Friday 14th of June 2024

the terror business .....

the terror business .....

Not to stoke any of the inane conspiracy theories running wild on the Internet, but if Osama bin Laden wasn’t on the payroll of Lockheed Martin or some other large defense contractor, he deserves to have been.  

What a boondoggle 9/11 has been for the merchants of war, who this week announced yet another quarter of whopping profits made possible by George Bush’s pretending to fight terrorism by throwing money at outdated Cold War-style weapons systems.  

Lockheed Martin, the nation’s top weapons manufacturer, reaped a 22 percent increase in profits, while rivals for the defense buck, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, increased profits by 62 percent and 22 percent, respectively.  

Boeing’s profits jumped 61 percent, spiked this quarter by its commercial division, but Boeing’s military division, like the others, has been doing very well indeed since the terrorist attacks.  

As Newsweek International put in August: "Since 9/11 and the U.S.-led wars that followed, shares in American defense companies have outperformed both the Nasdaq and Standard & Poor’s stock indices by some 40 percent.  

Prior to the recent cascade of stock prices worldwide, Boeing’s share prices had tripled over the past five years while Raytheon’s had doubled."  

Cashing In On Terror

More for the pigs of wars...

US troops will be in the Middle East for next 50 years, says Abazaid

Associated Press
Thursday November 1, 2007
Guardian Unlimited


US troops could be in the Middle East for another 50 years, according to the longest serving commander of the Qatar-based US Central Command.

General John Abazaid, who retired in May, said the "strategic situation" in the region - the rise of extremism and the global dependence on oil - would necessitate a long-term presence.

"Over time, we will have to shift the burden of the military fight from our forces directly to regional forces, and we will have to play an indirect role.

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Gus: "play an indirect role?" The good General must be kidding... On the rest he's not — especially the oil bit.

noses in the trough...

US army contracting alarms panel

An independent panel has strongly criticised the way the US army manages contracts to supply its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The panel said there were high levels of fraud and waste in relation to contracts worth $4bn (£1.9bn) a year.

It blamed a lack of oversight and said only about half the army's contracting staff were properly qualified.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates said he was "dismayed" by the report and the Pentagon would pursue its suggestions.

The army says it is pursuing 83 criminal inquiries related to contract fraud and more than $15m dollars in bribes have been exposed.

The panel did not address specific allegations against individuals, but made clear that a lack of oversight and too few army contracting personnel had exacerbated systemic problems.

Ugly?...

Market turmoil as stocks plunge and oil soars

· Pound nears $2.09 as Fed signals end to rate cuts
· British motorists suffer, but bargains await tourists

Ashley Seager
Friday November 2, 2007
The Guardian

The world's main financial markets saw a dramatic day yesterday as stocks plunged, oil prices set an all-time high and the pound jumped to just under $2.09.

Having been cheered on Wednesday by the latest interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve, stock markets across the globe suffered a renewed bout of panic about the problems in credit markets resulting from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Downgrades of earnings forecasts by Wall Street analysts of America's two largest banks - Citigroup and Bank of America - refocused stock dealers' minds on the credit crunch that has led to the freezing of money markets around the world for more than two months.

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Gus: The Feds should have raised the interest rates and hit the shonks who sold subprime loans on the head (prison would do)... That would have done a lot more for the market. But then the oil companies want to make more money... The best way is to make sure oil is a lot more expensive... and that a lot more oil is burned....  

the price of fear .....

Law professors David Cole of Georgetown University and Jules Lobel of the University of Pittsburgh published a Report Card on the war against terrorist networks in this weekend's Los Angeles Times.  

The chart combines visual and statistical depictions of the cost of the administration's failing strategy. 

Are We Safer?

the capo .....

In the Pentagon's newly expanded Special Operations office, Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Vickers is working to implement the U.S. military's highest-priority plan: a global campaign against terrorism that reaches far beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The plan details the targeting of al-Qaida-affiliated networks around the world and explores how the United States should retaliate in case of another major terrorist attack. The most critical aspect of the plan, Vickers said in a recent interview, involves U.S. Special Operations forces working through foreign partners to uproot and fight terrorist groups. 

Vickers' job also spans the modernization of nuclear forces for deterrence and retaliation, and the retooling of conventional forces to combat terrorism, a portfolio so expansive that he and some Pentagon officials once jokingly referred to his efforts as the "take-over-the-world plan." 

Vickers, a former Green Beret and CIA operative, was the principal strategist for the biggest covert program in CIA history: the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan in the 1980s. 

The movie "Charlie Wilson's War," released last weekend, portrays Vickers in that role, in which he directed an insurgent force of 150,000 Afghan fighters and controlled an annual budget of more than $2 billion in current dollars. 

Today, as the top Pentagon adviser on counterterrorism strategy, Vickers exudes the same assurance about defeating terrorist groups as he did as a 31-year-old CIA paramilitary officer assigned to Afghanistan, where he convinced superiors that, with the right strategy and weapons, the ragtag Afghan insurgents could win. 

"I am just as confident or more confident we can prevail in the war on terror," said Vickers, 54. 

Vickers joined the Pentagon in July to oversee the 54,000-strong Special Operations Command (Socom), based in Tampa, Fla., which is growing faster than any other part of the U.S. military. Socom's budget has doubled in recent years, to $6 billion for 2008, and the command is to add 13,000 troops to its ranks by 2011. 

Senior Pentagon and military officials regard Vickers as a rarity: a skilled strategist who is creative and pragmatic. "He tends to think like a gangster," said Jim Thomas, a former senior defense planner who worked with Vickers. 

Key Pentagon Strategist Plots Global War On Terror