Posts Tagged ‘War profiteering’

From Russian Today: “The Pentagon budgets half a billion dollars to market its wars in the US. Call it public relations or call it propaganda, it’s meant to win the hearts and minds of Americans. But is it coming at the price of the truth?”

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We’ve known for a long time that the war was based on lies, but it’s nice to hear a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff say so.

In his recently published memoir, “Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior,” General Hugh Shelton, who served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, called the Iraq war “unnecessary” and said that the Bush team went to war “based on a series of lies.”

Read more at see video at Washington’s Blog.

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The line between the Pentagon and the war industry is increasingly coming to resemble a highly porous membrane. War itself has become a private enterprise intended to profit private interests.

The Department of Defense spends tens of billions of dollars annually creating software that is rarely reused and difficult to adapt to new threats. Instead, much of this software is allowed to become the property of defense companies, resulting in DoD repeatedly funding the same solutions or, worse, repaying to use previously created software.

The lack of a coherent set of policies and regulations for the DoD’s intellectual property has eroded the U.S. military competitive advantage, leading to compromised missions and lost lives. Improvised explosive device countermeasure systems can’t be upgraded rapidly without replacing entire systems; personnel position systems can’t update in real time; billions are wasted on software radios that don’t interoperate.

The byzantine rules governing the military’s intellectual property portfolio use an antiquated rights structure where the contractor always retains copyright, and therefore effective monopoly, control over taxpayer-funded software ideas. By contrast, commercial industry ruthlessly exercises control over its own software ideas.

Read more at Defense News.

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Any time a financial institution gives you an incentive to park a chunk of cash somewhere, you may take it to the bank, so to speak, that they are playing the spread between the rate at which they borrow money and the rate and which they pay it out.

Lohman, a public health nurse who helps special-needs children, says she had always believed that her son’s life insurance funds were in a bank insured by the FDIC. That money — like $28 billion in 1 million death-benefit accounts managed by insurers — wasn’t actually sitting in a bank.

It was being held in Prudential’s general corporate account, earning investment income for the insurer. Prudential paid survivors like Lohman 1 percent interest in 2008 on their Alliance Accounts, while it earned a 4.8 percent return on its corporate funds, according to regulatory filings.

“I’m shocked,” says Lohman, breaking into tears as she learns how the Alliance Account works. “It’s a betrayal. It saddens me as an American that a company would stoop so low as to make a profit on the death of a soldier. Is there anything lower than that?”

Read more at Bloomberg.com.

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As more and more people in the West become wise to the true purpose of the war in Afghanistan (hint: it has nothing to do with freedom or democracy), the proponents of the war are deploying new strategies to sell the war to an increasingly skeptical public.

One of these strategies is to chronicle the abuse committed against Afghan women by the Taliban. If enough people are outraged about the Taliban’s treatment of women, the thinking goes, then fewer will call for a military pullout from Afghanistan or a negotiated peace.

This strategy—which pulls at the heartstrings of leftists in America as well as in Europe—is coming into play as the public becomes aware of such factors as the Trans-Afghanistan oil pipeline, which the globalists would like to control, and the presence of an estimated $1 trillion worth of mineral wealth in the war-ravaged country, which the globalists would like to get their filthy hands on.

A confidential CIA report leaked to the Internet whistleblower site Wikileaks last March lays out the propaganda strategy this way:

Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing the [International Security Assistance Force’s] role in combating the Taliban because of women’s ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory. Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women to share their stories with French, German, and other European women could help to overcome pervasive skepticism among women in Western Europe toward the ISAF mission.

And indeed we are seeing articles in the mass media–not only in Europe but in the U.S. as well–about the abuse Afghan women are suffering at the hands of the Taliban. This July 13 report from NPR reads as if it were written to conform to the CIA directive:

Rachel Reid, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, says that when the Taliban get control of an area, the same kinds of abuses that occurred under Taliban rule emerge.

Reid has just released a report on the subject, “The Ten-Dollar Talib and Women’s Rights.” The title refers to the many Taliban insurgents who are believed to be fighting just for money — and a small amount at that.

But it’s not those Taliban who will be sitting at the negotiating table, Reid says. She says some in the international community are trying to forget how brutal the Taliban movement is toward women, because they’re so impatient to reach a peace deal that will allow their troops to come home.

“I think there’s a danger in this kind of revisionism about the nature of the movement that needs to be checked. Because if there’s not more honesty about the nature of what we’re dealing with, then there won’t be a suitable deal carved out, and these kinds of issues won’t be on the table in the negotiating time,” she says.

A suitable deal is one that includes some guarantees of a woman’s right to work, health care and education, Reid says.

So not only must the West refuse to negotiate a conditional peace with the Taliban, according to the NPR report; they must also seek to create a market for Western corporations, health care providers, and educators. “Health care” for Afghan women would surely include the freedom to terminate pregnancies and to ply teenage girls with Gardasil.

There’s no doubt that the women of Afghanistan are suffering, just as all the people in that country are. Just be aware, when you read in the corporate press of their plight, that a deliberate, calculated effort is being made to manipulate you into going along with a prolonged war and occupation.

And don’t lose sight of the war’s true purpose: to secure Afghanistan’s resources and population for domination and exploitation by the global financial empire, with the U.S. military and its allies doing the dirty work.

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Some Republicans would have you believe that they’re opposed to welfare. What many won’t tell you is that they favor corporate welfare for manufacturers and service providers in the warfare industry.

The US Congress refused to pass an extension of unemployment benefits to over a million Americans because they were “opposed to adding another $33 billion to our $13 trillion mountain of national debt.” A few days later, they agree to spend $30 billion on an escalation of killing and occupation.

American politicians, usually of the Republican persuasion, speak often of the evil that is ‘socialism’ in Europe is for its welfare state. But if it quacks like government spending, it is government spending. And the US government spends, as we all know, more than the rest of the world combined on war. Domestically, it keeps with this same theme of violence against others and depriving them of their liberty as a favored means of welfare spending. In Europe, the government attempts to provide more rights than it can afford; but in the U.S. the government attempts to take more rights than it can afford to.

Read more at Maxkeiser.com.

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Kids must learn that giving one’s life for the defense industry is sad but sometimes necessary.

Premiering tonight on PBS at 8 p.m. EDT is a program, “When Families Grieve,” that features four families, two of which features fathers from the American military. (One of the soldiers killed himself. The other died in a helicopter crash in Iraq.)  It’s important to note that the publicly-subsidized program has made a point of representing the suffering of military-serving families under the umbrella of a discussion of, as a whole, grief, a topic universal to the human experience. The program — sponsored by defense contractors BAE Systems, the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Oshkosh Defense — explores the concept of loss from a entirely nationalistic perspective.

Read more at Disinformation.com.

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They’re Blackwater. They can do whatever they want, and that includes murdering civilians in cold blood. Do you think the murderers will pay any consequences? Don’t be silly.

Private American security guards working for the US military in Afghanistan removed hundreds of handguns and automatic weapons from stores intended for the exclusive use of the Afghan police and used them on drunken shooting rampages that killed two Afghan civilians and injured at least two more.

The guards included a former US Marine with a criminal record of assault and battery and a former soldier discharged from the US Army after testing positive for cocaine, Congress heard yesterday.

Justin Cannon, Christopher Drotleff and a guard using the name “Eric Cartman” from the cartoon South Park were employees of a subsidiary of the Blackwater Worldwide group, implicated in a litany of extrajudicial shootings since 2003 in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Cannon and Drotleff have been charged with killing two Afghans and injuring a third in an incident last May when they opened fire on a car carrying four civilians in Kabul, while under the influence of alcohol. The men, who were hired to train Afghan soldiers, had no permission from US authorities to carry guns.

Read more at The Times Online.

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This is the top censored story of 2009. The deaths will continue for years to come as people—including American veterans—are sickened by depleted uranium and produce children with birth defects. The maimed veterans will be tossed aside and abused by their own government, and a disproportionate number will become homeless. And to think that it was all based on a lie.

Over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003 invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous “Killing Fields” during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.

ORB’s research covered fifteen of Iraq’s eighteen provinces. Those not covered include two of Iraq’s more volatile regions—Kerbala and Anbar—and the northern province of Arbil, where local authorities refused them a permit to work. In face-to-face interviews with 2,414 adults, the poll found that more than one in five respondents had had at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, as opposed to natural cause.

Read more at Project Censored.

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