Authorities in Singapore have arrested four citizens of Singapore in connection with a US request for extradition for allegedly exporting radio equipment to Iran that subsequently ended up in roadside bombs in Iraq, according a Justice Department statement released Tuesday.
The department said the four Singaporeans falsely told the US firm which manufactures the modules that they were to be used for a telecommunications project in Singapore. About 16 of the modules were found in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq, and the indictment claims thousands more were meant to be sent to Iran for bombs in Iraq.
The men, and various associated companies, have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, illegal export of goods from the United States to Iran, false statements and obstruction of justice, and face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Although the charges center on the allegation that the defendants were dishonest about the intended use of the products, the case almost certainly was pursued because the products were reputedly found in roadside bombs meant for American soldiers. But the United States government itself is one of the foremost dealers of deadly weapons in the world and almost always lies about the intended use of those products.
After overwhelming international condemnation, the Obama administration last week was forced to temporarily suspend $53 million in arms to the government of Bahrain, who has been brutally cracking down on innocent protesters. The shipment included armored vehicles, high-tech TOW and bunker buster missiles, anti-tank rocket launchers, and tens of millions of dollars of spare parts and military communications equipment.
To help the deal along, Stephen Seche, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Arabian Peninsula affairs, promised the new weapons would be used only “for the external defense of Bahrain.” But previous US arms sent to Bahrain have been mercilessly unleashed on the population, and this latest shipment would be as well, given Bahrain has no viable international threats.
Yemen is another good example. In recent years, the increasingly close relationship with the Yemeni regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh was, officially at least, about fighting terrorism. In 2005, the US sent Yemen tens of millions of dollars worth of military equipment and training, complete with shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, ammunition, grenade launchers, body armor, communications equipment, warships, transport trucks – almost all of which ended up being used against innocent, nonviolent Arab Spring demonstrators.
The same can be said for scores of governments around the world. The US ranks first in the world in weapons welfare to dependent dictatorships and democratic governments, primarily to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Pakistan, Egypt, and many more.
Glaringly, law enforcement authorities in the United States are guilty of this exact transgression domestically as well. Beginning in 2009, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in conjunction with the Justice Department, facilitated the sale of weaponry to Mexican drug cartels in a flawed effort to locate criminals. Dubbed “Operation Fast and Furious,” the plan resulted in over 2,000 guns went virtually unaccounted for and the guns ended up at deadly crime scenes on both sides of the border.
The Justice Department is indicting these Singaporean individuals for engaging in precisely the type of behavior the US government engages in continuously on a global scale. Notably, if the government’s public enemy number one – Iran – were not involved, it’s unlikely the charges would have been worth it for US officials.