War profiteers’ warmongering in Britain

This video from the USA says about itself:

Booz Allen Collects 100 Billion American Emails A DAY

June 16, 2013

“Military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton of McLean, Virginia, has shot into the news recently over two of its former employees: Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who has just revealed the extent of US global spying on electronic data of ordinary citizens around the world, and James Clapper, US director of national intelligence.”*

Maybe Booz Allen could use some more government scrutiny. Maybe it would, if the private defense contractor didn’t have such a revolving door relationship with Washington. Just how much is your private information in their hands? Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

*Read more from The Guardian: here.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Booz-fuelled paranoia

Thursday 04 July 2013

In 2007 the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a think tank with strong links to the front bench of the three main parties, ran a “commission on national security.”

The commission was chaired by Paddy Ashdown and former Labour defence secretary George Robertson, and was stuffed with former heads of the army and ex-police chiefs. This was serious stuff from serious men with uniforms and medals and titles.

Like the Blair government, the IPPR started acting macho when the war on terror started. So its commission on national security described frightening threats and called for tough solutions.

Indeed, its reports were scaremongering, rustling up threats from everywhere and arguing for a broadening of “the terrain currently classified as relevant to security policy” to cover “a wider range of actors.”

Everything from transnational crime to climate change, political Islam and the possibility of a disease pandemic became a security threat.

It went on and on about the idea that “terrorist groups will illegally acquire either a ready-made nuclear weapon, a so-called ‘loose nuke,’ or the fissile material required to make one.”

Islamists, dirty bombs, diseases, crime. Where did this anxiety come from? Had Ashdown and Robertson been watching too many dodgy Steven Seagal movies?

Well, the IPPR programme was awash with corporate funding. Among the top funders was a firm called Booz.

Back then it was little known in Britain, but Booz is very reliant on funding from US and British “homeland security” contracts. So a scaremongering report by top politicians was a brilliant piece of market-making.

Booz is a bit better known after Edward Snowden blew the whistle over massive spying on web browsing, emails and phone calls by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s GCHQ. He was an employee of Booz, which did the NSA’s spying on a subcontracting basis.

In 2007 Booz and the other firms paying for the IPPR’s scaremongering – computing, security and arms firms like Raytheon or EDS or De La Rue – were mostly hoping to get a British ID card system going.

They lost that plan thanks to pesky democracy. But Booz had the last laugh with money for vast secret contracts like those exposed by its former employee Snowden.

Since 2001 a vast private security industry has grown – private cops, private spies, private soldiers, private prisons and privately run databases and surveillance systems (I wrote a whole book on it, War On Terror Inc, available from all good bookshops).

In 1960 president Eisenhower warned of the new military-industrial complex whose “total influence – economic, political and even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house and every office of the federal government.”

Eisenhower warned that “in the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence” of this complex, as we “must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Well, now we have a new security-industrial complex. There is a vast, well-funded lobby of private security firms pushing for more restrictive laws, more electronic snooping and more prisons. But the press barely reports it.

When the IPPR started lobbying for more security spending, journalists didn’t even notice that the two chairs of the commission worked for private security firms, let alone spot that Booz was funding the whole shebang.

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