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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Raytheon’

News networks use retired military brass as war analysts without disclosing their defense-industry ties – SFGate

Posted by M. C. on January 14, 2020

The larger issue is whether viewers – or readers – are adequately informed about where pundits are coming from on matters of life and death…

I stopped watching network news 25 or more years ago.

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/News-networks-use-retired-military-brass-as-war-14972177.php

Paul Farhi, The Washington Post

During eight appearances on Fox News and Fox Business Network in early January, Jack Keane was introduced several ways: as “a retired four-star general,” as the former “vice chief of staff for the U.S. Army,” and as Fox News’s “senior strategic analyst.”

All of those are accurate descriptions. Keane is a distinguished veteran, having commanded American troops in such places as Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia. Fox employs him to provide analysis of national security and military operations, such as the unfolding hostilities between the United States and Iran.

But another part of Keane’s résumé wasn’t mentioned: the former general is also executive chairman of AM General, a leading defense contractor, best known as the manufacturer of the Humvee and other tactical military vehicles. He is also a partner at a venture-capital firm that specializes in the defense industry.

In other words, viewers never learned that Keane has a direct financial interest in the war policies he was assessing on the air.

 

Fox News’s nondisclosure of Keane’s role in the military-industrial complex is standard operating procedure for network news programs. Many of the retired military leaders employed by the networks as paid contributors have secondary affiliations that are rarely, if ever, mentioned, leaving viewers in the dark about whose interest they’re promoting.

Like Fox News, none of leading networks – ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC – makes a regular practice of announcing its military analysts’ financial ties to the Pentagon, connections that could color their on-air comments.

NBC News and MSNBC, for example, often turn to retired Admiral James Stavridis, the networks’ “chief international security analyst,” for commentary. But neither NBC nor MSNBC has mentioned that Stavridis, NATO’s former supreme allied commander, currently works for the Carlyle Group and McLarty Associates. Stavridis advises Carlyle on its multibillion-dollar portfolio of defense companies; he is chairman of the board of counselors at McLarty, which advises military contractors, among others.

CBS’ own in-house military expert, retired Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld Jr., is a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is also on the board of Raytheon, a major defense contractor, a fact that hasn’t come up during Winnefeld’s recent appearances on the network.

News organizations typically prohibit their employees and contributors from working for another entity that might profit, even indirectly, from the employee’s analysis or reporting. Others permit such affiliations but disclose them to readers or viewers.

The underlying principle is transparency. Disclosures help readers and viewers understand a commentator’s personal stake and possible motivations…

The larger issue is whether viewers – or readers – are adequately informed about where pundits are coming from on matters of life and death, said Mandy Smithberger, director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group.

“When there is so much public concern about these wars, including among veterans, it becomes that much more important for people to know what the financial connections are,” she said. News organizations “should absolutely disclose this. It could change the conversation around war” if people were aware of who was profiting from it.

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'Welcome to 'All Sides of the Issues.' Here's our panel of commentators -- a communist, a socialist, a liberal, and a progressive....'

 

 

 

 

 

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DC’s Atlantic Council raked in funding from Hunter Biden’s corruption-stained employer while courting his VP father | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on October 17, 2019

Addressing the parliament in Kiev, Biden declared that “corruption can have no place in the new Ukraine,” stating that the “United States has also been a driving force behind the IMF, working to provide a multi-billion package to help Ukraine..”  

That same month, Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma.

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/10/13/dcs-atlantic-council-raked-in-funding-from-hunter-bidens-corruption-stained-employer-while-courting-his-vp-father/

By Max Blumenthal

With its relentless focus on corruption in Russia and Ukraine, the Atlantic Council has distinguished itself from other top-flight think tanks in Washington. Over the past several years, it has held innumerable conferences and panel discussions, issued a string of reports, and published literally hundreds of essays on Russia’s “kleptocracy” and the scourge of Kremlin disinformation.

At the same time, this institution has posed as a faithful partner to Ukraine’s imperiled democracy, organizing countless programs on the urgency of economic reforms to tamp down on corruption in the country.

But behind the curtain, the Atlantic Council has initiated a lucrative relationship with a corruption-tainted Ukrainian gas company, the Burisma Group, that is worth as much as $250,000 a year. The partnership has paid for lavish conferences in Monaco and helped bring Burisma’s oligarchic founder out of the cold.

This alliance has remained stable even as official Washington goes to war over allegations by President Donald Trump and his allies that former Vice President Joseph Biden fired a Ukrainian prosecutor to defend his son’s handsomely compensated position on Burisma’s board.

As Biden parries Trump’s accusations, some of the former vice president’s most ardent defenders are emerging from the halls of the Atlantic Council, which featured Biden as a star speaker at its awards ceremonies over the years. These advocates include Michael Carpenter, Biden’s longtime foreign policy advisor and specialist on Ukraine, who has taken to the national media to support his embattled boss.

Even as Burisma’s trail of influence-buying finds its way into front page headlines, the Atlantic Council’s partnership with the company is scarcely mentioned…

NATO’s think tank in Washington

The Atlantic Council functions as the semi-official think tank of NATO in Washington. As such, it cultivates relationships with well-established policymakers who take a hard line against Russia and support the treaty organization’s perpetual expansion.

Biden has been among the think tank’s most enthusiastic and well-placed allies.

In 2011, then-Vice President Biden delivered the keynote address at the Atlantic Council’s distinguished leadership awards. He returned to the think tank again in 2014 for another keynote at its “Toward A Europe Whole and Free” conference, which was dedicated to expanding NATO’s influence and countering “Russian aggression.” Throughout the event, speakers like Zbigniew Brzezinski sniped at Obama for his insufficiently bellicose posture toward Russia, while former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright fretted over polls showing low public support for US interventionism overseas.

In his own comments, Biden emphasized the need to power Europe with non-Russian sources of natural gas. This provided a prime opportunity to Ukrainian suppliers like Burisma and US energy titans. Many of these energy companies, from Chevron to Noble Energy, also happen to be top donors to the Atlantic Council.

“This would be a game-changer for Europe, in my view, and we’re ready to do everything in our power to help it happen,” Biden promised his audience.

At the time, the Atlantic Council was pushing to ramp up the proxy war against pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. In 2015, for instance, the think tank helped prepare a proposal for arming the Ukrainian military with offensive weaponry like Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Given that the Atlantic Council has been funded by the two manufacturers of the Javelin system, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, this created at least the appearance of a conflict of interest. In fact, the think tank presented its Distinguished Business Leadership Award to Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson that same year.

Dubious arrangements like these are not limited to arms manufacturers. Anders Aslund, a neoliberal economist who helps oversee the Atlantic Council’s programming on Russia and Eastern Europe, was quietly paid by a consortium of Latvian banks to write an October 2017 paper highlighting the supposed progress they had made in battling corruption…

Biden made his first visit to the post-Maidan government of Ukraine in April 2014, just as Kiev was launching its so-called “anti-terrorist operation” against separatists who broke off from the new, NATO-oriented Ukraine and its nationalist government and formed so-called people’s republics in the Russophone Donbass region. The fragmentation of the country and its grinding proxy war flowed directly from the regime-change operation that Biden helped oversee.

Addressing the parliament in Kiev, Biden declared that “corruption can have no place in the new Ukraine,” stating that the “United States has also been a driving force behind the IMF, working to provide a multi-billion package to help Ukraine..”

That same month, Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma.

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Helterskelter to World War Three

 

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Secretary of Defense, Incorporated – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2019

Perhaps we should confess to ourselves that the nation’s vaunted soldiers are little more than political pawns in a game that’s far bigger, far more Kafkaesque, than those troopers could begin to fathom. And, finally, let’s admit one last thing: Few of us care.

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2019/10/10/secretary-of-defense-incorporated/

This article originally appeared at TruthDig.

 

The man is so beautifully bland. In fact, I’d wager that only a tiny segment of Americans could name the current Secretary of Defense – and far fewer could pick him out of a lineup. Perhaps that’s the point. President Trump, a celebrity ham, has tired of sharing the stage with big-name advisers such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser John Bolton. So they’re both gone. In their place, Trump has installed faceless bureaucrats to run the most powerful national security state in human history. And the rest of us hardly notice.

Trump’s appointment of Mark Esper as head of the largest and most active Cabinet department, and the new Defense Secretary’s near unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate, is no less of a scandal than Trump’s apparent efforts to seek foreign interference in the 2020 elections. Only it isn’t.

Still, the nomination of Esper, a recent lobbyist for the defense contracting corporation Raytheon, ranks as one of the most egregious illustrations of the “revolving door” between lobbyists and the Defense Department. It’s crony capitalism in fatigues, and while nothing new, a clear indication that things have only worsened under our reality-show-mogul-president.

Of course, seen through the rose-colored glasses of American empire, Esper is highly qualified to head the Defense Department. He’s a West Point graduate, former Army infantry officer, recipient of a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard and a doctorate in public policy from George Washington University, and has past experience working in the Pentagon.

If one digs further, however, Esper is wildly problematic—loaded with conflicts of interest, a veteran of the (should be) discredited neoconservative Bush-era DOD, and little more than a corporate “company man.” He didn’t just work for Raytheon, he lobbied on the defense contractor’s behalf only recently. Under rather sharp questioning by Sen. Elizabeth Warren during his confirmation hearings, Esper refused to recuse himself from participating in government business involving Raytheon. In typically lifeless language, Esper replied that “On the advice of my ethics folks at the Pentagon, the career professionals: No, their recommendation is not to.” How’s that for accepting responsibility? No matter, he was swiftly and quietly confirmed by a vote of 90-8 in the Senate.

Expect another banner year for Raytheon. It’s already the third-largest US defense contractor, and produces, among other tools of destruction, Paveway precision-guided missiles—the very weapons that Congress recently sought to stop shipping to Saudi Arabia due to (rather tardy) concerns about the heads of Yemeni civilians upon which they’re dropped.

I predict more deals and more taxpayer billions for Raytheon with Esper at the Defense helm…

All of which begs some questions and provides some disturbing answers. Perhaps we ought to ditch the myth that the Defense Secretary simply heads the Pentagon, and admit that Esper is really the emperor of a far grander military-industrial complex that includes a veritable army of K-Street lobbyists and venal arms dealers. Maybe it’s time to concede that unelected national security czars, and not a stalemated bought-and-sold Congress, run national defense and set the gigantic Pentagon budget. Perhaps we should confess to ourselves that the nation’s vaunted soldiers are little more than political pawns in a game that’s far bigger, far more Kafkaesque, than those troopers could begin to fathom. And, finally, let’s admit one last thing: Few of us care.

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Grand Theft Pentagon :Tales of Corruption and Profiteering ...

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Former lobbyist Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief

Posted by M. C. on July 24, 2019

Just another day in the swamp.

At least someone was bothered enough to bring the subject up.

Don’t worry, it is already forgotten.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/u-senate-confirms-former-lobbyist-172626888.html

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Army Secretary Mark Esper was sworn in as U.S. secretary of defence on Tuesday, hours after being confirmed by the Senate in a strong bipartisan vote that ended the longest period by far the Pentagon had been without a permanent top official.

Esper was sworn in at the White House by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in a ceremony hosted by President Donald Trump and attended by a number of Republican lawmakers. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a vote of 90-8 several hours earlier.

“That’s a vote that we’re not accustomed to, Mark. I have to say that, so congratulations,” Trump told Esper, a former professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Esper, 55, a former soldier and lobbyist for weapons maker Raytheon Co <RTN.N>, received strong bipartisan support despite sharp questioning during his confirmation hearing by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren about his ties to Raytheon and his refusal to extend an ethics commitment he signed in 2017 to avoid decisions involving the company.

Warren, a 2020 presidential hopeful, was the only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to voice opposition to Esper’s confirmation during the hearing.

Raytheon is the third-largest U.S. defence contractor…

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yawn

 

 

 

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Bombing Yemeni School Children for Profit – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2018

https://original.antiwar.com/mbenjamin/2018/09/11/bombing-yemeni-school-children-for-profit/

by 

As if the horrific Saudi bombing of a Yemeni school bus that killed 44 children on August 9, 2018 wasn’t bad enough, CNN reported that the bomb used in the attack was manufactured by Lockheed Martin, one of the major U.S. defense contractors. Nima Elbagir, reporting for CNN’s Situation Room, showed a map of Yemen pinpointing several other attacks where large numbers of civilians have been killed by bombs from not only Lockheed Martin, but also General Dynamics and Raytheon. It was a rare moment when a mainstream US media outlet made the connection between US weapons and the devastation they wreak.

The footage of the Yemen attack is heartbreaking, showing bloodied and screaming children (the ‘fortunate’ survivors) still wearing their blue backpacks. A global outcry for the Saudis to stop bombing civilians and for the US to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia arose immediately. Read the rest of this entry »

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