U.S. Military Bases at the Panama Canal
Important Panama Resources and Links:
Action Needed Our 1999 and Earlier Reports H.C.R. 186 - Rep. Rohrabacher's Excellent Resolution Clinton Admits China Runs Canal Pope Warns Panama Against "Outside Influences" at Canal Video of Howard Phillips at Canal Senate Testimony--Rep. Rohrabacher--Rep. Barr & other experts Capt. Russell Evans' Article Helen Chenoweth's Bill to Cancel Treaty Progress in Panama Howard Phillips' Newspaper Article Official Panama Canal Site Sen. Lott Alarmed at Chinese Power at Canal Panama's Law #5 Giving Chinese Company Unusual Powers National Archives: Index of Canal Documents State Dept: Treaties & Info Voter Survey on Canal Live Camera at Canal Locks Canal Construction Photos Cool Animation of Canal Operation Send E-Mail to Congress and the Media Lobbying Guide Donate to Support Our Efforts!
Excerpted from Howard Phillips Issues & Strategy Bulletin of March 15, 2005
AT LAST, TERRORIST THREAT TO PANAMA CANAL IS RECOGNIZED
"A group of fake terrorists will test the joint defensive capabilities of at least 15 countries’ navies by trying to ‘blow up’ the Panama Canal during the Panamax 2005 naval maneuvers scheduled for August. …
"The multinational naval force is scheduled to set up a security cordon to protect both the Atlantic and Pacific approaches to the Canal, while police, the air force and Panama’s Security Council, as well as other entities, will carry out air and land security operations along some 80 kilometers (49 miles) of the country’s waterways and coastlines, [head of the National Maritime Service, Ricardo Traad] Porras said."
NAVAL INTELLIGENCE TO BE EXCHANGED WITH NON-ALLIES
"During the exercise, communications and the exchange of naval intelligence will be crucial because those are the basic elements in aborting potential terrorist attacks, some of the navy chiefs said while discussing the maneuvers. …
"So far, 15 nations – out of 18 that have been invited – have confirmed that they will participate in the maneuvers, including Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, the United States, France, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Great Britain, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay."
BRAZIL, VENEZUELA, AND RUSSIA MAY BENEFIT
"Panamanian naval authorities told EFE that they are also expecting the remaining three nations – Brazil, Venezuela and Russia – to confirm their participation in Panamax 2005." Source: From Panama City, Panama, ACAN-EFE (FBIS Transcribed Text), 2/16/05
Excerpted from Howard Phillips Issues & Strategy Bulletin of April 30, 2002
GOOD NEWS FROM PANAMA
"The United States, in its desire to extend the war on terrorism, is interested in cooperating with Panama to guarantee the security of the Central American nations maritime services, including its ports, sources from both countries said today."
ACTIVITY AT PANAMAS PORTS WILL BE SCRUTINIZED: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
" We discussed the security mechanisms at Panamanian ports, the head of the Panamanian Maritime Authority, Jerry Salazar, said, referring to a meeting with US Coast Guard representative Paul Pluta. Pluta, the US Coast Guards assistant commander for marine safety, has been in Panama since Monday to hold meetings with several officials, including Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso, on issues related to the war on terrorism."
"POLLUTION" AND TERRORISM PUT U.S. BACK AT THE ISTHMUS
"On Monday, Pluta attended the signing of an agreement permitting the US National Response Team (NRT) to offer aid to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in the event of serious cases of pollution of the inter-oceanic seaway. Speaking for the Panamanian Maritime Authority, Salazar said that the meeting he had with Pluta was to discuss the levels of security already in place in this area in Panama. The two sides agreed to coordinate and cooperate and that there would be a second meeting held in Washington in May, Salazar said."
CAUTION: 10,000-PLUS PANAMANIAN SHIPS DOCK AT U.S. PORTS
" The Panamanian merchant navy is the largest in the world (with 10,095 ships as of 31 December) and obviously a large percentage of those ships dock at US ports, Salazar said.
"At the signing ceremony of the agreement with the ACP on Monday, the US charge daffaires in Panama, Frederick Becker, pointed out the need to protect the vessels that dock at US ports."
CAUTION: 280,000 PANAMANIAN SAILORS
"In addition to having the largest fleet in the world, Panama also has around 280,000 merchant marines that make up the crews of the different ships, but exercises weak control over both sailors and fleets, according to industry sources.
"Pluta, who is also a representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), told journalists that Panama should adopt new marine safety regulations in order to avoid terrorist acts, even though he recognized negative economic repercussions.
"The United States has recommended that the IMO adopt new security measures at ports, establish a crew identification system, and verify the merchandise being transported in the ships, in addition to strengthening information exchange, Pluta said." Source: Mexico City Notimex, via Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report, 4/3/02
Excerpts from Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin of December 31, 2001
RED CHINAS TOP LOBBYIST FOR HUTCHISON WHAMPOA NAMED BY BUSH TO BE DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
According to The Wall Street Journal (p. 1, 11/30/01) "Cheney hand Nancy Dorn is expected to get the No. 2 job at the White House Office of Management and Budget. With budget director Daniels at odds with Congresss GOP leaders, Dorn offers good Capitol ties: The Cheney staffer once worked for House Speaker Hastert. Former budget deputy Sean OKeefe also was a Cheney ally."
As reported in HPISB #664, February 28, 2001, "Mrs. Dorn, whose husband was on the staff of Bob Dole, was previously hired to be national security adviser to GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert, despite the fact that she had served as a registered foreign agent for the Chinese-controlled company, Hutchison Whampoa."
Excerpts from Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin of February 28, 2001
CHENEY HIRES HUTCHISON WHAMPOAS FOREIGN AGENT
In what could be a serious blow to the continuing campaign of The Conservative Caucus and allied organizations to restore a U.S. military presence in Panama and challenge control of port facilities at the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the Panama Canal by a company closely linked to the Chinese Communist government, Vice President Dick Cheney has hired Nancy Dorn to be a key member of his Capitol Hill staff.
As you will recall from previous editions of HPISB, Mrs. Dorn, whose husband was on the staff of Bob Dole, was previously hired to be national security adviser to GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert, despite the fact that she had served as a registered foreign agent for the Chinese-controlled company, Hutchison Whampoa.
According to an article by Eric Schmitt in The New York Times (2/3/01, p. A8), "To help track Congress and tend to lawmakers needs, [Vice President Dick] Cheney has hired Nancy P. Dorn, [House Speaker Dennis] Hasterts former foreign policy adviser...."
HENRY HYDE COULD BE A KEY ALLY RE PANAMA
On a more positive note, Dr. James Lucier, on the Board of Directors of the The Conservative Caucus, met recently with Illinois GOP Congressman Henry Hyde, the new Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, to discuss the situation in Panama.
In an interview published in Insight Magazine (2/19/01, p. 12) Hyde told Dr. Lucier "Panama could become troublesome ... I dont see it now, but I see the potential for a hostile control of the ebb and flow of shipping if the Peoples Republic of China controls that waterway. " Hyde also thinks that "the United States should negotiate to restore some U.S. base rights there. Ive always thought that. I was not a big supporter of our leaving Panama and turning it over to what at best was an unstable government. I think our interests are pretty paramount down there, and we should do whats necessary to protect our interests. "
SECRETARY POWELL DISCOUNTS IMPORTANCE OF GROWING RED CHINESE INFLUENCE AT PANAMA CANAL
Bill Gertz writes (Washington Times, 2/7/01, p. A7) that "Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday he is not concerned about Chinas influence in the Panama Canal....
" The Chinese presence in the Panama Canal has been written about and spoken of, but it isnt...I have not found that the so-called "presence" in the form of shipping companies and the like have created any danger to the Panamanian people, the Panamanian government, or to the canal itself, Mr. Powell said at a press conference. ..."
POWELL UNAWARE OF COLOMBIA-CHINA TALKS
"The secretary of state was asked about a recent visit to Beijing by a senior Colombian government official who was seeking Chinese assistance in agricultural development aid for northeastern Colombia. Mr. Powell said he was unaware of the request. ...
"Concerns about Chinese influence in Panama were raised by the leasing of two ports near both ends of the canal by a Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in 1997.
"The companys chairman, Li Ka-Shing, has close ties to the Chinese government, according to declassified U.S. military intelligence documents.
"A 1998 Army intelligence report stated that Mr. Li is planning to take control of Panama Canal operations when the U.S. transfers it to Panama in Dec. 99.
" Li is directly connected to Beijing and is willing to use his business influence to further the aims of the Chinese government, one of the documents stated."
RED CHINESE CRIME SYNDICATES EXPLOIT PORT CONTROL IN PANAMA
"A U.S. Southern Command intelligence report from October 1999 called the leases of Balboa and Cristobal by Panama Ports Co., a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, a potential threat.
"The Southern Command report stated that China is not likely to sabotage the Panama Canal but could use the port facilities as a conduit for illegal shipments of technology to China, or to facilitate the movement of arms and other prohibited items into the Americas.
"Pentagon officials have said China could use its access to the ports to disrupt shipping if a conflict erupts between China and Taiwan, and the U.S. military was called in to defend the island.
"Organized Chinese crime groups are also using Panama as a base for the smuggling of narcotics, illegal aliens and arms, according to a U.S. Customs Service intelligence report."
BEIJING ALSO TARGETS CUBA AND VENEZUELA
"China also has increased military ties with Cuba and has begun developing closer relations with the leftist government of Venezuela."
Excerpts from Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin of July 15, 2000
NOW WE KNOW WHY CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS HAVE TAKEN A DIVE ON PANAMA
According to John Mintz and Juliet Eilperin (Washington Post, 7/15/00, p. A4), "House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has named as his senior foreign policy and military adviser a Washington lobbyist who until this week represented the government of Pakistan and a controversial Hong Kong company closely tied to Beijing."
TOP LOBBYIST FOR HUTCHISON WHAMPOA'S LI KA-SHING IS NOW TOP ADVISER TO GOP HOUSE SPEAKER DENNIS HASTERT
"Nancy P. Dorn, a former official in the Reagan and Bush administrations, was at her desk in the speaker's office yesterday even as congressional staff members critical of the Pakistani regime and of U.S. policy in China privately raised questions about her selection.
"The controversy about Dorn -- who until this week was a lobbyist for foreign and oil interests, and is in the kitchen cabinet of Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) -- illustrates a yawning chasm in the GOP. ..."
IS THIS WHY HASTERT AND DeLAY HAVE HELPED BLOCK ROHRABACHER RESOLUTION TO TURN BACK RED CHINESE INFLUENCE IN PANAMA?
"Hastert spokesman John Feehery said the speaker stands by his choice. 'She has the highest qualifications,' he said. 'She comes with the highest recommendations.' ...
"One of Dorn's clients is Hutchison Port Holdings, which is part of a larger company called Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. Both are controlled by a Hong Kong billionaire named Li Ka-Shing. In recent months she has lobbied Congress with the message that there is nothing sinister in the fact that Hutchison Port Holdings operates huge shipping facilities on the Panama Canal, which the United States turned over to Panamanian control on Jan. 1."
REPUBLICANS ARE THE HAND IN BILL CLINTON'S CHINESE GLOVE
"But a number of Republican members of Congress have condemned the firm as a stalking horse for the Chinese military that should have been prevented from gaining a foothold in Panama's strategic shipping lanes."
DO HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE A "CHINA FIRST" POLICY?
"In a letter to Defense Secretary William S. Cohen last August, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said Hutchison Whampoa is intimately tied to China's top leaders. 'U.S. naval ships will be at the mercy of Chinese-controlled pilots, and could even be denied passage through the Panama Canal,' Lott said. The Clinton administration, he added, is 'allowing a scenario to develop where U.S. national security interests could not be protected without confronting the Chinese communists in the Americas.'"
ROHRABACHER RESOLUTION (H. CON. RES. 186) CHALLENGES RED CONTROL OF PANAMA PORTS
"[GOP California Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher told a Senate panel last year that the Chinese firms' presence in Panama endangers U.S. interests. Li Ka-Shing and his companies 'have a history of acting as sources of funding or acting as intermediaries in deals for the People's Liberation Army,' he said. ..."
U.S. INTELLIGENCE CONFIRMS COMMUNIST THREAT
"One of the Defense Intelligence Agency reports, which originally had been classified 'secret,' stated 'Li is directly connected to Beijing and is willing to use his business influence to further the aims of the Chinese government. ...Li's interest in the canal is not only strategic, but also a means for outside financial opportunities for the Chinese government.'"
Insight Magazine (www.insightmag.com, 7/14/00) adds that "A release from the speaker's press office describes the 41-year-old Dorn as having 'served two Republican presidents and in senior positions in the Defense and State Departments. She was Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) from 1991-1993 as well as Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs for Presidents Reagan and Bush. The executive branch experience she put at the service of the Chinese also includes a tour of duty as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Inter-American affairs and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs.' ...
"Hutchison Whampoa's chief executive officer is Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing. 'Li is a prominent player in the Communist Chinese leadership's inner circle. Our intelligence agencies have identified Li as a board member of the China International Trust and Investment Corp., CITIC, which is a principal funding arm of the CHINESE and has a technology-acquiring source for China's military,' Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a hearing last year (see 'PC Answers on Panama Canal,' Nov. 22, 1999). 'A 1997 Rand Corp. report states, "CITIC does enter into [business] partnerships and provide logistical assistance to the People's Liberation Army,"' Rohrabacher said.
"'Li is also a director of the giant Communist Chinese shipping firm COSCO, which in addition to commercial transport, acts as the merchant marine for the Chinese military....Li has also engaged in numerous business partnerships with the China Resources Company, a firm that has been identified by U.S. congressional investigators as a front for Beijing's intelligence agencies,' Rohrabacher added. 'The thin line between the PRC government and private companies is blurred....Only a fool would ignore the danger.'"
GOP'S DORN LOBBIED FOR PERMANENT MFN
"Congressional sources tell Insight that Dorn recently lobbied against a Rohrabacher resolution to object to the new Permanent Normal Trade Relations that the House voted to extend to Beijing, the idea being to review the Communist government's conduct. Insight called Dorn's office for comment but was told she was 'not available.'"
China expert Al Santoli of the American Foreign Policy Council says: "I learned two months ago that she was lobbying members of the International Relations Committee to oppose the Rohrabacher legislation on Panama. ... It does not make a bit of difference that she worked at Defense Department in the Reagan and Bush Administrations. Bottom line is that she is a paid lobbyist for Li Ka-shing."
Insight adds further that "C. Thomas Burke, a member of the State Department's Panama Canal Study Commission from 1990 to 1994 while Dorn was assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, told Insight last year that Hutchison Whampoa is 'a company with strong ties to the Chinese Communist government acting as a gatekeeper of the [Panama] Canal.' ...
"Dorn's other clients, according to Washington Representatives 2000, include the AFL-CIO, the embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A number of House-side Republicans tell Insight they are furious about the Hastert move not only because of the fact that Dorn sold her services to China but because of her closeness to Pakistan, China's friend and India's enemy."
PANAMA'S MOSCOSO PREFERS ROC TO PRC
According to the Foreign Broadcast Information Service from Taipei on July 5, "Panamanian President Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodriguez on Wednesday reiterated that diplomatic ties between Panama and the Republic of China remain strong, saying that Panama will throw its full support behind the ROC in the international community.
"In a press conference prior to her departure after a five-day state visit in Taiwan, Moscoso said that among other efforts, Panama will help the ROC become an observer at the System of Central American Integration (SCAI) to further bolster Taiwan's relations with countries in Central America. ...
"Moscoso's visit is seen as concrete proof of the solid relationship between Panama and the ROC and helps lay to rest speculation that Panama's diplomatic relations with Taipei might have been affected after a senior adviser to Moscoso visited Beijing last October."
Excerpts from Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin of June 30, 2000
TCC-PROMOTED CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS FOCUS ON U.S. SECURITY IMPACT OF WITHDRAWAL FROM PANAMA
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) told the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, at hearings held on Friday, June 9 that "Today, communist China and transnational criminals are filling the strategic vacuum. Major ports on both ends of the Canal are now under the control of a Hong Kong-based Chinese company -- Hutchison Whampoa -- which has close ties to [the] Chinese Government and that is partly owned by the Chinese communist regime -- China Resources Enterprises -- which is a known front for Chinese military intelligence."
CHINESE BILLIONS CAUSED U.S. BIDS TO BE REJECTED
I am submitting for the record a copy of the Panamanian government's official 'open bid' document. It shows that American companies initially outbid the Chinese, but were denied the port contracts through what our State Department has called a 'highly irregular' process. ..."
RED CHINA KNOWS WHAT IS BEING SHIPPED
"It is not a coincidence that Taiwan, which is under the threat of military attack by Beijing, has stopped shipping military supplies through the Canal because of their concern that all ships' cargo manifests will be seen by Hutchison Whampoa and reported to Beijing."
PANAMANIAN BANKS LAUNDER DRUG PROFITS
"Equally troubling, since the removal of U.S. counter-drug operations at Howard Air Base there has been a significant increase in the vast quantities of South American cocaine and [heroin] that transit through and around Panama. The war in neighboring [Colombia] against well-armed narco-terrorist forces, financed by laundered drug-profits through...Panama's banks, is escalating and threatens to spread throughout the region. Panama does not have an army, navy or air force. The Panamanian government and its national police force have reputations for corruption and inefficiency."
U.S. PRESENCE NEEDED IN PANAMA, NOT COLOMBIA
"It makes absolutely no sense for the U.S. Government to pour billions of dollars into a counter-drug war in Colombia and to deploy an increasing number of American soldiers, while ceasing to seriously negotiate with Panama for a reinstatement of security advisors and -- if necessary -- security forces and counter-narcotics experts to protect America's front-line in Panama. In all recent public opinion polls, some 80 percent of Panamanian citizens support a continued U.S. security presence in their vulnerable homeland. In addition, there is no location that can replace the portion of Fort Sherman which was used by U.S. rapid reaction forces for training and staging for dangerous anti-terrorism and counter-drug missions. The premise that 'you fight as you train,' holds true. It is essential to defeat terrorism and to protect the lives of our brave soldiers and marines."
U.S. CUSTOMS WARNS OF RUSSIAN-CHINESE CRIMINAL BEACHHEAD IN PANAMA
According to Panama Intelligence Overview (TAG Report #070-2000) of the U.S. Customs Service (May, 2000) "Intelligence sources indicate that Chinese and Russian organized crime factions are active in narcotics, arms, and illegal alien smuggling utilizing Panama as a base of operations. The Chinese population in Panama has grown dramatically in the past five years and the Chinese government maintains an embassy in Panama City."
SURRENDER OF PANAMA BASES HAS INCREASED FLOW OF DRUGS INTO U.S.
Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) asserted at the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources hearing held (at the request of The Conservative Caucus) Friday, June 9, that "Over the years, a crucial element of our international drug interdiction and eradication efforts has been our operations from bases in Panama. That all came to a grinding halt last year with the turnover of the Panama Canal.
"By the end of 1999, the United States had abandoned the Panama Canal, and the 360,000 acre canal zone, as well as military property consisting of 70,000 acres and 5,600 buildings worth an estimated $10-$13 billion. Since the late 1980's, these bases have served as the cornerstone of the U.S. military's counterdrug effort in the region."
LOSS OF HOWARD AFB, RODMAN NB, AND FT. SHERMAN IS DEBILITATING
"Today, the U.S. can no longer fly our planes out of Howard Air Force Base. Likewise, we can no longer base our ships at Rodman Naval Base. And we can no longer coordinate regional counterdrug efforts out of Fort Sherman. ...
"Over one year ago, on May 1, 1999, the U.S. ceased all surveillance flights from Howard Air Force Base in Panama, from which the U.S. had previously flown 2,000 counter-narcotics flights per year."
REPLACEMENT FACILITIES ARE INADEQUATE AND COSTLY
"Over the past 12 months the U.S. has signed 10-year agreements with Aruba, Curaçao, Ecuador, and most recently with El Salvador, to provide alternative staging areas (known as Forward Operating Locations or FOL's) for U.S. military and law enforcement surveillance aircraft. Two of the 10 year agreements have been ratified. The El Salvador agreement lacks parliamentary approval.
"But, where we once operated out of just one base, we will now have to maintain four. And the construction and operating costs for these FOL's are high and continue to climb. Even more troubling, the date at which all four FOL's will be fully operational keeps slipping. ... Meanwhile drug-laden boats and planes keep heading towards our shores undetected. Each of these deadly craft carry death and destruction bound for US streets and neighborhoods. ..."
TWO-THIRDS OF U.S. CAPABILITY LOST
"By SOUTHCOM's own admission in a letter to the Subcommittee sent yesterday by General Charles Wilhelm, 'we estimate our capability will continue to be approximately one-third of what it was in Panama.' So according to our own SOUTHCOM Commander, we are two-thirds shy of what is needed, and I understand that a majority of this shortfall is in the crucial source zone countries of Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, the very countries that most need our help right now. ..."
PANAMA RIPE FOR TAKEOVER
"In the past, there have been reports of significant Colombian rebel activity in the Darien province of southern Panama. Now with the U.S. withdrawal from Panama and the recent focus on Colombia, we have already witnessed an increase in narco-terrorist incursions into Panama. With a weak and corrupt police force Panama is now ripe for a takeover by narco dealers."
"SHALL WE RETURN?" OR "WE SHALL RETURN!"
"At last year's hearing, I voiced my concern about the expanding FARC guerilla presence in Panama. I warned that, absent an effective U.S. policy, 'the U.S. will be back in Panama at some point in the future, and at great cost and sacrifice, to preserve the sanctity of the Canal and protect our national interests.' One year later, my concern about this deteriorating situation is even greater. ...
"In Panama, we face serious challenges in the months and years ahead -- challenges that will impact on our ability to keep illegal drugs off our streets and from our children. With the pullout of the U.S. military from Panama, it appears to me that we will only see more increases in drug trafficking; narco-terrorism; illegal arms smuggling and money-laundering in Panama and throughout the region."
House to hold Panama Canal Hearings 6/9/2000
The Conservative Caucus has been working with members of Congress to set up Congressional hearings to highlight the need for American military bases to protect the Panama Canal.
Well I have good news for all of us--we have succeeded. On June 9th, 2000, the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Drug Policy, chaired by Congressman John F. Mica (R, FL), will hold a hearing at 10:00 AM in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2247, in Washington D.C.
Among the witnesses who may testify will be experts from Panama with whom I have been directly working with on my fact-finding trips to Panama.
C-SPAN is expected to cover this important hearing. If so, you can watch on-line at http://www.cspan.org. Check their site for the exact airing times on June 9th. The hearing is open to a limited number of visitors. If you wish to attend, call the Subcommittee at 202-225-3926.
These hearings are the result of the efforts of The Conservative Caucus and it's many members. We are committed to fighting to restore a U.S. military presence in Panama, and are very grateful for your help.
You can participate in this project by calling or e-mailing your Congressman (202-224-3121 http://www.ConservativeUSA.org/mega-cong.htm ) and asking him to support Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's House Concurrent Resolution 186. For more information on this issue, please visit our web site at http://www.conservativeusa.org.
The Conservative Caucus, Inc.
Excerpts from Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin of May 31, 2000
RED CHINA SEEKS TO END PANAMA'S DIPLOMATIC RECOGNITION OF TAIWAN
Al Santoli points out (China Reform Monitor, 5/2/00) that "The Chinese government said it wants to normalize ties with Panama, which currently has diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the Associated Press reports. Li Peng, the number two leader of the Communist Party and head of the Chinese legislature, told a visiting delegation of Panamanian legislators that 'China sincerely wants to normalize [political] relations.' Li added, China is delighted by the smooth transfer of the Panama Canal from American to Panamanian control. According to the official Xinhua news agency, Li said the canal is of 'unique significance' and that Panama has a 'vital strategic importance.'"
Excerpts from Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin of February 29, 2000
ADMIRAL MOORER'S WARNINGS ABOUT PANAMA MUST BE HEEDED
On October 22, 1999, Admiral Thomas Moorer (former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) offered insightful testimony to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.
MILITARY CONTROL OF PANAMA SAFEGUARDS USA'S PACIFIC AND ATLANTIC COASTS
Quoting Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson in 1913, Admiral Moorer said: "The control of the Panama Canal is far more important to our national security than is the control of the Kiel Canal to that of Germany; or the Suez Canal to that of Great Britain. Its protection is more essential than the protection of any part of our coast or any of our seaports, however important because it is the key to the protection of many seaports and thousands of miles of coast-line."
IT'S WORTH MORE THAN THE $32 BILLION WE PAID FOR IT
Admiral Moorer observed that "Tragically, Americans have come to take the Canal and its myriad benefits for granted. One of the great engineering marvels of the world, the Canal is not only a tribute to the genius, vision, determination, and political will of an earlier generation of Americans, but a crucially important artery and choke point for our Navy and merchant marine vessels. Its value far exceeds the $32 billion we have invested in it over the years, though that price tag alone is reason enough to question the sanity of those who are so determined to relinquish this valuable property."
TIME SAVED IN WAR MEANS LIVES SAVED
"Over 13,000 commercial vessels transit the Panama Canal every year with some 190 million long tons of cargo. In the past year our Naval vessels used the Canal countless times. This 51-mile waterway cuts 8,000 miles off the trip around the southern tip of South America, saving as much as two weeks of transport time. In warfare, time means lives, and that much time can be the difference between defeat and victory. The Panama Canal has played a crucial role in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and many other conflicts. ..."
PRESIDENT RUTHERFORD B. HAYES UNDERSTOOD THE STAKES BETTER THAN BUSH OR CLINTON
"I must contrast this current U.S. policy, with the past, in the words of President Rutherford B. Hayes, addressing this same body: 'The policy of this country is a canal under American control. The United States cannot consent to the surrender of this control to any European power or to any combination of European powers... An inter-oceanic canal across the American Isthmus would essentially change the geographical relations between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States and between the United States and the rest of the world. It would be the great ocean thoroughfare between our Atlantic and Pacific shores and virtually a part of the coastline of the United States.... No other great power would, under similar circumstances, fail to assert a rightful control over a work so colossal and vitally affecting its interest and welfare.' ..."
U.S. READINESS LOW -- THREAT TO U.S. SECURITY HIGH
"When I testified on the Panama Canal and United States interests before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 16, 1998, I stated that our military readiness was at an all-time low as regards our ability to defend our country, and at an all-time high as regards the threat to our national security, especially in our own hemisphere."
14 CONSECUTIVE CUTS IN DEFENSE SPENDING
"I noted that although we had engaged in more so-called 'contingency' military operations than under any previous administration in the history of our nation, our military forces had suffered 14 consecutive cuts in the defense budget, invalidating the long-standing policy of our country to be able to win in two major regional contingencies simultaneously. The United States Marine Corps, by its own admission, is prepared and trained to fight one -- not two, but one -- major contingency at the present time. ...
"*The Army was cut 14.2 percent, from $743.3 billion in 1993 to $63.8 billion in 1999; the Department of the Navy, which includes the Marine Corps, suffered a similar cut of 14.1 percent, down from $94.7 billion in 1993 to $81.3 billion in 1999; and the Air Force is weathering a 14.4 percent cut, down from $89.5 billion in 1993 to $76.6 billion in 1999. ..."
RED CHINA IS NOW GATEKEEPER OF OUR SOUTHERN DEFENSE PERIMETER
"Senators may question whether in fact, it is Red China, or simply a private business concern, which is the 'Gatekeeper' today of the Panama Canal.
"This is what we know. An entity calling itself the Panama Ports Company in Panama, is actually a front corporation for Hutchison-Whampoa Limited, whose principal stockholder is Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing. Li's business empire has long been intertwined with enterprises that front for the Communist military and intelligence arms of the People's Republic of China....
"Ten percent of his Panama Ports Company is owned by China Resources, the commercial arm of China's Ministry of Trade and Economic Cooperation.
"Two years ago, on July 16, 1997, Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) was quoted in the South China Morning Post as stating that China Resources was 'an agent of espionage -- economic, military, and political -- for China.' Shen Jueren, the Communist official who heads China Resources, and Li Ka-shing are both partners in the Riady family's Hong Kong Chinese Bank."
CHINESE REDS ARE COLONIZING PORTS ON EVERY CONTINENT
"Li is also a principal in the PRC's huge China Telecom, and the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC), a ministry-level conglomerate with global assets of $21 billion run by Chinese 'princeling' Wang Jun. As chairman of Ply Group, Wang Jun also serves as the PRC's main arms dealer to Communist regimes, terrorists and rogue states. Nevertheless, Shen Jeren and Wang Jun, like many other notorious Red Chinese agents bearing campaign gifts, were welcome guests at the Clinton-Gore White House.
"Li Ka-shing's Hutchison-Whampoa is a partner with the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), the merchant marine arm of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Hutchison-Whampoa also controls countless ports around the world. Because of its relationship to the PRC and the potential impact this implies for our global maritime interests, this should be of major concern to the United States. ...
"My specific concern is that Beijing, operating through this company, has virtually achieved, without a single shot being fired, not just a beachhead but a stronghold at the Panama Canal, something which took our country so many years and such tremendous effort to accomplish."
WILL PANAMA PROSECUTE THOSE WHO TOOK BRIBES FROM RED CHINA?
"How has this come about? At the same time that China's Communist leaders were buying their way into the Clinton White House, they were also directing large sums of cash into Panama's political process. Panama is a small and relatively poor country, and China, a major power with $45 billion in cash reserves, has had a fairly easy time getting its way with bribery."
WILL EX-PRESIDENT CLINTON BE PROSECUTED IN AMERICA?
"As Congressman Leopoldo Bennedetti, a member of Panama's Legislative Assembly, put it in an interview with El Siglo, 'Buckets loads of money from Asian contractors are pouring in.' President Ernesto Balladares and members of his administration and the legislature have been very cozy with Hutchison-Whampoa and the PRC, as well as with Fidel Castro and the drug lords of Colombia. They rigged the bidding process to guarantee that Hutchison would get the bid. Hutchison's $22 million per year bid was only the winning bid after five repeat bids and after the government of Panama strong-armed some competing bidders to drop out of the contest. And, to this day, no one knows how much additional money changed hands 'under the table.'"
"How can this have all happened right under the nose of the United States? Perhaps Senators on the Armed Services Committee may want to ask another witness you are hearing from in today's hearings, the Panamanian administrator of the Panama Canal Commission, Alberto Aleman Zubieta.
"Let me tell you something about Mr. Zubieta, which may not appear in his official biography. He is also the owner of a private company, CUSA, which has been awarded multi-million dollar contracts to tear down facilities at the strategic Amador military base. Is the fox guarding the henhouse? ...
"Then there is Balladares' Foreign Minister, Jorge Ritter, who has purposely torpedoed base talks in Panama, even though polls have shown that 80 percent of Panamanians want the US to stay. Previously, Ritter served as Panama's ambassador to Colombia during the time that dictator Manuel Noriega was servicing Colombia's drug cartels. In truth, Ritter was Noriega's 'point man' to the cartels and has been noted in the press for his many connections to the most notorious and violent of the drug capos."
CASTRO REJOICES IN THE STUPIDITY AND AVARICE OF OUR BIPARTISAN LEADERSHIP
"On January 28th of this year, Fidel Castro's Radio Havana reported, 'Cuba and Panama signed at the Panamanian capital an agreement for the promotion and protection of investments in the two countries, as well as a basic cooperation agreement between the two governments. The documents were signed by Cuban Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation Minister Ibrahim Ferradaz and Panamanian Foreign Minister Jorge Eduardo Ritter. Following the signing of the two documents, Ibrahim Ferradaz emphasized the importance of this event, 'which strengthens Cuban-Panamanian ties....' Yes, this is the same Jorge Ritter."
Excerpts from Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin of February 15, 2000
AMERICAN INVESTORS ARE SOUGHT TO PREVENT RUSSIANS AND RED CHINESE FROM BUYING FORMER U.S. MILITARY BASES IN PANAMA
I returned from four days in Panama on February 9. The purpose of my visit (in collaboration with Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch and several colleagues) was to lay the groundwork for cancellation of the Hutchison Whampoa contract awarding control of Balboa and Cristobal (the ports at the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the Canal) to a company closely linked with the Chinese Communist government.
We also have been working to build support for the reintroduction of a U.S. military presence in Panama, and for the purchase by Americans of former U.S. military facilities which might otherwise fall into hostile hands.
PANAMA MAY SHIFT RECOGNITION FROM TAIPEI TO BEIJING
While in Panama, we encountered considerable evidence of efforts by the Red Chinese to supplant Taiwan in terms of official diplomatic recognition by the Taiwan government.
CORRUPTION AND U.S. WITHDRAWAL HURTS PANAMANIAN ECONOMY
Panama is suffering an economic downturn which, to a very great degree, is attributable to the withdrawal of U.S. military forces (not simply because of the contribution of our forces to the local economy -- in the late 1980's we had as many as 30,000 troops in Panama -- but also because investors lack confidence in the safety of their investments given the absence of U.S. protection.)
The other major deterrent to U.S. investment in Panama is the assumption that the kind of corruption involved in the award of the Hutchison Whampoa contract will threaten future investments and bids concerning Panama.
THE PANAMA CANAL IS AMERICA'S SOUTHERN BORDER
Francis P. Sempa (Strategic Review, Winter 2000, p. 72) quotes James Burnham who wrote Taiwan is "'a key link in our western frontier, which runs from the Aleutians down the Japanese Islands, the Ryukyus [Okinawa] and Formosa [as Taiwan was then called] to the Philippines.' Taiwan's abandonment, wrote Burnham, 'would be a staggering disaster for the U.S.' ...
"Burnham once explained: 'A great power cannot merely withdraw from a field in which its force has been operating, and leave that field otherwise unchanged, under the play of local influences. The withdrawal of one great power -- imperial power, to be more explicit -- is inevitably correlated with the advance of a rival power.'"
U.S. GLOBAL DEFENSE STRATEGY REQUIRES CONTROL OF THE PANAMANIAN ISTHMUS
In a statement before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Financial Services on December 8, 1999, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer (former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs) reminded members of the committee that he had previously warned against adoption of the Carter-Torrijos treaties re Panama:
"The defense and use of the Panama Canal is wrapped [inextricably] with the overall global strategy and prosperity of the United States and the security of the free world. If the United States opts to turn over the full responsibility for the maintenance and operation of such an important waterway to a small, resource-poor, and unstable country as Panama and then withdraws all US [presence], a [vacuum] will be quickly filled by proxy.... [P]ower centers have changed and Chinese Communists have ... filled this [vacuum]. The Chinese have negotiated with the previous [Balladares government] ... what has become known as Panama Law No. 5 (PL 5)."
LAW NUMBER 5 VIOLATES THE CARTER-TORRIJOS TREATIES
"This Law was enacted on January 16, 1997 by the Legislative Assembly and it gives very extensive 'rights' to Communist controlled [Hutchison] Whampoa Ltd. based in HONG KONG.... This Company has close ties to Mr. Li, a multi-billionaire, with close ties to the Chinese Communist Army. I call attention of the Committee to the fact that the rights granted the Chinese grossly violate the United States rights under the Panama Neutrality Treaty. PL 5 unethically shut out US bids and gave Panama extensive financial benefits. ..."
PANAMA HAS NO RIGHT TO TRANSFER U.S. DEFENSE SITES CCC
"A. Article 2.1 and [2.12a] of PL 5 authorize [Hutchison] to occupy defense sites Rodman Naval Station and Albrook Air Force Station in violation of Article V of the Carter Treaty which authorizes Panama only in defense sites. As a result [Communist] China could launch missiles, and operate aircraft and naval forces only 900 miles from [Miami].
"B. Articles 2.1 and 2.1d of PL 5 grants 'Priority operations' to [Hutchison] at the Canal entry ports of Balboa and Cristobal and conflict with Art. VI of the Carter Treaty which guarantees 'head of the line' and expeditious passage for US ships. The Chinese Communists are in a position to block US passage.
"C. Articles 2.10c and 2.12i authorize [Hutchison] to operate its own pilotage service, creating conflict and difficulties for the United States, particularly in emergencies.
"D. Article [2.10e] authorizes [Hutchison] control of Diablo Road and Gaiallard Avenue to strategic areas of the Canal -- potentially dangerous in a combat situation."
...EVEN LESS DOES HUTCHISON WHAMPOA HAVE THE RIGHT TO TRANSFER THEM
"E. Article 2.8 of PL5 authorizes [Hutchison] to transfer its 50 yr lease to a third party: for example, Cuba, the UN, Iraq, North Korea, or the Peoples Republic of China."
CLINTON'S $1.3 BILLION COLOMBIA AID PACKAGE IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL, DANGEROUS ALTERNATIVE TO PUTTING U.S. TROOPS BACK IN PANAMA
The New York Times (2/6/00, p. 1) reports "The Clinton administration's $1.3 billion plan to help Colombia fight drug trafficking and leftist insurgents is facing skepticism from military and law-enforcement officials concerned that the United States could be dragged into a long and costly struggle that may ultimately have little impact on the drug trade."
CONGRESS SHOULD REJECT CLINTON'S "NO-WIN" WAR
"The aid plan, which is to be presented in detail to Congress on Monday, is intended to reduce the booming production of cocaine and heroin in Colombia, strengthen the government and help it take control of a large part of its southern territory now dominated by the rebels.
"Privately, though, some senior defense officials are decidedly unenthusiastic about the American military's growing role in the antidrug effort and are worried that it may be dragged deeper into the civil war that has ravaged Colombia for almost 40 years.
"Many drug-enforcement and Coast Guard officials are similarly concerned, officials said. While the aid package may help Colombia's army fight the guerrillas, they said, it does not reflect a coherent strategy to fight illegal drugs. ..."
GOP CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP BACKS CLINTON'S PROPOSED INTERVENTION
"The White House drug policy chief, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, dismissed skeptics of the plan....referring to the administration's request for $955 million on top of the $330 million budgeted for Colombia aid this year. ...
"Republicans in Congress have been an important part of the impetus for greater American assistance, warning that the Clinton White House risked 'losing' Colombia to rebel groups that have been battling the military with increasing success. ..."
AMERICA HAS NEVER WON A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT WITH COMMUNISTS
"Still, the package is only a first step in what many United States officials acknowledge will probably be a huge effort, lasting for years, to strengthen Colombian institutions and help the government reach a peace with three leftist guerrilla groups and various right-wing paramilitary forces that operate in different parts of the country. ...
"At the same time, though, United States officials are clearly softening their positions that American aid will not be used for counterinsurgency. ..."
U.S. SOLDIERS WILL BE IN HARM'S WAY
"Gen. Fred F. Woerner, a former commander of United States military forces in Latin America, said the statement represented a significant clarification of the administration's goal. 'How do you push into an area dominated by these guys without having anything to do with them?' he asked, referring to the rebels. 'Anyone who believes that these counternarcotics battalions will not be involved in counterinsurgency is naïve.' ..."
AMERICA'S DEFENSES ARE ALREADY STRETCHED TOO THIN
"American military officials agree that the Colombian military should be strengthened. But many of them are reluctant for the United States to get more involved in that process -- both because more trainers would represent a bigger American target for the rebels and because of the stress that their deployment would put on Pentagon resources."
WE SHOULD DEFEND AMERICA, NOT FIGHT A CIVIL WAR IN COLOMBIA
"Many Defense Department officials fear being drawn more deeply into Colombia's civil war. ... In the first major draft of the administration's aid plan, put forward last fall, officials proposed nearly three years of intensive United States training to create six new special Colombian Army battalions to operate against drug traffickers and insurgents who support them.
"After objections by senior American military officials, the proposal was scaled back to the creation of two new battalions over about eight months, administration officials said. ...
"Some Pentagon officials said they were also concerned about the single biggest piece of the aid package: 30 sophisticated UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters being provided to the Colombian military at a cost of more than $400 million. The aircraft, which will remain State Department property, are not only very expensive but will also require extensive pilot training and cost tens of millions of dollars to operate each year, officials said. ...
"Drug enforcement officials argue essentially that the push into southern Colombia -- intended to destroy coca-processing laboratories and secure growing areas from guerrillas -- is important, but not that important. Under the administration's plan, that campaign is to cost about $600 million, or nearly half the $1.28 billion to be spent on the package."
COLOMBIA HAS BEEN AT WAR FOR 40 YEARS --BUT IT SHOULD NOT BECOME AMERICA'S WAR
Gabriel Marcella and Donald Schulz provide important facts for Americans interested in influencing U.S. policy toward Colombia in "Colombia's Three Wars: U.S. Strategy at the Crossroads" (Strategic Review, Winter 2000, p. 3), "Every day, about 10 Colombians are killed in politically related strife, while 85% of the 30,000 annual homicides are caused by pervasive criminal violence...More than 1.5 million people, over 4% of the population, equivalent to 12 million Americans, have been displaced by war. To some, the country appears beyond redemption. ...
"Colombia is a large country, three times the size of Montana and slightly smaller than France, Germany, and Italy combined. It fronts both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. Seventy-five percent of its 40 million people live in urban areas. ...
"Today Colombia is being torn apart by three simultaneous wars: the violence and corruption generated by drug traffickers, insurgents, and paramilitary self-defense organizations (which in 1997 accounted for 70% of all political killings). Over 35,000 people have been killed in these conflicts during the last decade. The rate of killing in Colombia far exceeds the amount of ethnic cleansing that went on after the breakup of Yugoslavia. Both the paramilitaries and the guerrillas take over areas and displace thousands of people. The nation's capacity to deal with this turmoil has been sharply declining, due to the weakening of most state institutions and the fragmentation of the social fabric. ..."
COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT HAS SURRENDERED 16,000 SQUARE MILES
"President Pastrana quickly opted to open a peace process with the guerrillas, which commenced in January 1999. His top priority is to end the 40 year guerrilla war. Proclaiming that 'For peace I risk everything,' he agreed to the demand of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombianas (FARC) to withdraw all government troops from an area of 16,000 square miles (the size of Switzerland and containing 96,000 people) controlled by the insurgents. The other insurgent group, the Ejercito de Liberación Nacional (ELN), would make a similar demand in February 1999. ..."
ISRAEL, EGYPT, AND COLOMBIA ARE BIGGEST RECIPIENTS OF U.S. AID
"In November 1998, the U.S. Congress voted $173 million in counternarcotics assistance which, added to $124 million appropriated earlier, make Colombia the third largest recipient of U.S. aid in the world. The following month, Secretary of Defense William Cohen and his counterpart Minister of Defense Rodrigo Lloredo signed an agreement in Cartagena for closer cooperation and U.S. military assistance to help the police and special army units in the effort to eradicate illicit crops and deter the drug traffickers. In a significant development, Colombia will form an air mobile army battalion to assist in the counternarcotics effort. ..."
IF U.S. EXPANDS ITS PRESENCE, WAR MORE LIKELY TO SPREAD THROUGHOUT SOUTH AMERICA
"The very weakness of Colombia as a nation state threatens international order in the region and the well-being of any number of countries. Its turmoil spills over into Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico. The threat takes different forms in different countries: extra-judicial killings, paramilitary activity, displaced people fleeing violence, drug trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping, illegal arms trafficking, corruption of government officials, policemen, military, the news media, judges and officers of the court, illegal immigration, ecological damage (from precursor chemicals and defoliants, oil spills from sabotaged pipelines, and the cutting of the tropical forest), and economic distortions caused by quick and unaccounted movements of capital. ..."
400 "FORTUNE 500" COMPANIES WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO DEFEND THEIR INVESTMENT
"In 1997 Colombia accounted for $11.6 billion in two-way trade with the United States. The United States provided 47% of the country's imports and is the top investor, accounting for 44% of foreign direct investment. Colombia is the fifth largest market for U.S. goods in Latin America, with 400 of the Fortune 500 companies doing business there. ... It is already the fifth largest supplier of foreign oil. ..."
COLOMBIA IS THE WORLD CAPITAL OF COCAINE
"Seventy percent of the cocaine entering the United States originates from Colombia, amounting to 300 metric tons with a street value of $30 billion. In addition, 50 to 75% of the heroin seized on the East Coast is Colombian. The magnitude of the problem is such that drug consumption caused 100,000 deaths in the last decade. There are 13.9 million drug users and 3.6 million addicts in the United States. The total societal cost is estimated at $300 billion annually from lost productivity, crime, policing, incarceration, rehabilitation, insurance, and hospital care. ... A large portion of the U.S. prison population is accounted for by drug-related crimes. According to the Department of Justice, seven out of ten people in jail have been drug users.
"Colombia produces 80% of the world's cocaine and now grows more coca than any other country, having overtaken Peru and Bolivia. Cocaine production appears to be consolidating in Colombia, since production in Peru is down 56% since 1995 and in Bolivia 17% since 1997. ...[M]ost of the increase in cultivation in 1998 occurred in areas controlled by guerrillas. Such evidence confirms the existence of the narco-guerrilla as well as the narco-paramilitary nexus. As will be seen later, narcotics now provide the major source of income for guerrilla military operations. (Incidentally, Colombia now grows the high-yield Peruvian coca variety.) The narcos create another distortion also. According to Gustavo Gallón, Director of the Colombian Commission of Jurists, an estimated 40% of the land within the agricultural frontier of the country is in the hands of traffickers converted into landowners. ...
"From 1985 to 1990, according to former Foreign Minister and presidential candidate Noemí Sanín, Colombia 'experienced five years of systematic elimination of leaders, members and movements of these trends.' ... In the 1990 presidential campaign, the three candidates not representing the bipartisan system were assassinated. Numerous leaders at the national or local level are forced to leave the country because of death threats to themselves or their families. ...
"In addition, Colombia is one of the most violent countries in the world. It is the leader in kidnappings, registering 1,678 in 1998. ... The anti-kidnapping police and military rescued 451 victims in 1998, preventing total ransom payments of $52.2 million. ...
"For the period 1995-1997, the Colombian Commission of Jurists and human rights groups indicated that security forces, paramilitary groups, and the guerrillas were involved in political killings (in addition to forced disappearances, and social cleansing against drug addicts, prostitutes, beggars, transvestites, and street children...."
HOW MANY U.S. TROOPS WOULD BE NEEDED TO DEFEAT THE GUERRILLAS?
"The guerrillas number about 20,000 and comprise the FARC, the ELN (National Liberation Army, reputed to have 5,000 fighters), and the much smaller EPL (Popular Liberation Army). They operate in more than 100 separate 'fronts' (upwards of 67 for the FARC and 35 or so for the ELN) and exercise significant influence over 57% of the nation's 1,071 municipalities. On the eve of the 1997 election, they targeted political office holders, candidates, and election workers as valid military targets. ..."
THE ANSWER IS U.S. BASES IN PANAMA ...
"Founded in the mid 1960s, the Marxist-Leninist FARC and ELN expanded significantly in the 1980s. The most important reason for the FARC's growth was the development of a stable and lucrative source of financing its activities -- the drug trade -- by extracting protection money from coca growers and the operators of clandestine landing fields and laboratories, along with kidnapping. The ELN received new life by extorting money from oil companies operating the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline connecting Arauca province to the Caribbean. From 1986 to 1997 there were nearly 79 million barrels of crude oil spilled in pipeline attacks. Damage and lost revenue were estimated at $1.5 billion...."
... NOT U.S. TROOPS IN COLOMBIA
"Colombia's agony deeply affects other societies, most notably Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Mexico, and the Caribbean. ...
"Panama's remote and jungle-covered Darién province is a case where the government exercises laissez faire authority, according to Bertha Ramona Thayer. ... FARC guerrillas and paramilitaries regularly cross over from the Chocó-Urabá region, conduct kidnappings, deal in contraband, and acquire arms and provisions to return to Colombia. It is doubtful that Panama can restore control over its eastern province. Drug money from Colombia deeply affects Panamanian life, from money laundering to prostitution, large purchases of goods in the Colon Free Zone, illicit contributions to political campaigns, and small-time drug trafficking and associated crime."
Excerpts from Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin of January 15, 2000
U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND SHORTCHANGED U.S. TAXPAYERS WITH PANAMANIAN FIRE SALE OF EXPENSIVE MILITARY EQUIPMENT
Tod Robberson reports from Panama City for The Dallas Morning News (1/4/00) that "The U.S. Southern Command may be gone, but you don't have to go farther than Bush's used-car lot to see that America's military presence will be felt long after last Friday's official hand-over of the Panama Canal.
"The Panama City car lot offers an impressive array of U.S. military machinery for sale, complete with serial numbers, decals, license plates and tags declaring, 'U.S. Property. For Official Use Only.'"
IS IT CORRUPTION OR INCOMPETENCE BY A CLINTONIZED MILITARY?
"There is a U.S. Army Caterpillar Series 700 road grader, with only 604 hours of use, on sale for $40,000. Nearby, two shiny, low-mileage U.S. Air Force passenger vans are available for less than $7,000. Also for sale are forklifts, step vans and other service vehicles that scooted across the runways at Howard Air Force Base before the facility was handed over to Panama on Nov. 1.
"Each of those items was supposed to have been donated by the U.S. Southern Command to international nonprofit organizations for use in regional humanitarian relief efforts, say administrators of the military donation program. Instead, the equipment and other items worth millions of dollars may have wound up in the hands of individuals across Central America and the Caribbean -- possibly including Cuba."
THEY HAD 20 YEARS TO PLAN -- WHY WAS $200 MILLION SQUANDERED?
"In the Southern Command's scramble to meet a mid-December deadline to be out of Panama, military officials say, equipment and supplies worth up to $200 million were given away, abandoned or sold for a fraction of their value.
"Many brand-new items, including precision jet-aircraft tool sets, jungle counternarcotics equipment and fax machines, were handed over for free to small regional charity organizations. The Southern Command placed no restrictions on how the charities could dispense with the items, and many apparently have found their way onto the commercial market."
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY
"A team of U.S. military and civilian criminal investigators has launched an investigation to find out how the items were disbursed and who might have profited from their sale. A military source close to the inquiry said the investigation could last two to three years.
"Meanwhile, a federal grand jury convened in Atlanta last month to decide whether indictments should be issued against several military and civilian suspects in the investigation.
"Spokesman Raul Duany said the Southern Command could not comment as long as the investigation is in progress."
CLASSIFIED RADAR SYSTEMS AND LANDING CRAFT TURNED OVER
"Tens of thousands of donated or abandoned items are under investigation, including expensive printing equipment, classified radar systems, military night-vision equipment, tractor-trailers and naval landing craft."
U.S. MILITARY EQUIPMENT TRANSFERRED TO NON-PROFIT ACTIVISTS
"Eight investigators from the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division spent much of November and December sifting through warehouses and offices in Panama to find out where the equipment went. They even raided three Panama offices of a major U.S. defense contractor, Virginia-based DynCorp Inc., to seize computers and thousands of documents related to the giveaway program.
"A DynCorp spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified, said that the company is cooperating with investigators and that DynCorp does not appear to be a target of the inquiry. DynCorp is under contract with the Southern Command to administer the transfer of surplus items to nonprofit groups. The U.S. Agency for International Development also has auctioned off a small number of military cars and trucks not included in the donation program."
CUBA MAY HAVE RECEIVED EXPENSIVE U.S. EQUIPMENT
"Investigators also are looking into reports by diplomats that some heavy U.S. Army machinery from the Panama bases, including front-loading tractors and other earth-moving equipment, has wound up in Cuba. Military sources said the equipment's serial numbers have been traced and confirmed in Havana, although it is not clear how the items got there.
"Jorge Bush, owner of the used-car lot where some military equipment is being sold, insisted that he purchased the items legally through individuals in Panama who said they bought them from the U.S. government. He said anyone who received charity items and resold them for profit 'should be hanged.'"
NON-PROFITS PROFITED FROM BAD JUDGEMENT BY DOD
"At least six regional nonprofit groups have been ordered by the Southern Command to provide an accounting of items that they received from the U.S. military in Panama along with documentation on the equipment's whereabouts, said officials of those organizations.
"The Southern Command decided to abandon or give away much of its equipment and supplies after negotiations broke down in 1998 over a continued U.S. military presence in Panama.
"In February, when it became apparent that the military might not be able to clear out its five remaining bases by the end of the year, the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Support Command authorized the Southern Command to streamline procedures for dismantling the bases."
GIVEAWAY OF U.S. GOVERNMENT PROPERTY WAS AUTHORIZED
"U.S. officials said the new procedures allowed the military to give away any items valued at less than $1,000. Items valued at more than $1,000 could be given away with oral authorization from a supervisor known as a 'property book officer.' But because of the huge backlog, in many cases, enlisted personnel were put in charge of valuing items and clearing them out quickly.
"As a result, a $230,000 Xerox copy machine, less than 5 years old, was valued at $999, said Carlos Cardenas, an Army reserve captain who helps administer the DynCorp operation in Panama."
THE GREAT SOCIETY LIVES
"'Just imagine a town the size of 30,000 people, and everything that goes to support that town. That's how much stuff we were giving away,' Mr. Cardenas said. 'They were putting values of $999 on everything just so they could hurry up and wash it through the system. This is the first time in my military career that I've ever seen anything like this.'
"Terry Stillman, a retired Army logistics officer who worked with DynCorp until early December, said he gave to one nonprofit group, at the Air Force's request, $250,000 worth of unused fiber-optic cable. He also gave away a late-model, bulletproof Jeep Cherokee as well as 42 new tool sets, each valued at $15,000, that were the type used by ground crews at Howard to maintain jet aircraft based there. ..."
"WAR ON DRUGS" BECAME A RAID ON YOUR WALLET
"While Howard was being dismantled, the Air Force was in such dire need of forklifts and cranes that it had to rent them locally to move equipment. At the same time, Mr. Stillman said, the Army had up to 63 forklifts that it was preparing to give away at its Corozal installation, just a few miles from Howard.
"At two nonmilitary warehouses near Panama City's Tocumen airport, the U.S. Marines abandoned large quantities of equipment similar to that used in counternarcotics operations in nearby Colombia. The equipment included rubber boats, outboard motors, 22-ton trucks, computers and night-vision equipment, Mr. Stillman said.
"A few days before the military vacated Howard, an Air Force colonel was conducting a routine inspection when he found a door ajar to a group of offices inside a facility known as Building 706.
"The air base was to have been cleared out and sealed, but inside Building 706, Mr. Stillman said, the colonel found highly classified radar equipment, consoles, computers and manuals used to track narcotics flights out of Colombia. The abandoned items were quickly crated and shipped out before the base was handed over. 'You would spend a lot of days looking at all this stuff and getting very, very upset,' Mr. Stillman said. 'They just wanted to get the hell out of Dodge in a hurry.'"
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT ACKNOWLEDGES RED CHINESE THREAT AT PANAMANIAN ISTHMUS
Bill Gertz reports (Washington Times, 1/12/2000, pp. A1, 16) that "A Pentagon intelligence report calls Chinese influence over the Panama Canal a potential threat to U.S. national security. ..."
U.S. TECHNOLOGY CAN BE SMUGGLED TO RED CHINA IN SEALED CONTAINERS
"'Hutchison [Whampoa Ltd.'s] containerized shipping facilities in the Panama Canal, as well as the Bahamas, could provide a conduit for illegal shipments of technology or prohibited items from the West to the PRC, or facilitate the movement of arms and other prohibited items into the Americas,' according to a declassified report by the U.S. Southern Command's Joint Intelligence Center. ..."
... AND COMMUNIST WEAPONS CAN BE SMUGGLED IN
"However, the Pentagon intelligence report states that the economic power conferred through the Hutchison Whampoa ports at either end of the Panama Canal and in the Bahamas would give China leverage over Panama, which has diplomatic relations with rival Taiwan.
"'For example, Hutchison Whampoa could threaten to shift some business from Panama to its Free Trade Zone in the Bahamas, thus giving the company additional leverage over the Panamanian government,' the report said. ..."
... JUDICIAL WATCH FORCES RELEASE OF INFO
"The Washington public interest group Judicial Watch made the report public after it was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. ..."
U.S. PACIFIC OPERATIONS ENDANGERED BY LOSS OF CANAL
"Long-term military operations to resupply U.S. forces in the Pacific in such a conflict make the access to the canal 'crucial' to military planning, one Pentagon official said."
CHICOMS ARE PLANNING FOR WAR WITH USA
"Last week, Hong Kong's Cheng Ming newspaper quoted Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian as saying war with the United States is inevitable.
"'Seen from the changes in the world situation and the United States' hegemonic strategy for creating monopolarity, war is inevitable,' Mr. Chi told a military conference in early December.
"'We cannot avoid it,' he was quoted in the newspaper as saying. 'The issue is that the Chinese armed forces must control the initiative in this war....We must be prepared to fight for one year, two years, three years or even longer.' ..."
HUTCHISON WHAMPOA STRENGTHENS RED CHINESE PRESENCE IN WESTERN HEMISPHERE
"Hutchison's owner, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing, 'has extensive business ties in Beijing and has compelling financial reasons to maintain a good relationship with China's leadership,' the report said. ...
"Marine Corps Gen. Charles E. Wilhelm, the commander in chief of the U.S. Southern Command...told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing he believes China does use businesses for military purposes. ...
"Gen. Wilhelm...stated that China's goals in Panama are 'less a local threat to the canal and more a regional threat posed by expanding Chinese influence throughout Latin America.'
"Other experts see increased Chinese commercial activities in this hemisphere as providing Beijing with a potential base for anti-U.S. subversion during a future conflict with the United States."
WILL A "NEW WORLD ARMY" REPLACE THE USA IN PANAMA?
According to Notimex (12/24/99), "Colombian congressmen proposed a multinational force to keep watch over the Panama Canal and to prevent the United States from justifying possible armed action in Colombia on the pretext that guerrillas pose a threat to the waterway.
"Legislators consulted by Notimex indicated that the departure of the US military from Panama should put the region on alert about a possible military occupation in this country in view of the concern in Washington about rebel activity on the border."
WILL MORE U.S. TROOPS BE SENT TO COLOMBIA?
"Miguel Ramiro Velasquez, a congressman from the ruling Conservative Party, considered the possibility of calling for an international guard to be appointed by the United Nations (UN) or the Organization of American States (OAS) to guarantee stability in the area.
"The multinational force would act as 'a support team in the event that conflicts occur,' to maintain security in the zone, Velasquez said. The member of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the lower chamber affirmed that the violent incidents recorded along the Colombian-Panamanian border have been used as an excuse by the United States to maintain a military base in the region."
COLOMBIAN GUERRILLAS PENETRATE PANAMA AT WILL
"'This continues to be a matter of concern in the hemisphere, so we believe an alternative solution should be agreed upon for the UN or the OEA to establish an operative base there (in Panama) that would monitor the canal's autonomy,' he said.
"For almost four decades, Colombia has been host to an internal armed conflict in which the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Army of National Liberation (ELN), paramilitary groups, and international drug cartels have all played leading roles.
"The Colombian rebels have crossed over the border repeatedly on tactical retreats into Panamanian territory, which has created a high degree of concern within Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso's government."
U.S. SHOULD RETURN TO PANAMA -- NOT INVADE COLOMBIA
"President Moscoso expressed 'concern' about the violent situation in Colombia and asked her Colombian colleague, Andres Pastrana, to send strengthened control along the border.
"Velasquez indicated that a public situation uncontrolled by Panamanian authorities along the border could generate problems with those monitoring guerrilla and drug-trafficking activity in the common zone. The United States has expressed concern about the possible increase in the activity of drug-traffickers and guerrilla forces in the area, which could serve as an argument for returning to the Central American country to maintain canal security.
"Amilkar Acosta, a legislator from Colombia's opposition Liberal Party, said that the closing of canal operations would contribute to the United States' extending its military bases into other regions of the continent, including Colombia.
"Acosta emphasized that US authorities would use the argument of keeping active in the fight against international drug-trafficking to justify its presence in the region.
"The liberal congressman affirmed that Washington has 'narcotized' its foreign policy, and that the focal points of conflict that have emerged along Colombia's borders with Venezuela and Panama 'have provided the United States a pretext for a possible military intervention in Colombia.'" Source: FBIS translation from Mexico City Notimex, 12/24/99
IF AMERICA LEAVES, U.N. WILL FILL THE VACUUM
As I pointed out in a recent letter to Conservative Caucus members, the real danger is that the U.S., by its abandonment of the Isthmus of Panama, will create a vacuum which will be filled by forces indifferent to, or hostile to our nation's vital interests---most probably coordinated through the United Nations and its so-called international peace forces.
Since the 1970s, when I led a 50-state tour in opposition to the Panama Canal treaties and coordinated a multi-million dollar campaign to rally public opposition to them, The Conservative Caucus has worked diligently on this issue. We now have another opportunity to turn the tide in our favor. Please help us.
|ACTION: CONTACT EVERY CANDIDATE FOR THE U.S. SENATE AND U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM YOUR STATE AND URGE THEM TO TAKE A PUBLIC STAND FOR RESTORING U.S. FORCES TO THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA.
Coordinating TCC's activities in the Panama Canal battle is Major General J. Milnor Roberts, USA-Ret., former president of the Reserve Officers Association. Gen. Roberts was among the leading retired military personnel who, in the 1970s, traveled all over America to prevent the Canal treaty surrender. He can be contacted c/o The Conservative Caucus, 450 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, Virginia 22180.
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