Corporate profiteering from ‘war on terror’

This video is called Stop the war, London demo 15/03/08.

From British daily The Morning Star:

A terrifying truth

(Sunday 23 March 2008)

War On Terror, Inc: Corporate Profiteering From the Politics of Fear by Solomon Hughes
(Verso, £16.99)

TOM MELLEN learns how the ‘security-industrial complex’ is cashing on our politicians’ promises to protect us from harm.

THE words “war on terror” have slowly but surely been exorcised from the government’s vocabulary, but no new newspeak has yet been cooked up to replace them.

Saatchi and Saatchi chief Kevin Roberts attempted a rebrand, but all he could come up with was “global struggle against violent extremism,” which never caught on, perhaps because Jacqui Smith started using it.

The problem, as Solomon Hughes makes crystal clear in War on Terror, Inc, is not one of bodged presentation.

New Labour is simply too deeply compromised by its exploitation of the politics of fear at home and its disastrous military interventions abroad to get out of it with a bit of expensive spin.

Blair may be heading to greener pastures across the pond and the US is already pretending that Bush is a distant memory, but we all still face being locked up without trial.

Civilians, not to mention soldiers, are dying every day in Iraq and Afghanistan and teachers’ pet David Miliband has cemented his new Labour credentials by launching a spirited defence of liberal interventionism, just when you were hoping that it was going out of style.

So, tolerating business as usual means that it is only a matter of time before our boys are called upon to, once again, wage asymmetric warfare in the service of Miliband’s muscular humanitarianism – and all in the name of the national interest.

Hughes shows that a decisive break with the war on terror world view can only come when the British people form a government that wages war on the military-industrial complex itself rather than underdeveloped, impoverished former colonies.

He argues that, since the collapse of the USSR, the military-industrial complex which so concerned Eisenhower has evolved into what he terms the security-industrial complex, an unholy alliance of prison privateers, mercenary outfits, war contractors such as Halliburton and the political elites of the US and Britain.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Germany over the weekend to take part in the traditional Easter peace marches against wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: here.

The ‘Blair doctrine’ and after: five years of ‘humanitarian intervention’: here.

‘Humanitarian intervention’ ideology and the Left in Japan: here.

3 thoughts on “Corporate profiteering from ‘war on terror’

  1. Watchdog Group Names Top Corporate Abusers
    Posted by: “Jack” bongo_fury2004
    Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:30 pm (PDT)

    Watchdog Group Names Top Corporate Abusers

    by Haider Rizvi
    Monday, March 24, 2008

    NEW YORK – A corporate watchdog group has started a nationwide voting campaign to name and shame companies that run afoul of economic and environmental laws.0324 12

    Opening the polls on its Web site this week, the Boston-based Corporate Accountability International (CAI) [ ] organization urged consumers to select the “most abusive” corporations of 2008.

    “We believe all of the nominees deserve this infamous dishonor,” said CAI executive director Kelle Louaillier, “But we look forward to seeing which corporations voters select as the worst of the worst,”

    The group’s nominees for its annual “Corporate Hall of Shame” elections include big names like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Toyota, Countrywide, Mattel, Nestle, Blackwater, Wal-Mart, and Wendy’s.

    Louaillier describes the “Hall of Shame” [ ] vote as an effective way to hold corporations accountable for major abuses of the public interest and to call politicians to task.

    The eight corporations named by CAI are accused of influencing elected officials, undermining democratic decision-making, and endangering the environment and public health. Global warming, war profiteering, and predatory lending figure prominently in the polls.

    The group expects record turnout this election season before polls close on Jul. 4. It said more than 20,000 took part in its polls last year, which named ExxonMobil, Haliburton, and Wal-Mart as the worst abusers in the corporate world.

    CAI said ADM was one of the worst corporations this year because the agribusiness giant is running massive operations in Indonesia’s peatlands to create palm plantations. Scientists say, due to the unique chemical makeup of Indonesia’s peat forests, clearing them is adding significantly to the threat of global warming.

    Last year a report released by the environmental group Greenpeace International said massive deforestation in Indonesia is responsible for 1.8 billion tons of carbon emissions every year, which is about 4 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

    Researchers say Indonesia has already lost about 50 percent of its peatlands and, largely as a result, it has become the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind only China and the United States.

    According to CAI, ADM’s fiscal year 2007 revenues exceeded $44 billion, with its CEO, Patricia A. Woertz, raking in a salary of $2.7 million.

    CAI believes the Toyota Motor Corporation is also contributing to inaction on global warming, saying the company has hypocritically crafted an image as a corporate ally in the fight against climate change while working behind the scenes to stop greenhouse gas mandates from becoming law. It says Toyota, which has already opposed “clean cars” legislation in many states, is employing aggressive lobbying efforts to kill a proposed bill that would force it to stop selling gas guzzlers by 2020.

    Toyota is now the world’s largest automaker in terms of net worth, revenue, and profits, says CAI, adding that, while the company has built its green image around the well-known Prius, “hybrid sales tell only a small part of their story.” Toyota’s reliance on the 14-mile-per-gallon (mpg) Tundra pickup truck and other so-called “gas guzzlers” has held the company’s fleet-wide fuel efficiency down to levels below what they were several decades ago.

    In considering consumer rights violations, CAI points to Countrywide Financial Corporation as the worst lender in the country. It says the nation’s top lender relies heavily on “predatory” mortgages for profiteering, with much of the lending directed to elderly and non-English-speaking borrowers.

    Countrywide’s actions, according to CAI, have forced nearly a quarter of borrowers into default, at the same time its CEO earned a $120 million salary. Countrywide services about 17 percent of all mortgages in the United States.

    Citing Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, the group points out that Countrywide CEO Angelo R. Mozilo made $13 million in a single month last summer even as the company’s financial situation worsened. Mozilo reportedly reaped about $150 million during 2007 by exercising his stock options and selling off his own Countrywide shares.

    CAI said it nominated private security firm Blackwater Worldwide as a potential candidate for entry into the Hall of Shame for killing unarmed civilians in Iraq and using its ties to the Bush administration to secure lucrative contracts in that war-torn country;

    The group has criticized Mattel Corporation for producing lead-contaminated children’s toys, and lobbying against bans on other toxic chemicals; It has charged Nestle Corporation with massive abuse of labor rights around the world, including the exploitation of children.

    In the CAI litany of bad corporations, retail chain Wal-Mart takes the heat for displacing local businesses, failing to provide health plans for many employees, and opposing legislation that would improve homeland security at shipping ports.

    On the question of public health safety, the group has raised serious concerns about the way the fast-food giant Wendy’s International is doing business. CAI researchers hold that the company’s refusal to meet nutrition labeling regulations is adding to the growing childhood obesity and diabetes epidemics.

    Wendy’s is the third largest burger chain in the world after McDonald’s and Burger King. Wendy’s CEO Kerrii B. Anderson pulls in a $2.62 million annual salary.

    The CAI Web site offers full details on abusive corporate practices and rallies the public to hold corporations accountable for their actions:


  2. Pingback: Detroit students against Syria war drive | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Britain and the Afghan war, 2003-2014 | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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