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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Congratulations on Your Acquisition, Pentagon! Who Delivered the Air Defense System from the CIS to the United States, and Why

Moscow TRUD
29 Dec 94 p 4


Washington -- Most likely this was not an accidental but a planned "leak" of information which the military authorities classified as "secret." Otherwise it is not clear how certain journalists learned of the flight of a Soviet-built An-124 transport plane to Huntsville International Airport in Alabama. It landed Monday 19 December, and by 22 December the newspapers were already publishing the first reports about the secret flight. The impression was given that it was only under pressure from journalists that the Pentagon decided to lift the veil of secrecy a little and reveal one or two details of this matter.

Let me say straightaway why the suspicion arises that the reports on the An-124 were instigated -- whether by agreement with the military or engineered by them is not important. The news that an air defense system which Russia exhibited at international arms fairs and which it intended to sell to a number of countries finds itself in the hands of U.S. military specialists at once puts these deals in doubt. In a commentary the AP agency, referring to an expert in these problems, says directly that the acquisition of the S-300 system, which is similar to the U.S. Patriot air-to-surface [as published] system, will make it more difficult for Moscow to sell it abroad, and will inflict on Moscow losses running to billions of dollars.

But this is not the sole import of the system's acquisition by the Americans. For example, prior to 1989 the United States secretly obtained Soviet types of weapons through the brothers of the Romanian dictator Ceaucescu, who occupied important posts. A variety of Soviet army and air force equipment was purchased from socialist Poland. Czechoslovakia and the GDR made their "contribution" in the form of the latest tanks. The press here openly acknowledged that such contraband operations helped U.S. designers to perfect such technical innovations as, for example, the F-117A "stealth" aircraft, which cannot be detected by radar.

Where the latest gift to the Pentagon was flown in from is not yet known. As for the story that it was dispatched from the air force base at Machulishchi near Minsk, the Defense Department's duty officers refuse to make any comment whatever about Moscow's accusations against Belorussia [Belarus], and other Pentagon officials are on their Christmas vacations -- at least this is the explanation given. But it has been fairly reliably established that, first, this is not the first delivery involving S-300's: The arsenal in Huntsville for which it was intended has already received something similar. Second, everything that has been delivered, including the flatbed carrier with its computers, radar, and missiles, will be utilized to improve U.S. missile systems of the same type -- Raytheon's Patriot and Lockheed's THAAD.

It is also known that the middleman between the intelligence services and the salesmen in the CIS in the case in question was the Washington-based firm BDM International, which will receive 10 percent of the $50 million paid. There are a large number of such organizations, which compete for orders for private arms deals, in the United States, but people in the know claim that BDM International has an undoubted advantage over the others: It is headed by Frank Carlucci, a former defense secretary, who knows all the ins and outs of the Pentagon, and even of its environs. True, he himself is currently recovering from a heart operation somewhere in the Caribbean, but this is not important: The current flight of the An-124 is the culminating phase of a long-standing and, as they say, indefinite contract with military intelligence.

In conclusion, let me quote the remarks of a certain gentleman whom, citing him, THE WASHINGTON POST calls "a former official who now specializes in purchasing Russian military secrets for the U.S. special services." This is what he says: "Yes, we steal from these countries, take their national assets and pass them on to our intelligence community. Those who sell them to us in Russia can be considered traitors to their country. All the arms dealers know perfectly well where they are sent." It is hard not to agree with this, but there is a gnawing worm of doubt: Somehow the An-124 flew in very "opportunely," and commentators are somewhat laboring their emphasis on Moscow's "generals' mafia." Coincidences, or was the whole scheme hatched in order to pour oil on the flame of passions licking around Russia's military-industrial complex?



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