20 Aug 1998 Scoop: August 20, 1998
* Senate May Soon Vote on Statehood for Puerto Rico
* Kissinger Joins Effort to Halt ABM Treaty Extension; Clinton and Russia at Odds as Summit Nears
* Suitcase-Sized Nukes Were Transferred to the U.S. by the USSR
* Workers Paid $8-$10/Month; Group Calls for Ending Exploitation
* Ashcroft Aide Details Top U.S. Foreign Policy Concerns
* Group Hopes Faulty Global Warming Study Won’t Fool Senate
* Group Says African Free Trade Agreement Could Cost Jobs
* State Department to Transfer U.S. Property to Russia, & Without Compensating American Owners
Activities at the August 20 and 7 Stanton foreign & defense policy meetings, chaired by Laszlo Pastor of Coalitions for America (202/546-3003) & Amy Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research ((202) 507-6398), and sponsored by Coalitions for America (202/546-3003).
Senate May Soon Vote on Statehood for Puerto Rico
Jim Boulet of English First warned new legislation giving Puerto Rico the ability to vote itself statehood could be on the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote after Congress’s August recess. Boulet said legislation by Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) may be brought up for a vote without the usual process of hearings, possibly while only a few Senators on the floor to vote. This could result, Boulet said, in passage of the bill by unanimous consent even if a majority of the Senate does not support statehood for Puerto Rico. Boulet distributed fact sheets, copies of testimony against statehood for Puerto Rico, and other materials, which are available at http://www.englishfirst.org. Contact Jim Boulet at 703/321-8585 or [email protected].
Kissinger Joins Effort to Halt ABM Treaty Extension; Clinton and Russia at Odds as Summit Nears
Baker Spring of the Heritage Foundation announced that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who helped to negotiate the original 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, has agreed to sign a letter to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott urging senators oppose Clinton Administration attempts to extend the terms of the ABM Treaty to the former Soviet states of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine through a 1997 U.S.-Russian Memorandum of Understanding. Spring said the ABM Treaty expired under the terms of international law when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, and ignoring this fact while expanding this bilateral treaty could cause the U.S. to be outvoted in implementation and interpretation of the treaty as well as allow the 11 other former Soviet states to develop, test and deploy their own ABM systems. Spring also pointed out that President Clinton is scheduled to go to Moscow for a summit on ABM issues in early September, and said Kim Holmes of the Heritage Foundation recently determined that the Russians do not agree with the Clinton Administration’s position that the ABM treaty presently remains in force exclusively between the U.S. and Russia. “When this difference comes up at the summit, which it inevitably will, what will the Administration do to reconcile the unreconciliable?” asked Spring. “My guess is, do what the Administration always does: try to find weasel words.” In related news, Spring said Congress recently passed 240 to 188 an amendment to the State Department’s appropriations bill prohibiting funds in the appropriation from being used to implement the MOU. Contact Baker Spring at (202) 546-4400 or [email protected]. (Review Heritage papers on this topic at http://www.heritage.org/.)
Suitcase-Sized Nukes Were Transferred to the U.S. by the USSR
General Milnor Roberts (USAR-Ret.) of High Frontier reported that the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Military Research and Development recently heard from a former Soviet military intelligence officer who testified that the Soviet Union had developed nuclear weapons small enough to be transported in a suitcase, and that such weapons were transported to the United States during the Cold War. General Roberts noted that the only defense against such weapons is an accurate system of detection, and a recent appropriation to implement such a detection system was removed from the budget through a then-legal line-item veto by President Bill Clinton. Contact General Roberts at 703/671-4111 (http://www.highfrontier.org).
Workers Paid $8-$10/Month; Group Calls for Ending Exploitation
Dr. Emilio-Adolfo Rivero of the Popular Republican Party, Ltd., a Cuban exile organization, told participants that many foreign investors in Cuba have been paying Cuban workers the equivalent of $8-$10 per month (90% of which Castro takes), calling foreign investors in Cuba “profiteers” abusing “prevailing conditions in Cuba.” Rivero has met with top policymakers to promote passage of a “Joint Resolution by the U.S. Congress denouncing foreign investments in Cuba until such time as the Cuban people, in free and democratic elections, elect their own government.” Rivero circulated for signatures a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms, Speaker Newt Gingrich and others asking for their support for such a resolution. Contact Dr. Rivero at 301/927-2167 or [email protected] (http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/7988).
Ashcroft Aide Details Top U.S. Foreign Policy Concerns
James Odom of the staff of Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) reviewed key areas of foreign policy concern for the United States: 1) America’s vulnerability to incoming nuclear missiles, and our lack of a defense system to defend the 50 states from incoming missiles; 2) Iraq, where the Administration’s policy is in a state of collapse; 3) Iran, which the U.S. State Department has identified as the most active sponsor of terrorism last year (although the Administration has made overtures to Iran for better relations); 4) China, which wants the U.S. out of East Asia (despite long-standing friendly U.S. relations with the Philippines, South Korea and others) and which is proliferating weapons to Pakistan and elsewhere; 5) Europe, where NATO expansion remains a continuing debate; 6) Russia, because of the instability of its political system and economy. Contact James Odom at 202/224-6154.
Group Hopes Faulty Global Warming Study Won’t Fool Senate
Paul Georgia of the Competitive Enterprise Institute discussed media reports about a study, written by Frank J. Wentz and Matthias Schabel, claiming that because NASA’s orbiting satellites can lose altitude as they circle the globe, temperature data collected by these satellites showing that the earth is cooling has been inaccurate. Georgia said that this study is wrong, and expressed concern that some in the Senate would take it seriously. Contact Paul Georgia at 202/331-1010 (http://www.cei.org). For more information on the Wentz/Schabel study and why critics believe it is inaccurate, visit http://www.nationalcenter.org/PRSatelliteData898.html.
State Department to Transfer U.S. Property to Russia, & Without Compensating American Owners
Tim Hunter of State Department Watch spoke about the State Department’s desire to give Wrangell Island to Russia under an unapproved agreement, giving away rights to fishing, petroleum, natural gas, and other resources on the island & surrounding seabed. Also at issue is a part of the agreement that would give away eight Alaskan islands without provisions to pay private landowners or Alaska for their losses. Although negotiations between the U.S. and the then-Soviet Union did reach an executive agreement ratified by the Senate in 1991 to transfer the property, the agreement was rejected by the Russian Duma in 1997. Since then, however, the State Department has continued to act as if the agreement was accepted. It is also ignoring a 1997 resolution passed by the Alaskan House charging that Alaska’s exclusion from the agreement process is unconstitutional. Contact Tim Hunter at 703/241-3700 or [email protected].
Group Says African Free Trade Agreement Could Cost Jobs
William Gill of the American Coalition for Competitive Trade said that creating a free trade zone with 48 sub-Saharan African countries could lead to unemployment in America. He warned that the Trade and Tariff Act of 1998, approved by the Senate Finance Committee and expected to be voted on by Congress after Labor Day, could flood U.S. markets with goods made in Africa or trans-shipped through Africa from Asia. A stand-alone Africa free trade bill was passed by Congress earlier this session. Contact William Gill at 202/342-2430.*