Archive for the ‘submarines’ Category

Cocaine Smuggling Submarines: Druggies Getting Trickier

November 7, 2008

Authorities discovered a submarine-like vessel Friday still under construction by drug traffickers who planned to use it to smuggle cocaine, the head of Colombia’s secret police said.

Eduardo Fernandez said the fiberglass submarine was nearly complete when police found it near the Pacific Ocean, in Tumaco, 370 miles southwest of Bogota.

Associated Press

“The ingenuity of drug traffickers is amazing,” Fernandez told The Associated Press.

He said the vessel would have been used to carry cocaine to speed boats offshore, which would then take the drugs to Central America or Mexico, for eventual delivery to the United States.

The discovery came after authorities were tipped off to pieces of fiberglass and other construction material being transported to where the submarine was being built.

Officials stand next to an submersible craft with 1.6 tons of ... 
Officials stand next to an submersible craft with 1.6 tons of cocaine in Cabo Manglares, near the Ecuadorean border with Colombia November 4, 2008.REUTERS/John Vizcaino (COLOMBIA)

Fernandez didn’t provide details of its size. But Colombian authorities have caught drug traffickers using subs on a few occasions. They have been small, fiberglass vessels that travel just below the surface. But in 2000, police on a raid of a warehouse near Bogota were stunned to find a 100-foot-long steel submarine being built to transport up to 150 tons of cocaine.

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Russia Testing Strategic Bombers, Subs, Missiles and Cruise Missiles

October 12, 2008
From Xinhua and the People’s Daily

Russia’s Tu-95MS strategic bombers launched cruise missiles Saturday following an earlier report that it test-launched a long-distance ballistic missile in the same day, the Interfax news agency reported.

“The Tu-95MS aircraft of Russia’s Long Range Aviation took off from tactical airfields and successfully launched training cruise missiles in the Arctic region of the country,” Col. Lieut. Vladimir Drik, aide to the Russian Air Forces commander said.

The missiles accurately hit training targets at the firing range, he said.

The launch was made as part of Stability-2008 exercises conducted with Belarus from Sept. 22 to Oct. 21.

It was reported earlier that Russia test-launched a long-distance ballistic missile Saturday as part of its Northern Fleet’s military exercises. It was the first time that a submarine launched the Sineva ballistic missile to its maximum range.
Tu-95 Bear J.jpg

Could Israel use submarines against Iran?

April 17, 2008

By Dan Williams

HAIFA, Israel (Reuters) – Anticipating a showdown with Iran, Israel decides secretly to deploy a submarine off its arch-foe’s coast.

But how? The quickest route from Israel’s Mediterranean coast is via the Suez Canal, which runs through Egypt and which the classified vessels shun. So the submarine is hidden in the belly of a commercial tanker, which delivers it to the Gulf.

An Israeli naval submarine docks at Haifa port in this July ...
An Israeli naval submarine docks at Haifa port.(Havakuk Levison/Reuters)
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Such is the plot of an Israeli thriller, “Undersea Diplomacy.” Does it hold water? Perhaps not. Then again, the author, Shlomo Erell, is no mere novelist. He’s an ex-admiral with experience in Israel’s most sensitive military planning.

“It’s pure fiction, but it’s informed fiction,” he said simply, when asked if his book reflects how the Israeli fleet of Dolphin-class submarines could be used against Iran, whose leadership has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” stoking international concern over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Israel has three Dolphins, with two more on order from Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, a German shipyard custom-building them at a steep discount as part of Berlin‘s bid to shore up a Jewish state founded in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080417/ts_nm/israel_iran_submarines_dc_4

“Sleeper Spy”: Chinese Man in U.S. Two Decades Before Activation

April 3, 2008

By Joby Warrick and Carrie Johnson 
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 3, 2008; Page A01

Prosecutors called Chi Mak the “perfect sleeper agent,” though he hardly looked the part. For two decades, the bespectacled Chinese-born engineer lived quietly with his wife in a Los Angeles suburb, buying a house and holding a steady job with a U.S. defense contractor, which rewarded him with promotions and a security clearance. Colleagues remembered him as a hard worker who often took paperwork home at night.
Chi Mak was sentenced to 241/2 years to send a message to China. 

Chi Mak was sentenced to 24 1/2 years to send a message to China. (Sketch By Bill Robles For The Associated Press)

Eventually, Mak’s job gave him access to sensitive plans for Navy ships, submarines and weapons. These he secretly copied and sent via courier to China — fulfilling a mission that U.S. officials say he had been planning since the 1970s.

Mak was sentenced last week to 24 1/2 years in prison by a federal judge who described the lengthy term as a warning to China not to “send agents here to steal America’s military secrets.” But it may already be too late: According to U.S. intelligence and Justice Department officials, the Mak case represents only a small facet of an intelligence-gathering operation that has long been in place and is growing in size and sophistication.

The Chinese government, in an enterprise that one senior official likened to an “intellectual vacuum cleaner,” has deployed a diverse network of professional spies, students, scientists and others to systematically collect U.S. know-how, the officials said. Some are trained in modern electronic techniques for snooping on wireless computer transactions. Others, such as Mak, are technical experts who have been in place for years and have blended into their communities.

“Chi Mak acknowledged that he had been placed in the United States more than 20 years earlier, in order to burrow into the defense-industrial establishment to steal secrets,” Joel Brenner, the head of counterintelligence for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in an interview. “It speaks of deep patience,” he said, and is part of a pattern.

Other recent prosecutions illustrate the scale of the problem. Mak, whose sentence capped an 18-month criminal probe, was the second U.S. citizen in the past two weeks to stand before a federal judge after being found guilty on espionage-related charges.

On Monday, former Defense Department analyst Gregg W. Bergersen pleaded guilty in Alexandria to charges that he gave classified information on U.S. weapons sales….

Read the rest:
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/02/AR2008040203952.html?hpid=topnews

America’s Naval Supremacy Slipping

March 18, 2008

During a recent trip to China with Adm. Timothy Keating, American reporters asked General Chen Bingde, chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, “Should the United States have anything to fear from China’s military buildup?”

The general responded: “That’s impossible. Isn’t it? There’s such a big gap between our military and the American military. If you say you are afraid, it means you don’t have enough courage.”
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Courage or not, China’s rapid and massive military buildup (particularly in terms of its expanding submarine force and progressive aircraft-carrier R&D program) has analysts concerned. And the U.S. Navy — the first line of defense against any Chinese expansionism in the Pacific — continues to struggle with the combined effects of Clinton-era downsizing, a post –9/11 upsurge in America’s sealift and global defense requirements, and exponentially rising costs of recapitalization and modernization of the Navy’s surface and submarine fleet, aircraft, and related weapons systems. 
A warplane takes off from the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier ... 
F/A-18 takes off from the U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis.
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Currently, America maintains a 280-ship Navy (including 112 ships currently underway) responsible for a wide range of seagoing operations, as well as air and land missions, conventional and unconventional. 
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The fleet is small — a dwarf fleet compared to the nearly 600-ship Navy under President Ronald Reagan — but its responsibilities aren’t.
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Among them are defense of the U.S. homeland and American territories and interests abroad.
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Keeping the sea lanes open and safe from terrorism, piracy, and weapons smuggling. Maintaining air superiority above the Navy’s areas of operation. Maintaining sea-basing and amphibious landing and landing-support capabilities (this includes the Marine Corps, which technically and traditionally falls under the Department of the Navy). Maintaining light, fast forces capable of operating in rivers and along the coastal shallows (littorals). Maintaining a strategic nuclear capability (through its ballistic missile submarine force). Maintaining superior information and intelligence collection and counterintelligence capabilities. And maintaining its ability to engage in direct action — like the recent cruise-missile strike against Al Qaeda targets in Somalia — and providing support for special operations worldwide. 

USS Greeneville off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii.
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The Navy’s enemies and potential enemies include everyone from global terrorists like Al Qaeda to previous Cold War adversaries China and Russia.
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And not only is the Navy fleet small, it is rapidly aging, and gradually losing the depth and flexibility needed to accomplish all of its current missions and strategic requirements.
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The Navy currently maintains 11 aircraft carriers. The USS Enterprise is slated to retire in 2012, but the under-construction USS Gerald R. Ford could be delivered by 2015.The fleet is also comprised of an array of cruisers, destroyers, frigates, attack and ballistic missile submarines, amphibious assault and sealift-capable ships, support vessels of all kinds, and a variety of special warfare craft.
USS Wasp LHD-1.jpg
USS Wasp
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Sounds formidable, and in 2008 it is. But the Navy is not even close to where it needs to be if it hopes to match, deter, or outfight the emerging sea powers that will continue to grow over the next 10, 20, or 30 years.
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“Even though we obviously have a strong eye toward what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan for our ground forces, we still must have a balanced force that can deal with a range of threats,” says Peter Brookes, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs. “China is going to be a major conventional threat in the coming years. So we need the capability of projecting naval power across the Pacific to maintain peace and stability in that region.”
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According to Brookes, the Navy needs to focus on — among other things — regaining much of its anti-submarine warfare capability (undersea, surface, and airborne) that has been neglected since the end of the Cold War.
USS Kitty Hawk CV-63.jpg
USS Kitty Hawk.  This aircraft carrier calls Japan “homeport.”  She was ordered to the vicinity of Taiwan on or about 18 March 2008 to provide security for the Taiwanese elections.  Photo from the U.S. Navy.
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Hoping to remedy its overall shortfall, the Navy has proposed a 313-ship fleet – an increase of 33 surface ships and submarines — able to be deployed according to Navy officials by 2019.
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Among the Navy’s new additions would be the Littoral Combat Ship — a small, swift-moving surface vessel capable of operating in both blue water and the coastal shallows — a nuclear-powered guided-missile destroyer, a next-generation guided-missile cruiser, a new class of attack submarine, a new carrier with an electromagnetic aircraft launching system (replacing the steam-driven catapult system), and ultimately a new fleet of jets like the F-35 Lightning II (the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter).
USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000).jpg
USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000)
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All of the newly developed ships and airplanes would have multi-roles, and would be able to go head-to-head with a wide range of conventional and unconventional threats. Problem is, developing new ships and weapons systems take time, are often technically problematic in the developmental stages, and increasingly hyper-expensive. Additionally, new ships and systems are being designed, developed, and built at the same time the Navy is having to spend money on manpower and costly, aging ships, aircraft, and weapons systems just to stay afloat and fighting.

single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows an SM-3 missile being launched from the USS Lake Erie warship on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2008. The Pentagon says the missile successfully intercepted a wayward U.S. spy satellite orbiting the earth at 17,000 miles per hour, about 133 nautical miles over the Pacific ocean. (AP Photo/US Navy)
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Of the proposed  $515 billion U.S. Defense budget for Fiscal Year 2009, the Navy is asking for $149.3 billion — 29 percent of the budget — which includes the Marine Corps’ piece of the pie (As its current recap/mod needs are similar to the Army’s, we will address Corps issues in our forthcoming piece on ground forces.), and that requested figure will almost certainly, and necessarily, increase over subsequent years.
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Nevertheless, experts contend we are kidding ourselves if we believe the Navy will crack the 300 mark under the current plan.

This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd ...
Our sailors make our Navy the most capable in the world. This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd Class John Whitby operating the radar system control during a ballistic missile defense drill on February 16 aboard the USS Lake Erie. The US warship is moving into position to try to shoot down a defunct US spy satellite as early as Wednesday before it tumbles into the Earth’s atmosphere, Pentagon officials said.
(AFP/US Navy-HO/Michael Hight)
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“This is the dirty secret inside the Beltway,” says Mackenzie Eaglen, a senior policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation. “If you crunch the actual shipbuilding numbers — year-to-year for the next 10 to 20 years — a 313-ship Navy is a pipe dream.”
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According to Eaglen, the budget requests for shipbuilding submitted to Congress between FY 03 and FY 07, averaged just over $9.5 billion per year. “What’s needed is at least $15 billion per year,” she says. “What’s worse is that I see Defense spending dropping.”
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Cynthia Brown, president of the American Shipbuilding Association, believes money slated for new ship construction needs to be at least $22 billion per year.
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“Of the proposed $149.3 billion, only $12 billion is slated for new ship construction in FY 09,” says Brown. “Since 2001, the Defense Department has increased its spending by 80.8 percent, excluding war supplementals, but shipbuilding has only increased 12.2 percent.”
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Costs of recapitalizing and modernizing our Navy will continue to rise, as will the conventional and unconventional threats our sailors must be trained and equipped to fight. And considering the make-up of Congress — and who may be moving into the White House in 2009 — the nation’s primary power-projection force may find it near impossible to avoid becoming, as Eaglen says, “a mere shadow of its former self.”

U.S. military officials wary of China’s expanding fleet of submarines

February 7, 2008

By David Lague
International Herald Tribune
February 7, 2008

For a procession of senior U.S. military commanders who have visited China in recent years, the complaint has become almost routine.

As part of a sustained military buildup, they say, China is investing heavily in so-called area-denial weapons without explaining why it needs them.

The term area-denial weapons refers to a combination of armaments, technology and tactics that could be used to dominate a specific area or keep opposing forces at bay in a conflict. And one of the most formidable examples U.S. commanders identify is the Chinese Navy’s rapidly expanding fleet of nuclear and conventional submarines.

“I would say that the U.S. feels a strong threat from Chinese submarines,” said Andrei Chang, an expert on Chinese and Taiwan military forces and editor in chief of the magazine Kanwa Defence Review.

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/07/asia/
subs.php

 

Google Earth captured an image of the new Chinese ballistic-missile submarine, docked at the Xiaopingdao base south of Dalian. U.S. officials say the new submarines may increase Beijing´s strategic arsenal.

SecDef Gates sees division in Chinese actions

December 22, 2007

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
December 22, 2007

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that recent military incidents involving the U.S. and China indicate troubling signs of division between Beijing’s military and the nation’s communist political leaders.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, accompanied by Joint Chiefs ...

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, takes part in a news conference at the Pentagon, Friday, Dec. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Heesoon Yim)

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China’s refusal to permit U.S. Navy ship visits to Hong Kong last month and a provocative anti-satellite weapon test in January are prompting U.S. intelligence agencies to worry that the Chinese military is not under the control of the civilian government in Beijing, according to other defense officials.

Mr. Gates voiced similar concerns yesterday when asked by a reporter whether China had explained why it barred the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk and accompanying warships from making a Thanksgiving Day port call in Hong Kong.

“What has been interesting to me this year is that I think we have had two situations in which there appears to have been a disconnect within the Chinese government,” Mr. Gates said.

After the Chinese military’s successful January test of a missile against a weather-satellite target, China’s Foreign Ministry “didn’t seem to understand or know what had happened” and indicated “confusion” over the test, he said.

“We seem to have had a little bit of the same thing with the Kitty Hawk, where the military may have made a decision that was not communicated to the political side of the government,” Mr. Gates said. “Now, I don’t know that for a fact, but there’s just some hint of that.”

A senior defense official said that Chinese President Hu Jintao was familiar with China’s secret anti-satellite weapon program but may not have known about the Jan. 11 test, which contradicted China’s public position against the development and deployment of space weapons.

A senior U.S. military officer said there also were signs earlier this year that senior Chinese air force generals were not aware of the existence of the anti-satellite weapons program, which is thought to be a top-secret effort directed by the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission. It is led by Mr. Hu as chairman and has two senior Chinese generals as vice chairmen.

Intelligence officials are said to disagree over the analysis of a Chinese leadership split, with pro-China analysts citing a split as explaining hostile Chinese behavior as the result of differences between hawks and doves. A similar analysis during the Cold War sought to explain Soviet behavior, though post-Cold War analysis showed the appearance to be deliberate disinformation.

Still, worries over suspected divisions in China’s leadership are prompting concerns about the control over China’s nuclear arsenal, which is currently expanding in both quantity and quality, defense officials said. China’s military is deploying three new types of advanced, long-range nuclear missiles and a new class of ballistic-missile submarines.

Chinese military leaders so far have not agreed to U.S. government requests for talks on strategic nuclear weapons, despite a promise made by Mr. Hu to President Bush last year to send the commander of China’s nuclear forces to visit the United States and the military’s U.S. Strategic Command. China’s military leaders are said to fear that talks on nuclear forces with the U.S. will lead to disclosures of information that could be used against China in a conflict.

U.S. intelligence agencies know very little about the forces and command-and-control arrangements for China’s nuclear weapons, which are estimated to include about 20 long-range nuclear missiles and several hundred shorter-range, nuclear-capable missiles.

Mr. Gates said that China is continuing its military buildup but that he does not consider China “an enemy.”

“I think there are opportunities for continued cooperation in a number of areas,” he said. “I still think it’s important for us to develop the strategic dialogue with China where we sit down and talk about how we see the threat, how each of us perceives the threat and the purpose behind our modernization programs and so on.”

Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military, said Mr. Gates’ comments on a possible split among Chinese leader is a cause for concern and should be clarified.

“If such a split is real, then he should also explain if there is a danger of a [military] coup against the party,” said Mr. Fisher, vice president of the International Assessment and Strategy Center. “Such a coup could lead to a PLA-led war against Taiwan for ‘national unity,’ a war that could easily escalate into a nuclear exchange.”

Mr. Fisher said he knows of disturbing reports of tensions between the ruling Communist Party and the military over efforts by Mr. Hu to crack down on corruption in the military.

Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who appeared with Mr. Gates, also said he wants to develop closer lines of communication with the Chinese military to avoid misunderstandings over issues like the Kitty Hawk, the anti-satellite test and Taiwan.

Asked about tensions between China and Taiwan over Taipei’s plan to hold a nationwide vote seeking United Nations membership under the name Taiwan, instead of the formal Republic of China, Mr. Gates said he is not worried “there will be a military reaction.”

Mr. Gates also called “specious” claims in the Chinese and U.S. press that the reason the Kitty Hawk was blocked from Hong Kong was Chinese anger that the defense secretary had not warned Chinese military leaders during his visit to China in October that the Pentagon was set to sell upgraded Patriot missile equipment to Taiwan.

China “great challenge” to US: Giuliani

November 9, 2007

by Stephen Collinson

AMES, United States (AFP) – US 2008 Republican front-runner Rudolph Giuliani on Thursday warned that emerging China was a “great challenge” to the United States, and backed continued engagement with Beijing.

But the former New York mayor also called for an increase in US military strength to deter China from ever mounting a security challenge to America, and said he would push Beijing faster on introducing political freedoms.

“China is a great challenge to the United States, and maybe one of the most important challenges,” Giuliani told an audience of mainly students at Iowa State University.

“We will be the two great economies in the world. The more we make sure China’s rise is peaceful, the better it is going to help the United States,” Giuliani said in response to a question from a Chinese student.

“We should remain substantially engaged with China.”

Giuliani’s comments marked one of his first significant discussions of China policy during his campaign, and signalled he would continue the engagement strategy favored by recent US administrations if elected president.

It was also one of the few occasions that China has come up in the 2008 race other than in denunciations of alleged currency manipulation by Beijing, the threat to US jobs from the Chinese economy or defective consumer goods.

Though he pushed for continued engagement with Beijing, Giuliani, who leads national Republican polls just over 60 days before the first party nominating contest, the Iowa caucuses, said he was concerned with the lack of political freedoms in China, and with its potential security threat.

“To make sure that China doesn’t think of challenging us militarily, we should increase the size of our military,” Giuliani said.

“Our military is too small to deal with the Islamic terrorist situation, but it really is too small to deter would-be aggressors from ever thinking about challenging us.”

Other leading candidates have discussed China policy mostly in the context of festering disagreements between Washington and Beijing.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in August warned that the United States must deal with “currency manipulation” at a forum hosted by a major US labor union.

And she hit out at the standard of Chinese imports after a wave of consumer and food scares linked to Chinese goods.

“I don’t want to eat bad food from China or have my children having toys that are going to get them sick,” said Clinton.

But Clinton also wrote in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs journal that the Sino-US relationship would be “the most important bilateral relationship in the world in this century” and called for “cooperatitve” ties with Beijing.

Senator Barack Obama, second to Clinton in national polls branded China at the same event as a “competitor” but not necessarily an enemy.

“If they’re manipulating their currency … we take them to the mat,” he said.

Another leading Democratic candidate, John Edwards, has warned that with the US preoccupation with other global hotspots like Iraq, Iran and North Korea, China has not had enough attention from US policymakers in recent years.

Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, also a Democratic hopeful, warned China was a “strategic competitor” returning to a previous US foreign policy lexicon.

Republican candidates have been generally less concerned about China’s economic tactics, than its military buildup.

In the latest edition of Foreign Affairs journal, Senator John McCain wrote that China could bolster its claim that it is “peacefully rising” by being more transparent about its military buildup.

“When China builds new submarines, adds hundreds of new jet fighters, modernizes its arsenal of strategic ballistic missiles, and tests anti-satellite weapons, the United States legitimately must question the intent of such provocative acts,” McCain wrote.

Maritime Nation LOST by Oliver North

October 14, 2007

Oliver North
The Washington Times
October 14, 2007

In his 2004 State of the Union address, President Bush said, “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.” Members of both parties and Houses of Congress applauded.

But if the U.S. Senate votes to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea — known as the Law of the Sea Treaty, or by its appropriate acronym LOST — he and his successors will need lots of permission slips.
 

In 1982 Ronald Reagan, concerned about the treaty’s implications for our sovereignty and national security, formally rejected LOST because ….

Read the rest at:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/
20071014/COMMENTARY06/
110140015/1012/COMMENTARY

Indonesia, Russia bolster military ties

September 7, 2007

By ROBIN McDOWELL, Associated Press Writer

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Russia signed a $1 billion deal with Indonesia on Thursday to provide the world’s most populous Muslim nation with assault helicopters, amphibious tanks and advanced submarines — expanding Moscow‘s military clout in Asia.

The two nations also signed energy and mining agreements worth up to $8 billion and sent a pointed message to the United States: They oppose Washington on many key international issues, from the war in Iraq to the crisis in the Middle East.

President Vladimir Putin, the first Russian — or Soviet _leader to visit Indonesia in nearly five decades, wants to reclaim some of the military and economic muscle Moscow had in Asia before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Readthe rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070907/ap_on_
re_as/indonesia_russia_4