Friday, September 22, 2006

Russians buy stake in EADS and try to gain control

The Russian government has become the largest independent shareholder of the European Aeronautical Defense and Space (EADS) company, and it's openly trying to take control of the French-German-Spanish enterprise.

This is bad for a number of reasons: EADS prides itself as a reliable partner with the United States, which it can no longer be if the Russians get in the door; and EADS would be supplying advanced technology and know-how to Moscow's military industries.

EADS is competing to build the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) for the US Army and Air Force in what is reported to be a deal worth tens of billions of dollars. EADS says it wants to have assembly plants in the United States so that it can gain political influence and have a greater say in US defense spending.

According to Flight International, "Russian government officials have said they hope Vneshtorgbank's (VTB) purchase of €950 million ($1.2 billion) in traded shares - equivalent to 5.02% of EADS - could be turned into a blocking stake.

EADS is thrilled with the cash as what its joint chairmen call a "manifestation of interest and confidence in the long-run success of EADS." But they say they won't offer the Russians a seat on the board, and they won't alter the French-German-Spanish government ownership structure.

The Russians aren't likely to settle for a back seat and might try to purchase up to 25 percent of the company. About 30 percent of EADS shares are publicly traded and there is no restriction on who owns them.

"A spokesman for Russia's president Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin wants 'real participation in the control' of EADS as 'a full-rights member of the directors' council' and may try to raise the stake to 25%," according to the report.

As with its sale of C-295 military transport planes to the Chavez regime in Venezuela, EADS has been trying to keep the Russian stock purchase out of the public eye.

EADS wants to break into the Russian airliner market, but it is also trying to get a foothold in the American defense and homeland security sectors. Its choices might be (and should be) irreconcilable.

As Flight International notes, "an increasing Russian-owned stake in EADS will set alarm bells ringing in the USA."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Will Senate let Kofi Annan sabotage a Senate process?

The US Senate is finding itself in the strange situation of allowing the United Nations to sabotage the confirmation of the American ambassador to the world body.

The Senate is close to setting a precedent to allow the UN Secretary General to sandbag the Senate confirmation of an American ambassador.

Kofi Annan has it out for Ambassador John Bolton, who has been exposing UN inefficiencies, ineffectiveness and corruption and demanding reforms.

Columnist Robert Novak reports today how Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) is playing into Kofi Annan's hands by blocking the Bolton nomination from reaching the Senate floor.

The lead Senate opponent of Bolton is Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), who's biggest gripe - predictably - is that Bolton opposes Fidel Castro. Throughout his Senate career, Dodd has done more than most to further Castro's goals, helping the Sandinistas, the FMLN guerrillas in El Salvador, and most recently fighting to normalize relations with the dying regime.

The anti-Bolton campaign "can be directly traced to a determined Democratic senator [Dodd] and the vengeful UN Secretariat," Novak reports.

Annan has waged a "stealthy sabotage" campaign against Bolton, "executed by his deputy, Mark Malloch Brown," according to the columnist.

"Bolton's ordeal provides a cautionary tale for any foreign policy conservative who wants to serve his country in Washington. . . . some of Bolton's colleagues in the State Department (where he was an undersecretary in George W. Bush's first term) were backstabbing when the president named him UN envoy. Bolton's overriding defect was his anti-Castro views, which collided with Dodd's goal of 'normalizing' relations with Communist Cuba. Dodd was able to mobilize Democratic colleagues ino a deadlock - creaing demand for execuive branch documents involving Bolton," Novak continues.

Annan's deputy Mark Malloch Brown, at the UN, has been orchestrating a campaign for foreign ambassadors to pressure the Senate to block Bolton.

If the Senate allows that to happen, it will be abdicating its constitutional responsibility. The UN Secretariat will have established a precedent to intervene in Senate deliberations and veto an American president's choice of ambassador.

If the Senate allows the UN to interfere in the constitutional "advise and consent" procedure of confirming ambassadors, it will be opening the door to further UN intervention in American politics.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

USA Today blames Pope Benedict for inciting violence

Some big voices in the US media are losing it. The Muslim Brotherhood has accepted Pope Benedict XVI's apology for having given offense to faithful Muslims (while not retracting his courageous and truthful remarks from September 12), but the atheists who run the New York Times editorial page aren't satisfied.

USA Today is blaming the Pope for the Islamist firebombing of churches in Palestine and the murder of a Catholic nun at a women and children's hospital in Somalia. An Iraqi group called the Pope the "dog of Rome" and threatened to "break your crosses in your home" and send suicide bombers to murder people at the Vatican.

In a September 18 editorial headlined, "Pope's words spark violence," USA Today appeared to urge self-censorship on the part of Western leaders so as not to offend the Islamists.

Oddly and encouragingly, European leaders are lining up behind the Pope. German Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly defended him. And a lot of Muslim leaders out there staying cool about the controversy.

Even the radical Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), fresh with its new coat of moderate rhetorical camouflage, didn't do its typically hysterical rant. Instead, it urged that Catholics and Muslims use the opportunity to have a "dialogue."

The editors of New York's Gray Old Lady and the McPaper just don't seem to get it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Critic of Pope supports suicide bombers

One of the first Muslim leaders to denounce Pope Benedict's September 12 speech is a cleric who openly supports terrorist suicide bombers.

Qatar-based Yusuf al Qaradawi, a native of Egypt who is considered the spiritual chief of the Muslim Brotherhood, went on Al Jazeera, ripping into Pope Benedict's comments and demanding an apology to "the Muslim nation."

Previously, al Qaradawi lauded Islamist suicide bombers and exhorted Muslims to kill American troops in Iraq.

Will Islamists validate Pope Benedict?

How predictable. In an academic speech, the Pope quoted a 14th century Byzantine leader against Muhammad's spreading of religion by violence, and how his life is in danger.

CNN is carrying a Reuters story headlined, "Islam row raises Pope safety fears."

If only Muslim leaders around the world had been as indignant five years ago about 9/11 terrorism in the name of Islam as they are today about the Pope! Perhaps that indignation would have snuffed out Islamist radicalism.

Speaking at the University of Regensburg on September 12, Pope Benedict XVI denounced violence perpetrated in the name of religion, and commented on the practice of forcibly converting people to faiths.

That was enough for Muslim leaders around the world, who - practially without exception, if news coverage is correct - lamented or denounced his comments. Some compared him, predictably, to Hitler.

So far, just like after 9/11, there's no indication of introspection. Just more foaming-at-the-mouth hysteria. Within a day, some church officials were worrying that the hysteria could result in more Islamist attacks on Christian churches around the world, or even an assassination of the Pope himself.

The last papal assassination attempt occurred in 1981 at the hand of Turkish Muslim Mehmet Ali Agca. Religion was not an issue in that attempt.

Pope Benedict went out of his way in his September 12 speech to be respectful of Islam. Concluding his remarks, he said, "the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine [religiously-motivated violence] from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures."

Click here for the full prepared text of Pope Benedict's September 12 speech:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

House plans probe of intelligence support for Chinese spy

The House Intelligence Committee plans to probe the intelligence community for the alarming level of support extended to convicted Chinese spy Ronald Montaperto.

A veteran Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer, Montaperto was convicted recently of improperly handling classified documents and admitted passing secrets to Chinese military intelligence officers. Prosecutors identified Montaperto's offense as espionage, but went after him on lesser charges.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra says he intends to investigate the level of pro-PRC activity within the US intelligence community. Bill Gertz has uncovered the story in the Washington Times. For more, see my blog

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Army policy: Stop scaring terrorists

Reacting again to criticism of interrogation tactics against captured terrorists, the US Army has issued new guidelines.

Soldiers are now forbidden to scare detainees too much.

According to news reports about the new guidelines, it is now against Army policy to scare terrorists by dunking their heads under water, or by making dogs bark at them.

Meanwhile, the terror suspects at Guantanamo enjoy daily food menus, medical attention above and beyond the norm for US citizen prisoners, free legal representation by Center for Constitutional Rights lawyers bent on liberating them so they can resume their war against America, and other manners of US government pandering.

In the politically correct spirit of excessive transparency, the Army has published the field manual in full. Here's a link to a PDF version: Even the terrorists can read it from the Army website.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Australian prime minister singles out Muslim immigrants. Good for him!

Australian Prime Minister John Howard isn't shy about demanding that immigrants become good citizens. His following comments on a recent radio interview have sparked threats of riots and other forms of violence from certain Muslim quarters in his country:

On the need to integrate into society and speak English

". . . what I want to do is to reinforce the need for everybody who comes to this country to fully integrate and fully integrating means accepting Australian values, it means learning as rapidly as you can the English language, if you don’t already speak it, and it means understanding that in certain areas, such as the equality of men and women, the societies that some people have left were not as contemporary and as progressive as ours is."

On the need to treat women well

"And I think people who come from societies where women are treated in an inferior fashion have to learn very quickly that that is not the case in Australia. That men and women do have equality and they’re each entitled to full respect. I think Australia has benefited enormously from immigration."

On phony discrimination claims

"Most of the Islamic people I know are as appalled by the attitude of a small minority as you are and I am. But there are some who see appeals for people to fully integrate into the Australian community, they try and turn that into some kind of act of discrimination against them and I think that’s the sort of thing that [the questioner] is reacting against and she’s quite right to do so."

Australian Muslim groups reacted predictably to Howard's comments.

Truth-telling from a rising Australian leader

Watch Australian Treasurer Peter Costello, heir apparent to Prime Minister John Howard. Here's what he said about Muslim immigrants in a November, 2005 interview. The comments are from Costello's official Website:

On tension in society

". . . when you see people that are being picked up in raids in our major capital cities, being charged with terrorist offences you realise that these are dangerous times, that there are threats that are facing innocent Australians and you realise that we as a community have to be on our guard. It is something that we will have to live with, we may have to live with for a while. But it is much better to take preventative action than to have to deal with the consequences afterwards."

On immigrants who promote Sharia law

". . . there are some things Australia stands for, has always stood for, always will stand for which will never change. We will never be an Islamic State. We will never observe Sharia Law. We have a Constitution. The Constitution means that Australia has a civil state, that the laws are made by elected representatives. We will always be a democracy and to people who say, well we have come to this country and we would like to turn it into something that it isn’t, I say, you must understand, that will never occur."

On civic principles

"There are certain core Constitutional things that Australia stands for, always will and expects all of its citizens to accept. And that is a civil government with parliamentary democracy, with democratic law making, with equality between men and women and if you’re someone that doesn’t like those principles then Australia may not be the best place for you. . . ."

On immigrants seeking to impose Islamic ways

". . . if you want to live in an Islamic republic there are countries around the world that are Islamic republics, you might be happier in those countries than you will be in Australia."

On immigrants' loyalty to their new country

". . . And the point I make also is people who come to Australia as immigrants and become Australian citizens, they take an oath to this country and that means something. That means your loyalty is to this country, its democratic values, you pledge an oath to observe those democratic values and I think it is incumbent upon us in Government to say to those people we mean it and we expect them to mean it as well."

On delivering the message

"I don’t think we ought to mix our messages, I think we ought to be very clear and very direct. There are things that Australia stands for and if you want to be an Australian you are expected to believe in those things as well."

On dual citizenship

". . . people who are dual citizens, who are an Australian citizen and an a citizen of another country as well, if they are not happy with Australia it might be better for them to live in the country where they are also a citizen. See, it is a funny thing, isn’t it, to say well I want to live in this country but I am just opposed to everything that happens or I am opposed to its system of government. If you really are opposed to everything that happens or its system of government then why not go to the country where you also hold citizenship? You might be happier there, that is my point. Rather than say I would like to change everything about Australia, everything that it stands for, maybe the problem doesn’t lie with the country; maybe it lies with the individual."

On Muslim immigrants seeking to force change

". . . I think it is time for the Australian Government to speak clearly and to make this point and to make it to any person who has the view that somehow they can change Australia into something which it will never be, and it won’t happen. And they ought to understand that and would-be migrants ought to understand that as well and I think the time has come for plain speaking. That is what I am engaging in."

On extremist immigrants ruining the majority

". . . of course most Muslim Australians are here because they actually respect civil state, they respect parliamentary democracies, that is why they came here. And anyone who respects those things is very welcome to come here. It is the people who come here and want to take advantage of that and then change it or abolish it that I am speaking to. It won’t be abolished, we have a Constitution, it won’t change, if you don’t like the way Australia is run, if you don’t like a civil state then you are not going to like Australia. That is my point. But if you do and you do want to take advantage of it, of course you are welcome here, very welcome here, like millions of other migrants that have come to Australia."

On need for 'moderate' Muslims to speak out

". . . moderate Muslim leaders have a very big role to play here as well. I think when they speak unambiguously and clearly renouncing terrorism, warning that those people who are engaging in terrorism are not true followers of Islam, that they are following a perverted ideology. When they speak like that they are a very, very big part of the solution of the security for Australia. And I would warmly welcome moderate Muslim leaders speaking out in an unambiguous and uncompromising way."

On tolerance

"There is plenty of room in Australia for different fashion and plenty of room for different ways of standard of living. But there is no room for people who don’t accept what Australia stands for. Parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, equality of people, civil state, that is where there is no room for compromise. How you look, what you eat, various ways bloom here but let’s be very clear about the most important things about Australia and what it stands for."