Lockheed, others arming China

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There they were some of America's proudest: Motorola, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, United Technologies and other manufacturing powerhouses, showing off their wares at a big trade fair. But this was no ordinary sale-a-thon of Made-in-the-USA products. It was China's International Defense Electronics Exhibition, co-sponsored by the brutally repressive Chinese Army.

Even as the Congress was in high outrage over news that the Clinton Administration had done a special favor for Loral corporation, a big Democratic contributor, by allowing it to give U.S. missile technology to the Chinese, here were other U.S. outfits openly peddling our technologies to the same dictatorship. Oh, no, exclaimed the companies when confronted by the Washington Post -- we're only selling radar equipment, satellite technology, communications electronics and other peaceful gear, not weapons.

I was born at night, but it wasn't last night; how about you? One, this sales show was titled the Defense Electronics Exhibition. Two, it was co-sponsored by the Chinese military. Three, in a pamphlet at its booth, Motorola advertised the "military use" of its "battlefield deployable" electronics. Four, why did the companies think all those uniformed officers of the Chinese Army were hanging around their booths?

The lesson here is that Loral's deliverance of militarily useful technology to a potential combatant was no aberration. Corporations are flagrantly violating our laws against such technology transfers. They get away with it because they are big campaign contributors to both parties -- Motorola gave $142,000 in the last election; United Technologies $290,000; Raytheon $365,000; and Lockheed Martin $1.3 million.

It's the corporatization of American foreign policy, despite what the law says.

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