Chinagate All over Again: The Disastrous Transfers of Military Technology to Communist China Continue Apace, Much as They Did under Clinton. (Cover Story: Business)

Article excerpt

One of the flagrant offenses of the Clinton administration's treasonous rampage known as "Chinagate" involved the sale of McDonnell-Douglas Plant 85 in Columbus, Ohio, to Communist China. In addition to the 1,000 American workers who lost their jobs at the plant, the U.S. suffered a major blow to national security and military capability. In late 1994, Chinese workers dismantled the entire plant's production machinery and hauled it away in an enormous convoy of over 275 semi trucks. The hi-tech booty was trucked to Long Beach, California, loaded on China's COSCO ships, and taken to China.

Later, this incident became a major cause celebre for Republican critics of the Clinton administration's many Chinagate scandals that involved transferring critical military technology to Beijing--in exchange for massive, illegal campaign contributions. Clinton critics pointed out that China had been keenly interested in obtaining the plant because of its very sophisticated computer-controlled, five-axis profiling machines, which would allow China to greatly enhance their ability to produce ultra-modern warplanes and missiles. Pentagon security analysts had attempted to block the sale due to these considerations. But the Clinton White House and Commerce Department overrode these objections, claiming the machinery was being sold to China for non-military purposes. Soon it was discovered (surprise, surprise!) that some of the McDonnell-Douglas machines had been diverted to a People's Liberation Army (PLA) company--Nanchang Aircraft Co.--to manufacture Silkworm cruise missiles.

Similar Chinagate scandals erupted, revealing transfers of restricted military-use technologies to China by Clinton corporate cronies, such as Loral, Hughes Electronics Corp., and Boeing Satellite Systems. Another heated battle arose over Clinton's efforts to lease important piers at the Port of Long Beach (California), including the former Long Beach Naval Station, to the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), a branch of the PLA and a critical component of Red China's global military plans.

Where are the Chinagate critics now? Many of the Republican members of Congress who screamed so loudly about selling out U.S. technology to dangerous enemies in Beijing seem to be suffering from laryngitis. Why? The flow of critical technology they decried during Clinton's tenure may actually be accelerating under President Bush.

Bush's Chinagate Replay

Consider the recent sale to Communist China of a key General Motors Corp. (GM) defense plant in Valparaiso, Indiana. "An important U.S. high-tech manufacturer is shutting down its American operations, laying off hundreds of workers and moving sophisticated equipment now being used to make critical parts for smart bombs to the People's Republic of China (PRC)," wrote Scott L. Wheeler of Insight magazine, in a January 31st article that broke the story.

The plant in question is a factory owned by GM subsidiary Magnequench Inc., which uses rare-earth elements to produce powerful hi-tech magnets with important military applications. Insight reports that the company plans to shut down the factory "this year and relocate at least some of its high-tech machine tools to Tianjin, China. Word of the shutdown comes as the company is producing critical parts for the U.S. Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) project, more widely known as smart bombs."

Insight interviewed Dr. Peter Leitner, a senior strategic-trade adviser to the Department of Defense, concerning the implications of this pending transfer. As a key figure at the Pentagon's Defense Technology Security Administration, Dr. Leitner played an important role in exposing the Clinton Chinagate scandals. In the Insight interview, he noted that rare-earth magnets "lie at the heart of many of our most advanced weapons systems, particularly rockets, missiles and precision-guided weapons such as smart bombs and cruise missiles. …