Corporations, war and the corporate state...

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."
                                                    --Smedley D. Butler, Retired Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps,
                                                                      quote from War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic
                                                                                 by America's Most Decorated Soldier

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"Of the hundred dominant economic units in the world today, the hundred largest economic units --and that's the word they use, "units"-- 49 are countries and 51 are corporations."     
--Chief Oren Lyons, Onondaga Faithkeeper
Indigenous Native American Prophecy (Elders Speak part 2)

The United States of ALEC: Bill Moyers on the Secretive
Corporate-Legislative Body Writing Our Laws
092712

Smedley Butler - War IS A Racket
Major General Smedley D. Butler Expose Fascist Coup in US. (1934)

Smedley Butler Exposes Fascist American Coup
War Is A Racket - By Major General Smedley Butler

'Obey': Film Based on Chris Hedges' 'Death of the Liberal Class' - Full length

John Perkins - The Secret History of the American Empire

 

Public Citizen's
Global Trade Watch

 

Videos, audios...

"A Corporate Trojan Horse": Critics Decry Secretive TPP Trade Deal as a Threat to Democracy 041615

TPP: The Dirtiest Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of

Sean McFate, author of the book The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order - 040915

Are Obama’s Record Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt and Iraq Fueling Unrest in Middle East? 040715

Ervand Abrahamian, Prof of Middle East history, and Arjun Makhijani, Pres of IEER - The Nuclear deal with Iran 040715

African Economist Samir Amin on the World Social Forum, Globalization & the Barbarism of Capitalism 032715

Obama Seeks Fast Track for TPP, Trade Deal that Could Thwart "Almost Any Progressive Policy or Goal" 031915

Marsha B. Cohen of LobeLog Foreign Policy and Muhammad Sahimi of Iran and Middle East Reports compare conservative hardliners in the U.S. and Israel opposed to deal with Iran 031115

Robert Reich takes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership 012915

 

Articles

Wm. Hartung - The Obama Arms Bazaar 040315

Robert Reich - “The Worst Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of” 020915

"The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as a safety valve.  It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact. ... The stupidity of the corporate state is that it thought it could dispense with the liberal class. It thought it could shut off that safety valve in order to loot and pillage with no impediments.  Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite."
                                                                                                              --Chris Hedges, October 17, 2011

 

Naomi Klein

James Ridgeway

smartMeme

The Guardian

CorpWatch

Debtorboards

World Policy

Project Censored

Hazel Henderson

Robert Reich

AlterNet

Peace Action West

Robert Fisk --
The Independent, UK

Public Citizen

 

Videos, audios...

TPP - Wikileaks has released another bombshell 111413

Why We Lost: Retired U.S. General Calls for Public Inquiry into Failures of Iraq, Afghan Wars 111214

Eduardo Lopez, director of Harvest of Empire 101314 @ 00:06:30

America and Latin America: A deep history 071014

Harvest of Empire
Harvest of Empire is a gripping documentary that reveals the political
and social roots that have driven millions to migrate from Latin America
to the United States
Watch full length on Google play or Amazon

Ralph Nader on Left-Right alliance to dismantle the corporate state 050514

American Fascism: Ralph Nader Decries How Big Business Has Taken Control of the U.S. Government 060413

"The Bubble Economy" w/Paul Craig Roberts & Michel Chossudovsky
KPFA Guns and Butter w/ Bonnie Faulkner 032713

Deepa Kumar - Inflammatory phrases and the history of Western rhetoric towards the Middle East @ 00:06:30
Fred Branfman - US Secret bombing campaign of Laos
@ 00:31:30

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics w/Mitch Jeserich 032513

LAOS 40 YEARS AFTER

The Most Secret Place On Earth (The CIAs Covert War In Laos) (2008) Full length documentary

Fred Branfman on secret US bombings in Laos

Excerpts from Heist: Who Stole the American Dream

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics w/Philip Muldari 022113

 

 

!!! HEADS UP !!!

Corporations are not people -- Bernie Sanders Petition

Trans Pacific Partner-ship... Trojan horse for global corporate domination? 091312

The Calling

 

"And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill.  And they frankly own the place."
                                                                                                                            -- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military- industrial complex."
                                                                              --President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961

 

Trade Watch

Center for Public
Integrity

Ethical Markets

ALEC Watch

Retro Poll

Pacifica Radio

F* the Bank

 

Greg Palast: “Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza: How He Made Millions From The Rescue of Detroit"101812
Mitt Romney's Bailout Bonanza 101712

David Cobb - Move to Amend - End Corporate Rule@ 00:06:25
H. W. Brands - Triumph of Capitalism
@ 00:33:50

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 080812

Noam Chomsky on the Corporate Attack on Education 031612

Jeffrey Clements - Corporations Are Not People
Laleh Behbehanian & Dan Siegel - Stay Away Orders re protestors


Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics w/Mitch Jeserich 030212

Rebecca Griffin of Peace Action West on war expenditures
John Lewis Gaddis on George F. Kennan


Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics w/Mitch Jeserich 012612
Zahra's Paradise

Drones, Asia and Cyber War: Pentagon Shifts Priorities in New Review; Budget Still Exceeds Bush Era

American OccuPie

Ruth Rosen - Right-wing movements    1st hour
Natalie Goldring & Michael Klare - Is China next?
    2nd hour

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show w/Philip Maldari 010812

 

 

TPP... Trojan horse for global corporate domination? 091312

TPP negotiated in secret 080912

The TPP - A Corporate Fascist Coup 070812

Breaking ’08 Pledge, Leaked TPP Trade Doc Shows Obama Wants to Help Corporations Avoid Regulations 061412

Newly Leaked TPP Invest-ment Chapter Contains Special Rights for Corporations 061312

Lori Wallace - A Stealth Attack on Democratic Governance 031312
Why are Obama trade negotiators pushing the extreme Trans-Pacific Partnership, and why is it being negotiated in such an untransparent manner?

NAFTA's Broken Promises: Failure to Create US Jobs

 

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Capitalism: A Ghost Story - An Evening with Arundhati Roy and Siddhartha Deb

"And here let me emphasize the fact — and it cannot be repeated too often — that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace."
                                                                                                                            --Eugene V. Debs, 1913

 

 

 

 

Articles

50 Ways to Leave Your Banker 110111
Biopiracy in India: Monsanto and The case of the aubergine 103111
Occupy Wall Street: No Demand is Big Enough 103011
99% Delivers Letters to Bank CEOs, Egyptians March in Solidarity 102811
A Movement Too Big to Fail 101711

How Wall Street Profits from the Criminalization of Immigrants and Lobbies for More To Be Locked Up 100810
Meet the Real Death Panels - on health care costs and rationing - July 2010
Supreme Court on Pfizer's Pharmaceutical Colonialism 070210

 

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country... Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
                                                                                                      --Abraham Lincoln, November 12, 1864

Naomi Klein - The Rise of Disaster Capitalism 041505
Houston, We Have a Problem - An Alternative Annual Report on Halliburton 050804
Arundhati Roy: Confronting Empire 012703
Eye on the Contractor's Ball 011903
Top-secret Iraq Report Reveals U.S. Corporations, Gov't Agencies
  and Nuclear Labs Helped Illegally Arm Iraq
121802
List of 24 U.S. companies which illegally armed Iraq
War and corporations -- a brief primer CorpWatch Dec2002/Jan2003
Private Power Partnerships Dec2002/Jan2003
Global Pillage 092902
Ralph Nader: Corporate socialism 071802

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Movement Too Big to Fail

By Chris Hedges
Posted on Oct 17, 2011

 

There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn. The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant. Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking. So do Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi. So do the array of “liberal” groups and institutions, including the press, that have worked to funnel discontented voters back into the swamp of electoral politics and mocked those who called for profound structural reform.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to “clean” the premises. These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional “liberal” establishment has steadily refused to do—fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street. It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase “too big to fail.”

Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will wrest power from corporate hands. This radical message, one that demands a reversal of the corporate coup, is one the power elite, including the liberal class, is desperately trying to thwart. But the liberal class has no credibility left. It collaborated with corporate lobbyists to neglect the rights of tens of millions of Americans, as well as the innocents in our imperial wars. The best that liberals can do is sheepishly pretend this is what they wanted all along. Groups such as MoveOn and organized labor will find themselves without a constituency unless they at least pay lip service to the protests. The Teamsters’ arrival Friday morning to help defend the park signaled an infusion of this new radicalism into moribund unions rather than a co-opting of the protest movement by the traditional liberal establishment. The union bosses, in short, had no choice.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, like all radical movements, has obliterated the narrow political parameters. It proposes something new. It will not make concessions with corrupt systems of corporate power. It holds fast to moral imperatives regardless of the cost. It confronts authority out of a sense of responsibility. It is not interested in formal positions of power. It is not seeking office. It is not trying to get people to vote. It has no resources. It can’t carry suitcases of money to congressional offices or run millions of dollars of advertisements. All it can do is ask us to use our bodies and voices, often at personal risk, to fight back. It has no other way of defying the corporate state. This rebellion creates a real community instead of a managed or virtual one. It affirms our dignity. It permits us to become free and independent human beings.

Martin Luther King was repeatedly betrayed by liberal supporters, especially when he began to challenge economic forms of discrimination, which demanded that liberals, rather than simply white Southern racists, begin to make sacrifices. King too was a radical. He would not compromise on nonviolence, racism or justice. He understood that movements—such as the Liberty Party, which fought slavery, the suffragists, who fought for women’s rights, the labor movement and the civil rights movement—have always been the true correctives in American democracy. None of those movements achieved formal political power. But by holding fast to moral imperatives they made the powerful fear them. King knew that racial equality was impossible without economic justice and an end to militarism. And he had no intention of ceding to the demands of the liberal establishment that called on him to be calm and patient.

“For years, I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions in the South, a little change here, a little change there,” King said shortly before he was assassinated. “Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire system, a revolution of values.”

King was killed in 1968 when he was in Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers. By then he had begun to say that his dream, the one that the corporate state has frozen into a few safe clichés from his 1963 speech in Washington, had turned into a nightmare. King called at the end of his life for massive federal funds to rebuild inner cities, what he called “a radical redistribution of economic and political power,” a complete restructuring of “the architecture of American society.” He grasped that the inequities of capitalism had become the instrument by which the poor would always remain poor.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism,” King said, “but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

On the eve of King’s murder he was preparing to organize a poor people’s march on Washington, D.C., designed to cause “major, massive dislocations,” a nonviolent demand by the poor, including the white underclass, for a system of economic equality. It would be 43 years before his vision was realized by an eclectic group of protesters who gathered before the gates of Wall Street.

The truth of America is understood only when you listen to voices in our impoverished rural enclaves, prisons and the urban slums, when you hear the words of our unemployed, those who have lost their homes or cannot pay their medical bills, our elderly and our children, especially the quarter of the nation’s children who depend on food stamps to eat, and all who are marginalized. There is more reality expressed about the American experience by the debt-burdened young men and women protesting in the parks than by all the chatter of the well-paid pundits and experts that pollutes the airwaves.

What kind of nation is it that spends far more to kill enemy combatants and Afghan and Iraqi civilians than it does to help its own citizens who live below the poverty line? What kind of nation is it that permits corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons and daughters? What kind of nation is it that tosses its mentally ill onto urban heating grates? What kind of nation is it that abandons its unemployed while it loots its treasury on behalf of speculators? What kind of nation is it that ignores due process to torture and assassinate its own citizens? What kind of nation is it that refuses to halt the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, dooming our children and our children’s children?

“America,” Langston Hughes wrote, “never was America to me.”

“The black vote mean [nothing],” the rapper Nas intones. “Who you gunna elect/ Satan or Satan?/ In the hood nothing is changing/ We ain’t got no choices.”

Or listen to hip-hop artist Talib Kweli: “Back in the ’60s, there was a big push for black … politicians, and now we have more than we ever had before, but our communities are so much worse. A lot of people died for us to vote, I’m aware of that history, but these politicians are not in touch with people at all. Politics is not the truth to me, it’s an illusion.”

The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as a safety valve. It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. This is what happened during the Great Depression and the New Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. Liberals in a functioning capitalist democracy are at the same time tasked with discrediting radicals, whether it is King, especially after he denounced the war in Vietnam, or later Noam Chomsky or Ralph Nader.

The stupidity of the corporate state is that it thought it could dispense with the liberal class. It thought it could shut off that safety valve in order to loot and pillage with no impediments. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And the reduction of the liberal class to silly courtiers, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, meant that the growing discontent found other mechanisms and outlets. Liberals were reduced to stick figures, part of an elaborate pantomime, as they acted in preordained roles to give legitimacy to meaningless and useless political theater. But that game is over.

Human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are brutally discarded. The liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state, has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power. And as the engines of corporate power pollute and poison the ecosystem and propel us into a world where there will be only masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded by both the corporate state and radical dissidents. The best it can do is attach itself meekly to the new political configuration rising up to replace it.

An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope of a correction or a reversal through the formal mechanisms of power. It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression now in these protests that lie outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. By emasculating the liberal class, which once ensured that restive citizens could institute moderate reforms, the corporate state has created a closed system defined by polarization, gridlock and political charades. It has removed the veneer of virtue and goodness that the liberal class offered to the power elite.

Liberal institutions, including the church, the press, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts and labor unions, set the parameters for limited self-criticism in a functioning democracy as well as small, incremental reforms. The liberal class is permitted to decry the worst excesses of power and champion basic human rights while at the same time endowing systems of power with a morality and virtue it does not possess. Liberals posit themselves as the conscience of the nation. They permit us, through their appeal to public virtues and the public good, to see ourselves and our state as fundamentally good.

But the liberal class, by having refused to question the utopian promises of unfettered capitalism and globalization and by condemning those who did, severed itself from the roots of creative and bold thought, the only forces that could have prevented the liberal class from merging completely with the power elite. The liberal class, which at once was betrayed and betrayed itself, has no role left to play in the battle between us and corporate dominance. All hope lies now with those in the street.

Liberals lack the vision and fortitude to challenge dominant free market ideologies. They have no ideological alternatives even as the Democratic Party openly betrays every principle the liberal class claims to espouse, from universal health care to an end to our permanent war economy to a demand for quality and affordable public education to a return of civil liberties to a demand for jobs and welfare of the working class. The corporate state forced the liberal class to join in the nation’s death march that began with the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Liberals such as Bill Clinton, for corporate money, accelerated the dismantling of our manufacturing base, the gutting of our regulatory agencies, the destruction of our social service programs and the empowerment of speculators who have trashed our economy. The liberal class, stripped of power, could only retreat into its atrophied institutions, where it busied itself with the boutique activism of political correctness and embraced positions it had previously condemned.

Russell Jacoby writes: “The left once dismissed the market as exploitative; it now honors the market as rational and humane. The left once disdained mass culture as exploitative; now it celebrates it as rebellious. The left once honored independent intellectuals as courageous; now it sneers at them as elitist. The left once rejected pluralism as superficial; now it worships it as profound. We are witnessing not simply a defeat of the left, but its conversion and perhaps inversion.”

Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism comes with the return of the language of class conflict and rebellion, language that has been purged from the lexicon of the liberal class, language that defines this new movement. This does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, who advocated violence and whose worship of the state as a utopian mechanism led to another form of enslavement of the working class, but we have to learn again to speak in the vocabulary Marx employed. We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill and lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect metaphor for the corporate state. It is part of the same nightmare experienced in postindustrial mill towns of New England and the abandoned steel mills of Ohio. It is a nightmare that Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans, living in terror and mourning their dead, endure daily.

What took place early Friday morning in Zuccotti Park was the first salvo in a long struggle for justice. It signaled a step backward by the corporate state in the face of popular pressure. And it was carried out by ordinary men and women who sleep at night on concrete, get soaked in rainstorms, eat donated food and have nothing as weapons but their dignity, resilience and courage. It is they, and they alone, who hold out the possibility of salvation. And if we join them we might have a chance.

 

Truthdig    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

by Naomi Klein
April 15, 2005


Last summer, in the lull of the August media doze, the Bush Administration's doctrine of preventive war took a major leap forward. On August 5, 2004, the White House created the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, headed by former US Ambassador to Ukraine Carlos Pascual. Its mandate is to draw up elaborate "post-conflict" plans for up to twenty-five countries that are not, as of yet, in conflict. According to Pascual, it will also be able to coordinate three full-scale reconstruction operations in different countries "at the same time," each lasting "five to seven years."

Fittingly, a government devoted to perpetual pre-emptive deconstruction
now has a standing office of perpetual pre-emptive reconstruction.

Gone are the days of waiting for wars to break out and then drawing up
ad hoc plans to pick up the pieces. In close cooperation with the National Intelligence Council, Pascual's office keeps "high risk" countries on a "watch list" and assembles rapid-response teams ready to engage in prewar planning and to "mobilize and deploy quickly" after a conflict has gone down. The teams are made up of private companies, nongovernmental organizations and members of think tanks--some, Pascual told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in October, will have "pre-completed" contracts to rebuild countries that are not yet broken. Doing this paperwork in
advance could "cut off three to six months in your response time."

The plans Pascual's teams have been drawing up in his little-known office in the State Department are about changing "the very social fabric of a nation," he told CSIS. The office's mandate is not to rebuild any old states, you see, but to create "democratic and market-oriented" ones. So, for instance (and he was just pulling this example out of his hat, no doubt), his fast-acting reconstructors might help sell off "state-owned enterprises that created a nonviable economy." Sometimes rebuilding, he explained, means "tearing apart the old."

Few ideologues can resist the allure of a blank slate--that was colonialism's seductive promise: "discovering" wide-open new lands where utopia seemed possible. But colonialism is dead, or so we are told; there are no new places to discover, no terra nullius (there never was), no more blank pages on which, as Mao once said, "the newest and most beautiful words can be written." There is, however, plenty of destruction--countries smashed to rubble, whether by so-called Acts of God or by Acts of Bush (on orders from God). And where there is destruction there is reconstruction, a chance to grab hold of "the terrible barrenness," as a UN official recently described the devastation in Aceh, and fill it with the most perfect, beautiful plans.

"We used to have vulgar colonialism," says Shalmali Guttal, a Bangalore-based researcher with Focus on the Global South. "Now we have sophisticated colonialism, and they call it 'reconstruction.'"

It certainly seems that ever-larger portions of the globe are under active reconstruction: being rebuilt by a parallel government made up of a familiar cast of for-profit consulting firms, engineering companies, mega-NGOs, government and UN aid agencies and international financial institutions. And from the people living in these reconstruction sites--Iraq to Aceh, Afghanistan to Haiti--a similar chorus of complaints can be heard. The work is far too slow, if it is happening at all. Foreign consultants live high on cost-plus expense accounts and thousand-dollar-a-day salaries, while locals are shut out of much-needed jobs, training and decision-making. Expert "democracy
builders" lecture governments on the importance of transparency and "good governance," yet most contractors and NGOs refuse to open their books to those same governments, let alone give them control over how their aid money is spent.

Three months after the tsunami hit Aceh, the New York Times ran a distressing story reporting that "almost nothing seems to have been done to begin repairs and rebuilding." The dispatch could easily have come from Iraq, where, as the Los Angeles Times just reported, all of Bechtel's allegedly rebuilt water plants have started to break down, one more in an endless litany of reconstruction screw-ups. It could also have come from Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai recently blasted "corrupt, wasteful and unaccountable" foreign contractors for "squandering the precious resources that Afghanistan received in aid." Or from Sri Lanka, where 600,000 people who lost their homes in the tsunami are still languishing in temporary camps. One hundred days after the giant waves hit, Herman Kumara, head of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement in Negombo, Sri Lanka, sent out a desperate e-mail to colleagues around the world. "The funds received for the benefit of the victims are directed to the benefit of the privileged few, not to
the real victims," he wrote. "Our voices are not heard and not allowed to be voiced."

But if the reconstruction industry is stunningly inept at rebuilding, that may be because rebuilding is not its primary purpose. According to Guttal, "It's not reconstruction at all--it's about reshaping everything." If anything, the stories of corruption and incompetence serve to mask this deeper scandal: the rise of a predatory form of disaster capitalism that uses the desperation and fear created by catastrophe to engage in radical social and economic engineering. And on this front, the reconstruction industry works so quickly and efficiently that the privatizations and land grabs are usually locked in before the local population knows what hit them. Kumara, in another e-mail, warns that Sri Lanka is now facing "a second tsunami of corporate globalization and militarization," potentially even more devastating than the first. "We see this as a plan of action amidst the tsunami crisis to hand over the sea and the coast to foreign corporations and tourism, with military assistance from the US Marines."

As Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz designed and oversaw a strikingly similar project in Iraq: The fires were still burning in Baghdad when US occupation officials rewrote the investment laws and announced that the country's state-owned companies would be privatized. Some have pointed to this track record to argue that Wolfowitz is unfit to lead the World Bank; in fact, nothing could have prepared him better for his new job. In Iraq, Wolfowitz was just doing what the World Bank is already doing in virtually every war-torn and disaster-struck country in the world--albeit with fewer bureaucratic niceties and more ideological bravado.

"Post-conflict" countries now receive 20-25 percent of the World Bank's total lending, up from 16 percent in 1998--itself an 800 percent increase since 1980, according to a Congressional Research Service study. Rapid response to wars and natural disasters has traditionally been the domain of United Nations agencies, which worked with NGOs to provide emergency aid, build temporary housing and the like. But now reconstruction work has been revealed as a tremendously lucrative industry, too important to be left to the do-gooders at the UN. So today it is the World Bank, already devoted to the principle of poverty-alleviation through profit-making, that leads the charge.

And there is no doubt that there are profits to be made in the reconstruction business. There are massive engineering and supplies contracts ($10 billion to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan alone); "democracy building" has exploded into a $2 billion industry; and times have never been better for public-sector consultants--the private firms that advise governments on selling off their assets, often running government services themselves as subcontractors. (Bearing Point, the favored of these firms in the United States, reported that the revenues for its "public services" division "had quadrupled in just five years," and the profits are huge: $342 million in 2002--a profit margin of 35 percent.)

But shattered countries are attractive to the World Bank for another reason: They take orders well. After a cataclysmic event, governments will usually do whatever it takes to get aid dollars--even if it means racking up huge debts and agreeing to sweeping policy reforms. And with the local population struggling to find shelter and food, political organizing against privatization can seem like an unimaginable luxury.

Even better from the bank's perspective, many war-ravaged countries are in states of "limited sovereignty": They are considered too unstable and unskilled to manage the aid money pouring in, so it is often put in a trust fund managed by the World Bank. This is the case in East Timor, where the bank doles out money to the government as long as it shows it is spending responsibly. Apparently, this means slashing public-sector jobs (Timor's government is half the size it was under Indonesian occupation) but lavishing aid money on foreign consultants the bank insists the government hire (researcher Ben Moxham writes, "In one government department, a single international consultant earns in one month the same as his twenty Timorese colleagues earn together in an entire year").

In Afghanistan, where the World Bank also administers the country's aid through a trust fund, it has already managed to privatize healthcare by refusing to give funds to the Ministry of Health to build hospitals. Instead it funnels money directly to NGOs, which are running their own private health clinics on three-year contracts. It has also mandated "an increased role for the private sector" in the water system, telecommunications, oil, gas and mining and directed the government to "withdraw" from the electricity sector and leave it to "foreign private investors." These profound transformations of Afghan society were never debated or reported on, because few outside the bank know they took place: The changes were buried deep in a "technical annex" attached to a grant providing "emergency" aid to Afghanistan's war-torn
infrastructure--two years before the country had an elected government.

It has been much the same story in Haiti, following the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In exchange for a $61 million loan, the bank is requiring "public-private partnership and governance in the education and health sectors," according to bank documents--i.e., private companies running schools and hospitals. Roger Noriega, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, has made it clear that the Bush Administration shares these goals. "We will also encourage the government of Haiti to move forward, at the appropriate time, with restructuring and privatization of some public sector enterprises," he told the American Enterprise Institute on April 14, 2004.

These are extraordinarily controversial plans in a country with a powerful socialist base, and the bank admits that this is precisely why it is pushing them now, with Haiti under what approaches military rule. "The Transitional Government provide[s] a window of opportunity for implementing economic governance reforms...that may be hard for a future government to undo," the bank notes in its Economic Governance Reform Operation Project agreement. For Haitians, this is a particularly bitter irony: Many blame multilateral institutions, including the World Bank, for deepening the political crisis that led to Aristide's ouster by withholding hundreds of millions in promised loans. At the time, the Inter-American Development Bank, under pressure from the State Department, claimed Haiti was insufficiently democratic to receive the money, pointing to minor irregularities in a legislative election. But now that Aristide is out, the World Bank is openly celebrating the perks of operating in a democracy-free zone.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been imposing shock therapy on countries in various states of shock for at least three decades, most notably after Latin America's military coups and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet many observers say that today's disaster capitalism really hit its stride with Hurricane Mitch. For a week in October 1998, Mitch parked itself over Central America, swallowing villages whole and killing more than 9,000. Already impoverished countries were desperate for reconstruction aid--and it came, but with strings attached. In the two months after Mitch struck, with the country still knee-deep in rubble, corpses and mud, the Honduran congress initiated what the Financial Times called "speed sell-offs after the storm." It passed laws allowing the privatization of airports, seaports and highways and fast-tracked plans to privatize the state telephone company, the national electric company and parts of the water sector. It overturned land-reform laws and made it easier for foreigners to buy and sell property. It was much the same in neighboring countries: In the same two months, Guatemala announced plans to sell off its phone system, and Nicaragua did likewise, along with its electric company and its petroleum sector.

All of the privatization plans were pushed aggressively by the usual suspects. According to the Wall Street Journal, "the World Bank and International Monetary Fund had thrown their weight behind the [telecom] sale, making it a condition for release of roughly $47 million in aid annually over three years and linking it to about $4.4 billion in foreign-debt relief for Nicaragua."

Now the bank is using the December 26 tsunami to push through its cookie-cutter policies. The most devastated countries have seen almost no debt relief, and most of the World Bank's emergency aid has come in the form of loans, not grants. Rather than emphasizing the need to help the small fishing communities--more than 80 percent of the wave's victims--the bank is pushing for expansion of the tourism sector and industrial fish farms. As for the damaged public infrastructure, like roads and schools, bank documents recognize that rebuilding them "may strain public finances" and suggest that governments consider privatization (yes, they have only one idea). "For certain investments," notes the bank's tsunami-response plan, "it may be appropriate to utilize private financing."

As in other reconstruction sites, from Haiti to Iraq, tsunami relief has little to do with recovering what was lost. Although hotels and industry have already started reconstructing on the coast, in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and India, governments have passed laws preventing families from rebuilding their oceanfront homes. Hundreds of thousands of people are being forcibly relocated inland, to military style barracks in Aceh and prefab concrete boxes in Thailand. The coast is not being rebuilt as it was--dotted with fishing villages and beaches strewn with handmade nets. Instead, governments, corporations and foreign donors are teaming up to rebuild it as they would like it to be: the beaches as playgrounds for tourists, the oceans as watery mines for corporate fishing fleets, both serviced by privatized airports and
highways built on borrowed money.

In January Condoleezza Rice sparked a small controversy by describing the tsunami as "a wonderful opportunity" that "has paid great dividends for us." Many were horrified at the idea of treating a massive human tragedy as a chance to seek advantage. But, if anything, Rice was understating the case. A group calling itself Thailand Tsunami Survivors and Supporters says that for "businessmen-politicians, the tsunami was the answer to their prayers, since it literally wiped these coastal areas clean of the communities which had previously stood in the way of their plans for resorts, hotels, casinos and shrimp farms. To them, all these coastal areas are now open land!"

Disaster, it seems, is the new terra nullius.

The Nation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confronting Empire

By Arundhati Roy

I've been asked to speak about "How to confront Empire?" It's a huge question, and I have no easy answers.

When we speak of confronting "Empire," we need to identify what "Empire" means. Does it mean the U.S. Government (and its European satellites), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and multinational corporations? Or is it something more than that?

In many countries, Empire has sprouted other subsidiary heads, some dangerous byproducts -- nationalism, religious bigotry, fascism and, of course
terrorism. All these march arm in arm with the project of corporate globalization.

Let me illustrate what I mean. India - the world's biggest democracy - is currently at the forefront of the corporate globalization project. Its "market" of
one billion people is being prized open by the WTO. Corporatization and Privatization are being welcomed by the Government and the Indian elite.

It is not a coinidence that the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Disinvestment Minister - the men who signed the deal with Enron in India, the men who are selling the country's infrastructure to corporate multinationals, the men who want to privatize water, electricity, oil, coal, steel, health, education and telecommunication - are all members or admirers of the
RSS. The RSS is a right wing, ultra-nationalist Hindu guild which has openly admired Hitler and his methods.

The dismantling of democracy is proceeding with the speed and efficiency of a Structural Adjustment Program. While the project of corporate globalization
rips through people's lives in India, massive privatization, and labor "reforms" are pushing people off their land and out of their jobs. Hundreds of
impoverished farmers are committing suicide by consuming pesticide. Reports of starvation deaths are coming in from all over the country.

While the elite journeys to its imaginary destination somewhere near the top of the world, the dispossessed are spiraling downwards into crime and chaos. This climate of frustration and national disillusionment is the perfect breeding ground, history tells us, for fascism.

The two arms of the Indian Government have evolved the perfect pincer action. While one arm is busy selling
India off in chunks, the other, to divert attention, is orchestrating a howling, baying chorus of Hindu nationalism and religious fascism. It is conducting
nuclear tests, rewriting history books, burning churches, and demolishing mosques. Censorship, surveillance, the suspension of civil liberties and
human rights, the definition of who is an Indian citizen and who is not, particularly with regard to religious minorities, is becoming common practice now.

Last March, in the state of Gujarat, two thousand Muslims were butchered in a State-sponsored pogrom. Muslim women were specially targeted. They were stripped, and gang-raped, before being burned alive. Arsonists burned and looted shops, homes, textiles mills, and mosques.

More than a hundred and fifty thousand Muslims have been driven from their homes. The economic base of the Muslim community has been devastated.

While Gujarat burned, the Indian Prime Minister was on MTV promoting his new poems. In January this year, the Government that orchestrated the killing was voted back into office with a comfortable majority. Nobody has been punished for the genocide. Narendra Modi, architect of the pogrom, proud member of the RSS, has embarked on his second term as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. If he were Saddam Hussein, of course each atrocity would have been on CNN. But since he's not -- and since the Indian "market" is open to global investors -- the massacre is not even an embarrassing inconvenience.

There are more than one hundred million Muslims in India. A time bomb is ticking in our ancient land. All this to say that it is a myth that the free market
breaks down national barriers. The free market does not threaten national sovereignty, it undermines democracy.

As the disparity between the rich and the poor grows, the fight to corner resources is intensifying. To push through their "sweetheart deals," to corporatize the crops we grow, the water we drink, the air we breathe,
and the dreams we dream, corporate globalization needs an international confederation of loyal, corrupt, authoritarian governments in poorer countries to push through unpopular reforms and quell the mutinies. Corporate Globalization - or shall we call it by its name? Imperialism - needs a press that pretends to be free. It needs courts that pretend to dispense justice.

Meanwhile, the countries of the North harden their borders and stockpile weapons of mass destruction. After all they have to make sure that it's only money, goods, patents and services that are globalized. Not the free movement of people. Not a respect for human rights. Not international treaties on racial discrimination or chemical and nuclear weapons or greenhouse gas emissions or climate change, or -- god forbid -- justice.

So this -- all this -- is "empire." This loyal confederation, this obscene accumulation of power, this greatly increased distance between those who make the decisions and those who have to suffer them. Our fight, our goal, our vision of Another World must be to eliminate that distance.

So how do we resist "Empire"?

The good news is that we're not doing too badly. There have been major victories. Here in Latin America you have had so many - in Bolivia, you have Cochabamba. In Peru, there was the uprising in Arequipa, in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez is holding on, despite the U.S. government's best efforts. And the world's gaze is on the people of Argentina, who are trying to refashion a country from the ashes of the havoc wrought by the IMF.

In India the movement against corporate globalization is gathering momentum and is poised to become the only real political force to counter religious fascism. As for corporate globalization's glittering ambassadors -- Enron, Bechtel, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson -- where were they last year, and where are they now?

And of course here in Brazil we must ask …who was the president last year, and who is it now?

Still, many of us have dark moments of hopelessness and despair. We know that under the spreading canopy of the War Against Terrorism, the men in suits are hard at work.

While bombs rain down on us, and cruise missiles skid across the skies, we know that contracts are being signed, patents are being registered, oil pipelines are being laid, natural resources are being plundered, water is being privatized, and George Bush is planning to go to war against Iraq.

If we look at this conflict as a straightforward eye-ball to eye-ball confrontation between "Empire" and those of us who are resisting it, it might seem that we are losing.

But there is another way of looking at it. We, all of us gathered here, have, each in our own way, laid siege to "Empire."

We may not have stopped it in its tracks - yet - but we have stripped it down. We have made it drop its mask. We have forced it into the open. It now stands before us on the world's stage in all it's brutish, iniquitous nakedness.

Empire may well go to war, but it's out in the open now - too ugly to behold its own reflection. Too ugly even to rally its own people. It won't be long before the majority of American people become our allies.

Only a few days ago in Washington, a quarter of a million people marched against the war on Iraq. Each month, the protest is gathering momentum.

Before September 11th 2001 America had a secret history. Secret especially from its own people. But now America's secrets are history, and its history is
public knowledge. It's street talk.

Today, we know that every argument that is being used to escalate the war against Iraq is a lie. The most ludicrous of them being the U.S. Government's deep commitment to bring democracy to Iraq.

Killing people to save them from dictatorship or ideological corruption is, of course, an old U.S. government sport. Here in Latin America, you know
that better than most.

Nobody doubts that Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator, a murderer (whose worst excesses were supported by the governments of the United States and Great Britain). There's no doubt that Iraqis would be better off without him.

But, then, the whole world would be better off without a certain Mr. Bush. In fact, he is far more dangerous than Saddam Hussein.

So, should we bomb Bush out of the White House? It's more than clear that Bush is determined to go to war against Iraq, regardless of the facts - and
regardless of international public opinion.

In its recruitment drive for allies, The United States is prepared to invent facts.

The charade with weapons inspectors is the U.S. government's offensive, insulting concession to some twisted form of international etiquette. It's like leaving the "doggie door" open for last minute "allies" or maybe the United Nations to crawl through.

But for all intents and purposes, the New War against Iraq has begun.

What can we do?

We can hone our memory, we can learn from our history.

We can continue to build public opinion until it becomes a deafening roar.

We can turn the war on Iraq into a fishbowl of the U.S. government's excesses.

We can expose George Bush and Tony Blair - and their allies - for the cowardly baby killers, water poisoners, and pusillanimous long-distance bombers that they are.

We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different ways. In other words, we can come up with a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.

When George Bush says "you're either with us, or you are with the terrorists" we can say "No thank you." We can let him know that the people of the world do not need to choose between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs.

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our
literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness - and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones
we're being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling - their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of
inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

Arundhati Roy
Porto Alegre, Brazil
January 27, 2003

Z-Net      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eye on the Contractor's Ball

By Jamie "Bork" Loughner
1/9/03

Government contracts are as inevitable as taxes. They are routinely awarded to companies, large and small. Unless we are investing, or work at a company directly affected, we rarely take note. It happens every few days. But perhaps we should devote more attention to government contracts, particularly defense contracts, given the post-9-11 increase in the defense budget; the military arms support of Israel, the intention of the United States government to enter into yet another war, and the subsequent monetary bolstering of the military industrial complex to the detriment of domestic programs. The 2003 defense budget is $379.3 billion for the Department of Defense, a $46 billion defense budget increase for 2003. This comes on top of a combined $45 billion increase in the annual budget from 2000 to 2002, and will be followed by a further increase of $75 billion after 2003. Even factoring out the effects of the war, homeland security and inflation, if all goes according to current Bush plans the annual defense budget would still grow by a staggering $100 billion between 2000 and 2007.

Therefore, it is no surprise, given the current emphasis on our military
budget, that many of the largest military industrial complex corporations are among the local companies that had contacts awarded since Jan 1st, 2003 by the US government. We shouldn't be surprised by how many have headquarters in DC or local production plants. But we should be aware. And we should act on it.

As of Jan 6th, Lockheed Martin's Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems of Manassas won a $69.96 million contract from the Naval Sea Systems Command for the Acoustics Rapid Commercial Off-the-Shelf Insertion sonar system. Not an unexpected contract, given Lockheed Martin’s close ties and long history with the Navy as whole. After all, Gordon England, former president of Lockheed Martin, is the current Secretary of the Navy.

Information Systems Support of Gaithersburg won a $66.8 million contract from the General Services Administration for information and biometric security technology support to the Army Communications Security Logistics Activity at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. BAE Systems Applied Technologies of Rockville won a $28.8 million contract from the Naval Air Warfare Center's Aircraft Division for technical and engineering services of shipboard communication systems.

System Resources Inc. of Fairfax won a $28.14 million contract from the Naval Sea Systems Command for development of the Tactical Control System. With options, that contract is worth up to $169.06 million.

BMH Associates Inc. of Norfolk won a contract with an estimated value of $17.95 million from the Navy Warfare Development Command and the Joint Forces Command Joint Experimentation Directorate for an unspecified top-secret research project. TRW Systems of Fairfax won a $16.35 million contract modification, from the Air Force Research Laboratory for investigation of the lethality of high power microwave devices on target systems. Anteon International Corp. of Fairfax won task orders valued at $13.7 million from the Air Force Warfare Center, for support services.

Raytheon Technical Services Co. of Norfolk won a $12.59 million contract from the Naval Inventory Control Point for repair parts. BAE Systems Applied Technologies Inc. of Rockville won a contract modification with an estimated value of $11.76 million from the Naval Air Warfare Center-Aircraft Division for technical and engineering services.

Kollmorgen Corp. of Radford,Va., won an $11.01 million contract from the Defense Supply Center for toquer assemblies used in the repair of the
gyroscopic accelerometer used in the Minuteman III Guidance System by the Air Force. DDL OMNI Engineering LLC of McLean won a $5.32 million contract modification from the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock Division for an additional 80,000 hours of engineering and technical support services for submarine and surface ship programs in the area of ship signatures and non-propulsion electronic systems.

Finally, Hicks & Associates Inc. of McLean won a $3.6 million increment to a $19.3 million agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for feasibility and development of a prototype system for early warning and decision-making, including the integration of previously developed technologies into the Total Information Awareness system.

Looking at these companies, a few names and even locations clearly merit
closer attention. First, The BMH Associates contract for an unspecified
top-secret research project. Not only is the contract top secret, apparently so is the company. After a Internet search, about the only information found other then "that site is unavailable" was one with a brief bio of BMH's president, Edward P. Harvey, Jr. It says that BMH is a Virginia-based simulation systems engineering and software development company. Harvey is the Systems Engineer and Integrator for the ONR Warfighting Concepts for Future Platform Acquisition (WARCON), Virtual At Sea Training (VAST), and Virtual Training Environment (VIRTE) programs. Very mysterious.

Secondly, note the contract awarded to Kollmorgen Corp. Not only is the contract an upgrade to the Minuteman nuclear missile, but it is awarded to a corporation based in Radford, Virginia. Kollmorgen designs sensor and weapon systems for submarines, surface ships, combat vehicles, and other defense platforms such as nuclear weapons. It performs much of its development and manufacturing work in a small, seemingly idyllic Virginian town called Radford, which is located in the heart of Virginia's New River Valley near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the New River. Also located in Radford are several other arms manufactures including General Dynamics and Alliant Techsystems.

In investigating Radford, pop.15,859, I have found it to be a disturbing
local town, as many of its major employers are weapons manufacturers linked to those weapons most horrific to civilian populations. Nuclear weapon components and landmines. Not to mention the extensive ammunition manufacture from a federally subsidized plant of Alliant Techsystems based in Radford. The town officials boast that “There have been no work stoppages in the last 10 years,” that it is in an area of outstanding beauty, and that it was named one of the 50 "Best Places to Live," with one of the top 100 rated school districts in the nation. They decline however to mention the Oct 27, 2002 protests held in Radford in connection with the International Day of Protest against War.

One of the five largest defense contractors, Alliant Techsystems, is the
largest supplier of ammunition, cluster bombs, tank and missile propulsion,
armor-piercing incendiaries, and structures for the missile and aircraft
systems for the US military. It is also the largest US manufacturer of
landmines. More than 26,000 people are injured, maimed or killed in landmine incidents each year. Most of the victims are civilians, often women and children, and nearly all these incidents occur after fighting has ended in the area where the mines were laid. This large Radford employer and maker of gunpowder, smart bombs, and rocket propulsion systems makes money every time one of their products explodes, maims or kills--turning a $1.8 billion annual profit off of war. It produces ammunition for both military and sports rifles. Alliant Techsystems was also recently awarded a defense contract [Dec. 10, 2002], $9,873,762 for granular missile propellant to be delivered by October 2003.

And finally, two of the Jan 6th contracts went to two companies that are
among the five largest in the military industrial complex. These are not just US “defense” contractors but also international arms dealers. Selling with equal eagerness to the US and other countries including third world dictatorships. They are Raytheon, famous for its munitions damage of Vieques, and Lockheed Martin – a nuclear arms manufacturer with sales surpassing $26 billion in 2002,and both corporations deserve more detailed examination.

Raytheon

Based in Lexington, Mass., Raytheon is a global technology leader in
“Defense”, government and commercial electronics, and business and special mission aircraft. Raytheon, the third-largest weapons manufacturer in the United States is best known for its Tomahawk cruise missile, the preferred method for getting any war party started. Just one of its various missile products--the Tomahawk missile--costs its many customers $2 million each. The company manufactures Patriot and Hawk missiles. Raytheon owns Hughes Aircraft and the defense division of Texas Instruments - companies that make many of the weapons most commonly used in recent US military strikes. Additionally it makes the Paveway series of laser-guided bombs, which are used widely in Afghanistan, and the infamous 5,000-pound GBU-28 "Bunker Buster" bomb.

In addition to its Raytheon Technical Services Norfolk plant where the Jan
6th contract will be fulfilled, Raytheon announced in December its
acquisition of the Solipsys Corporation, which is based in Laurel, MD, adding to its local military industrial complex holdings. Solipsys is a privately held software company specializing in Department of Defense integration software used in missile defense, intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance, precision strike and homeland security.

Raytheon’s lobbying expenditures are extensive with $2,320,000 in 2000. It’s direct campaign contributions in 2001/2002 were $824,406 with the largest targeted contribution of over $35,000 to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who sits on the Armed Services Committee. It gives targeted contributions to Bob Stump (R-AZ) and Ike Skelton (D-MO). Raytheon’s political connections within the US government include several high level officials, such as Richard Armitage, who is both Deputy Secretary of State, and president and partner in Armitage Assoc. LLP, a Raytheon consultant corporation. Another connection is Sean O'Keefe, the Deputy Director of Office of Management and Budget for the
federal government and Raytheon Strategy advisory board member.

Peace activists have targeted many of Raytheon’s offices and production
facilities over the more then 60 years it has been in business, but in recent
years they have been most visible at its Andover, Mass. plant (which
manufactures circuit boards for Tomahawk and Patriot missiles.) The vocal opposition to Raytheon in Andover is led by New Hampshire Peace Action. On March 3, 2002, seven activists were arrested at Raytheon's plant in Andover, Mass., after they threw human blood on the company's sign and attempted to walk on Raytheon property. In May of 1999, 6 protesters, all members of the Bread and Roses Affinity Group, were jailed for over a month in maximum security prison for blockading a driveway with an unfurled banner that read "Raytheon Closed for Disarmament." In October of 1998, eleven were arrested while attempting to walk onto private Raytheon property to conduct a citizens' weapons inspection of the Raytheon plant, because “Tomahawk and Patriot missiles were [and are] being used in Iraq to kill non-combatant citizens. If these weapons were being manufactured at the Andover plant, then Raytheon was in violation of international law.”

Lockheed Martin

Headquartered on its Rockledge Drive complex in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is the largest war contractor in the world, as well as the US’s largest international arms seller, and the U.S. government's chief nuclear weapons contractor. It produces the C-130, F-117, and the Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft, the AGM-142, the Hellfire Missile, and the Advanced Unitary Penetrator Bomb & BLU-109 Warhead. Martin is also the leading provider of air traffic automation systems to the FAA and civil aviation agencies worldwide. After war contracts, Lockheed Martin's other significant and growing business is for profit privatization of the state welfare departments and prisons. Those of us with longer memories may remember Lockheed Martin as the corporation whose federally financed $250 million bailout in the '70s and early '80s prompted former Senator William Proxmire to first coin the phrase "corporate welfare."

Lockheed Martin is the industry leader in lobbying expenditures [2000
Lobbyist Spending $9,740,000], campaign contributions [2001/2002 $1,678,098], and it has high-level connections within the US government. Its connections include: Lynn Cheney, wife of the Vice President/Director of Lockheed Martin; Stephen Hadley, White House; Deputy National Security Adviser/Partner at Shea and Gardner, a law firm representing Lockheed Martin; Peter B. Teets, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force/Former CEO of LM; Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy/Former President of LM; Everet Beckner, Administrator
for Defense Programs/Former Vice President f LM; and Norman Mineta,
Transportation Secretary/Former Vice President of LM and major shareholder. Lockheed Martin made significant campaign contribution to House representatives Bob Stump (R-AZ), Ike Skelton (D-MO), John Murtha (D-PA), and Senators John Warner (R-VA), Wayne Allard (R-CO) of the Armed Services Committee, and Ted Stevens (R-AK) of the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. With money from both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon [and others, including the other 3 of the 5 largest US arms dealers], these guys Stump and Skelton must just be popular with the defense contractor crowd.

Lockheed Martin has had an extensive involvement in city and state programs such as welfare to work, parking enforcement, traffic cameras, prison administration and tracking, toll collection and tracking of child support payments. For this last service, Lockheed Martin makes 15 to 29 cents on every dollar they recover. They were central to the development and administration of the EZ Pass toll systems throughout the United States. And when the Washington, DC traffic enforcement system was privatized, guess who got the contract? A Lockheed Martin subsidiary.

Lockheed Martin produces its notorious nuclear missiles in Valley Forge,
Penn. It manages the Oak Ridge, Tenn. uranium processing complex (including depleted uranium ammunition) and other parts of the national nuclear bomb component, waste, and maintenance complex. In Moorestown, New Jersey, it produces the Aegis battle command system around which the Navy produces its fleet of Aegis cruisers and destroyers. The US Navy considers Aegis "the most powerful warfighting system today". Most of the sea launched cruise missiles fired into Iraq, or as part of the U.S./NATO war in the Balkans, came from Aegis warships.

Each of these Lockheed Martin sites (and many others around the world) has experienced strong continuing resistance from the peace movements. But further accelerated protest attention needs to be directed towards Lockheed Martin given the US’s current wars (Afghanistan, Palestine, and soon to be Iraq), inflated defense budget and threat of perpetual war “on terror” which may include war on as many as 64 countries.

Among the more famous protest campaigns against the company is the July 18, 2001, Russian peace action camp reported by Indymedia. The social ecological movement Rainbow Keepers and local activists from city of Votkinsk organized the campaign to fight the construction of a plant for missile fuel near Votkinsk, a city with over 100,000 inhabitants. A well known upcoming protest is the January 18, 2003, Martin Luther King Day Weapon Inspection, that is part of an ongoing campaign for compliance with the World Court’s 1996 decision regarding nuclear weapons. When 40 people organized by the Brandywine Peace Community attempted the Citizens Disarmament Inspection of three Lockheed Martin facilities at their Valley Forge Complex, 15 people
were arrested for criminal trespass, because of their insistence on the
Inspection and refusal to leave until they are allowed to inspect. Brandywine continues its protests this year with Martin Luther King Day Nonviolent Direct Action & Peace Blockade, taking place in Valley Forge, Penn. at Noon, Monday, January 20, 2003, at Lockheed Martin,. Additionally Lockheed Martin has been strongly rejected by student coalitions on US campuses for its recruiting efforts, its “gift-giving,” and because of university investments in Lockheed Martin stock.

It is important for us to examine the US military contacts and the
mega-corporations that profit from them. Thanks to the increase in militarism around the world, these defense contractors are the among the few companies posting higher profits than last year. Corporations like Lockheed Martin and the rest, profit from the militarization of the United States, Israel, and other countries. They sell arms to repressive third-world countries, have contracts to design nuclear warheads, and produce land mines and cluster bombs that are so deadly to civilian populations. They are part of an effort to maintain US political and economic dominance, creating greater global stratification into "haves" and "have-nots."

Those of us who oppose these ends must maintain our awareness of what these companies are doing so that we may better oppose them. We must be relentless in our opposition to them and committed to the dismantling of their business. Above all, we must use creative tactics. We need to financially damage these corporations and hurt their efficiency. We must call for divestment of their stocks, attempt weapons inspections, resist their recruitment efforts at colleges and job fairs, encourage their workers to do walkouts, slowdowns, and monkey-wrenching, and we must sit in their offices and those of their suppliers and blockade and occupy their production plants. But to accomplish all that, we must be aware of who they are, where they are located, to whom they are connected, and what they are currently doing. We would do well to remember Utah Phillip's rallying cry: "The Earth is not dying - it is being killed. And the people who are killing it have names and addresses."

maydaydc.mahost.org

 

2 U.S. space giants accused of aiding China

Hughes, Boeing allegedly gave away missile technology illegally

John Mintz,Washington Post
Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Washington -- The State Department has charged that two of the country's largest aerospace companies, Hughes Electronics Corp. and Boeing Satellite Systems, illegally transferred sensitive U.S. space technology to China in the 1990s that could have helped Beijing's military develop intercontinental missiles.

If a federal administrative judge and later a top State Department official agree with the allegations set out in a 32-page State Department "charging letter" filed without public notice last Thursday, the companies could be fined up to $60 million and be barred for three years from selling controlled technologies overseas, a penalty that could particularly hurt Boeing.

The companies have denied any wrongdoing in the case, which harkens to a series of failed space launches in China starting in 1995. Hughes officials are alleged to have given Chinese space experts highly detailed information about rocketry in an effort to help China's space program figure out why its rockets were failing soon after launch.

Hughes Electronics' space launch division, the entity that committed the supposed improprieties, was purchased by the Boeing Co. in 2000 for $3.7 billion. The two corporate bodies charged by the State Department last week are the Hughes parent company and the division of Boeing that gobbled up the former Hughes space launch unit.

This type of administrative charge is extraordinarily rare, U.S. officials said. The filing reflects State Department officials' anger that the two firms have aggressively battled the charges and resisted admitting what they did in China was wrong, they added.

"We don't believe we've done anything wrong," said Hughes Electronics spokesman Robert Marsocci. "We're in negotiations with the State Department, and we'll be reviewing our options." A Boeing spokesman, Dan Beck, said the company declined comment.

The Justice Department spent years on a criminal investigation of the companies and a third one involved in similar activity in China, Loral Space & Communications. But several months ago, federal prosecutors informed the firms that they would not file any criminal charges.

Last January, Loral laid to rest the allegations against it by agreeing with the State Department to pay a $14 million fine and to spend $6 million on internal reforms dedicated to stopping overseas technology transfer.

The charging document said Hughes and Boeing had committed 123 violations of the Arms Export Control Act or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

"The department has had several rounds of discussion with Hughes and Boeing to explore a resolution similar to the one with Loral," said State Department spokesman Jay Greer. "We can note that unlike Loral, Hughes and Boeing have both failed to recognize the seriousness of the violations and have been unprepared to take steps to resolve the matter, or to ensure no recurrence of violations in the future."

Hughes and Boeing for years have insisted that the State Department is wrong as a legal matter to declare it improper for them to have had discussions with Chinese officials about the space launch failures.

The firms point out that during the mid-1990s, their operations in China were covered by regulations imposed by the Commerce Department that were more lax and, the companies say, allowed for some give and take with Beijing officials. The State Department says that more stringent export control laws still were in force, and that the companies broke them.

In the wake of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986, President Ronald Reagan decided in 1988 that U.S. space companies should be allowed to launch their satellites aboard China's Long March rockets to accommodate the fast-growing American telecommunications business.

But the U.S. firms were strictly barred from giving the Chinese any help on their launches without U.S. licenses and supervision by Pentagon inspectors. The U.S. government's fear was that the Chinese could use American know-how on the Long March commercial rocket launches to help the performance of Beijing's nuclear-tipped missiles.

The problem was that China's space officials were extremely aggressive in demanding that the American companies provide "technology transfer" as a condition for entry into the desirable Chinese market. The issue came to a head each time a Long March rocket crashed or failed in some other way, because that led global insurance companies to demand in-depth probes into the technical causes of the glitches. American firms came under pressure to share insights with the Chinese.

If it is found liable in the case, Boeing could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in overseas sales of satellites and in other foreign space business, officials said.

San Francisco Chronicle

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Top-secret Iraq Report Reveals U.S. Corporations, Gov't Agencies and Nuclear Labs Helped Illegally Arm Iraq

Democracy Now
December 18, 2002

Hewlett Packard, Dupont, Honeywell and other major U.S. corporations, as well as governmental agencies including the Department of Defense and thenation’s nuclear labs, all illegally helped Iraq to build its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs.

On Wednesday, December 18, Geneva-based reporter Andreas Zumach broke the story on the US national listener-sponsored radio and television show “Democracy Now!” Zumach’s Berlin-based paper Die Tageszeitung plans to soon publish a full list of companies and nations who have aided Iraq. The paper first reported on Tuesday that German and U.S. companies had extensive ties to Iraq but didn’t list names.

Zumach obtained top-secret portions of Iraq’s 12,000-page weapons declaration that the US had redacted from the version made available to the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Key Links:
Listen to Democracy Now!'s December 18 interview w/ Zumach
Read translated copies of Zumach's articles
Read complete list of U.S. and other foreign corporations
Die Tageszeitung

“We have 24 major U.S. companies listed in the report who gave very substantial support especially to the biological weapons program but also to the missile and nuclear weapons program,” Zumach said. “Pretty much everything was illegal in the case of nuclear and biological weapons. Every form of cooperation and supplies… was outlawed in the 1970s.”

The list of U.S. corporations listed in Iraq's report include Hewlett Packard, DuPont, Honeywell, Rockwell, Tectronics, Bechtel, International Computer Systems, Unisys, Sperry and TI Coating.

Zumach also said the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce, and Agriculture quietly helped arm Iraq. U.S. government nuclear weapons laboratories Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia trained traveling Iraqi nuclear scientists and gave non-fissile material for construction of a nuclear bomb.

“There has never been this kind of comprehensive layout and listing like we have now in the Iraqi report to the Security Council so this is quite new and this is especially new for the U.S. involvement, which has been even more suppressed in the public domain and the U.S. population,” Zumach said.

The names of companies were supposed to be top secret. Two weeks ago Iraq provided two copies of its full 12,000-page report, one to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Geneva, and one to the United Nations in New York. Zumach said the U.S. broke an agreement of the Security Council and blackmailed Colombia, which at the time was presiding over the Council, to take possession of the UN’s only copy. The U.S. then proceeded to make copies of the report for the other four permanent Security Council nations, Britain, France, Russia and China. Only yesterday did the remaining members of the Security Council receive their copies. By then, all references to foreign companies had been removed.

According to Zumach, only Germany had more business ties to Iraq than the U.S. As many as 80 German companies are also listed in Iraq’s report. The paper reported that some German companies continued to do business with Iraq until last year.

Democracy Now

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List of 24 U.S. companies which illegally armed Iraq

A - nuclear       K - chemical       B - biological        R - rockets (missiles)

1 Honeywell (R, K)
2 Spectra Physics (K)
3 Semetex (R)
4 TI Coating (A, K)
5 Unisys (A, K)
6 Sperry Corp. (R, K)
7 Tektronix (R, A)
8 Rockwell (K)
9 Leybold Vacuum Systems (A)
10 Finnigan-MAT-US (A)
11 Hewlett-Packard (A, R, K)
12 Dupont (A)
13 Eastman Kodak (R)
14 American Type Culture Collection (B)
15 Alcolac International (C)
16 Consarc (A)
17 Carl Zeiss - U.S (K)
18 Cerberus (LTD) (A)
19 Electronic Associates (R)
20 International Computer Systems (A, R, K)
21 Bechtel (K)
22 EZ Logic Data Systems, Inc. (R)
23 Canberra Industries Inc. (A)
24 Axel Electronics Inc. (A)

Die Tageszeitung

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Following are contact info for some of the companies.
If you have others, please
contact us

CALIFORNIA

Spectra Physics (lasers)
1335 Terra Bella Avenue
Post Office Box 7013
Mountain View, CA 94039
Main Telephone: 650-961-2550
Fax: 650-968-5215
1-800-775-5273
sales@splasers.com

Hewlett-Packard
3000 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1185
Phone: (650) 857-1501
Fax: (650) 857-5518

Axel Electronics Inc.
Subsidiary of FPBSM Industries, Inc.
19060 Dominquez Hills Drive
Rancho Dominquez, CA 90220
Tel: 310-884-5200
Fax: 310-635-1956

Bechtel
50 Beale Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
Tel: 415-768-1000
rbechtel@bechtel.com
news@bechtel.com

CONNECTICUT

Canberra Industries Inc.
800 Research Parkway
Meriden, CT 06450
(203) 238-2351
Fax: (203) 235-1347
1-800-243-3955

DELAWARE

Dupont
1007 Market Street
Wilmington, DE 19898
1-800-441-7515
info@dupont.com

MARYLAND

Alcolac International
(chief mustard gas supplier to Iraq)
Baltimore, MD

MICHIGAN

TI Coating (aerospace)
50500 Corporate Dr.
Utica, Michigan 48315
(close to Port Huron)
(810) 726-1900
(810) 726-1735 Fax
(810) 726-1431 Customer Service

NEW JERSEY

Honeywell (aerospace)
101 Columbia Road
Morristown, NJ 07962
Phone: (973) 455-2000
Fax: (973) 455-4807
1-800-421-2133

CONSARC Corporation
100 Indel Avenue
Rancocas, N.J. 08073
Phone: (609) 267-8000
Fax: (609) 267-1366

Electronic Associates
185 Monmouth Parkway
West Long Branch, N.J

NEW YORK

Eastman Kodak
Rochester, NY

OREGON

Tektronix, Inc
14200 SW Karl Braun Drive
PO Box 500
Beaverton, OR 97077
1-800-835-9433


PENNSYLVANIA

Leybold Vacuum Systems
5700 Mellon Rd.
Export, PA 15632-8900
Tel: 800-433-4021
Fax: 724-733-1217
reachus@leyboldvac.de

Unisys
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19424
(Sperry Corporation merged with Burroughs Corporation to form Unisys)

TEXAS

EZ Logic Data Systems, Inc.
Dallas, TX

VIRGINIA

Carl Zeiss ? US
Chester, VA

American Type Culture Collection
(supplied Anthrax cultures to Iraq)
P.O. Box 1549
Manassas, VA 20108
(703) 365-2700
1-800-638-6597

WISCONSIN

Rockwell Automation Corporate Headquarters
US Bank Center
777 East Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 1400
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202 USA
Tel: 414.212.5200

OTHER/UNAVAILABLE

Semetex
Cannot find headquarters

Finnigan-MAT
Based in Germany, US field offices available at www.finnigan.de/contact/contct_frame.htm/b>

Cerberus (LTD)
Cannot find headquarters

International Computer Systems
There are dozens of International Computer Systems corporate entities

________________________________________
AA-antiwar@lists.mutualaid.org
http://lists.mutualaid.org/mailman/listinfo/aa-antiwar

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A similar list dated 1992 has many of the same names
(and dollar values), but also some different ones as well:
http://www.iraqwatch.org/suppliers/chipbychip.html

The www.iraqwatch.org website has a search feature
that gets you the details, for example:

Dupont ( a company that is likely to have a major plant
in Contra Costa Co ) gets you this detail:
Sold $30,000 worth of nuclear-grade fluorinated
Krytox vacuum pump oil used in the Iraqi centrifuge
program, to the State Company for Oil Products;
license was for $130,000 worth of oil.

As for International Computer Systems (Still no address) :
1988 to 1990: Licensed by the U.S. to sell $3,450,000
worth of computers to the Ministry of Industry and
Military Industrialization (MIMI) (generally responsible
for Iraq's nuclear, missile and chemical weapon programs;
and for Al Atheer, Iraq's nuclear weapon design and research
center).
1989: Licensed by the U.S. to sell $48,000 worth of
computers to the Ministry of Defense.

Check also www.indymedia.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

War and corporations

a brief primer

Corporate Watch
Newsletter Issue 11 December-January 2002-2003 Corporations and War Special

As the military machine gears up for another war it seems worth
taking a closer look at the links between business and conflict.
Corporations were born out of the wars of colonisation and today
the relationship between military expansion and companies remains.

Corporations - a bloody birth

The first corporate charters were awarded by governments in the
16th century. Essentially corporations were private extensions of
states which enabled thte parent country to exploit trading
opportunities obtained by conquest and to deal with competition from
other colonial powers and indigenous people. For example, from the
17th century onwards the East India Company was Britain’s main tool
in the conquest and subsequent exploitation of India; the company
hired its own army to gradually conquer India, opening up natural
resources for exploitation and obtaining captive markets for British
manufactured goods.

More bombs are good for business

The outbreak of the Second World War paradoxically rescued many
countries from the great depression of the 1930s. Between 1942 and
1945, the US economy grew by an annual average of 7.7 per cent -
more than any other time that century. Growth during war is a product
of increased government spending on infrastructure and arms, leading
to increases in production and workforce. Though the effect may be
short term - wars risk burdening a nation with inflation and debt
- military success can bring economic dominance in the long term,
as can be seen with the US after WWII.

Arming for war

Political instability and military threat lead to increased military
spending by governments, ultimately benefiting their defence companies.
The annual ‘defence’ budget for the USA will hit $396bn (£249bn) in
2003; that of the UK will hit £35bn. Instability also leads to
increased orders from around the world as governments arm in
anticipation of war.

As war becomes increasingly technical, electronics corporations have
begun to diversify into defence contracts. The 2000 list of the 100
biggest arms companies included names more familiar from consumer
electronics such as Mitsubishi Electric, Sagem, NEC, Toshiba and
Motorola.

The McArmy is on its way

Military spending is the direct link between war and corporations but
the relationship does not end there. As US Defense Secretary William
Cohen put it prior to a speech at Microsoft Corporation in 1999. ‘The
prosperity that companies like Microsoft now enjoy could not occur
without having the strong military we now have.’

When a hostile government is toppled and one more favourable to US
and neoliberal policies installed, it creates a range of money-making
opportunites for corporations. Often natural resources are the first
target. Increasingly multinationals seek to gain control of resources
such as deposits of ores and precious stones, forests for logging and
oil reserves during times of instability; for example through bribes
to local governments or rebel forces.

A recent report from the World Watch Institute showed how wars over
natural resources like coltan - a mineral that keeps mobile phones
and other electronic equipment functioning - diamonds, timber and
other rare materials have killed or displaced more than 20 million
people and are raising at least $12bn (£7.6bn) a year for guerrillas,
warlords and repressive governments around the world. As the report’s
author Michael Renner comented, ‘People are dying every day because
consumer societies import and use materials irrespective of where
they originate’.1

But globalisation now means poor countries weakened by war have much
more to offer than natural resources. A low wage economy without
adequate workers’ rights is the ideal site for multinationals to
manufacture goods for export back to the West. A country also offers
millions of potential consumers. After the troops have left, the
marketeers from Coke and Pepsi move in to claim their share of the
spoils.

Neoliberalism - like it or lump it!

Ultimately as JW Smith has pointed out; ‘It is the military power
of the more developed countries that permits them to dictate the
terms of trade and maintain unequal relationships.’ The US under
the guise of the WTO or IMF can back up their trade agreements
and rulings with fines and sanctions, but ultimately it is military
force which underwrites them. Often the timing of military exercises
and the location of the US fleet are used to intimidate certain
countries into toeing the line.

Military power is also needed to deal with the inequities of
globalisation. As General AM Gray, former commandant of the US
Marine Corps, pointed out as long ago as 1990, threats to the US
will originate from the, ‘underdeveloped world’s growing
dissatisfaction over the gap between rich and poor nations,’
jeopardising ‘our access to vital economic and military sources.’
So events such as the attacks of September 11th fall into a wider
pattern. Neoliberal policies, propagated through corporations,
backed up through military power, lead to an inevitable backlash
and consequent increase in military activity. Meanwhile, as one
US foreign exchange analyst commented, ‘The stronger the US
retaliation for 11 September, the larger the jump in the value of
the dollar will be.’

Blood on everyone’s hands

The implication of these connections is quite shocking – if our
economic system relies on and feeds off war and violence, not only
the corporations but all Westerners, as material beneficiaries of
that system, are complicit in the bloodshed. The Kuwaiti oil we
burn, the Angolan diamonds we buy for our fiancées, the Congolese
coltan in our mobile phones, bought from a company that also makes
military electronics – all implicate us in the violence that
underpins corporate capitalism. Only by recognising these connections
and attacking indiscriminate consumption as well as the corporations
that feed it, can we follow through to attack the roots of war.

~~~~~~~~~~

Reference
1 Coltan etc http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/paper/162/press.htm

Corporate Watch

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Private Power Partnerships

CorporateWatch
Newsletter Issue 11 December-January 2002-2003 Corporations and War Special

It has all the makings of a Tom Clancy bestseller. The government plans to sell a stake in its top-secret defence laboratories – currently working on technology to enable people to live on the moon (anyone remember Ben Elton’s Stark?). The buyer? – a shadowy American organisation, with ex-presidents and prime ministers as special advisors, that has invested millions of dollars for the Bin Laden family and Saudi royalty.1

The deal, announced on 5th December, involves the US based private equity firm the Carlyle Group acquiring a 33.8% stake in the MoD owned research organisation QinetiQ, and is likely to send conspiracy theorists the world over wild. The Carlyle Group has already been accused of exerting undue influence over defence policy in the US. The group’s involvement in defence research in the UK raises an array of questions concerning potential conflicts of interest and the ever increasing influence that the US is exerting over UK defence policy.

The QinetiQ company was formed in July 2001 from the greater part of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), as part of the MoD’s plan to partially privatise the industry (something even the Tories didn’t think of trying). The company included the bulk of the MoD’s non-nuclear research, technology, and test and evaluation establishments.

Although the MoD originally intended to float the company on the stock exchange, market conditions led them to instead seek a public-private partnership (PPP). The MoD will receive between £140-150 million for the transaction and plans to sell its entire stake in QinetiQ within 3-5 years, probably through stock market flotation.

The Carlyle Group is certainly extremely well connected. It is one of the world’s largest venture capital groups and is chaired by former US Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci. The numerous former politicians on its payroll include George Bush Sr and his former Secretary of State James Baker; John Major; former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission Arthur Levitt; the former Philippines President Fidel Ramos; and the former Thai Premier Anand Panyarachun. Carlyle’s headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, midway between the White House and the Capitol Building, reflect the group’s position at the very heart of the Washington establishment.

The group was formed in 1987 by a small group of executives including David Rubenstein, a former Jimmy Carter aide. Since then the group has faired exceedingly well and currently manages funds of more than $13.9 billion. Investors have included George Soros, members of the Saudi royal family and the wealthy Saudi Bin Laden family, who insist that they long ago severed all links with their notorious relative, but nevertheless withdrew their investment at the request of Carlyle in the wake of September 11. 2

Despite defence only constituting 7% of the group’s investment, in 2001 Carlyle was the 11th largest defence contractor to the US Department of Defence (DoD). Last year George W’s administration faced questioning over its support for the Crusader Advanced Field Artillery System, a $12 billion weapons program being built by United Defence Industries (UDI), owned by Carlyle. In September 2001, the US Army signed a $665 million contract to develop the system and in January 2002 George W signed a defence appropriation bill which included $487 million for the program. This was despite the Pentagon National Defence Panel rejecting the program as inappropriate for modern warfare as far back as 1997. The deal allowed Carlyle to float UDI on the stock exchange. The timing of the float – a couple of months after September 11th – drew criticism that the group was cashing in on terrorism.

As concerns about the links between the White House and the Carlyle Group continued to grow, George Bush Sr (who reportedly has an equity stake in Carlyle) and his relationship with the group also came under scrutiny. ‘Bush has to seriously consider the propriety of sitting on the board of a group that is impacted by his son’s decisions’ argued the Center for Public Integrity.3

Unsurprisingly, George W also has historical links to Carlyle. In 1990, he was appointed to the board of a Carlyle-owned airline food business called Caterair, which the group eventually sold at a loss. After he became Governer of Texas, he was responsible for appointing several members of the board controlling the investment of Texas teachers’ pension funds. A few years later the board decided to invest $100 million of public money in (you guessed it!) – Carlyle.4

Critics are concerned at the degree of insider influence Carlyle executives may exert: Peter Eisner, managing director of the Center for Public Integrity, argues, ‘It should be a deep cause for concern that that a closely held company like Carlyle can simultaneously have directors and advisors that are doing business and making money and also advising the president of the United States…The problem comes when private business and public policy blend together. What hat is former president Bush wearing when he tells Crown Prince Abdullah not to worry about US policy in the Middle East? … It’s a kitchen cabinet situation, and the informality involved is precisely a mark of Carlyle’s success.’5

The announcement that Carlyle would be acquiring a stake in QinetiQ immediately raised concerns that national defence research may be subjected to increasing influence from overseas interests, notably the US arms lobby. Fiona Draper from the trade union Prospect, which represents scientists at QinetiQ, pointed out that ‘in the past at least, they have had investors from ‘interesting’ parts of the world, shall we say’ she also asserted that ‘given Carlyle’s fairly opaque structure, there must be concerns over whether undue influence may be brought to bear that may not be in Britain’s interest.’ There also concerns that QinetiQ, which acts as an independent advisor to the government on defence, should not be allowed to judge any tendering involving companies in which Carlyle has money invested.6

The government has tried to allay these fears, arguing that ‘there will be robust safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest.’7 Just like there are in the US, no doubt.

~~~~~~~~~

References
1 Doward, J. (2002) For sale to the highest bidder: Britain’s secret weapons labs, The Observer, 15/9/02 http://education.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4501260,00.html ; Parkins, K. (2002) The Al-QinetQ Network, available from keithpp@hotmail.com .
2 ibid; Carlyle Group website: www.thecarlylegroup.com ; Hoovers (2002) The Carlyle Group: Company Capsule, www.hoovers.com/premium/profile/6/0,2147,42166,00.html
3 Doward, J. (2002) For sale to the highest bidder: Britain’s secret weapons labs, The Observer, 15/9/02 http://education.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4501260,00.html ; www.bushnews.com/bushmoney.htm
4 Burkeman, O. & Borger, J. (2001) The ex-presidents’ club, The Guardian, 31/10/01.
5 Ibid.
6 Pank, P. and agencies (2002) MoD rejects fears over defence sell-off, The Guardian, 5/9/02; Doward, J. (2002) For sale to the highest bidder: Britain’s secret weapons labs, The Observer, 15/9/02 http://education.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4501260,00.html
7 BBC (2002) US firm buys stake in UK defence labs, 5/12/02, http://news.bbc.co.uk/l/low/business/254683.stm

Corporate Watc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LITTLE U.S.-IRAQI HISTORY

U.S. connection in weapons of mass destruction *

Robert Novak
9/26/02

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. Robert Byrd, a master at hectoring executive branch witnesses, asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a provocative question last week: Did the United States help Saddam Hussein produce weapons of biological warfare? Rumsfeld brushed off the Senate's 84-year-old president pro tem like a Pentagon reporter. But a paper trail indicates Rumsfeld should have answered yes.

An eight-year-old Senate report confirms that disease-producing and poisonous materials were exported, under U.S. government license, to Iraq from 1985 to 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war. Furthermore, the report adds, the American-exported materials were identical to microorganisms destroyed by United Nations inspectors after the Gulf War.

An eight-year-old Senate report confirms that disease-producing and poisonous materials were exported, under U.S. government license, to Iraq from 1985 to 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war. Furthermore, the report adds, the American-exported materials were identical to microorganisms destroyed by United Nations inspectors after the Gulf War. The shipments were approved despite allegations that Saddam used biological weapons against Kurdish rebels and (according to the current official U.S. position) initiated war with Iran.

This record is no argument for or against waging war against the Iraqi regime, but current U.S. officials are not eager to reconstruct the mostly secret relationship between the two countries. While biological warfare exports were approved by the U.S. government, the first President George Bush signed a policy directive proposing "normal" relations with Saddam in the interest of Middle East stability. Looking at a little U.S.-Iraqi history might be useful on the eve of a fateful military undertaking.

At a Senate Armed Services hearing last Thursday, Byrd tried to disinter that history. "Did the United States help Iraq to acquire the building blocks of biological weapons during the Iran-Iraq war?" he asked Rumsfeld. "Certainly not to my knowledge," Rumsfeld replied. When Byrd persisted by reading a current Newsweek article reporting these exports, Rumsfeld said, "I have never heard anything like what you've read, I have no knowledge of it whatsoever, and I doubt it."

That suggests Rumsfeld also has not read the sole surviving copy of a May 25, 1994, Senate Banking Committee report. In 1985 (five years after the Iraq-Iran war started) and succeeding years, said the report, "pathogenic (meaning "disease producing"), toxigenic (meaning "poisonous") and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq, pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce." It added: "These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction."

The report then details 70 shipments (including anthrax bacillus) from the United States to Iraqi government agencies over three years, concluding, "It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program."

With Baghdad having survived combat against Iran's revolutionary regime with U.S. help, President George H.W. Bush signed National Security Directive 26 on Oct. 2, 1989. Classified "Secret" but recently declassified, it said: "Normal relations between the United States and Iraq would serve our longer-term interests and promote stability in both the Gulf and the Middle East. The United States government should propose economic and political incentives for Iraq to moderate its behavior and to increase our influence with Iraq."

Bush the elder, who said recently that he "hates" Saddam, saw no reason then to oust the Iraqi dictator. On the contrary, the government's approval of exporting microorganisms to Iraq coincided with the Bush administration's decision to save Saddam from defeat by the Iranian mullahs.

The Newsweek article (by Christopher Dickey and Evan Thomas) that so interested Byrd reported on Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad Dec. 20, 1983, that launched U.S. support for Saddam against Iran. Answering Byrd's questions, Rumsfeld said he did meet with Saddam and then-Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, but was dismissive about assisting "as a private citizen ... only for a period of months." Rumsfeld contended he was then interested in curbing terrorism in Lebanon.

Quite a different account was given in a sworn court statement by Howard Teicher on Jan. 31, 1995. Teicher, a National Security Council aide who accompanied Rumsfeld to Baghdad, said Rumsfeld relayed then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's offer to help Iraq in its war. "Aziz refused even to accept the Israeli's letter to (Saddam) Hussein offering assistance," said Teicher, "because Aziz told us that he would be executed on the spot."

Such recollections of the recent past make for uncomfortable officials in Washington and Jerusalem today.

To find out more about Robert D. Novak and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

Creators Syndicate, Inc.

* Title under which this article appeared in SF Chronicle 9/27/02

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Global pillage

Noreena Hertz
September 29, 2002 (SF Chronicle)

London -- The critique of big business that gained prominence three years ago in the streets of Seattle -- and was echoed in protests in Washington, Prague, Nice, Genoa, Barcelona and Seville; in recent anti-privatization
riots in Peru and Paraguay, and in violent strikes in Ecuador -- has now entered the mainstream.

As protesters prepared to mobilize this weekend in Washington, D.C., where the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were scheduled to meet, polls showed 75 percent of Americans now think big business has too much influence over their lives. Eighty-two percent want corporate funding of political campaigns to be rethought.

A deep chasm is growing between "the global economy" and social justice. The 21st century is increasingly a world of haves and have-nots, of gated communities next to ghettos -- a world in which, in one year, Disney
Chairman Michael Eisner earned $576 million, the entire GDP of the Seychelles.

The World Trade Organization, time and time again, has intervened to prevent governments from using boycotts or tariffs against companies acting in ethically or environmentally unsound ways. In almost every developing country, the number of people living on less than a dollar a day has increased over the past 20 years. Seven of the eight possible measures of world income distribution show growing inequality over the past two decades. Four-fifths of the world's income is in the hands of one- fifth of the world's population. Overseas aid to least developed countries, which are already hemorrhaging because of debt repayments, are plummeting. Market liberalization policies with no concomitant obligations on redistribution are sinking some social groups, especially the vulnerable and the poor.

If we are to make globalization work for all, we have to keep pushing for a new agenda. But it will have to be championed -- for now, at least -- without the United States on board. The world's preeminent industrialized
player is unwilling to engage in the debate.

Under George W., any form of international cooperation to tackle political, social or economic exclusion is rejected. Since coming into office, he has downgraded or junked humanitarian interventions, refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change, proven unwilling to sign a draft agreement updating the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, refused to ratify the Small Arms Treaty because of the interests of U.S. arms manufacturers, canceled $34 million in funding for U.N. reproductive health programs in more than 140 countries and refused to attend the Johannesburg Earth Summit. Need I go on?

The Bush administration's persistent unilateralism and its hell-bent determination to protect the interests of corporate America presents a clear choice to those of us in Britain who see the necessity of multilateralism. Do we seek to work with our European neighbors and others who might embrace a similar position? Or do we revise our aspirations and lower our game to be able to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with George W.? How can globalization be reframed to the benefit of all?

First, we must lobby to set up an independent international commission to investigate the impact of economic globalization on human development, social capital and the poor. The commission would address questions like
the cost of economic growth to the environment; the price we pay for allowing big business to influence the quality of our air and food, and the impact of free trade on development and on those most marginalized and
in need.

Second, we need to push for something akin to a World Social Organization to counter the dominance of the WTO and to establish rules and regulations that will ensure the long-term protection of human rights, labor standards and the environment -- an organization with teeth as sharp as those of the WTO and equally effective powers of enforcement.

There still remains the problem of alleviating the suffering of those who are most excluded and marginalized. We need to push for debt cancellation, a significant increase in overseas aid -- which has fallen 45 percent in real terms since 1990 to the least developed countries -- and a rethinking of the ways in which it is delivered. And we must ensure that all unfair trade barriers on agricultural and textile products from the developing world are pulled down -- developing countries are losing almost $2 billion a day because of inequitable trade rules.

The world needs a new global tax authority, linked to the United Nations, with power to levy indirect taxes on pollution and energy consumption, which can then be spent protecting the environment. The authority should also levy direct taxes on multinational corporations, in order to fund the development of global environmental, labor and human rights norms. Finally, we need mechanisms to help people fight injustice. Workers and communities everywhere must be able to safeguard basic rights to minimum health and safety standards at work, to minimum wages, and not be dispossessed without adequate compensation.

A world in which people have no access to justice is one in which discontent will continue to fester. We must ensure that the perpetrators of corporate injustices, wherever they are, be held to account and that their victims have redress, whoever they are.

A better world of greater equity, justice and democracy is possible. But unless those in power address these issues, the dispossessed, and those who speak for them, will keep on trying to batter down the doors of power
in whatever ways they see fit. This divided world -- of injustice, inequity, environmental degradation and power asymmetries -- is untenable.

The events of Sept. 11, the terrible floods in Central Europe, the growing AIDS pandemic, the domino effect of financial meltdowns, all make explicit the extent to which all of us are inexorably linked as global citizens. We must not let the only issues upon which the world unites be terrorism and trade. Those of us with a voice -- the haves -- must hammer home the message that we need a global coalition to deal with the issue of exclusion, too.

British academician Noreena Hertz is the author of "The Silent Takeover" published by Free Press.

Copyright 2002 SF Chronicle

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Corporate Socialism
by Ralph Nader


The relentless expansion of corporate control over our political economy has proven nearly immune to daily reporting by the mainstream media. Corporate crime, fraud and abuse have become like the weather; everyone is talking about the storm but no one seems able to do anything about it. This is largely because expected accountability mechanisms -- including boards of directors, outside accounting and law firms, bankers and brokers, state and federal regulatory agencies and legislatures -- are inert or complicit.


Article:
www.commondreams.org/views02/0718-02.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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