Monday, July 31, 2006

EADS CASA and its Joint Chavez Aircraft

What a pathetic sight: lobbyists of a NATO ally apparently lying to congressional staff about their company's supply of military aircraft to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

My sources on Capitol Hill say that lobbyists for the European aerospace manufacturer EADS have misled congressional staffers who voiced concern about the company's $600 million sale of CN-235 maritime patrol planes and C-295 military troop transport and cargo planes to Chavez.

The lobbyists have insisted that the sale won't go through, but the Venezuelans insist otherwise, as I report on

Somebody's lying. And I think it's the lobbyists for EADS and the EADS CASA consortium that manufactures the planes - and is trying to sell the same aircraft to the Pentagon as the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA).

Some cyberwags have made the above cartoon of EADS North America CEO Ralph Crosby - one of the lobbyists who's been trying to run away from the Venezuela issue - and Hugo Chavez. They have other satirical artworks on

As before, I think Congress should ban any funding to EADS CASA for its circumvention of US nonproliferation law and its breaking of the US military embargo against the Chavez regime.

Even if the deal falls through, EADS CASA and other foreign military suppliers need to learn a lesson that if they expect to profit from business with the United States, they'd better choose who's side they're on.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Israel: Finish the job quickly or lose

The terrorists will win if Israel's operation in Lebanon against Hezbollah becomes drawn out.

That's probably calculated into Hezbollah's strategy. There can be no finer method of inflaming Arabs and Muslims - thus generating more extremists for terrorists to recruit - than a protracted Israeli campaign.

With talk of another long-term presence in Lebanon, it looks like the Israelis don't get it.

The effects on Israel could be catastrophic. The US-Israeli friendship (it is not an alliance, because there is no mutual defense treaty) could stretch to the breaking point if a protracted conflict draws the United States into choosing between its support for Israel and the success of the war in Iraq.

While right now Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others are more fearful of Hezbollah than they are of the Israelis, Hezbollah has become a popular David against what Arabs see as an Israeli Goliath, and the group's underdog image will help recruit a new generation of terrorists under the sponsorship of Iran. A drawn-out conflict could dissolve US support.

So if Israel is serious about destroying Hezbollah - and about fighting fourth generation warfare in general - it must hurry up and get the job over with, and not fall into the trap of peace processes and international troop presences in Lebanon.

Such things seldom end conflicts. They only postpone them. If Israel doesn't finish the job quickly, it - and westward-looking Arab governments, to the extent that they exist - will lose.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A big Caribbean screw-up

Like a drunken tourist on a Caribbean cruise, the United States excels at making itself unwelcome.

Amazingly, the US can no longer exert the influence it once did in the tiny Caribbean island nations.

While the focus has been on Arab and Islamic parts of the world, the administration has cooked up failure after failure in the American hemisphere (we can start with how it let Chavez off the hook when it could have made a difference).

Last week, the US lost the support of all 15 member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which voted to support the Chavez regime in Venezuela as the region's rotating member on the United Nations Security Council.

This is another diplomatic disaster for the US, which had backed Guatemala, in the Americas. It seems as though everything the United States touches turns to mierda.

Jamaica's main newspaper, the centrist Daily Gleaner, isn't pro-Chavez and certainly values the United States. However, in a recent editorial, it said that Venezuela's petropolitics weren't the only reason why the 15 Caribbean states backed Chavez over democratic Guatemala.

The administration would have been wise to listen to our Jamaican friends.

The pro-Chavez vote, the Gleaner said in its July 12 editorial, "has to do with more than the concessionary PetroCaribe oil agreement provided by Venezuela.

"The region does not see Guatemala as a natural ally. Guatemala has, in the past, pursued with great hostility its claim to all of Belize, the English-speaking CARICOM member in Central America. It behaved in the same fashion at the World rade Organisation against the preferential access to the region's bananas in the European Union's market. The ruling in its favour is disastrous to some Caribbean economies. Guatemala's social policies also do not sit well with the Caribbean.

"While Venezuela maintains a claim to two-thirds of Guyana it has not pursued the claim with the same hostility, even extending the PetroCaribe benefits to Georgetown [Guyana]. Indeed, Venezuela is seen as a reliable partner.

"It is important for Jamaica and other CARICOM governments to explain to the US what it already knows in the realm of foreign policy: that support for Venezuela does not weaken respect for the US and ought not to weaken the deep, underlying relationship."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Bush's nuclear deal with Russia is a bad idea. Congress should kill it.

It looks and sounds like another bad idea from the Bill Clinton-Strobe Talbott playbook: send our spent nuclear fuel to Russia and pay the Russians billions of dollars to store it.

And do it pre-emptively, demanding nothing in return.

That Clintonian logic is all the rage in the State Department right now, where Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns seems to be calling the shots for Russia.

Burns, the robust-looking man of steel appearing in the photo, was the Russia guy on Clinton’s National Security Council, ran aid for the former Soviet Union in the Clinton State Department, and flacked for the slavishly pro-Kremlin policies of Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott.

Sunday’s Washington Post reports that the Bush Administration wants to give Russia billions of dollars to store American and other spent nuclear fuel. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the administration isn’t demanding anything up front in return. Even worse, senior US officials are merely hoping that the prospect might incentivize Russia to stop supplying Iran’s nuclear program.

This is a preposterous idea hatched by a latter-day Alger Hiss. If the White House and Pentagon don’t kill this thing, Congress should. And quickly, before it develops a life of its own.

Ambassador: Burns helped Belarus dictator seize power

As a National Security Council staffer in the early Clinton administration, Nick Burns improperly served as a conduit for hard-line Belarus dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko (pictured), and pushed policies that helped the dictator seize power and crush the democracy movement.

So wrote Ambassador David H. Swartz, who resigned in protest of Burns' actions and wrote an essay published in the June 3, 1997 Washington Times exposing what Burns did.

Swartz stated that Burns "materially facilitated the current state of affairs in Belarus through numerous policy sins of commission and omission." The worst centered around President Bill Clinton's 1994 visit to Belarus that helped the communists kill the chances of the pro-western democracy movement.

As I reported in 1997, "So disastrous was the administration's planning of Clinton's January 1994 trip to Minsk that reform-minded Chief of State Stanislau Shushkevich told Swartz, 'Your president will be here only a few hours, then go on his way. I will be left to pick up the pieces and my enemies will make quick work of me.' Two weeks after the Clinton visit, Shushkevich was indeed ousted in a 'quasi-putsch' led by Lukashenko. Swartz quit his 28-year diplomatic career in protest of Clinton policy that very month."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Flashback: Nick Burns assailed reporter for exposing Russian nuke bunker

Nick Burns, the State Department official behind the plan to pay billions of dollars Russia to accept the world's spent nuclear fuel, has a history of covering up for the Kremlin.

During the Clinton administration, Burns, as State Department spokesman, sold the public on Strobe Talbott's chekaphilic policy toward Russia.

Burns also tried to cover up for Russian misdeeds.

In April 1997, when news emerged that Russia was building massive fortified nuclear command centers at Yamantau Mountain and Kosvinsky Mountain, State Department Spokesman Burns ducked reporters questions and assailed the integrity of the reporter who broke the story.

The Pentagon, on the other hand, confirmed that the story was true. It even released data, such as the map accompanying this posting, to substantiate the report.

A check of the transcript of Burns' press briefing shows he attacked Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz for revealing the bunker program.

Asked to comment on the story, Burns responded, "You know, I was gone for eight days, and I thought maybe I'd come back and things would be different. But they're not different. I find Mr. Gertz spends most of his time collecting alleged intelligence reports and then regurgitating them on the pages of his newspaper. And, frankly, there ought to be - I mean, most journalists in this city, including, I think, everybody in this room, do their job in a very different way. You go out and do your own research, you talk to people. You go out and you work hard, and you sweat to get your stories. Clearly their must be another way of reporting on the US-Russian relationship than leaking alleged intelligence documents. So I don't think I'll give it the time of day, frankly. (Laughter.) Except to just sound off again against the modus operandi of Mr. Gertz."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Note to Gitmo authorities: Top lawyers for detainees are part of terrorist network. Treat them as such.

In addition to giving the terrorists at Guantanamo special dietary menus, regular medical checkups, special religious privileges and other luxuries, US officials also let the terrorists keep documents in their cells. Now - surprise! - they learned that the enemy is using the documents to further their cause.

Authorities at the US military's terrorist detention facilitity at Gitmo have discovered that detainees "were using confidential lawyer-client papers and envelopes to pass handwritten notes their guards could not intercept," according to the Washington Post.

This should not surprise us. Read on.

"Detainees could apparently hide documents in their cells -- including instructions on how to tie knots and a classified U.S. military memo regarding cell locations of detainees and camp operational matters at Guantanamo -- by keeping the materials in envelopes labeled as lawyer-client communications," the Post reports.

"Notes that investigators found after the suicides on June 10 were apparently written on the back of notepaper stamped 'Attorney Client Privilege,' which allowed detainees to communicate secretly without interference, according to government officials."

And our guys at Gitmo didn't see this coming? The network of lawyers aiding the detainees has a rap sheet going back decades that includes using attorney-client privilege as a means of promoting terrorist causes.

The main group is the Center for Constitutional Rights, cited in the Post article. The CCR was created almost 40 years ago to keep armed radicals and other terrorists "in the streets," in the words of its late founder, William Kunstler. Kunstler's protege, Michael Ratner (pictured), runs the CCR today. Ratner is part of the terrorists' legal support network.

Ratner's colleague, Lynne Stewart, is now in federal prison for abusing attorney-client privilege in support of her client, terrorist Sheik Abdel Rahman of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Rahman was the spiritual leader behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York. Among other things, Stewart was found guilty of acting as a courier between the imprisoned sheik and his terrorist followers.

The CCR denounced the verdict against Stewart, effectively defending her right to serve as part of a terrorist operation.

Another is one of Stewart's lawyers, Susan Tipograph. When she isn't doing legal work for the "poor and oppressed," she's helping terrorists. Tipograph was found to have helped Puerto Rican terrorist bomber William Morales escape from prison by abusing the attorney-client privilege.

So there's probably a lot more to the Guantanamo work of CCR and other terrorist attorneys than pure legal defense.

In February, 2005, ran an item urging the feds to investigate the Center for Constitutional Rights as a terrorist support operation. Here's another chance for them to start, if they haven't done so already.

Click here for our 2004 item on Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Click here for David Horowitz's article, "COINTELPRO's Overdue Return."

Friday, July 07, 2006

EADS CASA: Supplier to third world dictators

EADS CASA, the European aircraft manufacturer that wants to become a big-time Pentagon contractor, continues with its underhanded sale of military aircraft to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

While aiding Chavez over the strongest of US objections - to the point of ignoring highest-level national security concerns and circumventing US export control laws - EADS CASA is sending its lobbyists around Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers what a reliable partner it would be for the Coast Guard, Army and Air Force.

EADS CASA is shooting for the multibillion-dollar Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) contract. Lawmakers should send the sleazy lobbyists packing with the message that they can sell to Chavez or sell to Uncle Sam, but that they can't do both.

For more, see my blog Venezuelastan.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Social responsibility in the Second World War


Social responsibility today

Courtesy DPS.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

NYT exposing Rumsfeld's home address? Two can play that game.

Here's the latest outrage from the New York Times: A story by Peter T. Kilborn exposing the locations of the private homes of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and others.

Disguising his exposé as a feature story about the rich and famous in the Chesapeake Bay town of St. Michaels, Maryland, Kilborn names and describes the remote roads that Rumsfeld and Cheney use to reach their weekend retreats, exposes how their homes "are hidden down two-lane roads with cunning yellow signs on utility poles that say, menacingly and untruthfully, 'No Outlet,'" and gives the names of Rumsfeld's house and its location next to a named creek.

Accompanying the story is a photograph by Linda Spillers of Rumsfeld's driveway, showing the house at the end of the lane and a birdhouse at the front gate. Kilborn carefully reports that the birdhouse contains a security camera, and the copy editors point it out again in the photo caption.

Well, a big New York Times reporter is as much a public figure as a political leader. So if it's in the public interest to publish the exact locations where Rumsfeld and Cheney spend their private weekends, it's also in the public interest to show where the reporter lives.

Maybe somebody could do a feature of the rich and famous of hoity-toity Chevy Chase, Maryland, where Peter T. Kilborn lives. His house is just three blocks south of the exclusive Chevy Chase Country Club at 4007 Oliver Street, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815. Good manners prevent this blog from publishing his phone numbers.