Why Does The FBI Have To Manufacture Its Own Plots If Terrorism And ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?
By Glenn Greenwald
The agency's latest counter-terrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS. We should all pause for a moment to thank the brave men and women of the FBI for saving us from their own terror plots.
The FBI and major media outlets yesterday trumpeted the agency's latest counter-terrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS (photo of joint FBI/NYPD press conference, above). As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, "it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant." One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI's plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted on Twitter that this case "sounds like another victory for the FBI over the mentally ill."
In this regard, this latest arrest appears to be quite similar to the overwhelming majority of terrorism arrests the FBI has proudly touted over the last decade. As my colleague Andrew Fishman and I wrote last month-- after the FBI manipulated a 20-year-old loner who lived with his parents into allegedly agreeing to join an FBI-created plot to attack the Capitol -- these cases follow a very clear pattern:
"The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots."First, they target a Muslim: not due to any evidence of intent or capability to engage in terrorism, but rather for the 'radical' political views he expresses. In most cases, the Muslim targeted by the FBI is a very young (late teens, early 20s), adrift, unemployed loner who has shown no signs of mastering basic life functions, let alone carrying out a serious terror attack, and has no known involvement with actual terrorist groups.
"They then find another Muslim who is highly motivated to help disrupt a 'terror plot': either because they're being paid substantial sums of money by the FBI or because (as appears to be the case here) they are charged with some unrelated crime and are desperate to please the FBI in exchange for leniency (or both). The FBI then gives the informant a detailed attack plan, and sometimes even the money and other instruments to carry it out, and the informant then shares all of that with the target. Typically, the informant also induces, lures, cajoles, and persuades the target to agree to carry out the FBI-designed plot. In some instances where the target refuses to go along, they have their informant offer huge cash inducements to the impoverished target.
"Once they finally get the target to agree, the FBI swoops in at the last minute, arrests the target, issues a press release praising themselves for disrupting a dangerous attack (which it conceived of, funded, and recruited the operatives for), and the DOJ and federal judges send their target to prison for years or even decades (where they are kept in special GITMO-like units). Subservient U.S. courts uphold the charges by applying such a broad and permissive interpretation of 'entrapment' that it could almost never be successfully invoked."
Once again, we should all pause for a moment to thank the brave men and women of the FBI for saving us from their own terror plots.
Go to The Intercept to read the rest of this article.
For the past 10 years, I was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. I am the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, How Would A Patriot Act?, a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released May, 2006.
Planting False Evidence on Iran
By Norman Solomon
from Consortium News
Prior to the U.S. intelligence community's 2007 assessment that Iran was not working on a nuclear weapons program, there was a scramble among U.S. and Israeli officials to show that it was. The CIA's Operation Merlin also revealed that U.S. officials were not above planting false evidence, writes Norman Solomon.
A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences -- casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has work on a nuclear weapons program.
With negotiations between Iran and the United States at a pivotal stage, fallout from the trial's revelations about the CIA's Operation Merlin is likely to cause the International Atomic Energy Agency to re-examine U.S. assertions that Iran has pursued nuclear weapons.
In its zeal to prosecute Sterling for allegedly leaking classified information about Operation Merlin -- which provided flawed nuclear weapon design information to Iran in 2000 -- the U.S. government has damaged its own standing with the IAEA. The trial made public a treasure trove of information about the Merlin operation.
Last week Bloomberg News reported from Vienna, where IAEA is headquartered, that the agency "will probably review intelligence they received about Iran as a result of the revelations, said the two diplomats who are familiar with the IAEA's Iran file and asked not to be named because the details are confidential."
The Bloomberg dispatch, which matter-of-factly referred to Merlin as a "sting" operation, quoted a former British envoy to the IAEA, Peter Jenkins, saying: "This story suggests a possibility that hostile intelligence agencies could decide to plant a 'smoking gun' in Iran for the IAEA to find. That looks like a big problem."
After sitting through the seven-day Sterling trial, I don't recall that the government or any of its witnesses -- including 23 from the CIA as well as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- ever referred to Operation Merlin as a "sting." Instead, it was consistently portrayed as an effort to send Iran down the wrong technical path. In fact, over the years, Operation Merlin may have been both.
Near the end of the Clinton administration, CIA documents released at the trial show, Merlin was a botched effort to screw up Iran's nuclear program. (There is no evidence that Iran's government took the bait.) But documents also show that Merlin continued for years, with the CIA considering plans to widen the operation beyond Iran.
As a matter of fact, one CIA document was not redacted sufficiently to hide evident interest in also trying a similar tactic against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. History certainly tells us that the Bush-Cheney administration would be capable of seeking to cite fabricated evidence in a push to justify military action against a targeted country.
Investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler, my colleague at ExposeFacts, has written an extensive analysis of the latest developments. The article on her EmptyWheel blog raises key questions beginning with the headline "What Was the CIA Really Doing with Merlin by 2003?"
An emerging big irony of United States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling is that the government has harmed itself in the process of gunning for the defendant. While the prosecution used innuendos and weak circumstantial evidence to obtain guilty verdicts on multiple felonies, the trial produced no actual evidence that Sterling leaked classified information. But the trial did provide abundant evidence that the U.S. government's nuclear-related claims about Iran should not be trusted.
In the courtroom, one CIA witness after another described Operation Merlin as a vitally important program requiring strict secrecy. Yet the government revealed a great deal of information about Operation Merlin during the trial -- including CIA documents that showed the U.S. government to be committed to deception about the Iranian nuclear program.
If, as a result, the International Atomic Energy Agency concludes that U.S. assertions about an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program lack credibility, top officials in Washington will have themselves to blame.
Norman Solomon is the author of many books, including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," which has been adapted into a documentary film. more information here
the area where we truly are number one... arms sales
to the World
By Anna Rich
As the end of the millenium approaches, the United States is doing well, globally speaking-acting as economic exemplar, rich old uncle, and global policeman. Increasingly, the U.S. has added another leadership role: generous and enthusiastic arms merchant to the world.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States has dominated the global arms market. During 1994-1996, the United States exported $67.3 billion dollars worth of armaments: 55% of global arms exports, quadruple the share of its closest competitor.1 With one year left to go, we have already sold tens of billions of dollars more weapons during the 1990s then we did in the entire 1980s.
Arms Sales and
The Greeks spent the largest percent of their arms budget with the world's largest supplier of arms... to defend against whom? or to attack whom? Notice that Germany got the next biggest share of sales and they are demanding 'payment'... no wonder the Greek people are upset... 'Jets instead of Bread'!
Our reward is weapons globalization-like McDonalds and Coca-Col a, American arms and training have found their way to virtually every country on earth. Of the 24 countries which experienced at least one major armed conflict in 1997, the United States sold arms or provided military training to 21 of them at some point during the 1990s.3 In exceptions such as Iran and Afghanistan, plenty of U.S. hardware no doubt remains from previous decades.
But omnipresence of U.S. weaponry hasn't come easily. The global arms trade has shrunk since the 1980s, due to the end of the cold war and economic turmoil. Governments have been buying less weaponry, resulting in excess arms industry capacity. Inventory cuts have also left many countries with large holdings of surplus weaponry; between 1990-95, for instance, the United States exported an estimated $7 billion of surplus arms for free or deeply discounted.
Regional economic instability has further tightened the market for U.S. arms. In East Asia, many U.S. customers are feeling the pinch and cutting back on weapons imports. Most Latin American countries, only recently allowed to buy U.S. advanced weapons, have so far wisely decided that big new weapons systems are not a top priority right now (though U.S. arms gifts are another matter). Europe and the Middle East, the main buyers of big-ticket items, absorbed nearly two thirds of the total dollar value of U.S. arms exports during 1994-96.
Yet despite these constraints, the United States has dramatically increased its market share and even increased its total arms exports (see chart). That the United States can export so much so consistently is a tribute to U.S. weapons manufacturers' advanced technology, governmental support-and willingness to cater to customers' desires.
In today's commercially driven arms bazaar, U.S. customers demand special price and financing packages, technology to produce subcomponents, components, or entire weapons systems themselves, and ultra-high-tech weaponry-and they get it.
SPREADING WEAPONS AROUND THE WORLD
Arms transfers have been a primary instrument of U.S. foreign policy since the Nixon Doctrine, an "easy" way to win friends and influence people. Recipient nations are said to need U.S. arms in order to take responsibility for legitimate self-defense. In reality, the U.S. uses arms exports and joint military exercises to gain access to overseas bases and to establish the infrastructure and interoperability necessary for U.S. intervention. Other strategic rationales include maintaining "regional stability" and preserving the U.S. defense industrial base, regardless of the risk that weapons exports may undermine regional peace and security.
Recent arms deals in the works reveal an increased willingness to sell top technology regardless of the effects of proliferation:
Middle Eastern countries have been regular U.S. customers, but low oil prices have intensified competition for their patronage. Pentagon officials have recently allowed introduction of Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles-a deadly state-of-the-art missile system-and other ultra-high-tech armaments to the region. Since first agreeing to sell AMRAAMs to Saudi Arabia and Israel in April 1998, the Pentagon has offered:
$3.2 billion of arms to Egypt, including the most advanced version of the F-16, paid for with U.S. military aid;
AMRAAMs and associated technology to Bahrain, worth $110 million;
$2 billion of AMRAAMs, ammunition and bombs to complement a previous $6-8 billion F-16 fighter jet sale to the United Arab Emirates. The U.A.E. has also demanded the computer coding for the F-16s which would enable it to modify or replicate the jet's intelligence. If the U.A.E. gets the source code, other buyers will be sure to want it too.
Secretary of Defense William Cohen explained that he had to sell friendly Gulf states whatever they requested because otherwise they "would take it as an insult" and seek another supplier. Meanwhile, some in the Arab media allege that the U.S. is "exploiting the issue of the so-called Iraq-Iran danger" to sell more arms in the Gulf.
In Europe, Turkey, another long-time customer, is also up for a major purchase of U.S. equipment: they would like to buy 145 attack helicopters worth about $3.5 billion. When this deal was originally proposed, vociferous criticism by human rights and arms control groups forced the State Department to issue a conditional license requiring that Turkey improve its human rights record in order to buy U.S. models. State, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have all documented the use of U.S.-supplied weapons in the commission of political and human rights abuses, including indiscriminate attacks on Kurdish civilians. The economic incentives for approving the sale may, however, impede an honest assessment of Turkey's progress.
Meanwhile, the US is also arming Greece, Turkey's main rival, with proposed deals worth over $5 billion in 1998. Perhaps arming both sides equally is what is meant by the Pentagon's oft-used phrase, "the proposed sale ... will not affect the basic military balance in the region."
THE SMALL (BUT DEADLY) STUFF
Next to multi-million dollar missile systems, "small" arms may seem like a minor problem, yet they are thought to be responsible for most combat-related deaths today. Massive stocks of these durable, portable weapons that were transferred to conflict zones in the 1980s are now being re-circulated around southern and eastern Africa, South Asia and Central America. As recently as 1997, the State Dept. issued licenses for small arms to such countries as Bulgaria, Colombia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey, all of which are currently involved in internal conflict, human rights abuses, or willful diversion to suspect third parties. Recent small arms sales recently to Albania, Bosnia, and FYR of Macedonia could come back to haunt us sooner than we think.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced at a September 1998 United Nations meeting that arms exporting states "bear some responsibility" for a trade which "fuels conflict, fortifies extremism and destabilizes entire regions" in Africa and worldwide. So far, however, the U.S. administration has taken few concrete actions to live up to this responsibility.
MILITARY TRAINING AND ASSISTANCE
U.S. provision of training and equipment to foreign militaries has long been a cause for concern to human rights and peace activists. Last year, the Defense Department (DOD) trained over 7,000 members of 120 foreign militaries, at a cost of $50 million, as part of its "International Military Education and Training" (IMET) program. Some past graduates of the "School of the Americas," a Spanish-language training center run by the U.S. military, have gone on to commit notorious human rights crimes. Yet these better known training programs are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of millions of dollars are allocated each year to the DOD and State Department for foreign militaries under counternarcotics and "special operations" training programs. Colombia and Mexico, two leading recipients, have received millions of dollars worth of training and equipment to help fight the "drug war."
President Clinton made history this year when he apologized for the U.S. role in training and arming Guatemalan troops who committed acts of genocide against the indigenous population. "The United States must not repeat that mistake," he warned. Yet his administration seems reluctant to take his advice seriously. After Congress in 1992 banned provision of IMET to Indonesia due to human rights abuses in East Timor and elsewhere, the DOD evaded Congressional mandate by conducting "joint exercises" between U.S. and Indonesian military forces.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK
U.S. weapons and training could not have made it so far around the world without the help of U.S. taxpayers. U.S major weapons systems occupy the "top end" of the global arms market, and many poorer countries are unable to afford U.S. weapons outright.
For those unable or unwilling to purchase U.S. arms directly, there are a variety of options. In its FY2000 budget request, the Clinton administration asked for $6.5 billion in military aid, including: $3.4 to underwrite foreign purchases of U.S. arms; $2.4 billion in "security assistance," such as arming Iraqi opposition groups; $295 million for counternarcotics training and equipment; and $52 million for international military education and training (IMET). Taxpayer subsidized loans and surplus U.S. military equipment are also readily available.
ECONOMIC BENEFITS... AND COSTS
In the post-Cold War era, U.S. arms manufacturers appeal to more overtly commercial motives for subsidies, export promotion, and military assistance. Arms sales are promoted as a way to cut down on U.S. military costs. John Douglass, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, testified that "increasingly, the Department of Defense looks to our [...] foreign sales of military equipment to keep crucial defense lines open and reduce unit costs to the military."
Military assistance and training, in turn, bring economic benefits to arms makers. As then-Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Alexander Watson explained to Congress candidly, "[training programs] bring certain economic benefits as well; they give Latin and Caribbean officials experience using American hardware, and thus can influence their future procurement decisions." And whenever Congress threatens to veto a particularly objectionable arms sale, industry representatives are quick to argue that refusal to export weapons will cost American defense jobs.
The Clinton administration has clearly taken this logic to heart, and does what it can to promote U.S. arms sales. Arms exporters have been pressing for reform of the government's export control system, complaining about the length of time an arms sale takes to make it through the requisite layers of bureaucracy and Congressional oversight. The Defense Department has responded with elaborate plans to streamline and speed up the arms sale process-it even proposed that weapons be promoted on the web in a planned DOD "Electronic Mall."
Yet the rationales of the defense lobby don't take the full costs of exporting weapons and assistance into account. According to William Hartung's report Welfare for Weapons Dealers: the Hidden Costs of the Arms Trade, the American public spent an estimated $7.6 billion to promote and finance weapons exports in 1995 alone. Taxpayers underwrite the research and development of weapons and employ a Pentagon sales force of several thousand people here and abroad.
"Offsets," the trade concessions required by foreign buyers as conditions of sale in today's competitive arms market, significantly reduce the supposed trade and jobs benefits of arms exporting. A recent Commerce Deptartment report found that between 1993 and 1996, U.S. defense companies entered into offset agreements valued at $15.1 billion in support of $29.1 billion worth of defense contracts. In other words, for every dollar a U.S. company received from an arms sale associated with offsets, it returned 52 cents worth of offset obligations to the purchasing country.
Offsets may include agreements that will eventually increase competition in the defense market by granting licenses to recipient countries to produce parts or entire weapons systems. For instance, both Greece and Turkey would like to develop an indigenous capacity to build sophisticated weaponry. Taking advantage of the tight arms market, they demand up to 100% in returned investment on major arms deals, often in the forms of co-production deals. Lockheed Martin already produces many F-16 fighter jets in Turkey, and Boeing has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Greece covering the "future production" of F-15s and "new production and maintenance capabilities." This practice not only exports US jobs abroad, but will also result in even greater global surplus weapons production.
Finally, everyone ultimately pays a higher DOD bill because of exports. Weapons proliferation, instability and warfare in the developing world are used to justify Pentagon budget requests. The development and production of next-generation U.S. weapons are rationalized by DOD officials as necessary to keep up with the high-tech weapons now being shipped to developing countries.
Greek debt, austerity and past military contracts
By Sara Flounders
Since the 2008 capitalist downturn sparked the debt crisis, Greek working people have held huge demonstrations, general strikes and now have voted in the Syriza government to oppose the brutal austerity program imposed by U.S. and European, especially German, banks. Syriza has pledged to have half the debt written off and to roll back the austerity measures of the previous government. At this time, the European Union’s bankers refuse and are digging in their heels.
While massive unemployment and social service cuts have also hit hard in Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy, austerity and unemployment in Greece have brought the proportion of people living under the poverty line from 3 percent in 2010 to 44 percent today. (Public Policy Analysis Group, Athens University).
Why did this austerity hit Greece with the most devastating blow?
The Wall Street Journal of July 10, 2010, answered this question for its business audience: “Greece, with a population of just 11 million, is the largest importer of conventional weapons in Europe — and ranks fifth in the world behind China, India, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. Its military spending is the highest in the European Union as a percentage of gross domestic product. That spending was one of the factors behind Greece’s stratospheric national debt.”
Since the 2008 global economic crisis struck, the bankers in Berlin, London and Wall Street have gone into overdrive to convince the Greek workers — and workers everywhere — that the debt crisis in Greece arose because the Greek workers were living “beyond their means.” This was a constant theme, not only of German chancellor Angela Merkel and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, but also of the corporate media internationally. They claimed that the Greek government had taken out unsustainable loans in order to guarantee full health care, a minimum wage, decent pensions, libraries, schools and parks.
But the standard of living of Greek people, modest by European standards, was not the reason Greece had the highest rate of unsustainable debt in Europe.
The corporate media tell the same lie to workers in Ireland, Portugal and Spain, and to the workers in Germany whose incomes have shrunk, and in the U.S. to the working people of Detroit. This lie must be challenged politically on every front so that the people understand that their modest gains are not the source of the problem. The capitalist system and its inevitable crises are the problem.
The bankers understand very well, but are not telling the workers who the major culprit is, especially behind the Greek debt.
An article in the April 19, 2012, British newspaper the Guardian explained the impact of the years of weapons purchases:
“According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute … from 2002 to 2006, Greece was the world’s fourth biggest importer of conventional weapons. It is now the 10th.
“‘As a proportion of GDP, Greece spends twice as much as any other EU member on defense. … Well after the economic crisis had begun, Germany and France were trying to seal lucrative weapons deals even as they were pushing us to make deep cuts in areas like health,’ said Dimitris Papadimoulis, who now represents Syriza in the European Parliament.”
For many years, Greece was the biggest customer in Europe for German military corporations and also a major purchaser of French weapons. These are the two imperialist countries that hold the largest share of Greek debt.
The contracts for these weapons purchases and decades of maintenance and parts supplies are provided by bank loans from the countries supplying the weapons — Germany, France and the United States. The incentive for the huge unneeded purchases is a network of bribes from the military corporations, especially to the generals and top political leaders.
Angelos Philippides, a prominent Greek economist, explained: “For a long time Greece spent 7 percent of its GDP on defense when other European countries spent an average 2.2 percent. If you were to add up that compound 5 percent from 1946 to today, there would be no debt at all.
“‘If Athens had cut defense spending to levels similar to other EU states over the past decade, economists claim it would have saved around €150bn — more than its last bailout. Instead, Greece dedicates up to €7bn a year to military expenditure — down from a high of €10bn in 2009.” (Guardian, April 19, 2012)
“‘Since the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, Greece has spent 216 billion euro on armaments,’” said Katerina Tsoukala, a Brussels-based security expert.” (Guardian) This amount is far larger than the Greek debt at the time the 2008 capitalist crisis hit. The purchases included German submarines, Mirage fighter jets from France and F-16 jets from the U.S. and 1,300 tanks.
According to SIPRI statistics, even though Greek military spending has declined since the crisis, Greece is the second-biggest defense spender (in relation to its GDP) among the 27 NATO countries, after the U.S.
Since the beginning of the Cold War between the imperialist West and the Soviet Union, the Greek military has played an extremely privileged and thoroughly reactionary role in maintaining capitalist rule and keeping Greece within the U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance. With full support of U.S. and British imperialists and of Greek fascists, the Greek military fought a violent civil war from 1945 to 1949 against anti-fascist workers organized by the Communist Party of Greece — the KKE. Communist-led partisans had driven out the German occupation forces at the end of World War II.
U.S. President Harry Truman in 1947, in what became known as the Truman Doctrine, pledged unlimited military support to defeat growing workers’ movements throughout the world following the World War II surrender of Nazi-led Germany. This policy facilitated brutal coups and decades of military repression in Greece, Turkey and Iran. In Greece in 1947, the communists were defeated militarily and outlawed.
In 1967, using a NATO strategic plan, Greek colonels again seized power and set up a ruling junta, which stayed in control until 1974. The army moved in 1967 to stop the Socialist Party under George Papandreou from taking office with a center-left coalition. This brutal military junta, called the Regime of the Colonels, ruled by martial law, mass arrests, torture and disappearances. Today’s extreme right-wing fascist party, Golden Dawn, has its origins in the police units that operated with impunity during the junta’s rule.
Although ousted by a mobilized mass movement in 1974, the military and police hierarchy was untouched, except for the prosecution of a handful of coup leaders.
Greek military contracts have always been the greatest source of corruption, payoffs, kickbacks and secrecy. The bribery by major military corporations infects every level of the military. Continuing scandals surrounding military contracts have rocked past administrations. The most notorious bribery scandal involves billions paid over 12 years and billions still owed for six yet-undelivered German submarines. Former Minister of Defense Akis Tsochadzopoulos was convicted in 2013 of accepting $8 million in bribes connected to these submarines.
Given this history, the appointment of the right-wing Greek Independence Party to head the Defense Ministry in the Syriza cabinet is an especially ominous development. It certainly implies that the past onerous military loans and secret payoffs will not be challenged.
An enormous battle is ahead for the workers in Greece. Political agitation and clear demands targeting the generals enmeshed with the UE bankers who have enriched themselves in the Greek debt trap will help prepare the workers to understand who their enemy is and what they are up against.
WASHINGTON, Dec 11, 2014 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Greece for CH-47D Chinook helicopters and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $150 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
The Government of Greece has requested a possible sale of 10 CH-47D Model Chinook Helicopters to include 23 T55-GA-714A Engines (20 installed and, 3 spares), 12 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System (10 installed and 2 spares), 12 AN/ARC-220 High Frequency (HF) Radios, 12 AN/ARC-186 Very High Frequency (VHF) AM/FM Radios, 12 AN/ARC-164 Ultra High Frequency (UHF)-AM, 12 AN/ARN 123 VOR ILS Marker Beacons, 12 AN/ARN-89 or AN/ARN-149 Direction Finder Sets, 12 AN/ASN-128 Doppler/Global Positioning System Navigation Sets, 12 AN/ARC-201D or AN/ARC-201E VHF FM Homing Radios, 12 AN/APX-118 Transponders, 3 AN/APX-118A Transponders, 12 AN/APR-39A(V)1 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, mission equipment, communication and navigation equipment, Maintenance Work Orders/Engineering Change Proposals (MWO/ECPs), aircraft hardware and software support, repair and return, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, support equipment, minor modifications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor technical and engineering support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $150 million.
This proposed sale of these helicopters and support will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally.
This sale will contribute to both the United States’ and Greece’s defense and security goal of greater stability in the Balkans and the Levant regions by enhancing a critical helicopter lift capability. Additionally, this sale will facilitate greater interoperability of Greek systems both bilaterally and within NATO. Greece, which already operates CH-47s, will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.
The proposed sale of these helicopters and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
There is no principal contractor as the systems will be coming from U.S. Army stock. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Greece at some point in future.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Greek voters reject austerity
2 Tsipras pledges to fight austerity but ‘observe euro norms’ as bankers prepare to stonewall Syriza
3 Syriza’s first anti-austerity moves hearten masses
4 Austerity, imperialism & disease
5 Mass anti-austerity rally clogs Madrid
"Since the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, Greece has spent 216 billion euro on armaments"
The practice of treating lethal goods like just another product to be promoted and sold is problematic on a more fundamental level. While the United States is very concerned about its responsibility to prevent nuclear proliferation, there is no corresponding acknowledgment of the danger of filling the world up with conventional weaponry, even when, as in the case of Iraq or Somalia, U.S supplied arms later "boomerang" back to hit American troops.
Arms manufacturers take refuge in the amorality of the bottom line-- they will sell whatever foreign countries willing to buy. They don't need to worry about the global effects of their products, they claim, because the U.S. government screens to prevent the sales that would contribute to proliferation or could fall into the wrong hands.
The administration, in turn, washes its hands of responsibility for evaluating the overall effects of arms sales. As Defense Secretary Cohen said during a recent arms sales promotion tour in the Gulf, "to the extent that each country feels they need to have measures to protect its population and its military, then certainly we are in a position to, and are eager to, provide whatever equipment that we can."
Both the arms industry and the Clinton administration are reluctant to impose additional controls on U.S. arms exports or military assistance. Someone will be sure to sell to those who wish to buy, reasons the defense lobby, and unilateral controls would be "damaging [to] our industry, while seldom preventing the buyer from obtaining the desired technology or commodity." Despite the uniquely dominant U.S. role in the arms market, they claim, we still cannot risk losing market share over mere principles.
CAMPAIGNING FOR A CODE OF CONDUCT
An "Arms Sales Code of Conduct" is a solution championed by a coalition of arms control, religious, and human rights organizations. Associated with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Oscar Arias' international code of conduct campaign, it was introduced in the U.S. Congress by Representatives Cynthia McKinney and Dana Rohrabacher. The Code would prohibit arms exports to any government that does not meet the criteria set out in the law unless the President exempts a country and Congress does not overturn the waiver. In order to be eligible for U.S. weapons or military assistance, countries would need to meet the following criteria: democratic government; respect for human rights of citizens; non-aggression (against other states); and full participation in the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms.
The Code's criteria are all primary foreign policy tenets given lip service by past and present administrations. Nevertheless, an estimated 84% of U.S. arms transfers during 1991-95 went to states which did not meet the Code's criteria, according to analysis by Demilitarization for Democracy. The Code of Conduct would not necessarily prevent any given sale, but it would require the administration to publicly acknowledge instances in which it decided that closing an arms deal was more important than democratic principles. The burden of proof would shift toward those who wished to export.
The Code of Conduct's greatest success to date came on June 10, 1997, when the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Code as an amendment to the State Department Authorization Act. It was subsequently killed in conference committee.
Late in the summer of 1998, Representative Sam Gejdenson introduced a "multilateral code of conduct" which imitated parts of the McKinney/Rohrabacher bill. Code of Conduct supporters dubbed this rival proposal the "faux Code," as it did nothing to alter current U.S. exports or military aid. Pro-Code advocates feared that Gejdenson's code would fulfill the arms industry lobby's stated desire to "euthanize the Code." Letters from Oscar Arias, McKinney, and grassroots activists kept this from reaching a vote in Congress. This year, McKinney and Gejdenson agreed upon the introduction a compromise bill that would require additional transparency of the human rights and democracy records of countries receiving U.S. arms exports and assistance. McKinney will still introduce her more substantial Code of Conduct later this year.
The vast majority of the general public supports a U.S. Code of Conduct, but passively. The major players- the military, the Clinton administration, the defense lobby-are not going to reverse current export policy any time soon. Clearly, no major progress will be made on the issue of limiting the global arms trade without significant new grassroots pressure.
1. Unless otherwise noted, arms export statistics come from World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1997, US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, December 1998. There are several annual sources of information about the international arms trade, each measuring something slightly different. The ACDA report doesn't have the most recent yearly information, but it does include an estimate of industry-to-government direct commercial sales (DCS)-for tens of billions of dollars of licenses are issued but actual final sales are uncertain.
2. Foreign Military Sales Facts, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, various years.
3. Based on a list of major armed conflicts in 1997 from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 1998 Yearbook.
Anna Rich is a research assistant at the Arms Sales Monitoring Project of the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC. Material for this article is drawn from The Arms Trade Revealed: a Guide for Investigators and Activists, by Lora Lumpe and Jeff Donarski, recently published by the Federation of American Scientists. Copies are available for $12 by emailing Anna at email@example.com or calling 202-675-1016.
British-American Security Information Council (BASIC)-1900 L Street, NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC, 20036, (202) 785-1266. Focuses on multilateral arms export control initiatives.
Center for Defense Information-1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20005, (202) 332-0600. CDI has a conventional arms transfer project and produces "America's Defense Monitor," a public television program on arms production/export issues.
Council for a Livable World Education Fund-110 Maryland Avenue, NE, Suite 201, Washington, DC, 20002, (202) 546-0962. Publishes the monthly Arms Trade News.
Federation of American Scientists' Arms Sales Monitoring Project, 307 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC, 20002, (202) 546-3300. Publishes the Arms Sales Monitor and The Arms Trade Revealed: a Guide for Investigators and Activists.
The Arms Project of Human Rights Watch-1630 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 54, Washington, DC, 20009, (202) 612-4321. Focuses on arms transfers to human rights abusing regimes.
The Latin American Working Group, in conjunction with the Center for International Policy, publishes information on military assistance and training to Latin America at http://www.ciponline.org/facts/.
Mother Jones' U.S. Arms Sales Action Atlas, has information about U.S. arms recipients and the arms trade lobby.
Peace Action Education Fund, 1819 H Street, NW, Suite 425, Washington, DC, 20006, (202) 862-9740, ext. 3004. Assists citizens in lobbying and bringing local attention to arms production and trade issues.
William Hartung, World Policy Institute-65 Fifth Avenue, Suite 413, New York, NY, 10003, (212) 229-5808, publishes material on the arms trade and militarism.