The Michigan Militia Corps'

Weekly Update
Internet Edition

Volume 5, Issue 11

Week of March 30, 1998

Helms Wants UN Court Restricted

WASHINGTON - Sen. Jesse Helms said Thursday he will scuttle any treaty proposal for a U.N. international criminal court that does not give the United States the authority to block proposed prosecutions.

Any such proposal will be "dead on arrival" at the Senate, said Helms.

The United States and other countries are negotiating the creation of a permanent international criminal court as a means of bringing to justice perpetrators of mass killings. President Clinton has said he wants the court to be created by the end of the century.

In a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Helms said he is "unalterably opposed" to the concept of such a court because it could erode U.S. sovereignty.

Helms added that if negotiators conclude a treaty establishing a court without "a clear U.S. veto, it will be dead on arrival at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

As chairman of the committee, Helms, R-N.C., could single-handedly block ratification. Helms said his concern over the subject was based on recent news accounts on the U.S. position in the negotiations.

An administration official involved in negotiations on the issue declined specific comment on Helms' letter but said the issue of the exposure of Americans citizens to the jurisdiction of court has been a U.S. priority.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said non-governmental organizations, worried that restrictions on court operations will render it ineffective, have been sharply critical of the U.S. position.

In cases where Americans may have been involved in crimes against humanity, the United States wants the court to defer to U.S. national institutions for investigation and prosecution.

This would protect Americans against potentially arbitrary actions by a permanent court.

Reduce Federal Judges' Power

WASHINGTON - A House panel on Tuesday approved legislation restricting the power of federal judges, including their authority to overturn state laws.

A single federal judge would no longer have the power to block voter-approved state referendums under the controversial bill endorsed by the House Judiciary Committee on a voice vote. Under the bill, which now goes to the House floor, constitutional challenges to state referendums would have to be heard by a panel of three federal judges.

The idea was suggested by the late Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., in response to district federal court rulings against California's Propositions 209 and 187, which, respectively, outlawed affirmative action and public benefits for illegal immigrants. Bono was killed in a skiing accident in January.

The bill also would prohibit federal courts from issuing orders or approving out-of-court settlements that would require states to raise taxes to implement. Exceptions could be made in some cases, including when a court determines there was no other means available to remedy a deprivation of rights and the tax is narrowly tailored to remedy the deprivation.

Republicans contended the legislation would improve efficiency in the federal courts and curb judicial activism.

Opponents, including the liberal group People for the American Way, said the bill would limit Americans' ability to seek justice in the federal courts.

The legislation would allow defendants to appeal judges' decisions granting class-action status in civil suits. And it would set up a five-year pilot program in 21 district courts giving participants once chance to reject a judge assigned to their case and seek another one.

District court judges also would be allowed on their own to decide whether or not to allow television cameras in courtrooms. Federal judicial policy now prohibits TV cameras in all federal courtrooms.

The bill is H.R. 1252

U.S. idle while adversaries modernize missile attack capabilities

By Bill Gertz

The Pentagon's top nuclear-war fighter said yesterday that China is engaged in a major nuclear modernization that includes development of multiple-warhead missiles capable of hitting all parts of the United States except southern Florida.

Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command in Nebraska, also said Russia has begun producing its new SS-27 strategic missile and is building new submarines armed with multiple-warhead missiles and new bomber-launched nuclear cruise missiles.

During a breakfast meeting with defense reporters, the four-star general said he is optimistic Russia's parliament will ratify the START II strategic arms reduction treaty this summer, despite uncertainty over ratification among other senior U.S. officials.

While highlighting the new strategic weapons, Gen. Habiger sought to minimize the threat they posed.

The remarks come amid the disclosure of a secret proposal by the Clinton administration to offer China increased space-launch cooperation, including access to advanced missile technology. According to a classified memorandum from the White House National Security Council that was obtained by The Washington Times, the proposal was to have been presented in China last week.

Noting the administration's active programs of economic cooperation with China, Beijing "in no way" can be considered an enemy of the United States, Gen. Habiger said yesterday.

Asked if he also believed Russia is not a threat, despite its 6,000 strategic nuclear arms, Gen. Habiger said: "I think, yes." But he added that Russia is the only power with the capacity to destroy the United States.

"The anomaly that we're faced with is that the Cold War ended, and did the loser really lose?" he said. "Did you see a demobilization? Did you see all those nuclear weapons come down in Russia? No."

After nearly 40 years of developing superpower arsenals, "we're in the eighth year of bringing this nuclear machine down, and I think we're doing a pretty good job," Gen. Habiger said.

Gen. Habiger also said the United States would use nuclear weapons against any rogue state that uses nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. "We now have a policy that's articulated that says nuclear weapons will be used in response to rogue states using weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Russia is also building a new "Borey class" of strategic submarines that will be fielded around 2005 with a new SSX-28 missile, he said. A new Russian air-launched cruise missile also is in the works, Gen. Habiger said.

Meanwhile, a new report by the Air Force's National Air Intelligence Center says Russian and Chinese strategic missiles "continue to pose a threat to the United States."

The report says that more than 25 nations now have ballistic missiles and that Iran and North Korea are building missiles with ranges of more than 1,000 miles. Land-attack cruise missiles pose a major threat to military operations and the number of states producing them will increase from two to nine in the next decade, the report said, noting that many will be exported.

"Ballistic and cruise missiles, with their relatively low operating costs, their probability of penetrating existing defense systems and their value as a symbol of national power, will continue to be the offensive weapons of choice for many nations," said the report, "Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat."

"As such, they are threats that must be carefully considered in future military planning and operations," it said.

The unclassified intelligence report, which includes photographs and charts, says the size of Russia's nuclear force will decline because of arms agreements, aging systems and economic problems but notes, "Russia probably will retain the largest force of land-based strategic missile in the world."

It added, "Russia continues to invest heavily in its strategic missile force and most of its ICBMs are still on alert, capable of being launched within minutes of receiving a launch order."

The statement appears to undermine President Clinton's frequent claim that no nuclear missiles are targeted at the United States.

Two of the new SS-27s are deployed in silo launchers, and future variants will be placed both in silos and on road-mobile launchers, the report said. Its range is about 7,000 miles.

China's new ICBMs include the DF-31, a road-mobile missile with a range of more than 4,500 miles, and a second new mobile ICBM with a range of more than 7,000 miles, the report said.

"They are modernizing their forces," Gen. Habiger said. "The Chinese do have an intercontinental nuclear capability and they have the deployment of an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach most of the United States, except for southern Florida.

"See you in Miami; that's the place to go," he quipped.

Current Chinese strategic missiles are armed with a single warhead, but "they are looking at putting in a new system with multiple independent re-entry vehicles," or MIRVs, he said.

The keel for a new ballistic missile submarine also was laid. "We expect that submarine to be operational in five or six years, with a new missile," the general said.

In a subsequent interview, Peter Pry, a strategic weapons specialist on the House National Security Committee, said, "It's a curious juxtaposition for General Habiger to say the Chinese are our friends at the same time they are deploying ICBMs directed against us and 'MIRVing' those ICBMs."

China's shift to multiple warheads is destabilizing in light of U.S.-Russian arms agreements that call for scrapping all land-based missiles with multiple warheads.

On Russian modernization, Mr. Pry said that unlike Moscow, the Pentagon has no new strategic weapons in development and is not building underground shelters and command bunkers like the facility in the Urals. "What we see in Russia is a one-sided nuclear arms race going on that we seem to be oblivious to," he said.

Republican Leaders Resurrect Problematic Bill

By Gun Owners of America
(Wednesday, March 25, 1998)
Incumbent Protection Bill revived in the House

Having died in the Senate, the Incumbent Protection Bill has now been resurrected in the House. This new draft, like its predecessors in the House and the Senate, would severely regulate -- or "chill" -- the free speech of groups like GOA by limiting their ability to report on incumbents' records during the election season. This, of course, would benefit the anti-gun media and incumbents, who would not be limited in their ability to publicize (and distort) their own records or viewpoints.

For example, on page 7 of this new bill (H.R. 3485), GOA "political activity" that would be heavily regulated (and prohibited in many cases) would be "any activity carried out for the purpose of influencing (in whole or in part) any election for Federal office, influencing the consideration or outcome of any Federal legislation or the issuance or outcome of any Federal regulation, or educating individuals about candidates . . . "

When debating the Senate bill, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) summarized this issue quite well:

The Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear...[that] spending is speech and the first amendment applies to individuals, groups, candidates and parties, as well as applying to the press. ...[The press doesn't] like it.

They would like to have more power, not less. They would like to control our campaigns, control the discourse in the course of the campaign that goes on, and control the outcome with their editorial endorsement. But the first amendment doesn't allow them to control the political process. It also doesn't allow the Government, through some statute we passed here, to be put in charge of regulating either the quality or the quantity of political speech. (Source: Congressional Record, 2/26/98.)

ACTION: Gun owners should urge their Representatives to oppose any bill (like H.R. 3485) that would not only restrict your First Amendment rights, but the free speech rights of those groups (like GOA) that represent you. A vote on the House bill is scheduled for this week.

To contact Capitol Hill, call 202-225-3121, or use the toll free number at 1-800-522-6721. Individual office numbers, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses can be found at the GOA website.

GOA spokesmen counter gun grabbers in aftermath of Jonesboro shooting

From Fox Cable Network to MSNBC and other media outlets, spokesmen from Gun Owners of America have been called on today to counter Chuck Schumer and his fellow gun grabbers in the aftermath of yesterday's tragic shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Not surprisingly, the shooting has led to the familiar cries for more gun control on today's talk shows. As if reading off the same page, many pundits have trotted out the same old, worn-out argument that the "availability of guns" is the problem.

Of course, what these gun grabbers miss is that the young thugs broke several laws already (murder, no guns allowed within 1,000 feet of a school, possession with intent to commit a crime, etc.). Moreover, the anti-gun zealots completely ignore the biggest evidence that their "availability of guns causes crime" mentality is pure myth. Consider that in the 1950's, when there were far fewer gun control laws on the books, there was not a problem with illegal guns in schools. There was no Brady law, no semi-auto ban, no Gun Free Zones Ban. Guns were more "available" in the 1950's and yet there was no "gun problem" in the schools! So what has changed? Well, the lax punishment of criminal juveniles and the imitation of T.V. violence are just two of many reasons. But clearly, guns are LESS AVAILABLE today than they were 40 years ago. As you contact your elected officials, make sure they don't buy into this "availability of guns is the problem" myth.

Business partner of Ron Brown testifies

Late commerce secretary was told to withhold trade documents, she says

WASHINGTON -- A former business partner of the late Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown said yesterday that Brown told her presidential aides instructed him to withhold documents proving the White House was selling U.S. trade mission slots for campaign donations.

Appearing in federal court, Nolanda Hill said Brown raised the possibility of destroying an inch-thick packet of Commerce Department letters she said linked donations and trade mission slots. She said she advised him not to destroy the documents, but never saw them again after their discussion. She said the discussion occurred shortly before Brown died in a plane crash in Croatia in April 1996.

No such documents have been turned over to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which is suing the Commerce Department in an effort to determine if U.S. trade slots are being sold for political donations.

Hill and Brown were in business together, and she is under indictment for allegedly conspiring to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies she controlled to her partner. Though not named in the indictment, Hill's partner in the company was Brown.

In a three-page affidavit released at the start of a federal court hearing in which she testified, Hill said: "I became aware, through my discussions with Ron, that the trade missions were being used as a fund-raising tool for the upcoming Clinton-Gore presidential campaign and the Democratic Party.

"Ron told me that domestic companies were being solicited to donate large sums of money in exchange for their selection to participate on trade missions of the Commerce Department," Hill's affidavit stated.

"Ron expressed to me his displeasure that the purpose of the Commerce trade missions had been and were being perverted at the direction of the White House," she added.

"I further learned through discussions with Ron that the White House, through Leon Panetta and John Podesta, had instructed him to delay the case by withholding the production of documents prior to the 1996 elections, and to devise a way not to comply with the court's orders," Hill added.

The White House denied the allegations.

"Ms. Hill's allegations regarding Leon Panetta and John Podesta and the White House are false in every respect," White House spokesman James Kennedy said.

Podesta said, "The only thing accurate in Ms. Hill's affidavit with respect to me and my conduct is the spelling of my name." Questioned on the witness stand, Hill said she was told by Brown that Panetta had responsibility for "containing" the Judicial Watch lawsuit, which was demanding any evidence of a trade mission sale scheme. She said Brown reported that the strategy developed to deal with the suit was to stall."

Hill said the five or six documents she reviewed in the inch-thick packet of papers were written by Democratic National Committee fund-raiser Melissa Moss, who was working in the Commerce Department's Office of Business Liaison.

Hill said she was in a room at the Watergate in Washington when Brown pulled out from an ostrich-skin bag letters Moss had written to companies linking donations and trade mission slots.

Hill said Brown used profanity in describing how Moss had written such letters, apparently without his knowledge.

Probe of Carey may become Dem nightmare

The most significant element of last week's hearing into charges against Teamsters President Ron Carey was what federal prosecutors prevented the union's court-appointed Independent Review Board from considering. This threatens "a nightmare for the Democratic Party," in the words of one involved lawyer.

By limiting the IRB's interrogation of former Carey campaign manager Jere Nash, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White in New York revealed important details of her hitherto closely shielded investigation of the Teamster-Democratic connection.

The federal district attorney's actions confirmed that her criminal probe is going deeply into the financial manipulations of the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign.

White's basic interest is the admitted swap of funds between the Teamsters and the Democratic National Committee. Beyond that, this aggressive prosecutor in Manhattan may go to the heart of the party's fund-raising, which Attorney General Janet Reno has refused to subject to an independent counsel's scrutiny.

According to sources, White recently called in two former DNC officials--ex-treasurer Terry McAuliffe and ex-financial director Richard Sullivan--for additional grand-jury interrogation.

What these key Democratic fund-raisers are being asked about was unintentionally exposed March 5 when Shirah Neiman, deputy U.S. attorney in New York, faxed a letter to the IRB. She laid out areas prohibited in the long-awaited appearance by Nash, Carey's principal accuser, before the board in Washington March 11, as follows:

* Requests by the DNC, the Clinton-Gore re-election committee and the Senate and House Democratic campaign committees to raise money for Carey's tightly contested campaign for a second term against James P. Hoffa (apparently successful but since canceled by the courts).

* Fund-raising by "other unions." This seems to be a reference to the support of the Teamsters by the AFL-CIO leadership, which has put the future of President John Sweeney and Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka in jeopardy.

* The "so-called `pledge program' " of the Teamsters, including the Carey campaign's efforts "to raise money in 1997 in order to refund prohibited contributions raised in 1996" that came from the Democratic Party. Thus, the actual testimony March 11 by Nash was limited to his allegation, denied by Carey, that the Teamsters president approved an improper swap of a $475,000 contribution to the liberal Citizens Action, the largest single donation ever made by the union, in return for help in Carey's 1996 re-election campaign by the organization's well-heeled donors. This evidence could help lead to what union sources say is the likely decision by the IRB to bar Carey for life from holding office in his union.

The more politically intriguing 1996 swap, excluded by White from last week's IRB hearing, involved not an obscure left-wing group but the Democratic Party.

While purportedly Carey's full-time campaign manager, Nash was paid $10,000 a month (with a $50,000 post-election bonus) for covertly functioning as a sales agent for the November Group--a direct-mail organization involved in the Clinton-Gore 1996 effort. In that dual role, Nash is accused of illegally funneling Teamster money to the DNC in return for pledges of Democratic fund-raising for Carey.

When reports of such money laundering surfaced, former DNC Treasurer McAuliffe was questioned about it privately by a Clinton adviser. He responded, according to the aide, that of course there was a reciprocal exchange of funds between the Democrats and the Teamsters. Nothing illegal about that, McAuliffe insisted, because it's done all the time.

Whether it is legal or not will be determined by White's investigation and subsequent judicial proceedings. But the U.S. attorney now has revealed a new level of Democratic vulnerability resulting from Carey's desperate efforts to stave off Hoffa's challenge.

With Carey kept from running in the new Teamsters election, Hoffa--if his candidacy is cleared by federal monitors --will be the prohibitive favorite.

Hoffa is a Democrat himself but has made clear that he opposes the intimate ties with the Democratic leadership forged by the Sweeney-Trumka leadership at the AFL-CIO and wants a bipartisan approach to friendly Republicans.

Apart from future elevation of a hostile figure to the presidency of the nation's largest union, national leaders of the Democratic Party today must confront a zealous prosecutor in New York who seems to sharply contrast with more complaisant officials in the Justice Department.

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