|The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.
[As of Tuesday], thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight—even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.
Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.
Brake pads may sound innocuous, but “the Iranians are constantly looking for spare parts for old U.S. jets,” said Steven Pelak, who recently left the Department of Justice after six years overseeing investigations and prosecutions of export violations.
“It’s going to be easier for these military items to flow, harder to get a heads-up on their movements, and, in theory, easier for a smuggling ring to move weapons,” said William Hartung, author of a recent report on the topic for the Center for International Policy.
More than 600 Blackhawk helicopters have been
exported, but new export rules will make it easier.
Under the new system, whole categories of equipment encompassing tens of thousands of items will move to the Commerce Department, where they will be under more“flexible” controls. Final rules have been issued for six of 19 categories of equipment and more will roll out in the coming months. Some military equipment, such as fighter jets, drones, and other systems and parts, will stay under the State Department’s tighter oversight. [...]
Current controls haven’t prevented the U.S. from dominating arms exports up to now: In 2011, the U.S. concluded $66 billion in arms sales agreements, nearly 80 percent of the global market. The State Department denied just one percent of arms export licenses between 2008 and 2010. [...]
[Steven Pelak, who recently left the Department of Justice after six years overseeing investigations and prosecutions of export violations] says the changes will make enforcement harder by getting rid of part of the paper trail as parts and munitions exit the U.S.: “When you take away that licensing record, you put the investigation overseas.” His office handled dozens of cases each year in which military items had been diverted to prohibited countries. The Government Accountability Office raised concerns last year about Commerce’s enforcement abilities as it takes control of exports that once went through the State Department. [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—Barbour plays race card in MS:
|See the guy in the middle, with the blue shirt? That's Haley Barbour, former chief of the Republican Party. He's also running for governor in Mississippi.
The guys around him? Members and sympathizers of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The modern-day version of the KKK, anti-black, anti-Latino, anti-Jew, anti-Gay.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, we're still in shutdown, but almost at a rejectable compromise! Greg Dworkin on the NBC/Esquire "the new American center" poll, and the 14th amendment vs. the conservatives goal of default. Seven Dems who voted for that rule disarming us on the clean CR. Matt Yglesias on the Vitter amendment. More on Bruce McF's premium bonds. A musical interlude from Lauren Mayer (aka PsychoSuperMom). WaPo: "How the Tea Party broke the Constitution." Chait's "Senators Near Deal on GOP Surrender." More Bruce McF, this time connecting Gop "fungibility" theory with labor boycotts. Interesting!