[Documents menu] Documents menu

From sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu Tue Jun 26 06:22:55 2001
From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics)" <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu>
To: Mike Alewitz <ALEWITZM@mail.ccsu.edu>
Cc: Elizabeth Aaronsohn <aaronsohn@mail.ccsu.edu>
Subject: Just business...
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 18:35:43 -0400

From: Stephen Kobasa [mailto:skobasa@pop.snet.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2001 6:08 PM

U.S. supplies abusive regimes

Baltimore Sun Journal, 23 June 2001

The United States, which leads the world in arms sales, provides weapons used against civilians, a nonproliferation group says.

The $20 billion or so worth of guns, ammunition, jet fighters, tanks, missiles and other weapons that the United States sells to the world each year is roughly the same in value as U.S. automobile exports. The difference is that auto shipments are declining.

Arms sales brokered by the Pentagon rose to $11.8 billion in 1999 (the latest figures available) from $10.3 billion in 1998 and $7.7 billion in 1997. That does not include billions more in weapons sold directly by U.S. makers to overseas buyers. Defense hardware licensed for export in 1999 was valued at $18.5 billion, but the Federation of American Scientists estimates that less than half the licensed amount is actually sold in a given year.

In 1999 the State Department also licensed $28.4 billion in deals involving the export of U.S. expertise in arms manufacturing or operations. As with weapons exports, not all the licenses for technical assistance are used.

The United States is the world's biggest weapons purveyor. Its $11.8 million in Pentagon-brokered sales for 1999 accounted for more than a third of the $30.3 billion of comparable global sales for that year, according to the Congressional Research Service, and a move by the Bush administration to reduce weapons-export paperwork may set the stage for a new spurt in sales.

Arms analysts express concern about all international weapons sales, but are especially critical of U.S. munitions deals with nations that have serious human rights problems.

"Governments with some of the worst human rights records have received American weapons and training," and are undoubtedly committing abuses using U.S.-supplied arms, says a new report by the Council for a Livable World, an antiproliferation group in Washington.

U.S. government records reinforce that claim. The following list names the top 15 U.S. arms customers among nations deemed by the State Department to have human rights records that are "poor," "poor in some areas" or "generally poor," and identifies those countries' worst abuses.

Collectively the countries committed thousands of summary executions, beatings and tortures.

The sales figures, which include both completed Pentagon shipments and commercial licenses that may not have resulted in a purchase, are from 1999.

Arms manufacturers and U.S. officials acknowledge that many buyers of American weapons have poor human rights records. But they argue that its role as weapons procurer gives Washington leverage to keep oppressive regimes from behaving in even worse ways and that the regimes could easily buy arms elsewhere.

  • Saudi Arabia. Value of U.S. arms purchased: $1.55 billion. U.S. equipment: F-15 jet fighters; machine guns, ammunition; armored cars; guided bombs; Hawk, Maverick, Patriot and TOW missiles. Types of abuses: torture, beatings by religious and civil police; lack of freedom of religion.
  • Algeria. Value: $288 million. Equipment: electronics components; aircraft spare parts; explosives. Abuses: extrajudicial killings; police beatings and torture; arbitrary arrest; denial of fair trial.
  • Venezuela. Value: $142 million. Equipment: F-16 fighter spare parts; explosives; rifle cartridges; chemical agents and herbicides; armored personnel carriers. Abuses: extrajudicial killings; police torture and beatings; impunity for human rights offenders; arbitrary arrest .
  • Colombia. Value: $29 million. Equipment: aircraft parts; pistols; grenade launchers; night vision goggles; riot control chemicals; rifles; machine guns; missile parts. Abuses: extrajudicial killings; disappearances; arbitrary arrest.
  • Rwanda. Value: $18 million. Equipment: radar components, parts. Abuses: extrajudicial killings; deaths from harsh prison conditions; disappearances; beatings; torture; arbitrary arrest.
  • Ecuador. Value: $14 million. Equipment: ammunition; aircraft parts; pistols, revolvers and rifles; submachine guns; radio equipment; chemical agents. Abuses: extrajudicial killings, torture and abuse by police; impunity for human rights violators; arbitrary detention.
  • Peru. Value: $11 million. pistols, rifles, revolvers. Equipment: ammunition; gyroscopes; riot control chemicals; A-37 training aircraft parts; machine guns; electronics parts. Abuses: extrajudicial killings; torture and beatings by police and military; arbitrary arrest.
  • Bosnia. Value: $7 million. Equipment: chemical agents and herbicides; oxygen masks; electronics parts; communications equipment. Abuses: torture and beatings; arbitrary arrest.
  • Dominican Republic. Value: $8 million. Equipment: herbicides; rifle cartridges; helicopters; pistols, revolvers and rifles. Abuses: extrajudicial killings, torture and beatings by police; arbitrary detention.
  • Georgia. Value: $3 million. Equipment: rifles; patrol-boat components; radios and other communications equipment. Abuses: poor prison conditions; torture and beatings by security forces; arbitrary detention.
  • Cameroon. Value: $3 million. Equipment: helmets; rifle and carbine parts; C-130 transport aircraft parts; telescopes. Abuses: extrajudicial killings; excessive use of force by police; disappearances; widespread torture and beatings; arbitrary arrest; life-threatening prison conditions.
  • Uzbekistan. Value: $3 million. Equipment: tactical radios/ TOW missile spare parts. Abuses: torture, beatings; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary detention
  • Uganda. Value: $2 million. Equipment: tactical radios; supply and logistics operations; training. Abuses: extrajudicial killings by army and police; ritual murders of children by rebels; beatings and torture by security forces; arbitrary detention.
  • Ghana. Value: $2 million. Equipment: rifle cartridges; pistols and revolvers; construction materials; training. Abuses: extrajudicial killings; beatings; arbitrary detention.
  • Zambia. Value: $1 million. Equipment: miscellaneous boats; pistols and revolvers; helicopter parts. Abuses: deaths caused by harsh prison conditions; police beatings; arbitrary imprisonment

SOURCES: State Department, Defense Department, Council for a Livable World, Congressional Research Service, Federation of American Scientists

Copyright (c) 2001, The Baltimore Sun