In the second scandal to hit an American military contractor this spring, the U.S. Navy last week accused the mammoth General Dynamics Corp. of “pervasive” business misconduct, including influence-peddling and bill-padding. Secrete tary of the Navy John Lehman 1z suspended awards of new con|z tracts to two General Dynamic ics divisions pending internal reforms and demanded repayment of $75 million in overcharges. He also fined the company $676,283 for giving various “trinkets,” worth $67,000, to Admiral Hyman Rickover, head of the navy’s nuclear submarine program until his retirement in 1981. Coming just eight days after General Electric Co. pleaded guilty to defrauding the Pentagon of $800,000, Lehman’s announcement was seen as a general warning to other arms suppliers. The next day General Dynamics chairman David Lewis said he would resign, and his successor, Stanley Pace, pledged to strengthen the company code of ethics. As for the legendary Rickover, 85, he received a letter of censure from Lehman. Said the secretary: “A higher standard is expected of an admiral.”
Sending Cuba a signal
With a cheerful “Buenos Días, Cuba,” U.S.-funded Radio Marti went on the air last week and immediately broadcast its first news story: an account of the furore over its own birth. But even before the Washington-based Spanish-language station began sending out its mixture of music, news, soap operas and anti-Communist commentary to Cuban listeners, Fidel Castro’s Marxist government denounced it as a “barefaced provocation” and announced a series of harsh reprisals. Among them: suspension of a key immigration accord, which allowed as many as 20,000 Cubans to emigrate to the United States each year, and a halt to all visits by Cuban exiles. Havana even tried to jam the station’s signal, beamed to the island nation by a transmitter in the Florida Keys. In Washington officials insisted that Radio Marti— named after 19th-century Cuban nationalist José Marti—provided an “accurate, balanced” alternative to Cuba’s state-, controlled media and expressed hope that Castro would reconsider his actions. But some observers fear that the Cuban leader might instead launch a war of the airwaves, using two 500,000-watt transmitters to disrupt commercial broadcasts in the United States. The last time Havana adopted those tactics, in August, 1982, broadcasts as far away as Utah were interrupted.
Dustup in Peking
Chairman Mao once counselled Chinese athletes to put “friendship first, competition second.” But his admonition has been honored mostly in the breach by China’s nationalistic sports fans, who often react violently when foreigners beat Chinese teams. Last week the country experienced its worst sports violence since 1976, after Hong Kong defeated China in a key soccer match that eliminated the Chinese squad from World Cup competition. Enraged by the unexpected 2-1 loss, thousands of fans poured out of Workers’
Stadium in Peking and rampaged through the streets, stoning buses, overturning cars and menacing foreigners. Mobs of youths screaming “foreigner, foreigner” smashed the windows of cars driven by diplomats and spat on the occupants. In one incident a fan shouted at a British journalist: “Which is better, China or Hong Kong? Answer wrong and I’ll kill you.” Meeting in emergency session to discuss the riots, city authorities vowed to punish the “troublemaking hooligans” and said that they had “smeared the image of Peking as well as our country.” Indeed, the riots were a major embarrassment to China’s reform-conscious leaders, who are seeking foreign investment and technology to aid in the country’s modernization.
The Cabinda caper
For the government of South African President Pieter Botha, the violent episode was not only an embarrassment but a setback that could prove extremely costly. Last week Angolan security officers captured a South African commando team deep inside Angola’s economically vital northern province of Cabinda. According to the Angolans, two commandos were killed and a third captured on a mission to sabotage U.S.-owned oil installations. The incursion took place only four weeks after South Africa ceremoniously marched its last soldiers out of southern Angola as part of a pact last year with Angola’s Marxist government. The accord also called for negotiations to remove about 25,000 Cuban forces in Angola as a prelude to independence for the neighboring South African-controlled territory of Namibia. Officials in Pretoria insisted that its agents had been sent only to gather intelligence on the outlawed South African National Congress in exile. Still, the disclosure seemed certain to aggravate Pretoria’s relations with the United States and give impetus to a current crusade in the United States to sever economic ties with South Africa. Commented the liberal daily Cape Town Times: “The disinvestment lobby is rejoicing at this unexpected bonanza.”
The father, John Anthony Walker Jr., was a Virginia private detective who sometimes disguised himself as a priest during investigations. The son, Michael Lance Walker, was a seaman serving aboard the giant aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz. Together, U.S. officials claim, they formed a unique father-and-son espionage team. Last week FBI agents arrested the elder Walker, 47, a retired naval officer himself, after he allegedly left a shopping bag containing 129 classified U.S. Navy documents—believed to have come from the Nimitz—at a drop site near Washington. Then, investigators arrested the younger Walker, 22, after discovering a 15-lb. box bulging with sensitive files near his bunk aboard the Nimitz. Officials were alerted to the pair’s activities by the elder Walker’s daughter and former wife. As the FBI pieced together the spy ring’s history —the father is accused of spying for the Soviet Union for the past 19 years—a Soviet Embassy official in Washington left for Moscow, and more arrests were predicted. Damage to U.S. security, analysts admitted, has been severe.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.