Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It’s a great story, so why is it being ignored?

It’s got treason, arms sales, politics, greed, conspiracy, and government incompetence written all over it. And Chinese-language Taiwanese media are ignoring it

Readers will have noticed that I have paid a lot of attention to a case involving the deportation to Taiwan last week of Ko-suen “Bill” Moo (慕可舜), the former top sales rep for Lockheed Martin in Taiwan who was arrested in the US in 2005 for trying to ship advanced military technology to China.

One thing that has struck me since I broke the story on the weekend, and followed with a couple of articles about his “disappearance” once US federal agents had handed him over to Taiwanese authorities, is the lack of interest among Chinese-language media. Surely, the fact that a number of government officials claim they do not to know what has become of Moo should, in and of itself, be sufficient to pique the curiosity of any reporter worth his salt. If that isn’t enough for them, news that while AIT informed Taiwan of Moo’s deportation, immigration and border agencies not only failed to meet him at the gate, but have since apparently “lost track” of him, should.

Among other things, Moo tried to sell a whole F-16 engine to China, not to mention air-to-air and cruise missiles. And he was part of a so-called “gang of four” within the Air Force that allegedly counted among its members a former minister of national defense.

The main argument used by reporters who have chosen not to pursue the story is that Moo committed a crime in the US (not in Taiwan), served time in a federal prison (nearly most of the six-and-a-half-year sentence he was given), and is now a private citizen who has paid his dues to society. In my opinion, this is a myopic perspective to have on a man who has clearly demonstrated he is no friend of Taiwan.

Even before his arrest in Miami, during the about 10 years when he was a Lockheed sales representative in Taiwan, his employer had doubts about Moo and tried, unsuccessfully, to have him fired. What gave rise to those doubts has yet to be unearthed, but whatever it was, it must have constituted the first building blocks of a pattern.

One does not simply wake up as an honest man one day, only to decide to perform a moral volte-face and commit treason. Double agents are cultivated, and usually the process is gradual. In other words, Moo very likely had been turned long before 2004, when it is believed that he “officially” started working as an agent for the People’s Republic of China. His first project for them, which was eventually abandoned, was to procure UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter engines. He then graduated to the F110-GE-129 afterburning turbofan engine for the F-16, and also sought to obtain an AGM-129 cruise missile and an AIM-120 air-to-air missile. This is pretty heavy (and deadly) stuff, and hardly the type of item one cuts his teeth on. Assuming the gradualism that usually characterizes the cultivation of an agent, Moo would have started with smaller and safer things to pass on to his handlers.

Having reached the point where he was willing to ship an entire fighter aircraft engine and advanced missile technology to China, where they would be reverse engineered and turned, in case of war, against Taiwan and the US, Moo confirmed beyond doubt that he had crossed a moral line and reached a point of no return. The severity of his infraction — even if he ultimately failed — makes it very difficult to believe that a few years in a US federal prison have turned him into an honest citizen again. He may, as the law defines it, have paid his dues to society, but to assume that he’s no longer a threat is a foolish assertion at best. What’s more, he now probably bears a grudge against the country that put him behind bars, and could very well seek revenge. His deep connections among the Taiwanese military still exist, and his accomplice in the US operation, a French national named Maurice Serge Voros, remains at large. And there are more Chinese in Taiwan today, from tourists to businesspeople, than ever before; in other words, the opportunities for contact today are much higher than they were prior to his leaving Lockheed.

Moo is still a threat, a man whose actions ultimately would put the lives of the people that I have come to love at great risk. He’s a traitor, and jail time notwithstanding, he should not be allowed to roam freely in our midst, plotting god knows what else against us.

How is this not an interesting story? How can this be ignored?

7 comments:

Michael Fagan said...

"How can this be ignored?"

Either some mixture of incompetence and pessimistic despair... or there is something about this story which is scaring the sh*t out of both green and blue journos.

Those would be my two guesses.

Catalyst said...

Do we know for sure that he is roaming about freely? For all we know he could have been fitted with a pair of concrete shoes.

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...

@Mike: Maybe. Some Taiwanese are telling me there is also the factor of anti-American sentiment among Taiwanese. On the Moo case, for example, the reaction by some Taiwanese — even reporters who were asked why they were not following the story — was that the US should not tell Taiwan what it should do, and that anyway, the US was not (this is obviously false) selling Taiwan weapons at the moment. Another thing I have noticed is that, with a few exceptions, articles in English are oftentimes just ignored by Chinese-language media. The Liberty Times, for example, does not use material from its sister paper the Taipei Times, even though it does translate foreign news. This is not the first story I've broken that was completely ignored by the LT.

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...

@Catalyst: We don’t, and I wish your scenario were true. I see three possibilities: (1) He’s been picked up by the NSB, questioned for a while, and is now somewhat a free man; (2) His contacts at MND made sure he wasn’t taken in and is now a free man; (3) The government simply doesn’t care. Based on how the Ma administration has been treating defense in the past few years, I tend to side with the pessimists on the Moo case. Just give my friend Wendell Minnick’s great piece in Defense News (http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=7458649&c=AME&s=SEA) yesterday about the release of the English version of MND’s defense white paper and you’ll see how they downplay the China threat. Ultimately, the government needs to reassure the rest of us that it has the situation under control. So far, based on everything I’ve learned while doing research and interviews for my articles on the subject, I see nothing that indicates such intent.

Catalyst said...

I think the government has to reassure the US that they will not simply grab their ankles and bend over for the PRC. There is no point in the US selling F16s to Taiwan if they are going to eventually end up in the hands of the PRC.

As a Taiwanese person, I hate to say this, but I believe a Ma victory would convince the US to pick up their chips and look elsewhere for a better game. There is no sense in defending Taiwan if we want to be annexed by China, which a Ma victory would probably signal. Geographically, Taiwan is great for curtailing PRC expansion but the location of the Philippines means that the US can still afford to "lose" Taiwan.

Angelina Cooper said...

I WAS IN PRISON WITH HIM IN THE UNITED STATES. MR. MOO HOW WE CALLED HIM WAS LIKE A FATHER TO ME .. I AM FROM BRASIL AND LIKE HIM I WAS ARRESTED UNJUSTLY... HE IS A VERY HONORABLE MAN... PLEASE IF ANYONE OF HIS FAMILY READ THIS AND HAVE A WAY TO CONTACT HIM LET HIM KNOW THAT HE HAS SOMEONE WHO LOVES AND CARES FOR HIM LIKE A SON FOR A FATHER... EMAIL ME prwdasilva@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

LIKE I SAID... UNDER THE NAME OF MY FRIEND ANGELINA COOPER SINCE I BORROWED HER LAPTOP TO DROP THIS NOTE... I WAS IN PRISON WITH MR. KO SUE MOO UNDER A CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT FRAUD FOR A COMPANY I WORKED FOR, I GOT THE PRISON WHILE THE OWNERS THE REAL BAD GUYS, WHO SCHEMED PEOPLE FLED THE COUNTRY, ANYHOW...SINCE HE WAS TRANSFERRED FROM FLORIDA TO MCRAE/GEORGIA USA WHERE THEY KEEP ALL FELONY CONVICTED INMATES WHOM AWAITS TO BE DEPORTED AT THE END OF THEIR SENTENCES.. ANYHOW WE BECAME GOOD FRIENDS, I WAS RELEASED IN MID 2008 RETURNING TO BRAZIL SINCE THEN I LOST CONTACT WITH HIM... I HAVE BEEN WAITING TO CONTACT HIM ON THE OUTSIDE BUT THE ONLY CONTACT I HAVE FOR HIM IS ON HIS SISTER AND I DON´T WANT TO CONTACT HER SINCE I RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY... THEN IF ANYONE LEARN ANY THING FROM HIM LET ME KNOW... I KNOW SOMETHING. IN THE US PRISON SISTEM THE "FED'S" CAN DISAPPEAR WITH ANYONE THEY WANT WITHOUT A TRACE, BECAUSE THEY ESCORT INMATES UP TO THE PLANE'S DOOR ONLY... THEY ONLY ESCORT THEM INTO ANOTHER COUNTRY IN CASE OR MURDER OR RAPE CONVICTIONS, BUT FOR HIS CASE HE WOULD BE LEFT ALONE AT THE PLANE SINCE HE WOULD NOT REPRESENT A TREAT TO OTHERS, A PROOF OF THAT IS THE POINT HE WAS KEPT IN A LOW SECURITY PRISON A CONTRACTED FACILITY NAMED CCA IN GEORGIA (NOT REPRESENTING DANGER OF ESCAPE OR THREAT TO OTHERS)...

THEREFORE HE MIGHT HAVE BOARDED THE PLANE OR NOT... AT STEWART THE LAST DETENTION CENTER BEFORE BEING DEPORTED THEY DON´T TALK TO US NOR GIVE US CLEAR INFO ABOUT OUR DEPORTATION ARRANGEMENTS, THE DAY COMES AND THEY JUST PICK YOU UP... LUCKILY I AM HOME.. AND I HOPE TO HEAR THAT HE IS HOME AS WELL.

I AM PRAYING FOR HIM AND HIS FAMILY THAT ALL IS WELL... LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE CONTACT WITH HIS FAMILY SINCE YOU ARE A REPORT... SEND THEM A NOTE SAYING THAT THIS IS DA SILVA FROM BRASIL, THE PASTOR, MOO'S FRIEND FROM MCRAE.