fighters." Muhammed ash-Sha'ir, the PLO's representative in Moscow, boasted that hundreds of PLO officers had been graduated from Soviet military academies. His statement was distributed by the PLO news agency on February 17, 1981.
"The role of the PLO in terrorist activities ranges far beyond the theatre of Palestinian and Israeli conflict," says Herbert Romerstein, a member of the staff of the House Intelligence Committee, in his study, "Soviet Support for International Terrorism." Romerstein says, "In Iran, for instance, the PLO openly provided support to the Iranian terrorists who helped overthrow the Shah. At a meeting in Paris in October 1978, the editor of the PLO newspaper stated, 'The PLO is proud to be accused of fomenting trouble in Iran.' Iranian terrorists received PLO training and participated in terrorist actions with PLO forces....Terrorists from all over the world have been trained at PLO camps in Lebanon and South Yemen.
"The German 'Baader-Meinhof gang' has been one of the most active groups receiving such training. In January 1976, two members of the Baader-Meinhof group. Thomas Reuter and Brigitte Schulz, were captured in Kenya while engaged in organizing an attack on an Israeli airliner. They and some of their Palestinian terrorist companions were smuggled out of Kenya and jailed in Israel...Another of the...groups receiving substantial PLO support is the Japanese Red Army...Training at PLO camps enabled members of the Japanese Red Army to carry out some of the bloodiest of recent international terrorist acts. That of May 1972, at Israel's Lod Airport, left 26 people dead and about 80 wounded. Three Red Army members with submachine guns and grenades attacked people in the passenger lounge at the airport. Two were killed in the shootout, but a third, captured by the Israelis. Admitted that he had been trained at a camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in southern Lebanon."
In a pamphlet published in 1979 to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Lod Airport massacre, the Japanese Red Army declared that it is "a volunteer army dependent on the Palestinian revolution."
The American media ignored an early clue to the true nature of the Sandinistas who were fighting to overthrow the Somoza government in Nicaragua when their representatives met with the PLO and entered into an agreement for joint operations. The PLO along with Cuba supplied arms to the Sandinistas. After the Sandinista victory, Jorge Mande, their representative in Europe, publicly acknowledged the close ties between the Sandinistas and the PLO. In August 1979, he said: "We have had close relations with the Palestinians. Many of the units belonging to the Sandinista movement were at Palestinian revolution bases in Jordan. In the early 1970s, Nicaraguan and Palestinian blood was spilled together in Amman and in other places during the Black September battles...It is natural, therefore, that during our war against Somoza we received Palestinian support for our revolution in various forms."
The findings of Sterling, Romerstein and others about the Soviet-bloc support of the terrorist movement received strong confirmation from the documents captured in Lebanon by the Israeli forces during the early days of the recent war. According to The Washington Inquirer, which obtained copies of the captured documents from the Israeli Embassy, they showed that PLO officers tended to receive at least one training course in the Soviet Union, while others went to training camps in Hungary and other Soviet-bloc countries. The Israelis found certificates awarded by the Soviet Minis- try of Defense to these trainees. Some of the documents recounted disciplinary problems the Soviets had encountered with the trainees.
The files and records of the PLO's "September Fallen/ Castle Brigade" show that training took place in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany, Communist China, Algeria, Libya and South Yemen. The discovery of Cuban and Yugoslav sabotage and terrorism manuals indicates that some PLO mem- bers were also trained in those countries.
The documents showed that the training was not limited to Palestinians and not directed simply at their efforts to create trouble for Israel. For example, one of the captured manuals. tided Terror. informed terrorists attacking American air bases that one kilogram of explosives is enough for targets such as pilots' living quarters, fuel and oil tanks and ammunition dumps.
A Spanish sabotage manual was found. It stressed the importance of bombing transportation and power facilities. This has been the tactic employed by the guerrillas in El Salvador, whose leaders are probably graduates of a training course using the same manual. This book tells how to set up roadblocks and how to destroy telephone communications, trains, fuel storage tanks and electric power lines, transformers and plants. Instructions are also given on the destruction of buses and trucks and the derailment of trains.
The Israelis also found a camp where Western European terrorists were trained. It was the PLO camp, Shatila, near Beirut. A 45-day course was given there in weapons, demolition, intelligence, tactics and karate. The trainees included members of the German Baader-Meinhof gang, the Italian Red Brigades, the Japanese Red Army, the Turkish Liberation Army and the IRA. A captured document showed that the foreign trainees at a camp near Tyre included Turks, Haitians, Salvadorans and South Africans. Documents also showed Libya to be supporting a new subversive movement to overthrow the governments of Niger and Mali in western Africa. This is called the Movement for the Liberation of the Tuark People.
The Israelis found that the PLO forces arrayed against them in Lebanon included hundreds of foreigners who were either in Lebanon for terrorist training or who were serving in the PLO forces. Newsweek was one of the few publications to even allude to this. In discussing the exodus of the PLO from Beirut, it mentioned that about 1000 of those leaving were foreigners, not Palestinians.
Professor Abraham Miller, editor of the publication Terror- ism, the Media and the Law, states that the Israelis discovered hundreds of non-Palestinian terrorists. He said, "They consist of members of the Italian Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhof gang and the Irish Republican Army.
Along with these are Basque separatists, Argentinian Marxists and an assortment of would-be killers from Niger, Mall, Sudan, Iran, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, South Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Palestinians who have been trained at Soviet bases at Simveropol have returned to the Middle East to impart their terrorist skills to eager students from across the globe. The curriculum at Simveropol also contains strong doses of Marxism-Leninism in the unlikely event that the student terrorist did not come to the Soviet Union with sufficient ideological commitment."
Dr. Miller points out that, "With the discovery in Lebanon of caches of Soviet arms in such quantities that it took more than 2,000 Israeli soldiers two full days to transport the weapons back to Israel, it is no wonder that terrorists throughout the world are consistently found with Soviet- made weapons...The PLO, however, was merely the Soviet's largest client. Moscow had forged direct and indirect relationships with other terrorist groups as well. The Italian Red Brigades were trained in KGB camps in Czechoslovakia, Libya and South Yemen. The East Germans bankrolled Ulrike Meinhof of the notorious terrorist group which bears her name. The legendary Carlos (the Jackal)--responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics and for the 1975 seizure in Vienna of OPEC ministers--learned his trade under the tutelage of the KGB and their clients of the PFLP, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Some of these links were confirmed by KGB defectors such as Gen. Jan Sejna of KGB Section V and Victor Sakharov, who was trained in South Yemen to organize terrorist attacks in the Arab world and Turkey. Sejna's defection even brought to light a list of 13 Italians-- including Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, publisher and financier of Italy's terrorist underground--all of whom had attended the Karlovy Mer school for terrorists...With the Israeli discoveries...perhaps a more realistic appraisal of international terrorism and Soviet sponsorship of it will emerge, and those journalists who stood fast amidst the aspersions of their doubting colleagues will now receive the vindication they so richly deserve."
Many members of AIM took our suggestion that they write to Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, chairman of The New York Times, about the propaganda that Mr. Raymond Bonner has been supplying The Times from El Salvador. In the AIM Report of July-II 1982 we documented the charge that Bonner has been conveying guerrilla propaganda.
Mr. Sydney Gruson, vice chairman of The Times, has sent a form letter to those who wrote to Mr. Sulzberger. In his letter, Mr. Gruson charges that our criticism of Mr. Bonner was flawed by "innuendo and mistakes." Unfortunately, he did not make clear just what parts of our article he considered mistaken or what he considered innuendo. However, he addressed the question of whether or not Mr. Bonner had previously had any ties with the leftwing Pacific News Service and whether he had written for PNS under another name. Presumably this was what he meant by the "innuendo" and perhaps also the "mistakes."
We have responded to Mr. Gruson, pointing out that in our article we had said that a journalist who had met Bonner in La Paz, Bolivia before Bonner joined the staff of The Times told us that he was there on a fellowship from the Pacific News Service. We also reported that a senior official of the State Department had told us that he had heard that Bonner had written for PNS under a pen name and that he had heard that Bonner had offered to go to work for The Times for very little money. We reported that Pacific News Service had denied ever employing Bonner, and we said that our information about his alleged ties to PNS was unconfirmed. We had called it to the attention of Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Gruson believing that they would want to investigate these two independent reports that Bonner had had some ties to PNS.
This information was given to Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Gruson on June 18, as part of a discussion of the criticisms we had of Mr. Bonner's reporting from El Salvador. Mr. Irvine said at that time, "I present it as something to be checked." He also said. "I wouldn't indict him for working for the Pacific News Service or anything like that if it were not for the performance. I don't care about his convictions. I care about his performance. But you put the two together and you have a terrifying picture to me."
At the time we published the July-II AIM Report, we had heard nothing from The Times about their investigation of Bonner's alleged ties to PNS. We included the information in our story making it clear that we had been unable to confirm it.
In response to the letters from AIM members, Mr. Gruson has written that Mr. Bonner never worked for PNS and that he never worked under another name. We have written to Mr. Gruson to say that we are not sure this is responsive to the question. If Mr. Bonner had a "fellowship" from PNS, which is what he allegedly told our source, he might truthfully say that he never "worked" for them. He might have contributed articles to PNS under such an arrangement and not have considered it working for them. We have asked Mr. Gruson to tell us whether Mr. Bonner had any "tie" to PNS. We have not yet had a response to that query.
Mr. Gruson again agreed that Bonner's story alleging that American military advisers had been present during a "torture-training class" in El Salvador was given more space by the Times than it deserved, since it was based on the uncorroborated charge of a single individual, a young El Salvadoran army deserter. However, he did not address the question of who had "sanitized" this story. The source of the story had been saying that the Americans had taught the torture class. Bonner's story as it ran in The Times said only that they had observed it. In the June 18 meeting at The Times, Mr. Irvine had expressed his personal belief that Bonner had probably done the sanitizing. The two top officials of The Times did not affirm or reject that then, and Mr. Gruson did not discuss it in his letter. This is important, because if it were confirmed that Bonner had changed the story as related by his source to make it more credible, it would show that he himself doubted the credibility of the story to begin with.
We also pointed out to Mr. Gruson that his letter had not discussed our criticisms of Bonner's reporting of guerrilla-fed propaganda about a massacre at Mozote, which was timed to coincide with the presidential decision on certification of El Salvador for continued aid last January. Nor did he comment on Bonner's failure to report on the radical composition of the groups he was constantly citing as souces for his data on the number of civilians killed in El Salvador. Nor did he comment on Bonner's efforts to discredit the results of the March 28 elections in El Salvador.
Mr. Gruson did try to defend Bonner's attack on the handling of the land reform program by the new government in El Salvador, but this was done only by noting that others had criticized the government on this point. He did not address the specific criticisms we cited.
We have asked Mr. Gruson to address these points.
The September/October issue of the Columbia Journalism Review discusses the attitude of the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador and some members of his staff toward Raymond Bonner. It states that Bonner had been publicly denounced by Ambassador Hinton as an "advocate journalist." Bonner came to the embassy for the July 4th reception in the company of John Dinges. Dinges has long been connected with the far left Institute for Policy Studies. He works on the foreign desk at The Washington Post under Karen DeYoung, who has taught classes at the IPS, and who told one of those classes that most journalists today consider the guerrillas to be the good guys. Dinges frequently writes articles for the Pacific News Service.
The Columbia Journalism Review said of the reception of this pair at the embassy: "Any pretense at goodwill toward the two journalists soon gave way to hostility. When Dinges was introduced by a friend to the head of the embassy's military group, Colonel John Waghelstein, the colonel said, ' .... you.' Robert Rankin of the Miami Herald was told by Waghelstein, half jokingly, that 'I'd like to get Dinges up in a plane.' Bonner found that no official seemed able to talk with him without referring, sometimes wryly, to his pariah status. 'I shouldn't be seen with you,' one AID official told him. 'You're supposed to be the enemy.'"
Our analysis of Bonner's reporting from El Salvador made it clear why embassy officials would consider him as closer to the enemy--the communist-armed guerrillas--than to his own government. What is surprising is that The New York Times has kept Bonner on in El Salvador and tries to defend his far left advocacy journalism.
Write to Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Chairman, The New York Times. New York, N.Y. 10036. Ask him to respond to our substantive criticisms of Mr. Bonner's reporting and to consider again whether he is the kind of reporter that should represent The Times in El Salvador.
AIM REPORT is published twice monthly by Accuracy In Media, Inc. 1341 G Street. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, and is free tic AIM members. Dues and contributions to AIM are tax deductible. The AIM Report is mailed 3rd class to those whose contribution is at least $15 a year and 1st class to those contributing $30 a year or more. Non-members subscriptions are $35 (1st class mail).
WE PROMISED IN OUR LAST ISSUE TO TAKE UP SOME OF THE IMPORTANT THINGS THAT THE major media had ignored or downplayed that emerged from the war in Lebanon. Our lead story in this issue discusses the evidence uncovered by the Israelis confirming the deep Soviet bloc involvement in international terrorism. You would think this would be a big story, but the same ideological mindset that led our media into unquestioning acceptance of exaggerated figures on civilian casualties circulated by the PLO led to a lack of interest in the documented evidence of Soviet training of international terrorists.
THAT MINDSET IS THE ONLY REASONABLE EXPLANATION FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES' DEFENSE of its Central American correspondent, Raymond Bonner. As promised, we discuss in this issue Mr. Sydney Gruson's form letter defending Mr. Bonner against the criticisms we detailed in the July-II AIM Report. Don't miss the last section in our story, "Back to Bonner." It shows how this Times correspondent is regarded by our ambassador to El Salvador and his staff.
THE REVELATIONS ABOUT THE PLOT TO MURDER THE POPE IN AN ARTICLE IN THE SEPTEMBER Reader's Digest by Claire Sterling are alluded to in our story on Soviet links to international terrorism. They merit a lot more attention than the media have given them. Claire Sterling, author of the excellent book, The Terror Network, spent four months interviewing key officials of every Western country concerned with the attempt of the life of Pope John-Paul II. She concluded that the Turkish gunman, Mehmet Ali Agca, was an agent of the communists, not the rightwing terrorist he had been portrayed in the media originally. He received his false papers and his weapon in Bulgaria. He was under the control of the Bulgarian secret police, which "ran" him through associates of a Sofia-based gunrunner under their control. However, the Bulgarian secret police are in turn controlled by the Soviet KGB, and Miss Sterling is satisfied that the Bulgarians were merely acting as a buffer for the Soviets in this case. She says that the Pope was a Soviet target because he was "undeniably the spiritual father of Poland's Solidarity trade-union movement, which could never have been born without his blessing." Claire Sterling points out that from the time of his escape from a Turkish prison in 1979 to his capture in Rome last year, Agca spent some $50,000 on plane fares and first- class hotels. He was never short of cash, but he never cashed a check, she says. Sterling believes Agca was set up to be captured. He had two accomplices who were supposed to create a diversion enabling him to escape, but instead they ran away. Agca had acquired a reputation as a rightwing terrorist, having assassinated the editor of a moderate leftist paper in Turkey. That is how the media have generally portrayed him despite the overwhelming evidence that his assault on the Pope was a plot organized and financed by the communist regime of Bulgaria.
CBS IS TRYING TO PUT TOGETHER A SECOND PROGRAM ON THE SUBJECT OF THE CHARGE THAT General Westmoreland deliberately falsified the strength of the Viet Cong in the period prior to the Tet offensive in 1968. Such a program was promised in the statement that CBS News released on July 15 about its investigation of the documentary aired last January charging that Gen. Westmoreland had falsified the intelligence data. At first CBS said that they were going to interview people who should have been interviewed for the original documentary but weren't. That is not what is likely to happen. What they are now planning is a debate about the charges that they spent 90 minutes trying to document in January. They have invited the main author of those charges, Sam Adams, and one of his supporters, Col. Gaines Hawkins, to be on the panel. Adams was paid $25,000 for helping CBS put on its smear job on Gen. Westmoreland. He was also revealed by TV Guide to have been rehearsed for the on-camera interview for that documentary, which was a violation of CBS guidelines. Hawkins was also used in the documentary. CBS has invited General Philip Davidson, Gen. Westmoreland's top intelligence officer during the period in question, to appear. Gen. Davidson insisted on two conditions for his participation. He asked that the Benjamin report be released prior to the program. This is the 61-page report of the investigation of the original documentary which CBS has refused to make public. Gen. Davidson also wanted to see in advance a copy of the statement that CBS News planned to make in introducing the new program. Both requests were refused by CBS, and Gen. Davidson therefore declined to participate. Robert Chandler of CBS News told me that the Benjamin report would never be released. He also rejected our suggestion that its author, Burton Benjamin, be included on their follow-up program. He said the program was not to be about their documentary attacking Gen. Westmoreland. They wanted to confine it to the Sam Adams' charges against the general.
GEORGE CARVER, A FORMER CIA OFFICIAL WHO WAS SAM ADAMS' BOSS WHEN ADAMS WAS WITH the agency, has been invited to participate in the new program, and he was inclined to do so when I last talked to him. Mr. Carver has strongly denied Adams' conspiracy charges. He was interviewed by CBS News prior to the airing of the documentary last January, but his interview was not filmed and his comments were not used on the program. It appears that none of the other individuals who have been prominent defenders of Gen. Westmoreland will be on the new program. Gen. Westmoreland himself has apparently decided to sue CBS, and it is likely that the suit will be announced before September 15, the date that the new program is supposed to air. His friends may feel as I do that the format CBS has announced for the new program does not satisfy the requirements of fairness. In effect, they gave Sam Adams 90 minutes last January to mount an attack of Gen. Westmoreland's good name, marshalling diverse witnesses and editing the testimony to support the Adams charges. I feel that what they should do now is give Gen. Westmoreland and his friends at least an hour to answer that attack, enabling them to use the unused portions of interviews for the original broadcast and to interview people like Gen. Davidson and George Carver who should have been on the original program. A major portion of the new program should be devoted to an explanation of how CBS News rigged its original documentary to achieve the results it wanted. Unfortunately, the men who run CBS News don't have the guts to put on that kind of program. In effect, they say, let's forget about our 90-minute hatchet job last January. Now please cooper- ate with us in putting on a program in which both sides will be represented and which will be fair. In this case it is not fair simply to give both sides equal time. The 90-minute hatchet job cannot be dismissed that easily.
SPEAKING OF FAIRNESS, THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION HAS AGAIN DISPLAYED its determination not to enforce the Fairness Doctrine by rejecting AIM's complaint that CBS had been unfair to the FBI in its programming on Jean Seberg. Mark Fowler, the man President Reagan appointed to head the FCC, is an outspoken opponent of the Fairness Doctrine. Under his direction, the Commission has asked Congress to eliminate the fairness requirement for all broadcasters. Mr. Fowler has also asked that the Commission be freed of any legal requirement to keep obscenity off the air. Congress has not seen fit to accept Mr. Fowler's recommendations, but Mr. Fowler and his colleagues are nevertheless free to render the Fairness Doctrine and obscenity prohibitions null and void by refusing to enforce them. I feel that we never had a stronger fairness complaint than we had against CBS on the Seberg programs. On April 15, 1982, the FCC informed us that we had not demonstrated that the smearing of the FBI by CBS was a controversial issue of public importance. We provided them with a very thick file of articles from newspapers and magazines demonstrating the contrary, and the FBI sent them a letter saying they thought it was important. After considering this for over three months, the FCC sent us a letter dated September 1 saying they couldn't consider it, be- cause we had exceeded the 30-day limit for filing for reconsideration.