Friday, June 16, 2006

Momentum: Banning Chavez military suppliers from US contracts

This blogger's idea to ban Hugo Chavez's military suppliers from competing for US government contracts is catching on.

Here are some developments since FourthWorldWar's May 3 posting that called for preventing foreign defense contractors from major US defense programs if they help America's adversaries.

* May 17: The Center for Security Policy ran a Decision Brief, "Venezuela Arms Embargo Should Be Part of Bush Doctrine," endorsing the approach.

* May 22: The Providence Journal, hometown newspaper of a member of the US Senate Western Hemisphere Affairs Subcommittee, ran this blogger's op-ed that outlined how the Spanish government and EADS CASA set out to ignore US security concerns in order to sell military cargo planes to Chaveaz.

* May 24: Scripps Howard News Service syndicated the piece, which appeared in at least 12 other newspapers.

* May 25: Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter explicitly citing EADS CASA for endangering US national security by selling warplanes to Chavez. The letter said, "This case underscores the need to establish a comprehensive policy that holds foreign military suppliers accountable for cooperating with hostile regimes that compromise US security."

* June 5: Four senators - John Kyl, Bill Nelson (D-FL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Rick Santorum (R-PA) wrote a letter to President George W. Bush, telling him that the aircraft sale "threatens to undermine the US ban and weaken democratic stability in the region."

* June 6: The Hill, an influential newspaper for and about Congress, ran a news story about the senators' letter, headlined, "Spain's Sale to Chavez Puts EADS on Defensive."

* June 7: PR Newswire ran a news release commenting on the senators' letter and refuting EADS CASA propaganda. The release was a top feature on Yahoo News.

* June 7-15: EADS CASA lobbyists, including the company's CEO, converged on Capitol Hill to do damage control on the Venezuela problem, saying that their company will not break the US embargo (because the firm was busily stripping US-made parts from the Chavez-bound planes).

* June 14: Sukhoi of Russia joined EADS CASA as Chavez's top warplane suppliers. Chavez officially announced the purchase of 24 Su-30 fighter planes.

* June 16: The June 7 PR Newswire release remains on the top 10 Yahoo News search results for "EADS CASA," and occupies three of the top 10 Google News search results for "EADS CASA," and for the company's aircraft model, "CN 235."