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December 05, 1995 - Image 14

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-12-05

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14 O'he Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 5, 1995
Plan to watch Amazon
with radar in jeopardy

lAkIrlow/woltILD

0 Brazilian president may
void $1.4-billion
contract with
Mass.-based company
The Washington Post
BRASILIA, Brazil -Brazil's ambi-
t ous surveillance system for the Ama-
zon, a $1.4-billion project designed to
shield one of the least protected regions
in the world, is tangled in a controversy
that could have broad consequences for
troth the mega-plan itself and its Ameri-
can contractor, Raytheon Co.
The project is designed to maintain a
watch on the tropical rainforest with fixed
and airborne radars and other monitoring
Devices. Called the Integrated Amazon
vigilance System and shortened here to
Sivam, it would give Brazil an important
imeasure of control over the vast and
vulnerable Amazon region in what is
seen as a high-tech solution to an age-old
concern over national sovereignty.
But with questions and accusations
emerging daily from two legislative hear-
ings, there are signs that the administra-
tion of President Fernando Henrique
Cardoso may be moving toward voiding
the contract with Raytheon because of
allegations of influence peddling. The
controversy already has forced the resig-
nation of three government officials.
Some observers here said Cardoso's
call for a meeting this week of the
National Defense Council, which in-
cludes the presidents of the Senate and
the lower house of the National Con-
gress along with military commanders,
could be a step toward voiding the con-
tract, a move intended both to save the
overall project and to avoid what could

be a costly political battle.
A U.S. official warned that the project
is in "deep trouble politically in the
legislature" even though Cardoso per-
sonally supports the Raytheon contract.
The Massachusetts-based company's
system has favorable financing and is
viewed by many as the most compre-
hensive proposal. It clearly is the most
expensive. Any decision to reopen the
selection process to intense international
competition - as preferred by some
legislators -would be a major setback
to Raytheon and Brazilian officials.
Sivam's proclaimed benefits include
eliminating a radar blind spot for com-
mercial airlines and the policing of ille-
gal drug flights, which are virtually
impossible to track now. The sophisti-
cated system also could prove an in-
valuable environmental tool, capable
of monitoring illegal logging and min-
ing, forest burning and even incursions
into indigenous reserves.
But with a price tag of at least $1.4
billion, the project has unleashed all
sorts of intriguing machinations. Early
on, Sivam created a diplomatic incident
when it was revealed that the CIA had
information that one of Raytheon's chief
rivals, the French defense contractor
Thomson - a perennial favorite of the
Brazilian armed forces - was offering
payments to boost its chances of being
awarded the contract.
The current crisis began with the re-
lease of taped conversations that hint at
influence peddling. Although Raytheon's
contract cleared the most difficult hurdles
when it was ratified by the Brazilian
Congress in November 1994, a problem
earlier this year with one of the principal
.Brazilian subcontractors sent the project
back to Congress for another vote.

AP PHOTO

American lawyer Eric Ross is surrounded by reporters in front of the Naha District Court after the rape trial for three American servicemen resumed yesterday.
Tr'ial o3Mrns ijaanresumes

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The Washington Post
TOKYO - The wife of one of the
three U.S. servicemen on trial for the
rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl in
September apologized to the victim and
her parents yesterday, despite her
husband's testimony in the same court-
room that he is an innocent man whose
confession was coerced.
"I am very sorry for the behavior of
my husband to the Japanese girl, her
mother and father, and to the people of
Japan and the U.S. Marine Corps,"
Denitrease Harp told the three-judge
panel that will decide the fate of her
husband, Marine Corps Pfc. Rodrico
Harp, 21.
Mrs. Harp, 24, had flown from the
United States to be with her husband.
She remained composed on the wit-
ness stand but began sobbing as she
stepped down. Her husband listened to

Wife of one accused Marine makes
apology to Japanese rape victim

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her testimony with his head buried in
his hands.
Mr. Harp pleaded guilty last month
to conspiring to rape the girl, but he
denied actually raping her. Yesterday
in court, he said U.S. military investi-
gators who first questioned him about
the Sept. 4 incident pressured him into
saying that he was guilty, which was
"what the Japanese would like to hear."
"When I told them what did happen,
they pressured me to go in another
direction," Harp testified in Naha, the
capital of Okinawa, which is part of
Japan. Harp's statements to military
investigators from the U.S. Naval Crimi-
nal Investigative Service were turned

over to Japanese police, who said he
confessed to the charges against him
during their questioning.
U.S. Ambassador Walter Mondale,
meeting with reporters in Tokyo this
morning, said he had no reason to
believe that the suspects' confessions
were coerced. On the contrary, he said,
U.S. military authorities had taken
steps to ensure that the suspects' rights
are protected.
Mondale acknowledged, however,
that the suspects did not have a lawyer
present during questioning by Japa-
nese police. By law, Japanese police
may hold and question suspects for up
to 23 days with virtually no access to

an attorney.
Thebrutal attack on the girl, who was
on her way home from buying a school
notebook when she was abducted and
raped, has caused a deep rift between
Japan and the United States.
Okinawans have long been fed up
with hosting more than 29,000 of the
45,000 U.S. troops in Japan. Gov.
Masahide Ota and many other
Okinawans say that the Americans are
a chronic source of crime and that
Okinawa bears an inordinate share of
the burden of the American military
presence in East Asia.
Rodrico Harp, of Griffin, Ga.; Ma-
rine Corps Pfc. Kendrick Ledet, 20, of
Waycross, Ga.; and Navy Seaman
Marcus Gill, 22, of Woodville, Texas,
all pleaded guilty to involvement in the
abduction on the first day of their trial,
Nov. 7.

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