- The high-level fix appears to be in to
base the China Overseas Shipping Co., a Chinese military front, in Long
- Last week, Judge Peter Lichtman cleared
a Los Angeles County courtroom of all spectators before issuing a ruling
favorable to Washington's headlong desire to hand over the strategic former
naval base to the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Thus, the long march
to Long Beach continues.
- The wacky idea was formulated right in
the Oval Office following one of those visits by Chinese arms dealers who
dumped money into President Clinton's 1996 election campaign. Long Beach
city officials, oblivious to the national security concerns of the plan,
saw it as a bonanza for local commerce and jobs.
- China's interest in Long Beach is as
understandable as Beijing's desire to take control of the Panama Canal.
But there's even more to the story than meets the eye -- more than most
of the opposition to the plan have ever imagined.
- China also wants COSCO, which serves
as an intelligence-gathering operation for the PLA, located near the multinational
Sea Launch project, which will use its Long Beach base to launch dozens
of satellites into space from equatorial ocean locations. The Russian company
RSC-Energia is a partner in Sea Launch along with Boeing. RSC-Energia is
as closely tied to Russian military intelligence as COSCO is to Chinese
- The Sea Launch Commander, a ship two-thirds
the length of the Queen Mary, arrived in Long Beach Harbor last weekend
bringing along two Ukrainian and Russian-built rockets that will launch
commercial satellites into space beginning later this year. The unprecedented
launches at sea require two ships, the command vessel and a super-sophisticated
launch platform -- a self-propelled converted oil-drilling rig -- expected
to arrive in Long Beach next month. It is about 440 feet long, 220 feet
wide, 20 stories high and rides on giant pontoons that can be submerged
for stability when rockets are launched.
- Sea Launch is a joint venture of four
companies, headed by Boeing Co. The operation will be based within a stone's
throw of the proposed COSCO facility. The Sea Launch rocket consists of
three stages, the first two being Ukrainian-built Zenits. The upper stage,
which carries the satellite, is the Russian Block DM, which now flies as
the fourth stage of the Proton rocket.
- And guess who's benefiting from this
project? Some familiar names, indeed. Sea Launch has sold 13 launches to
Hughes Space and Communications and five to Loral Space Systems. Both,
of course, have long-standing and deep relationships with China.
- You might think the administration would
be reluctant to risk another satellite scandal -- given the ongoing investigations
into Loral's transfer of sensitive technology to Beijing through launches
in China. But business is business.
- And the Sea Launch business is big business.
The first launch is set for October. A site near the equator has been chosen
as a launching area for satellites that will assume geostationary orbit
22,300 miles above the equator. Sea Launch will make it possible for many
more commercial satellites to be launched at competitive prices -- ranging
from $70 million to $100 million.
- China does not want to be left out in
the cold while such monumental technological achievements are being accomplished.
Long Beach will offer Beijing a key listening post -- just in case its
strategic intelligence and military partners, the Russians, don't keep
the Chinese fully informed.
- There's a lot of money at stake -- and
a lot of power, too. That's why the entire military-industrial complex,
paid foreign lobbyists such as Gen. Alexander Haig, and the World Bank
are lining up behind the COSCO and Sea Launch projects.
- But don't worry. Companies like Loral,
Boeing and Hughes are sure to keep America's vital national security interests
in mind at all times. And China doesn't mean us any harm. President Clinton
has told us so.
- Keep your eye on Long Beach. It's a staging
ground for the New World Order. When Bill Clinton says he and China share
a vision for one big happy planet, this is what he is talking about.