Wars kill, merchants of death profit

This 16 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

This Yemeni Boy Survived An Airstrike That Killed 45 Kids (HBO)

Hussein al-Ejri was too excited to sleep on the morning of August 9, so he woke up early in anticipation of the field trip planned for him and about 65 of his Islamic seminary classmates. Hours later, the 11-year-old was one of the few kids on the trip still alive.

That day had started like any other. The group performed early-morning prayer with their teachers and stopped at a busy market near the farming village of Dahyan in northwest Yemen so people could purchase snacks before setting off.

That’s where Hussein was when he heard the loud thud of an explosion and saw the bus blown apart.

A few days after the strike, the boy stood atop what was left of the bus and pointed out what was once there.

“One of my friends was sitting here. And another one here, and another there,” Hussein told VICE News. “They were all injured. After the explosion, I found one of my friends killed here but couldn’t find the rest of my friends, just this one.”

Of the 54 people killed in that attack, 45 of them were children between the ages of 6 and 15. Hours later, Saudi coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said on TV that the strike was made in retaliation against a Houthi rebel militia missile attack on the Saudi-Yemeni border the night before …

In a subsequent internal investigation, the Saudi government ultimately concluded that the “timing” of the strike was a mistake.

But since 2015, the Saudi-Emirati coalition has been waging a brutal campaign … In the process, they’ve launched more than 18,000 airstrikes, at least a third of which have hit civilian targets, according to the Yemen Data Project. Many of them, including the Dahyan airstrike, used American-made weapons: at least 13 so far, according to documentation from the Yemeni human rights group Mwatana.

At the Dahyan airstrike, witnesses found remnants of a MK 82 Lockheed Martin bomb, probably made at a factory just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The discovery of American bomb fragments at airstrike sites in Yemen has become fairly common, fueling public anger at not only the Saudi-Emirati coalition but also its main weapons supplier, the United States. In a rare show of bipartisan accordance, the U.S. has so far agreed to sell more than $110 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in proposals reached under both the Obama and Trump administrations.

But it’s not just weapons Saudi Arabia buys from America. The U.S. has also provided the coalition with intelligence, mid-air refueling and even Green Berets to assist on the border.

Even so, the news of American involvement in the killing failed to make a splash for months — that is, until the high-profile murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi prompted American politicians to reexamine their role in the Saudis’ efforts.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

US American corporations drive global arms trade

Global trade in arms and military services increased by 4.6 percent in 2018 to almost € 380 billion. That is the conclusion of the Swedish research institute SIPRI in a report after the screening of the hundred largest corporations in the sector.

The institute found that US American corporations in particular are growing. For the first time, the entire top five of the list, which has been kept since 2002, consists of US companies: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. The five corporations account for around 35 percent of global trade.

The total share of all American companies has grown to 59 percent compared to 2017; an increase of more than 7 percent.

Anticipate on Trump plans

“American corporations are preparing for the new weapons programs announced by President Trump in 2017,” said SIPRI director Aude Fleurant about the growing US American corporations. “For that reason, many companies are merging, so that they will soon be better able to produce new weapon systems and thus have a greater chance of winning orders from the government.”

Russia is in second place after the US as the largest arms producer, with a share of 8.6 percent of the market. That is slightly more than the United Kingdom (8.4 percent). France is in fifth place with 5.5 percent.

Turkish arms companies grew the fastest last year, with no less than 22 percent. According to SIPRI, companies are benefiting from investments in the country to expand and modernize the arsenal of weapons.

Expensive Japanese F-35 warplane already crashed

This 26 April 2016 CNN TV video from the USA says about itself:

Senator John McCain says the history of the Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program “has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance.”

The late warmonger and ex-Vietnam war warplane pilot John McCain was very often wrong (like CNN). However, this is a case where he, like a broken clock, was right for one small moment a day. A bit like other wrong kinds of politicians like United States President Trump and Turkish President Erdogan.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

A Japanese Air Force F-35 crashed on Tuesday. It disappeared off the radar off the Japanese coast. The aircraft has been searched for hours. It was eventually traced, an Air Force spokesman said. There is no trace of the pilot yet.

The jet fighter of aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin was less than a year old and was delivered to the Japanese last May. What went wrong is still unclear.

Recently, a United States armed forces F-35, as brand new, and costing 89 million dollars, crashed.

The Japanese F-35, costing $100 million, had been in the air for only 28 minutes, Reuters reports.

At the end of this year, the Dutch armed forces will officially start using this type of warplane. The F-35, known here as JSF, flew 135 kilometers east of Air Force Base Misawa when air traffic control lost contact. At the same time it also disappeared from the radar.

More fighter jets

The plane was found after an hour-long search. “We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35”, a Japanese Air Force spokesman told Reuters news agency.

The NOS says Japanese Air Force. More honest than the Reuters report which uses the official euphemism Japanese Air Self Defence Force.

The first squadron with F-35s had just become operational at Misawa Air Force Base. The Japanese government plans to buy another 87 of these fighter jets to strengthen the air force [against China].

The Pentagon announced Monday the single largest arms purchase in its history, agreeing to buy nearly 500 F-35 fighter aircraft at a total cost of $34 billion. This purchase is only a down payment on the Pentagon’s acquisition of the notoriously wasteful and failure-prone aircraft, whose design is based on two overarching priorities: fighting a war with a “great power” such as Russia and China and lining the pockets of Lockheed Martin and the horde of former congressmen and retired generals on its payroll: here.

Boeing shareholders sue the corporation because of 737 MAX deaths: here.

British taxpayers’ money to war profiteers

This video from the USA says about itself:


17 June 2017

By Michael P. Hughes/Francis Marion University for The Conversation.

Read the original article here.

The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired but has turned out to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tories’ fighter jet deal gives support to war profiteers

Tuesday 28th November 2017

BRITAIN should stop subsidising companies that profit from war, anti-arms trade activists insisted yesterday as a major weapons manufacturer announced bumper profits from a fighter-jet deal.

US arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin claimed that the F-35 stealth fighter jet — hailed as the world’s most advanced aircraft — had “provided a massive boost to the UK economy.”

Earlier this year, a National Audit Office report revealed that Britain had spent a massive £3.9 billion on the killing machines since the start of the programme — money that Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said would have been better spent in other areas.

Lockheed Martin UK director Andrew Linstead claimed that analysis showed that the value of the contracts was £8.9 billion, a figure that is set to increase as the deathmongers “ramp up production and more aircraft are made.”

The F-35 jets have been used to threaten North Korea as part of US President Donald Trump’s dangerous game of brinksmanship with Pyongyang.

A deal has been struck with Israel, which has used repeatedly used warplanes to blow up Palestinian civilians and support anti-government forces in Syria.

Many of the the F-35’s parts, including the propulsion system and ejector seat, are built in Britain.

Mr Linstead claimed that there are more than 500 companies in the extended supply chain, with around 24,000 British jobs sustained over the production life of the aircraft.

A £9.1 billion deal for Britain to buy 48 of the fighter jets by 2025 has been criticised over their capability and high cost — a pilot’s high-tech helmet alone costs almost £300,000.

CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith told the Star that the £3.9bn already blown on F-35s would have been better invested in positive industries and other areas of engineering.

He said: “The UK should be moving away from a foreign policy based on the projection of military strength and interventionism, not subsidising and supporting companies that fuel and profit from war.”

The F-35 is the most expensive weapons project in history, with the total cost through 2070 — mostly paid for by the United States — estimated at $1.5 trillion.

Trump’s tax cuts for Lockheed merchants of death?

This 21 October 2017 video from the USA is called Defense Contractor [Lockheed Martin] Lobbies For Tax Cuts As It Outsources Jobs.

So, Donald Trump may cut taxes not just for himself; maybe also for war profiteering corporations (in which Trump himself is a major shareowner).


US Republican senator calls Trump “dangerous to a democracy”: here.

United States F-35 warplane financial disaster worsens

This video from the USA says about itself:

US Government Wasting BILLIONS On Fighter Jets & Nobody Cares

11 July 2017

Pentagon predicts F-35 program costs to jump by $27 billion: report. By Ellen Mitchell – 07/10/17 02:28 PM EDT.

This is about F-35 warplanes, aka JSF, aka Joint Strike Fighter, made by Lockheed Martin war profiteering corporation.

They have caused financial scandals before, in the USA and in other countries.

Saudi monarchy massacring Yemenis, Lockheed Martin profiting

This video from the USA says about itself:

The US may be aiding war crimes in Yemen

12 December 2016

The U.S. is helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen and it’s a disaster.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Activists target Saudi arms profiteers

Friday 28th April 2017

ANTI-ARMS trade activists protested outside weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s London HQ last night against its profiteering from “human catastrophe” in Yemen.

The arms giant produces many of the weapons and war machines sold by Britain and the US to Saudi Arabia, which is waging a brutal war on Yemen.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) warned that the Saudi-led bombing campaign — which began in March 2015 — had created a “human catastrophe” and Lockheed Martin had “profited every step of the way.”

The government has granted export licences for weapons worth a staggering £3.3 billion since the start of the conflict.

And the arms trade is so lucrative for Lockheed Martin that it has set up a subsidiary company in Saudi Arabia to increase profiteering from the sale of arms, including Hellfire missiles and F-16 fighter jets.

According to Amnesty International three million people have fled their homes with almost 19 million people — 70 per cent of the population — requiring urgent humanitarian aid and assistance as a result of the war.

A UN report released earlier this year showed that at least 10,000 people have been killed by indiscriminate bombing.

London CAAT spokesman Ian Pocock said: “As the world’s largest arms company, Lockheed Martin is responsible for untold harm and profits from conflict around the world.

“The bombing of Yemen has created a humanitarian catastrophe and Lockheed has profited every step of the way.”

CAAT has lodged a judicial review to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia with the verdict expected later this month.

Lockheed militarism at Australian university

This video from the USA says about itself:

How Our Politicians Became Glorified Weapons Salesmen

7 August 2016

Despite Obama’s cuts to the military’s weapons budget, top US military contractors’ such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northop Grumman are still raking in growing profits. These multi-billion dollar merchants of death have turned to other markets to make up the difference and more. The results are disastrous for the world and the American people. Naomi Karavani reports on this and more on Redacted Tonight.

By Eric Ludlow and Will Morrow in Australia:

Arms maker Lockheed Martin opens University of Melbourne research centre

30 December 2016

Behind the backs of the student body, the University of Melbourne has agreed to host a leading new research centre for the American arms manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin.

The decision represents a further step in Australia’s integration into the US global military build-up and Washington’s preparations for war against Russia and China.

The $13-million Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory (STELaR Lab) will open its doors in 2017 at the university’s Parkville campus. According to Lockheed Martin Australia, it will be the first “multi-disciplinary R&D (research and development) facility” established outside the US.

It is inconceivable that such a decision could be made without the active involvement of the highest levels of the American and Australian states, in tandem with the university chancellor. Lockheed Martin (LM) is the largest arms maker in the world. It is responsible for developing some of the latest, and most highly-coveted, American war technology, the secrecy of which underpins Washington’s ability to remain militarily in advance of its geo-political rivals. LM’s designs include the next generation of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter combat aircraft, as well as Hellfire-II missiles, the signature weapons of Washington’s fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, which have become synonymous with the Obama administration’s criminal wars in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen.

STELaR Lab will play a major role in advancing this technology. According to an August 1 report in the Age, one of its goals will be “developing sophisticated computer software to help direct attacks” on targets. LM Australia and New Zealand chief executive Raydon Gates said it would develop “the ability in a conflict situation to analyse that data and then make the correct decision.” This technology is crucial for waging war against a major adversary, which involves attacking targets from multiple positions at once.

The lab will develop on “autonomous systems, robotics, command, control, communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” according to the arms maker’s web site. It will also focus on development of hypersonic aircraft, which travel at more than five times the speed of sound. The US already conducts hypersonic aircraft tests at the Woomera testing range in South Australia.

In other words, unbeknownst to students and staff, the University of Melbourne is being made into a central node for Washington’s preparations for new wars.

STELaR Lab’s inaugural director is Dr. Tony Lindsay. Linday’s role underscores the central involvement of the US and Australian governments. From 2005–2008, Lindsay worked in Washington as the Department of Defence’s top science diplomat at the Australian Embassy. His last position was at the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group), the Australian government’s lead agency for developing military technology. DST Group is the second largest publicly-funded research institute in the country, with an annual budget of over $400 million and a staff of 2,300, mainly scientists and engineers. Lindsay headed DST Group’s National Security and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance division.

Less than two months before announcing the new centre, Lockheed Martin Australia placed former Australian Labor Party leader Kim Beazley on its board. Beazley was ambassador to the US from 2010 until February 2016 and is highly connected and trusted among the upper echelons of the American state. He earned the nickname “bomber Beazley” for his enthusiastic support for military spending and US-led wars, and is being rewarded with a seat on the board of the Australian branch of the largest US arms manufacturer, where he will help oversee its direction.

Liberal-National Coalition Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, as well as Stephen Conroy, then Labor’s shadow minister for defence, and Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews, all attended STELaR Lab’s launch on August 2. Pyne made clear that the centre’s establishment was part of a broader effort to integrate the universities into the military-intelligence apparatus. The government was committed to “build the innovation capabilities of Australian industry, academia and research institutions and to deliver innovative solutions for Defence capability,” he said.

Professor Iven Mereels, Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering, has stated that the faculty is “looking forward to joining with Lockheed Martin to pursue training opportunities in systems engineering in support of the significant defence effort presently underway in Australia.”

According to the Australian on August 5, LM’s regional head Raydon Gates said the site selection for STELaR Lab followed a rigorous internal evaluation process. He noted that Melbourne was one of the strongest performing university cities in the world, behind Boston and London. In recent years, however, Melbourne has been made a regional hub for US and Australian military research and development. This has taken place alongside Australia’s growing integration into the Obama administration’s military-build up throughout the region as part of the preparations for war against China, under the “pivot” to Asia.

In 2010, the DST Group—then under Kevin Rudd’s Labor government—together with the Victorian state government and the University of Melbourne, established the Defence Science Institute (DSI) on the university’s Parkville campus. DSI’s stated purpose is to “build defence science research networks” and “assemble disciplinary teams including defence scientists and engineers.” It hosts regular symposiums where researchers present before other teams and representatives of giant arms corporations.

DSI also funds specific research projects. One of those publicly acknowledged is led by RMIT University into “unmanned aircraft systems” that can fly and harvest their own energy in “urban environments.” Yet another, which has “significant contributions from the DSI and US army,” involves development of artificial enzymes which may “decontaminate nerve agents … offering protection to war fighters and civilians in a range of chemical and biological threats.” In other words: research for urban conflicts and chemical-biological warfare.

In October 2014, LM established its Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology (ICT) engineering hub at Clayton in Melbourne, which is also the location of Monash University. There is little information available about its operations. LM says the centre would “secure Commonwealth government and international contracts, particularly in South Asia and the Middle East.” It would “expand existing local skills in online security, data management, applications development, and larger-scale IT services,” expanding the “local skills base” for LM’s cyber centre in Canberra.

In 2015, Oxford University announced a Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre—the first of its kind outside the UK—in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong. The Andrews state Labor government concurrently announced a new Oceania Cyber Security Centre: a collaboration of eight Victorian universities, including the University of Melbourne, “with the broad aim of engaging industry to develop research and training opportunities for dealing with cyber security issues.” It is located alongside the Oxford University centre.

These announcements followed the formation of a national Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) by the Rudd government in May 2008. It is located at Swinburne University in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn. It received $30 million from the federal government and another $52 million from industry and state governments.

DTMC’s website states that it targets “areas of defence priority where an Australian industrial capability footprint already exists.” Its research is focussed on advanced materials for armoury, watercraft and aircraft. DTMC comprises a core staff of 60 full-time equivalent employees, mainly scientists, in industry, research centres and universities. “Core participants” include RMIT University, Swinburne University and the University of Melbourne. It also networks with smaller-scale advanced manufacturing companies.

Because of its history as a centre of manufacturing, Victoria also has a broader community of small-scale advanced manufacturing companies that can be integrated into war production. The state is contributing 70 percent of Australia’s input into LM’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Students and staff at the University of Melbourne should oppose the establishment of the latest centre and the broader effort to transform the university into a bastion of military research. The US military build-up is part of Washington’s preparations for a new war that threatens mankind with nuclear catastrophe.

On December 22, the Australian, Rupert Murdoch’s national flagship, reported: “Fears are mounting within the Liberal Party that maverick South Australian senator Cory Bernardi is set to split from the Coalition to spearhead the new Australian Conservatives party, with an announcement expected in the new year. The conservative firebrand and his ‘very close friend’ Gina Rinehart met key members of US president-elect Donald Trump’s campaign team, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, in Washington last month, fuelling fears the senator might have the support of Australia’s richest woman to bankroll the party and dilute the Liberals’ support base”: here.

The University of Adelaide announced in October that military technology giant Lockheed Martin had become the first partner of the university’s new Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML). The institute will be based at the “innovation precinct” known as Lot Fourteen on the seven-hectare redevelopment site of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital in the north-east of the South Australian state capital: here.

Research at Australian universities increasingly is being placed under government control and surveillance, seeking to more closely integrate it into the requirements of the corporate elite, clamp down on criticism and prepare for war-time conditions. As well as vetoing peer-reviewed research grants, the federal government has imposed a more stringent “national interest” test for future grants and cut overall research funding, except in military-related fields: here.

British government helps selling weapons to Qatar dictatorship

This video says about itself:

Qatar Human Rights Official Defends Life Sentence For Poet Who Praised Arab Spring Uprisings

7 December 2012

Three days after the United Nations climate change conference began here in Doha, a Qatari court sentenced a local poet to life in prison, a move that shocked many activists in the Gulf region and human rights observers. The sentencing of Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami came nearly two years after he wrote a poem titled, “Tunisian Jasmine,” supporting the uprisings in the Arab world. “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites!” al-Ajami wrote. “The Arab governments and who rules them are without exception thieves, thieves!” We speak to his attorney and a member of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee.

By Solomon Hughes and Conrad Landin in Britain:

Tories Back Tank Parts for Qatar

Friday 26th February 2016

Despite political arrests, torture, corruption, dictatorship

TORY MINISTERS will “strongly support” the sale of tank parts to the despotic Qatari regime, the Morning Star can exclusively reveal.

Papers disclosed under freedom of information laws reveal that arms firm Lockheed Martin UK met Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood when the company was seeking to sell its turrets, carrying guns or missiles, “which can fit on most [armoured] vehicles, to the Qatari government.”

The Foreign Office responded in official documents that it wanted to “strongly support Lockheed Martin UK in their [redacted] bid” to make the sale.

Campaigners said the allegations show the Tories value arms firms’ profits above human rights in the abusive state.

The revelations also risk painting David Cameron as a hypocrite, as he recently promised to take Qatar’s emir to task over allegations that the Middle Eastern country has supported Islamic extremism.

The papers show an additional Lockheed bid to replace turrets on British-made “Warrior” armoured vehicles sold to Kuwait in the 1990s. A third bid was discussed at the meeting, but the details are blacked out on the disclosed documents. The documents further suggest the British government is interested in supporting Qatari military training — apparently in part to assist the arms trade.

They say the Foreign Office “is aware of Lockheed Martin UK’s requirement to formally sign the [redacted]. We continue to discuss Qatar’s training needs at senior levels.”

Britain already trains Qatari officers at the army’s flagship Sandhurst military academy.

Campaign Against Arms Trade said Britain has licensed an eye-watering £176 million of arms to Qatar since Mr Cameron took office in 2010.

Campaign spokesman Andrew Smith said the new revelations were “yet another reminder of the politically intimate and morally compromising relationship” between weapons executives and ministers.

“The government has consistently pulled out all stops to maximize arms sales, with a particular focus on the Middle East,” he said.

“This doesn’t just put arms into the hands of human rights abusers, like the Qatari government, it also sends the message that the human rights of Qatari people are of less concern than profits for Lockheed Martin.”

The meeting, in which Lockheed was represented by former Whitehall private secretary Christopher Williams, took place in January 2015.

Before his own talks with Qatar’s Emir three months before, Mr Cameron was grilled by Labour MP Steve Rotheram.

The country has also been in the spotlight for the slave-like conditions in which workers constructing venues for the 2022 World Cup have been living and working.

“There are accusations that some British companies are being short-changed on contracts associated with the construction of World Cup venues in Qatar and even claims that some monies unpaid are being siphoned off to Syria and into the hands of Isis,” Mr Rotheram charged at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Mr Cameron replied: “I will be talking to the Emir very shortly, and of course we will discuss all these issues, particularly how we can work together to combat extremism.”

In the same month, former British defence staff assistant chief General Jonathan Shaw said that the Wahhabi Salafism fuelling the rise of Isis was “funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop.”

Human rights groups condemn UK security trade fair. Britain should not be selling ‘non-lethal’ arms to oppressive regimes, say campaigners: here.

Why the U.S. can’t make up its mind on a major fighter jet sale to Qatar: here.

World’s resources wasted on militarism

This video says about itself:

11 August 2014

Top 5 War Profiteering Companies. War is business, now more than ever. This list has the 5 companies in it that most profiteer from all the wars in the world today.

5. General Dynamics, America: $20.94 billion

This list was compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. General Dynamics pockets over 20 billion a year. This Virginia based company can trace its history back to the Holland Torpedo Boat Company, which made American’s first submarine boat back in 1900. The modern business is split into four sections: Marine Systems, Combat Systems, Information Systems and Technology, and Aerospace.

4. Raytheon, America : $22.5 billion

Raytheon is the world’s largest producer of guided missiles. The various names of the company’s missiles (Patriot, Tomahawk, and Javelin) are familiar among the masses in the gaming and action film worlds. They also produced the controversial Rapid Information Overlay Technology (RIOT) system which harvests data from social media sites in order to track individuals.

3. BAE Systems, England : $26.85 billion

British Aerospace Marconi Electronic Systems is one of a few non-American companies on this list, and it’s a result of a 1999 £7.7bn merger of several predecessor companies which include the makers of the Harrier Jump Jet (the world’s first Vertical Take Off and Landing Aircraft), the comet (the world’s first commercial jet), and Concorde. The company is the producer of the Typhoon and Tornado Jets, which are used by the British RAF in their front-line defence of British airspace.

2. Boeing, America: $27.61 billion

In 2013, Boeing took $86.6bn in sales – around a third of which was arms sales. The sections primarily responsible for these arms sales is made up of the former “Military Aircraft and Missile Systems” and “Space and Communications” divisions. The company makes use of its aerospace expertise in its production of bombers, fighter aircraft, and UAVs.

1. Lockheed Martin, America: $36 billion

In 2012 Lockheed Martin made just under $4 billion profit(!). the majority of which comes from the American government (in 2009 it received just over 7% of all of the funds from the Pentagon). The enormous company employs 120,000 of the world’s brightest scientists, engineers, and lobbyists. The company is responsible for the world’s most advanced tactical fighter jet, the F-22 Raptor.

By Evan Blake:

Global economic impact of violence reached $14.3 trillion in 2014

23 June 2015

The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2014 measured a staggering $14.3 trillion, or 13.4 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to the combined economic output of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

This represents a spending increase of $1.9 trillion, or 15.3 percent, since 2008, according to the annual Global Peace Index (GPI) report, compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) think tank. The report defines the economic impact of violence as the “flow on effects on the world economy and the opportunity cost due to the misallocation of resources into non-productive areas associated with violence.”

Most of the total expenditure stems from deaths and displacement due to internal conflict, military spending, GDP losses from conflict, increasing homicide and violent crime rates, and spending on internal security officers, including police.

In total, more than $3 trillion was poured into military spending in 2014, with the US accounting for over $1.3 trillion alone. The study found that expenses related to the military, internal police forces and homicides combined to have the highest impact on costs, accounting for 68.3 percent of the total.

The costs needed to support refugees and internally displaced people have increased by 267 percent since 2008, to $128 billion, as the total number of displaced people reached 59.5 million in 2014, the highest level since World War II. Still, UN peacekeeping costs account for less than 0.17 percent of total violence containment expenditure.

The three most prominent targets of American imperialism in the recent period, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, have seen a substantial portion of their resources squandered on war. The US-stoked civil war in Syria, which has ravaged the country for four years, is estimated to have absorbed 42 percent of the country’s GDP in 2014, while Afghanistan spent 31 percent of its GDP on military and police expenditures, and Iraq spent 30 percent in 2014.

The GPI report ranks the nations of the world according to their “level of peacefulness,” based on 23 different qualitative and quantitative measurements from 162 states, covering 99.6 percent of the world’s population. Since the first report in 2008, the divide between the most and least “peaceful” countries and regions has steadily deepened, as US-led imperialism has plunged large parts of the world into deepening violence.

Syria again ranked on these terms as the least peaceful country in the world, while Libya experienced the most severe decline, according to the ranking system. Ukraine saw the second biggest decline, due to the eruption of fighting between pro-Russian separatist forces and NATO-backed fascist militias in east Ukraine.

The Middle East and North Africa region saw the most marked decline in average rankings, while Europe as a whole continued to see increases in peacefulness, as Iceland was again ranked the most peaceful, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Australia and the Czech Republic.

The US was ranked at 94th place, between Peru and Saudi Arabia. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Central African Republic, in that order, were the bottom five countries in the index.

Significantly, the report found that deaths caused by terrorism increased by 61 percent from 2012-13 and have more than doubled since 2008, resulting in 17,958 people being killed in terrorist attacks in 2013. Of those deaths, 82 percent occurred in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.

These figures once again expose the essential truth that the so-called War on Terror has in fact empowered terrorist organizations in those countries that have been targeted by American imperialism. Despite the constant invocation of “national security” as the centerpiece of the war, the vast majority of terrorist attacks take place outside the advanced capitalist countries.

While much of the data compiled in the report is useful in portraying the immense scale of the costs of imperialist war and internal political repression, the GPI rankings system is flawed and the authors themselves present a rose-tinted view of the current geopolitical situation. At one point, the report declares that, “Over the last sixty years, the world has become more peaceful. There has been a marked and consistent downturn in levels of violence and conflict since the end of the Second World War.”

Later, however, the report notes that the intensity of military conflict has increased dramatically in recent years, with 180,000 people killed in 2014 alone, a nearly fourfold increase from 49,000 in 2010. However, it glosses over the present threat of a major conflict between nuclear-armed powers and covers up of the machinations of the US-led imperialist order, effectively playing into the hands of the forces spearheading the drive to war.

Regarding the potential for such a global conflict arising from the ongoing disputes in the South China Sea, which are being driven through the US “pivot to Asia” directed against China, the authors write: “Although the likelihood of further military skirmishes in the disputed waters is high, a large-scale military engagement remains unlikely.”

In their overview of the crisis in Ukraine, the line of the US State Department comes through clearly …

There is no mention whatsoever of the role played by the US, which backed far-right nationalist and outright fascistic organizations such as Svoboda and the Right Sector to overthrow Yanukovych, and hand-picked the emergent government with puppets like Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and billionaire oligarch President Petro Poroshenko.

Above all, the worldwide escalation in military spending and domestic policing indicate the advanced stage of the buildup to a new world war involving the major imperialist powers.

Lockheed Martin merchants of death destroying British health service?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Taxpayers Fund Broken Planes from Lockheed Martin

The Air Force is about to give Lockheed Martin $24 million to fix a major issue in Lockheed’s F-22 Raptors. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur on why this is absurd.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

The arms dealers in our NHS

Friday 5th December 2014

With Lockheed Martin eyeing up contracts in our health service, Solomon Hughes charts its history of influence-peddling and bribery

The announcement that Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s biggest arms firms, is looking to bid for one of our biggest NHS contracts caused widespread dismay. Disgust really.

Thanks to the government’s NHS privatisation programme, a firm that profits by creating killing machines might run the health service.

People are right to be worried, but this isn’t completely new. Lockheed has been trying to get into social services — in a weird, corporate version of the old slogan “Welfare not warfare” — for years.

It has brought all the values of the arms industry with it — especially the values of waste and influence-peddling.

Lockheed was invited by the Department of Health to a meeting about bidding for a contract for “GP support services” worth £1 billion over 10 years.

The Health Service Journal, a vital source for NHS stories, broke the news that NHS England had invited Lockheed in to discuss the contract.

NHS England, run by arch-privatiser Simon Stevens, decided “to go to open procurement” for this deal. It didn’t think anyone in the NHS could look after doctors. NHS England thinks a firm like Lockheed will do better.

There is obviously a growing love between Lockheed and the Department of Health.

In June 2013, according to official “transparency” information, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had an “introductory meeting” with Lockheed Martin’s vice-president of technology.

I asked about this meeting under freedom of information laws, but the Department of Health told me there were no records of Hunt’s Lockheed chat.

It said Hunt’s meeting with Lockheed was part of “an informal lunch during his appearance at the Healthdatapalooza event in Washington DC.” Hunt’s unrecorded Healthdatapalooza chat doesn’t seem to have done the firm any harm.

For Lockheed’s part, it got very anxious about the end of the cold war. The firm was genuinely worried that arms sales would fall with the end of the Soviet Union.

As it turns out this was a misplaced concern. The West has had loads more wars even without the Soviet threat. But it was a real concern in the ’90s. So Lockheed tried to get from warfare into welfare in the US.

Lockheed kept some of its hard militaristic edge by emphasising the tight control and even punitive nature of welfare work.

It moved into non-military contracts first by collecting parking fines.

It used the relationships it had founded with state officials over parking fines to branch into “caring” services.

Lockheed said it would chase “deadbeat dads” who were not supporting their families on welfare.

It was fitting in with president Bill Clinton’s “tough-minded” approach to welfare, promising a mix of authoritarian, business-minded and cost-cutting methods.

Lockheed’s lobbyists told senators that the arms firm had now “become the premier provider of child support services,” offering “technology and management techniques” to transform delivery.

However, its welfare work didn’t always deliver. In 1997 the state of California dropped its “deadbeat dads” contract with Lockheed because its system had failed, after $111 million of expenditure.

In Florida, a Lockheed system to hunt “deadbeat dads” spent $5.4m to collect just $162,000 in child support payments from the errant fathers — in effect spending $25 dollars for each three cents collected.

This kind of waste is common in the arms industry — Lockheed gave one of the most famous examples of military waste in the 1980s when it charged the army $640 per toilet seat. Lockheed’s most famous current programme is the Joint Strike Fighter, a super-advanced jet plane which has rising prices, late delivery and question marks over performance.

Lockheed hasn’t yet got into welfare work in Britain on any great scale, but it has branched beyond just selling planes and rockets into “service” contracts which work like the NHS contracts it is chasing — which isn’t reassuring.

Lockheed’s main British “service” contract is running the Aldermaston atom bomb factory in a consortium with other companies.

Last year Lockheed’s consortium was fined £280,000 for a dangerous fire at Aldermaston.

The Health and Safety Executive’s inspector said a “collection of shortcomings’’ demonstrated by the consortium showed failures of “supervision, monitoring and auditing over time.” This year the Independent reported the Ministry of Defence was worried about “spiralling costs” and late delivery by Lockheed and its partners at Aldermaston.

So just the people we want running the NHS.

This is where the second arms industry value might come in — influence peddling.

This Dutch video is about the 1976 Lockheed scandal in the Netherlands. They bribed Prince Consort Bernhard, also Inspector General of the armed forces. The government did not dare to jail Prince Bernhard for this; though they did sack him as Inspector General.

Lockheed was at the centre of the biggest bribery scandal of the post-war years — the “Lockheed bribery scandal” was one of the outstanding international events of the 1970s.

The revelation of Lockheed’s widespread bribery, revealed as a by-product of the fall of president Richard Nixon, brought down politicians throughout Europe.

This is another video about the Lockheed bribery scandal in the Netherlands.

The firm hasn’t been caught in such outright bribery since, but it does hire lots of ex-politicians. Lockheed has not one but three British lords on its board.

Lord John Patten was one of the most ineffective ever Tory education ministers.

He was sacked by John Major for making a huge mess of schools — but he is good enough to be a Lockheed director.

Former head of the navy Sir Jonathan Band is also a director, as is Sir David Manning.

He was Tony Blair’s foreign policy adviser, who helped Blair get Britain into the war on Iraq, even though leaked memos show he knew the WMD “case was thin.

Lockheed was so excited about the Iraq war that it put out a special sales brochure on its contribution to “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” which says it was “at the forefront contributing weapon systems” to the Iraq war — so it might have recruited Manning out of gratitude for helping sell so many of its products.

But the real point is that these lords give Lockheed a lot of political influence. Hiring insiders is a Lockheed style. So Christopher Williams, Lockheed’s British head of government affairs, was until 2013 a private secretary in the Cabinet Office.

Insiders and waste. It’s easy to see how Lockheed could get NHS contracts.

But it’s equally easy to see why it shouldn’t.

A THIRD of NHS contracts have been awarded to private sector providers since the Health and Social Care Act came into force, finds an investigation by the BMJ today (Wednesday 10 December): here.

A third of NHS contracts have been handed to private companies since the government’s hated health reforms were introduced, figures published yesterday showed : here.