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Chinagate: Time to stop pretending
Posted By Joseph Farah On 06/15/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
The Clinton administration has knowingly and systematically approved
policies that aid the development and modernization of China’s war
machine, according to the latest revelations in what is, perhaps, the
most shocking scandal in the history of American politics.
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that, for the past two
years, China’s army and navy have relied on U.S.-made satellites, sold
for civilian purposes, to conduct military communications. This, in
spite of the fact that, since the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square, the
U.S. has, in theory, barred American companies from selling military
equipment to China.
The U.S. satellites have made a substantial difference in Chinese
military performance. An article last September in the Chinese army’s
daily newspaper said officers once “cried themselves hoarse” over their
inability to send urgent, secure messages over the military’s antiquated
“Those phenomena are now history,” the article boasted.
Last Thursday, the former director of the CIA’s Nonproliferation
Center told Congress the Clinton administration ignored evidence that
China violated a missile export agreement by shipping M-11 missiles to
Pakistan. Gordon Oehler, who retired from the agency last year, told the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee that administration officials used
“almost any measure” to block intelligence judgments confirming that
China transferred 34 missiles — sales that would have required economic
sanctions to be imposed.
Despite several congressional investigations into the
administration’s coddling of China’s military, U.S. defense contractors,
including some of the nation’s largest multinational corporations, are
quietly preparing for even fewer restrictions on the sale of military
technology to Beijing. A Washington Post story last month described the
way some U.S. corporations are flouting the law.
For instance, at the China International Defense Electronics
Exhibition in May, a Chinese-language brochure at Motorola’s booth
advertised “military-use, police-use computerized command, control and
communications networks.” Another promoted “battlefield deployable
communications, leading the charge in information warfare.” Motorola’s
participation in the exposition may have been the most overt example of
offering military technology to the Communist, totalitarian power, but
others — including Lockheed Martin Corp., Hewlett-Packard, Raytheon Co.
and Teradyne — were also present and touting their wares.
In English, one of the Motorola pamphlets described the technology
offers: “What you never thought possible. … “
Indeed, never before the Clinton administration came to power with
the help of massive campaign contributions from Chinese government and
military sources as well as from U.S. corporations doing business with
Beijing. Of course, that’s not consistent with the spin you hear from
the White House. If we are to believe Clinton administration
mouthpieces, the White House is merely doing what its predecessors have
They say Bush and Reagan also sold satellites to the Chinese. Maybe
so. But Reagan and Bush never authorized the sale of coded, or
encrypted, satellite control systems. In fact, as late as 1994, even the
Clinton administration denied Hughes Corp. an export of a satellite to
Australia because of one encrypted control chip inside. Yet, Clinton
personally — and over the objections of his State Department, Pentagon
and Justice Department — authorized the sale of this advanced
technology to China on both Loral and Motorola satellites.
Clinton administration officials also tell the American people such
technology is available anywhere. This is not true. The technology in
question is a radiation-hardened chip designed for two purposes — space
exploration and nuclear war. Chips that can withstand gamma radiation
have never before been sold to China.
Finally, the Clinton administration’s last refuge of scoundrels is to
claim no laws were broken. Clinton’s own Justice Department has
prosecuted ordinary citizens for posting the source code of a PC program
on the Internet as an illegal export of a weapon. The administration
would not allow the export of a diskette of computer source code for an
ordinary PC program already published in a book because it was a “threat
to national security.” Yet, Clinton approved the export to China of
radiation-hardened, missile-encryption control chips on Loral’s
It’s time to stop pretending. The Clinton administration is
conducting a policy that intentionally aids the military machine of
America’s biggest and most dangerous potential military adversary for
the foreseeable future. The White House makes no apology for these
practices and refuses to stop them. It’s time for Congress to demand
that America’s vital national security interests be protected and that
this treasonous conduct be swiftly punished.
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