On Mass Mobilizations, “Community”, and Making Change

•November 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The following is a rough exposition of my ideas on direct action, organizing, community building, and how we can begin rethinking tearing down the nuclear industrial complex. Let me restate that it is ROUGH. I will continue working on this and restructuring the argument, adding in additional references and theorists. It currently consists mostly of reflections I have of my own personal experiences, as well as ideas taken from discussions with my brilliant and supportive friends. Special thanks to Nick Robinson for long and constructive conversations following TOTB this year, some of these thoughts may indeed be his, so I hope he will not pursue intellectual property damages against me. Just kidding.

 

The first section is my reflections on mass mobilizations, protests, street marches, etc, and their effectiveness at making change. The second section is where I begin positing alternatives to the idea of “direct action” tactics as we commonly conceive of them, a mostly symbolic spectacle. This includes a critical look at the idea of “community” and “community organizing.” The third section is a sketch of the possible architecture of change, the trebuchet to smash the monster so to speak.

 

 

On large scale mass mobilizations, protests, and convention associated mock-war street riots in the United States:

 

From the first moment a mass mobilization is brought into being, an organizer (master)/mass (slave) binary is put in place. Those who attend an organized event or action, to a large degree, have little or no agency in deciding the messaging or overall goals of the action. They are largely excluded from the decision-making process, and they are disempowered via their lack of agency. Those who attend large/mass actions with their own plans or affinity actions in mind are often viewed by the organizers or media as being disruptive to the stated aims of the protest, bringing unwanted police attention to the action, being intentionally divisive with their ideology and messaging, etc. Large scale and mass actions do not leave room for affinity actions or differences of opinion because they are aimed at getting one specific, simple message into the eyes and ears of the media. Entire actions are planned on how the media will later portray them. Because of this, certain actions and ideologies that may be more “radical” cannot be included because the largely conservative mainstream media will not portray them in a favorable light.

 

This has molded the characteristic of mass actions in America to nothing more than banal displays of democracy which only serve to strengthen the political discourse in this country that the public opinion matters, when in any real or visceral sense, it doesn’t. Large Anti War protests, or other such single-message protests which get a large number of people into the streets, while supposedly functioning as a way for the masses to voice dissent, are viewed as a positive cathartic exhaust in a diluted version of democracy by both the governing powers and the protest organizers. The governing powers continue to allow such events because (1) mass protests do not pose any actual threat to power structures and (2) they justify the increased militarization of the police force.

 

Since Seattle in 1999, large scale protests have been rapidly militarized in the form of heavily armed (albeit with “non-lethal” weaponry) police presence. From surveillance and infiltration of organizing groups to the increased number of police that are deployed at protests, the presence of police in organizing and public protesting space cannot be ignored. Often times this increased police presence is accompanied by an increase in the types of “soft weaponry” that they carry. Rubber bullets, stun guns and tasers, batons, riot shields and helmets, tear gas and pepper spray, horses, and more specialized directed-sound weapons are now deployed regularly at protests in the United States. Anti-globalization and big convergences, such as the RNC or DNC, probably see the most severe forms of militarization of public space, but even May Day and Anti War protests in large or medium sized cities will be host to riot-ready police forces.

 

Riot or mock-street warfare scenarios are now often regarded as an initiation process into radicalism. Ironically, a sub-culture within mainstream political protesting culture has emerged that, despite their disdain for war and violence, recreates war-like scenarios at the fringes of mass actions. Anarcho-punk youth from around the United States and Europe will travel thousands of miles to attend such an action, rather than spending their time and resources building relationships and material or social wealth in their own communities. I could go into my opinions on this issue but that would be a cynical distraction, and I’d rather talk about the militarization of public protest space.

 

The violent engagement of police forces with protesters, whether due to protester or police instigation, justifies the use of such force in the eyes of the state. The violent outburst is a manifestation of the tension from (a) the ideological threat of public dissent present in a mass action, and (b) the physical counter-threat of police violence present in massive and heavily armed police presence. It acts as a catharsis for both sides. And regardless of how many windows get smashed during such a riot or mock-street warfare scenario, little or nothing is changed as an outcome of such an outburst other than the weakening of communities of resistance by police infiltration, jail time from protester arrests, and the material resources necessitated for legal support. Long-term physical and psychological wounds are also incurred, mostly on the side of the protesters due to the disproportionate use of force on the side of the police.

 

Male roles and actions are favored in mass action, especially in scenarios of police/protester violence. Physical strength, daring and heroism are qualities upheld in a riot scenario. As protest spaces are increasingly militarized with police presence and police/protester violent engagement, they are increasingly unwelcoming to groups of people on the lower rungs of the white supremacist, patriarchal value system.

 

The riot police, who may, in this scenario, represent the militarized ideal, are the most masculine of the actors. (This masculinity subverts the police officers’ assigned or chosen sex and/or gender, as their occupation requires them to play out masculine roles in this context. Of course, female officers face extreme patriarchal pressures in their line of work, and are objectified and oppressed as well.) The police hold the monopoly on weaponry, and in that sense a literal monopoly on physical violence. They also hold the power of the “legal system” on their side, with the ability to trump or fabricate charges at will, such as “resisting arrest” or “assaulting an officer” (which can include verbal assault or struggling while face down in cuffs), and in this sense hold the monopoly on judicial violence.

 

Due to this monopoly on judicial violence, and their power to define the terms of “justice” in a riot scenario, the police force a passive role on the protester counter-force. Passive in the literal sense that (if caught, tried, and convicted) physical violence against police, regardless of the physical injury sustained, is a felony (not sure if this is true but I think it is). Therefore, the protester’s agency to inflict violence is severely restricted by the legal repercussions of such violence.

 

The American legal system is systematically engrained with racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and otherwise bigoted tendencies. This means that if “violence”[1] occurs from protester to police, and is done by a person of color, female person, queer person, a person who doesn’t easily fit into the male-female gender binary, or a person with precarious legal status, such as prior convictions or lack of “legal” immigration documentation, this person will often times face harsher physical and legal repercussions due to the action. Hence, the idea that a protester can “punch a cop in the face and get away with it”[2] is an idea that really only applies due to the privilege bestowed upon cis-gendered[3], straight, white males. Behavior like this also instigates a violent backlash by the police force (envision a shark feeding frenzy) that then puts all bystanders at risk, regardless of their involvement in such an action.

 

That said, when the entire action is done, people go home, tie up legal loose ends, what has come of this giant spectacle? The media may buzz for a day or two, but after that they will be onto the next story, celebrity gossip, shopping holidays, etc. The mainstream media will not muse over the cultural or political relevance of the protests outside the RNC, they will go on to cover the election, and they will only validate the voices of the two party system. Videos will be posted to the internet, and spread through listservs and the blogosphere, those who missed the action will be amazed and appalled by the riot-porn. Those who were there will relive their mock-war battles and start to heal the psychological wounds caused by the trauma of conflict. The glass will get swept up and the stores will reopen. Or, absolutely nothing at all will have changed for the local businesses. And it is most certain that absolutely nothing will have changed in the minds of the men and women in power.

 

What about the relationships formed among the participants? Folks on the street likely made friends and new connections, and felt an overwhelming sense of solidarity. However, such an event encourages a lack of long term or working relationship building and maintenance outside of the organizing clique. As the agency for decision-making was restricted to the organizing vanguard, again relegating the mass participants to a passive role, most of the people who attend a protest on a large scale will not take much social networking home. Furthermore, the social networks established for publicizing and getting a large turn out to such events are not necessarily meant to be maintained over the long term. They are used mostly for the event, and possibly for similar events in the future. These networks do not extend beyond event-specific organizing in meaningful ways.

 

Ideological differences among participants are not discussed with regards to messaging and the least common denominator messaging is emphasized in the media and in pre-event literature. There is no open public forum for mediating ideological differences. Likewise, generational, racial, cultural, gender & sexual and political differences not discussed or moderated. Marginalized views remain marginalized.

 

As far as material resource allocation and accountability is concerned, money raised is generally focused on publicity and media, while the undiscussed needs of the attending population are largely ignored. The validity of such an action depends on support from certain groups (labor, people of color, indigenous populations, etc) without any attempt to materially support these people in the action or outside of it. Legal support is generally left in the hands of the individuals who need to use it or the groups they were originally associated with.

 

Even a cursory reading of the above should show that the tactical significance or importance of mass protests or large scale actions, regardless of how violent they get or how much property damage occurs, is little to none. Any messaging is filtered through mainstream conservatism, any subversive ideology or messaging outside of the central message is ignored, marginalized, and silenced, and these spaces are increasingly militarized, with the violence only acting in one direction due to disproportionality and the state’s monopoly on physical and judicial violence.

 

 

 

Alternative visions: Community building and organizing

 

Community building begins with defining community. There are many diverse “community organizations” that serve different elements of a population. Community organizations in one neighborhood can all serve divergent groups and interests.

 

When defining the people we can work with, we need to match that group of people to the goals we wish to achieve and the resources we have. We need to work in a community that can support our goals materially as well. Material support comes in many forms: time, money, work, food, shelter, legal, spiritual and mental support, guidance and direction, etc.

 

Community building requires long-term commitment at a level that is sustainable. It requires being invested in a location. It requires building long lasting working relationships with the people that live near you. It necessitates a diffuse leadership structure that allows any one person to take breaks and shift focus without weakening the community itself or the direction of the project. Community building requires transparent and accountable communication and behaviors. It requires support systems for victims of abuse within the community, conflict mediation, and alternatives to the penal system. Community building should be based on trust, investment, and a set of principles for societal change that are widely acknowledged, accepted, and practiced within the community.

 

The type of work that needs to be done in order to subvert the nuclear industrial complex also involves looking beyond prominent conceptions of community. I will forward some of this discussion to an article, “City Life and Difference” by Iris Marion Young,[4] who claims that the term “community,” like its opposite the “individual,” necessarily denies the differences that occur in large groups of people. These differences encompass political ideals, racial, ethnic and gender identities, among others. The idea of “building community” is premised upon a shared understanding and knowing of those in the community, and in this way is a completely impossible and utopian ideal.

 

When we begin to look at how community building pans out in the real world, no matter what the stated intentions of planned communities may be, we see many of the problems of mainstream society replicated in them. This is to say that rather than knowing each other on intimate levels, we are still in some ways indefinable and alienated from each other. This extends to our ability to know ourselves, and as such we can never really hope to know others as the self remains, at times, quite ambiguous. Also, in defining our community based on likeness and shared ideals, we must necessarily exclude difference. Often times in planned community spaces, such as anarchist spaces (or “infoshops”) or feminist groups in the United States, there is a lack of racial or ethnic diversity. While these groups may in their values list a respect and appreciation for diversity, or even the necessity of it, it remains a trend that likeness prevails. This is perhaps due to identities that cross social groups. For example, anarchist feminist spaces in the United States may lack the presence of black women, even though the group is largely defined as a female group, but because anarchists tend generally to be white, to know white people and have white friends and relationships. Thus those that identify as female and black, or even female, black and radical, may not identify with the white anarchists, and therefore are excluded or exclude themselves from that “community.”

 

As Young puts it, “The most serious political consequence of the desire for community, or for copresence and mutual identification with others [Young’s definition of community] is that it often operates to exclude or oppress those experienced as different. Commitment to an ideal of community tends to value and enforce homogeneity…Too often people in groups working for social change take mutual friendship to be a goal of the group, and thus judge themselves wanting as a group when they do not achieve such commonality. Such a desire for community often channels energy away from the political goals of the group, and also produces a clique atmosphere which keeps groups small and turns potential members away.”[5] 

 

In a real way, we cannot think of community as some ideal of togetherness. When we use the term “community” we must carefully qualify which community, and we must be critical of utopian visioning. Rather than focusing solely on “community” for the groups and spaces that we can envision ourselves organizing in, we can use Young’s alternative of the city as a model for social change networking. Young favors the city model to that of the community model because the city provides a commonality in proximity while allowing for differences in identification. There can be many self defined communities within a city that overlap and exist on top of each other. The city provides a loose framework for association without forcing relationships of inclusion or exclusion.

 

I would like to expand this idea of the city onto our conception of networking and movement building. Rather than trying to build a very large, specific and closely related “community based” movement, I propose thinking of our movement for nuclear abolition as a city. Instead of being loosely associated by proximity, we will be loosely associated in our aim to abolish the nuclear industrial complex. Thus, we will allow agency and autonomy for self-defined communities, groups, and individual actors that exist within the “city.” Our space, rather than being a physical space, is an ideological space, or a communication space.

 

On colonizing and patriarchal organizing, or cross-cultural organizing:

 

Let’s say the goal we have is nuclear abolition. Let’s say that we determine that the groups of people we want to work with in order to shut down nuclear fuel production and processing facilities are working class people, people of color, and indigenous communities who live near uranium strip mining operations. Let’s say that we are composed of mostly young white people from upper middle class backgrounds, with college educations, and only a few of us live near the facilities in question. Let’s acknowledge that the colonizing and racist history of this country has put us in a place of privilege over those that are most suited to directly shut down the nuclear industrial complex. Due to our backgrounds and upbringings, we do not live near or work at uranium mines or processing facilities. How do we begin to bridge the cultural, racial, colonial, class, and many other differences in order to join together to fight? How do we establish trust with peoples who have been lied to and deceived for centuries by peoples like us?

 

This is not a question of how to save people. I want to make this clear. This is a question of how to materially support people so they can better organize and empower themselves. We are not in the position to organize anyone other than ourselves. We are not in a position to convert people to a specific ideology, religion or lifestyle. To do so would be to once again colonize a movement, to deny agency to oppressed people, to become the masters of a movement of slaves. This would only serve to create another system of oppression, and to reproduce prevailing societal norms and hierarchies within our own movement.

 

Much like the above scenario of the event based mass protest or march, we want to avoid vanguardist organizing where a small organizing group (us) defines the goals and messaging of an action or, in this case, a long-term movement within a specific community.

 

What this process entails is to be an ally.[6] It entails taking the supporting role rather than the leadership role. It means establishing connections and working relationships with people and allowing them to define our roles as far as what they need in order to better organize. This requires cultural sensitivity and an understanding of ideological differences between cultures.

 

This role also requires a clear understanding of one’s privilege in order to best serve the needs of those to which one is allied. Knowing one’s strengths and abilities, as well as knowing what spaces one can more easily trespass due to one’s privilege is key. But above all, this process necessitates and requires asking for direction and listening to the needs and interests of others. 

 

One of the great things about TOTB is the network that it is building. There are a lot of groups from all over the country who send representatives to TOTB conferences to share their stories and experiences of struggle. I think that we need to see more representation from groups that are situated closely to the production and processing of nuclear fuel: (1) indigenous communities near uranium mines and mills who are working to assert their treaty rights to retain ownership of the land and stop uranium extraction and refinement; (2) the people working at the processing facilities, whether current or past, who are working to expose the health risks of such an occupation, (and who can possibly be linked with people working on building “green” jobs or alternative energy sources to nuclear power); and (3) United States citizens who live in communities adjacent to mining, milling, and fuel processing facilities who know the longevity of the health affects and are not willing to allow such disasters in their localities.

 

Upon contacting these folks, we need to figure out with them what resources we have that can assist them in meeting their goals. There are many groups that already are part of the TOTB network with many skills and resources that could benefit and empower such communities. As aforementioned, this will mean letting these groups define their aims and goals for nuclear abolition and taking an allied role to materially support them in the ways that they define. Through the network that we build and maintain, and by allowing others access to building and maintenance of this network as well, we will start to form the city-like structure mentioned above. Material support and exchange of information will continue to build and swell into a movement of autonomous communities, groups, and individuals working toward the aim of nuclear abolition.

 


[1] Again, this terminology will be defined by the police, and doesn’t actually have to constitute a physical assault, or even really happen. There are many cases of people being locked up for years or life who never committed the violence against police that they are serving time for. Leonard Peltier is a good example, as he is in jail for life after being framed for the murder of an FBI agent.

[2] A quote liked with the group CrimetInc, who publishes lifestyle-anarchist propaganda that looks eerily similar to the advertising aesthetic used by the mainstream media/youth culture, such as Mtv.

[3] Cis-gendered: a person whose gender identity visibly matches their sex and assigned gender.

[4] I found this article in a book entitled METROPOLIS: Center and Symbol of Our Times, edited by Philip Kasinitz, on New York University Press: 1995. It is a collection of essays that reflect on how capital effects our conceptions of urban space from a very critical standpoint. Features writing by Mike Davis and Loic J D Wacquant, among others.

[5] Young, Iris Mario, “City Life and Difference.” Metropolis: Center and Symbol of Our Times, ed. Kasinitz. New York University Press: 1995. Page 260-261.

[6] “An ally is a member of a dominant group who rejects the dominant ideology and takes action against oppression out of a belief that eliminating oppression benefits everyone.” From a handout, What is an Ally?, adapted from “Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice” edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin (Routledge Press, 1997)

EXELON: Energy & Power

•July 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Exelon Corporation

(1) Company History/Structure — Past companies who merged together to form Exelon, past and current Subsidiaries, NRG takeover

also — structure of company as one who owns the lines through which energy is transported, and thus controls the purchase and transport of energy while not necessarily being accountable for energy production

furthermore — exelon owes its success to coal burning plants, and still operates a number of coal burning plants and other fossil fuel oriented energy plants

(2) Board of Directors — ties to other corporations

(3) influence within obama administration, washington offices, lobbiest institutions

(a) DoE: Nuclear Power 2010

(b) Cap and Trade/HR 2454/Waxman-Markey

(c) NuStart Energy Consortium and COL

(4) front end uranium/power production, environmental impact, indigenous genocide (strip mining & dine)

(a) cotter corp/canon city

(b) areva/niger

(c) tenex/kazakhstan

(5) dangers of nuclear energy production: Three Mile Island

(6) brief outline of the nuclear fuel cycle, the companies involved, the industrial investment in nuclear energy, and the problem of nuclear waste: web of profit and environmental destruction

(7) environmental justice & resistance organizations

(a) LVEJO

boeing working piece

•April 19, 2009 • 2 Comments

INTRODUCTION

 

This essay is written to serve several functions. First of all, it is intended to inform community members of Chicago specifically to the history, leadership and commodoties of the Boeing Corporation in an attempt to arrouse further investigation into Boeing’s role in the larger Military Industrial Complex. I want to, within this investigation, critically question the presence or absence of accountability on the part of Boeing to the workers, their communities, the earth, and the larger national economy, which is more and more becoming solely a military economy. Secondly, I wish to situate Chicago’s acquisition of the corporate headquarters of Boeing within a larger neo-liberal political and public policy context as spearheaded so unabashedly by the current Mayor Richard Daley Jr., and his father. Within this context, I want to determine what role Boeing’s capital investments and philanthropy contribute to the greater Chicago cultural and social millieu. Finally, I want to set all of this oblique objectivism aside: I want to write a critical and scathing condemnation of this truly insidious corporation, and I want to link together the web of oppression and destruction that Boeing has cast over the entire globe. After that is done, we will get to the question of resistance.

 

CORPORATE BIOGRAPHY

 

Boeing Corporation, Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is the United States’ second largest military contactor. Boeing researches, designs, and produces a wide variety of “products” for military and civilian uses: aircraft (military & commercial), logistical/maintenence/training support for said aircraft, intelligence/surveillance systems (giant biomentric towers on US-Mexico border), space exploration (shuttles & space stations), missile defense systems, nuclear & ballistic missiles, command-control-communications “C3″systems, “Phantom Works” (research and development), refueling tankers, and financial services to help fund & sell Boeing products. Boeing received the most federal contract dollars in the first two quarters of 2008, second most in 2007 only to Lockheed Martin.

 

Boeing works closely with, ie: gets huge contracts from, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Energy (DoE), the Israeli Government, the Saudi Arabian Government, and the Austrailian Government, among others. Boeing has tremendous political sway, as a number of its board members have from time to time served in various administrations in Washington; Boeing also is a major political contributor, and has given more than $9 million in the last decade to various Congress-people from both parties.

 

Boeing’s subsidiaries include: AeroInfo Systems, Alteon Training, Boeing Aerostructures Austrialia, Boeing Defense Austrialia, Continental Data Graphics Corporation, Jeppesen (contracted to run Extraordinary Rendition flights), Preston Group, SBS International.

 

 

 

BOEING’S COMMODITY ARSENAL

 

Boeing has greatly diversified its product offerings in order to obtain its own sort of “full spectrum dominance” of the weapons, aerospace, surveillance and communications/information market. What follows is meant to be a menacing sounding list of inventions available to anyone for the right price. Information is taken from Boeing’s website, most of the descriptions summarized by the author.

 

Boeing Military Aircraft

Global Strike Systems:

  • EA-18G Growler   Fighter used by Navy.
  • F/A-18E/F Super Hornet – Fighter used by Navy.
  • F-15E Strike Eagle – Fighter used by USAF, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the Republic of Korea.
  • Harpoon Block III – An anti-ship weapon system, adding Global Positioning System and datalink capability, littoral performance improvement and a precision moving target solution.
  • Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) — weapons guidance system.
  • Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile (PAC-3) — weapons guidance.
  • Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) — from 40 miles it can penetrate more than three feet of steel-reinforced concrete.
  • Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM ER) — Guided missile with carefully marketed name for rocket jocks.
  • T-45 Training System  video game for training new recruits.

Global Mobility Systems:

  • C-17 Globemaster III —heavy airlift aircraft used in Operation Iraqi Freedom, also flown by air forces of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Qatar, and NATO.

Airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems:

  • 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) —airborne surveillance, communications and battle management.
  • Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) — airborne surveillance and command and control (C2).
  • P-8A Poseidon —The Navy awarded Boeing an eight-year System Development and Demonstration contract for the aircraft in June 2004. Long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine capabilities.

Rotorcraft Systems:

  • AH-64D Apache Longbow  helicopter with menacing and racist name.
  • CH/MH-47 Chinook —medium-to-heavy-lift helicopter for intra-theater troop and cargo movement.
  • V-22 Osprey — The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft capable of taking off and landing like a helicopter, but once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.

Global Services & Support

Sustains aircraft and systems with a full spectrum of products and services, including aircraft maintenance, modification and upgrades; supply chain management; engineering and logistics support; pilot and maintenance training, and other defense and government services.

Advanced Global Services & Support (ie: logistics)

Defense & Government Services

  • services for infrastructure support; aviation and logistics; information; support operations; managed networks and communications; and other technical services. three subdivisions comprising Boeing Service Company (BSC); Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Services; and Boeing Aerospace Operations (BAO).

Integrated Logistics, Maintenance, Modification and Upgrades

Network and Space Systems

Combat Systems:

  • Future Combat Systems (FCS) –the U.S. Army’s modernization program, includes a new family of manned and unmanned ground and air vehicles and sensors. Boeing and partner Science Applications International Corporation function as the lead systems integrator for FCS, managing a team of more than 550 suppliers. Boeing is working on this project with a $20 billion contract from the Army that runs through 2015. (United Press International, http://www.upi.com)

Command, Control and Communications (C3) Networks:

  • Network and Information Systems
    • Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) —software-programmable radios that will provide voice, data, imagery and video communications for mobile military users that are interoperable (ie: compatable) between operating systems and agencies.
    • Family of Advanced Beyond line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T) —contracted to design/build a system that talks to different satellites, enabling information exchange between ground, air and space platforms.
    • Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) – mobile satellite radio
  • Integrated Command and Control (IC2)
  • Integrated Shipboard Systems –navy’s submarine & ballistic missile navigators Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Systems – Since 1958, Boeing has designed, developed and produced the guidance and control system for the Minuteman ICBM. The ICBM team is currently leading a team of contractors to replace the aging guidance system electronics in the Minuteman III ICBMs. The new system will extend the life of the Minuteman III beyond 2020.

Intelligence and Security Systems:

  • Mission Systems —acquire, manage, visualize and communicate intelligence from multiple sources. addresses the convergence of Information Technology with traditional systems
  • SBInet – The transformational SBInet program aims to reduce the United States’ vulnerability to terrorism and protect national interests by providing Border Patrol agents, along the U.S. land borders with Mexico and Canada, the tools needed to immediately detect an illegal entry, effectively respond to the entry, and bring the situation to the appropriate law enforcement resolution. Additionally, SBInet will provide enhanced situational awareness through improved fixed and mobile communications systems and a Common Operating Picture, equipping agents and officers with the advantage of real-time, up-to-date, integrated intelligence about illegal border activity, and interoperability with other federal, state, local and international law enforcement bodies. (Sounds nice, doesn’t it?)

Missile Defense Systems:

  • Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) —detect, track and destroy long-range ballistic missiles in their flight.
  • Airborne Laser (ABL) — ABL is a precise, high-energy laser weapon system that will be capable of destroying ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight. Boeing leads the development of ABL, which places battle management and beam control/fire control systems and a high-energy laser on a modified Boeing 747-400F aircraft to detect, track and destroy all classes of ballistic missiles.
  • Directed Energy Systems (DES)
    • Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) —support missions on the battlefield and in urban operations (creepy!)
    • High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD) — truck-mounted, high-energy laser weapon system that will destroy rockets, artillery shells and mortar rounds.
    • Laser Avenger —Humvee-based Avenger system to destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unexploded ordnance (UXO) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • Arrow — The Arrow weapon system is a ground-based system that protects Israel against ballistic missiles.

Space and Intelligence Systems:

  • Global Positioning System IIF (GPS) — satellites for radio navigation system
  • Transformational Satellite Communications Space Segment (TSAT SS) — communication satellites.  Boeing is one of two contractors working under a risk reduction and system definition contract.
  • Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) – bigger tubes for military internet

Space Exploration:

  • Boeing Launch Systems — throws shit into space
  • Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) —for the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, expendable launch vehicles and other payload programs at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
  • Constellation —supports NASA’s implementation of human and robotic exploration program. Boeing is working with NASA to meet the Vision for Space Exploration, which includes a return to the moon not earlier than 2020. Boeing is responsible for producing and delivering the avionics systems and upper stage for the Ares I rocket.
  • International Space Station (ISS) — Boeing is the major subcontractor to NASA’s spaceflight operations contractor, United Space Alliance.
  • Space Shuttle —again, Boeing is NASA’s major contractor.

Tanker Programs

KC-767 International Tanker

Phantom Works : Research & Development

Joint Ventures

  • Sea Launch — shoots shit into space.
  • United Launch Alliance (ULA) —spacecraft launch services for the U.S. government: Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other organizations. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
  • United Space Alliance (USA) — established in 1995 as a Limited Liability Company equally owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, serves as NASA’s prime contractor for the space shuttle and provides operations services for the International Space Station. USA employs more than 10,000 people in Texas, Florida and Alabama.

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Boeing’s Board of Directors is a quite influential and affluent bunch. Most of them have served in Washington and as CEOs of other war profiteering corporations. It would be hard to argue that their interests do not lie in the perpetuation of endless war; likewise it would be hard to argue that they have not had considerable influence in the White House and Washington in shaping the policy that allows for the perpetuation of endless war and a war-based economy.

Walter J McNerney, Jr is the current President & CEO of the Boeing Corporation since 2005. He was CEO of 3M (2001-05), and held a number of presidencies or CEOships at various divisions of GE, who was awarded $35,792,415,192 in DoD contracts between 2000-2008, 84.2% of which were no-bid. He also sits on the Board of Procter & Gamble, who were awarded $312 million in DoD contracts in 2007.

Willaim M Daley, the brother of current Mayor of Chicago, has served/is serving as US Secretary of Commerce 1997-2000, JP Morgan Chase Chairman of the Midwest (2004-), and SBC Communications President (2001-04). SBC is a giant telecommunications corporation recently merged with at&t to make AT&T (in 2005, shortly after Daley left SBC), which owns a shit-ton of telecommunications companies, including AT&T, Ameritech, SBC, Southwestern Bell, Pacific Telesis, and Bell South. A number of these companies contract to the federal government and Department of Defense, offering communications “solutions” to the military and government. (wikipedia, at&t website) SBC itself has received over $2.6 billion in DoD contracts from 2000-Q1 2008, 28% of which were no bid contracts.

Daley was also Evercore Partners Vice Chairman (2001). “Established in 1996, Evercore Partners is a leading investment banking boutique providing advisory services to prominent multinational corporations and financial sponsors on significant mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, restructurings and other strategic corporate transactions. Evercore also has a successful investment management business through which we also manage private equity funds, institutional assets and private wealth.” (www.evercore.com) Evercore’s website lists BOEING as one of their past clients!

Daley currently sits on the Board of Abbott Laboratories (who has received over $150 million in DoD contracts since 2000, 2/3rds of which were no-bid contracts), Boeing, EDS ($6 billion in DoD contracts since 2000), and Merck ($18 million in DoD contracts since 2000).

Daley is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as chairman of Gore’s 2000 presidential election campaign, and chose Gore’s VP nominee. He was named to the advisory board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. In 1993 Daley was a special council to President Clinton on the passage of NAFTA. In 1997 Clinton named Daley Secretary of Commerce. Daley is likely to run for the governor of Illinois in 2010.

Kenneth M Duberstein was Deputy Secretary of Labor under President Gerald Ford, aide to Ronald Reagan in1981, Deputy Chief of Staff in 1987, and Reagan’s final White House Chief of Staff. He was political advisor to Senator John McCain. Duberstein is Chairman and CEO of the influential lobbying firm Duberstein Group, which lobbied to remove a restriction on introducing known carcinogens into processed foods sold to consumers for agribusiness-giant Monsanto (popular for patenting all life and genetically modifying plants so their seeds don’t reproduce). He currently sits on the boards of Boeing and Conoco-Phillips, and sat on Fannie Mae’s board of directors from 1998 to 2007.  Conoco-Phillips got $1 billion in DoD contracts 2000-2008. Duberstein is chairman of the Ethics Committee for the US Olympic Committee, which undoubtedly has some influence on Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

 

William Daley and Kenneth Duberstein are a formidable pair to have on the Board of Directors for any corporation. In Chicago, however, their significance is paramount to furthering the neo-liberal designs of Mayor Richard Daley (more on that later). The connections between William Daley and The Mayor are obvious, making the case for policy supporting the business interests of Boeing of interest to The Major even stronger. Duberstein, however, is an interesting case due to his Olympic connections. Both the acquisition of the Boeing headquarters and the possibility of getting the 2016 Olympic bid are of huge importance for Chicago and its position as a “First Tier Global City.” Boeing will inspire other transnational capitalist ventures to invest their prestige in Chicago, and the Olympics generally serve to attract not only corporate sponsorship for cities but also massive amounts of real-estate development in previously underdeveloped neighborhoods (ie: gentrification, displacement, colonization, big-time).

General James Jones was recently appointed by Obama as national security advisor. Jones formerly was the supreme allied commander of NATO, served in the military for 40 years, and is President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy (which calls for the expansion of US oil and gas production). He has been director of Cross Match Technologies, producer of biometric identification technologies, in addition to being a director of the boards of both Boeing and Chevron. Shortly following Jones’s appointment to national security advisor, a jury acquitted Chevron from lawsuit filed by Nigerian nationals. They were suing Chevron for flying in Nigerian military and police to quell an occupation of an offshore drilling platform that resulted in the deaths of two protestors of the environmental destruction of the Niger Delta region.

John H Biggs is a member of the board of directors for Boeing (since 1997), JP Morgan Chase (2003-07), and Ralston Purina. Nestle merged with Ralston Purina in 2001, and was awarded $513,609,252 in DoD contracts since 2000, 98% of which were no-bid contracts.

Linda Z Cook has held various CEOships at Royal Dutch Shell, and currently sits on their board, as well as that of Boeing. Shell has received $7.3 billion in DoD contracts since 2000. Cook is considered the 11th most powerful businesswoman in the world.

 

Rozanne L Ridgeway has served a plethora of public office positions (namely because the State Department moves its employees every two years to keep nationalist loyalties to America and not the region in which the person is serving, as I learned first hand from a Foreign Services Recruiter): US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (1985-89), US Ambassador to East Germany (1983-85), Counselor of the Department of State (1980-81), US Ambassador to Finland (1977-80), US State Department Deputy Asst. Secy. of State for Oceans and Fisheries (1975-77), US State Department Deputy Chief of Mission, Nassau, Bahamas (1973-75), US State Department Deputy Dir. of Policy Planning, Inter-American Bureau (1972-73), US State Department Ecuador desk officer (1970-72), US State Department Political Officer, Oslo, Norway (1967-70), US State Department International Relations Officer, European Bureau (1964-67), US State Department Visa Officer, Palermo, Italy (1962-64), US State Department Personnel Officer, Manila, Philippines (1959-62), US State Department Information specialist, Bureau of Intelligence & Research (1957-59).

 

She is a member of the board of 3M, Boeing, Emerson Electric (1995-) ($40 million DoD contracts since 2000),  Sara Lee (1992-) ($350 million DoD contracts since 2000), Manpower (2002-) ($394 thousand DoD contracts since 2000), and Union Carbide (1990) ($32 thousand DoD contracts since 2000).

 

Mike S Zafirovski was Nortel President and CEO (2005-), Motorola President and CEO (2002-05), Motorola EVP and President Personal Communications Sector (2000-02), General Electric President and CEO, GE Lighting (1999-2000), and General Electric President and CEO, GE Lighting Europe, Middle East, Africa (1996-99).

 

He is currently on the board of Boeing and Norten ($234 million DoD contracts since 2000), and was on the board of Motorola 2000-2005 (who had $2.4 billion in DoD contracts since 2000).

 

 

BOEING AND THE MILITARY/NASA

 

The following is the history of Boeing’s relationship with the military as it pertains to the growth/development of their corporation from http://www.crocodyl.org/wiki/boeing.

 

Boeing’s firm trained flight instructors during the First World War and was one of the few postwar survivors from among the slew of aircraft companies that sprang up to meet the enormous needs of the U.S. and Allied armed forces. The Coolidge administration moved to assist the development of the industry by setting long-term aircraft procurement plans for the army and navy and by encouraging the growth of private carriers through the awarding of lucrative airmail contracts. Among those carriers was Boeing, who won a contract to shuttle mail between Chicago and San Francisco under the name Boeing Air Transport Co.

 

When wartime mobilization began, Boeing began producing hundreds of B-17 Flying Fortresses for the army. A later model, the B-29, was the plane used in the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The company also produced a series of bombers, including the renowned B-52.

 

The Reagan administration’s escalation of defense spending fattened the military side of Boeing’s operations. In addition to getting more money to build its AWACS airborne command posts, the company began to get more involved in military electronics–though not as much as it hoped to when making a $5 billion bid in 1985 for Hughes Aircraft. Hughes ended up with General Motors instead.

 

In 1991 a team headed by Boeing and the Sikorsky Aircraft division of United Technologies was chosen to build a new generation of combat helicopters for the U.S. Army. The contract could eventually be worth $34 billion. Boeing was also part of a team (along with Lockheed and General Dynamics) chosen to supply 650 Advanced Tactical Fights to the U.S. Air Force–a deal that could be worth $90 billion to the three companies. The Seattle company joined yet another team (including Grumman and Lockheed) to compete for the contract on the U.S. Navy’s new A-X attack plane. In 1991 Boeing formed an alliance with the Thomson-CSF subsidiary of Thomson S.A. to pursue opportunities in global military markets.

 

In May 2005, Boeing announced its intent to form a joint venture, United Launch Alliance with its competitor Lockheed Martin. The new venture will be the largest provider of rocket launch services to the US government. The joint venture gained regulatory approval and completed the formation on December 1, 2006.

 

The Department of Defense awarded Boeing $25.2 billion dollars in contracts in the fiscal year of 2007. These contracts incapsulated over 12,000 different transactions between the two entities. This accounts for 17.2% of all dollars awarded by the Department of Defense for 2007. 9.8% of the contracts open to competition from other military contractors or multi-bid; 11% were single-bid; and 79.2% were no-bid contracts.

 

Some of the largest contracts Boeing received were $1.6 billion for the manufacturing of  fixed wing aircraft. This contract provides full funding for the Lot 31 aircraft and Advanced Procurement Funding for Lot 32 aircraft. Additionally, this contract includes a modification of $41,472,018 to the Lot 31 aircraft. Boeing received two of those contracts, as well as $1.1 billion for the research & development of operational systems and $1.1 billion to Bell Boeing joint project for 19 V-22 Osprey aircrafts. Between 2000 and 20006 Boeing received over $127 billion in contracts from the DoD. (www.fedspending.org)

 

Contracts awarded to Boeing in 2007 from NASA totalled some $596 million, included 230 transactions and accounted for .4% of all the dollars awarded by NASA. 33.5% were multi bid and 66.5% were no bid contracts. These were for R&D of a space station, guided missile manufacturing and space transportation and launch services. From 2000 to 2006 Boeing received around $5.8 billion in contracts from NASA. (www.fedspending.org)

 

VISION 2020: FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE OF THE BATTLESPACE

 

Vision 2020 and the Long Range Plan are ideological maps invented by the military that circumscribe a geography of total militarized control, containment, and colonization of planet earth. Written by the US Space Command, Vision 2020 speaks of using what various military and private corporate resources the US government has at its disposal to expand the borders of the country, essentially, to wrap around the planet. Whether this is by way of surveillanve and communications sattellites, weapons, lasers, spaceships, or inhabitable space stations, Vision 2020 is dependent on aerospace corporations like Boeing for the fulfilment of its plan of ultimate colonization. Colonization here takes on two meanings: first, the armed acquisition of the material and human resources of the entire planet, second the attempt at establishing settler-communities and resource extraction schemes in space, on the moon, or nearby planets.

 

Boeing itself, as noted above, has directed its commodities toward aiding in the complete colonization of earth and the nearby space surrounding earth. This is the meaning of “full spectrum dominance:” the ability to out-pace, out-maneuver, out-produce, out-kill (and out-source) any other competing entity in the control and containment of resources with a wide variety (or “full spectrum”) of technologies. Full spectrum dominance relies on a foundation of complete access to all information: logistical, tactical, spatial, technological, etc. This fulcrum of attainment of all information fits well with the neo-liberal agenda to convert manufacturing & product industry economies to information economies. An information economy requires the use or consumption of products and food made elsewhere in the world, using other society’s resources, and thus necessitates a colonial relation and forced subjugation of those peoples. This drive to attain an information technology, being pushed by the military, private corporations, and neo-liberal politicians forces the militarization of information – specifically, information will be inceasingly relied upon by military powers and thus fundamental for the complete colonization and dominance of the globe. Access to information, therefore, will become a “battlespace” itself. Information superiority is defined in Joint Vision 2010 as “the capability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversay’s ability to do the same.”

 

Sidenote: the creation of the internet was funded by a DARPA (Defense Advanced Resarch Projects Agency) grant, an agency created following the launch of Sputnik. While this wonderful resource (the internet, not DARPA) can be thought of today as “civilian” or “free,” one must recognize its history as a product of the military attempt at dominating and controlling the access to and flow of information, and also recognize the likelyhood for the military to want to reappropriate that informational space.

 

The stated necessity for this “full spectrum dominance” is outlined in the Long Range Plan and Vision 2020, in the premise that there will be competing forces or adversaries that will have “equal footing” in the “battlespace,” because the “space ‘playing field’ is leveling rapidly.” A rational analysis of the current situation of military powers on earth would argue the opposite, that the United States reports spending as much (and probably spends TWICE as much) on its military than EVERY OTHER NATION ON EARTH COMBINED. With this monitary reality comes the political, technological and power-based reality that, while the US has made itself many enemies, few if any of them are capable of competing with the US in a “level playing field,” ESPECIALLY in outer space.

 

NSA/INTELLIGENCE-COMMUNICATIONS


As reported in Defense Daily by Calvin Biesecker in 2003, Boeing acquired Conquest, a Maryland based firm that serves the US Intelligence Agency and specializes in intelligence, surveilance and reconnaissance. 97% of Conquest’s business is within the intelligence community, and 95% of their employees have security clearances. The firm now opoerates under Boeing’s Space and Intelligence Systems division as Boeing Advanced Information Systems-Maryland Operations. Conquest received a $27 million contract from a US intelligence agency to provide technical development, and is subcontracting with Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman on the project. This acquisition tightens Boeing’s relationship with the intelligence community, not only with a division in close proximity to the headquarters of the NSA, but also by bringing on board a number of security sector insiders with security clearance.

 

Boeings Space and Intelligence Systems Mission Systems division got press recently (2008) for their mismanagement of Project Railhead, a $500 million project to work on the National Counterterrorism Center’s terrorist watch list. Reports state that the project has been “crippled by technical failures and contractor mismangement.” (http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2008/09/railhead-projec.html) This project was to upgrade the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (or TIDE), a complex datasharing program that delivers to 16 different intelligence agencies data on more than 400,000 supposed terrorists. Alongside scathing denouncements for their mismanagement of the project, Boeing has come under criticism for a $200 million retrofitting of an office building in Virginia to house the 800 contractors working on Railhead.

In a 2007 article, Tim Shorrock writes about the role private contractors play in US domestic spying (http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14821). He writes about Boeings work on interpolability, or connecting various systems for the free sharing of information. This technology is useful for security agencies in that it allows their various databases, such as TIDE, to be accessible by other agencies regardless of who was contracted to design their computational and information sharing devices. These developments in information technologies also help Boeing prepare for the markets opening in the military under the Vision 2020 plan. Boeing brags about its developments in interpolability, most likely to save face from past failures (like TIDE and project Railhead): “In 2005, it lost a major contract with the NRO to build a new generation of imaging satellites after ringing up billions of dollars in cost-overruns. The New York Times recently called the Boeing project ‘the most spectacular and expensive failure in the 50-year history of American spy satellite projects.’” Sharrock continues:

Boeing’s geospatial intelligence offerings are provided through its Space and Intelligence Systems unit, which also holds contracts with the NSA. It allows agencies and military units to map global shorelines and create detailed maps of cities and battlefields, complete with digital elevation data that allow users to construct three-dimensional maps. (In an intriguing aside, one Boeing intelligence brochure lists among its “specialized organizations” Jeppesen Government and Military Services. According to a 2006 account by New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, Jeppesen provided logistical and navigational assistance, including flight plans and clearance to fly over other countries, to the CIA for its “extraordinary rendition” program.

 

 

 

 

 

HOMELAND SECURITY/BORDERS

 

Boeing was awarded $219,945,089 in contracts from the Department of Homeland Security pertaining to the implementation and research & development of SBInet in 2007 (fedspending.org). $20 million of these 2007 contracts were for congressional district 7 in Arizona, along the Mexican border, for the implementation of SBInet. An additional $114 million was awarded to district 2, a congressional district bordering California, to be used at the Goldwater Test Range and pertaining to the implementation of SBInet. Boeing hired Elbit Systems, Israel’s major defense contractor and builder of the Palestinian apartheid wall, to build SBInet on US-Mexico border (Brenda Norrell for http://www.counterpunch.org).

 

 

A number often quoted regarding the contracts given to Boeing for SBInet is $69 million for research and development of SBInet funded by the Department of Homeland Security. This contract was NO BID. Boeing has been contracted to build Canadian border towers as well, even though the hi-tech border project in Mexico is seen as failure and huge management mishap. The US Border Patrol is erecting 16 more video surveillance towers in Michigan and New York with Boeing’s help. The value of Boeing’s contract (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity extending thru 9-30-09) to build SBInet across both the northern and southern borders is estimated by various sources at various times to be between $2 and 8 billion (Wikipedia).

 

Booz Allen Hamilton was hired to do oversight on Boeing’s Mexican border project. The consulting firm was also hired by Boeing to make sure they remain “competitive” in the aviation market. In February of 2007, the US Government Accountability Office cited DHS and the SBInet project for poor fiscal oversight and lack of demonstratable objectives. GAO recommended placing a spending limit on Boeing, but DHS rejected that recommendation outright. The chairman of the oversight and government reform committee, Congressman Henry Waxman, said this about SBInet in February of 2007: Dept of Homeland Security hired 98 to staff oversight of SBInet; more than half are private contractors. Some of these private contractors work for companies that are business partners of Boeing (a la Booz Allen). “Virtually every detail is being outsourced from the government to private contractors. The government is relying on private contractors to design the programs, build them, and even conduct oversight on them.”

 

Obviously Boeing is doing a pretty crappy job of “securing” the southern border. But they don’t seem to be phased, and are in fact being supported wildly by their contracting agency. This is undoubtedly because the border project that is currently being built, known as Project 28, is not really about solving the problem of illegal immigration, or of the increasing necessity for free-flow of labor, or of the problem of humans being considered “illegal” in the first place. Project 28 calls for radar, infrared, lasers, microwave, iris biometrics, facial biometrics – in a town, Aravaca, Arizona, that is separated from the border by a mountain range, community members feel the giant tower pointed toward their homes is spying on THEM and violating 4th amendment rights for protection from unlawful search, as well as their privacy (Norrell, counterpunch). Project 28 is about experimenting with new technologies, like facial and iris biometrics, and about collecting massive amounts of information, sorting through them, and attempting to analyze them in “real time,” fed on the ground to Border Patrol who can act almost instantaneously. Project 28 is about “accelerating the kill chain” (to use frightening military jargon), about creating a surveillance culture and a police state, and about harvesting and controlling information. Project 28 is militarizing the border, militarizing information and information technologies, and restricting human access to international space via border crossings, restricting access even to privacy and personal information.

 

To further illustrate the creepiness of the SBInet border project, Border Patrol was flying unmanned Boeing drones (UAV’s) along the border until one crashed near Nogales in 2006. Reports warned if a UAV flew too low the lasers on board could blind or cause other injuries to people on the ground (Norrell, counterpunch).

 

 

Furthermore, Project 28 and SBInet, as they are being manifested on the ground, are operating largely by political rules. Take, for instance, the locations where the border wall is actually being built.

 

As Mellissa del Bosque reported in the Texas Observer, the border wall is being built “strategically” thru houses, and not through fancy corporate golf courses or industry “plantations” owned by rich oil barons. She tells the story of a Dallas billionaire, Ray L. Hunt, and his 6,000 acre private “Sharyland Plantation.” Hunt, a close friend of GW Bush, was appointed member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, where Hunt received security clearance and access to classified intelligence (like WHERE SBInet would be constructed – all information regarding the placement of the fence is classified). He has in the past decades transformed his property from agricultural land to gated communities with houses costing between $650 thousand and $1 million, golf courses, elementary schools, and a sports park. Also, part of the Plantation is an 1800 acre business park and Sharyland Utilities, run by Hunt’s son, which delivers electricity to plantation residents and Mexican factories. Hunt is attempting to create a trade corridor the size of Manhattan along the border with a Mexican business partner of his.

 

Meanwhile, a few miles away from the plantation various Texans are suing the Department of Homeland Security for attempting to build the wall on their private property, sometimes even THROUGH their existing homes. And of course this wall is accompanied by no talk of any real or meaningful immigration reform; thus the wall is a really expensive and needlessly technological “band aid” for the larger social problem of Mexican poverty, as augmented by NAFTA, and the necessity for legal and undocumented migrant laborers to prop up the Mexican economy with wages made in the United States.

What legislation has been passed by Congress, however, further strengthens the powers of the chauvinist and militarized Department of Homeland Security. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 that was passed by congress mandated 700 miles of double fencing to be built along the southern border from California to Texas. This was passed in lieu of real immigration reform (or in spite of it). In August of 2007 the number of fence-miles was reduced from 700 to 370, citing budget shortages and technological difficulties. The 2005 REAL ID Act passed along with the Iraq funding bill, and declared that the head of the Department of Homeland Security could waive any laws standing on the way of “expeditions construction of … barriers and roads” along the border. DHS used it to push fencing in Arizona and San Diego. Michael Chertoff, the head of DHS, has proven himself fond of exercising this power first with fencing and now with SBInet.

 

In the last decade, Boeing has made a name for itself as one of the biggest political contributors to Washington giving more than $9 million to both parties of members of congress. (Center for Responsive Politics) In 2006, Boeing gave more than $1.4 million to democrats and republicans – a majority of this money going to Congressman Duncan hunter, who championed the Secure Fence Act. In 2006, Hunter received at least $10,000 from Boeing and more than $93,000 from other defense companies bidding for the SBInet contract. The main themes of his campaign were “illegal” immigration and building a border fence.

 

 

 

BOEING AND LABOR

 

Boeing industrial factories in the United States are highly unionized, and as aerospace represents a large economy and labor pool, negotiations are constantly occurring between Boeing executives and the union vanguard of its labor force. Strikes of recent vintage organized by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers include a 24 day strike in 2005, a 69 day strike in 1995, and a 48 day strike in 1989, as reported on the St. Louis Peace Economy Project website (www.peaceeconomyproject.org).

 

Most recently, in the third and fourth quarters of 2008, IAMAW went on strike for 58 days. Boeing blames a $56 million loss of revenues in the fourth quarter of 2008 on the strike, and a recently used this as reasoning for cutting 10,000 jobs in 2009. That is 6% of their workforce. 4500 jobs will be lost from the Seattle-based commercial plane division that held the strike. This strike stands as a testament to the workers power to cripple military industry, as well as to the corporation’s power to collectively punish its work force and further subjugate insubordinate workers with the fear of losing their jobs.

 

The result of the 58 day strike was a secret contract renegotiation made in Washington DC between union cabal and Boeing execs that “protects more than 5,000 factory jobs, prevents outsourcing of certain positions and preserves healthcare benefits…pay increases over four years” (www.businessweek.com). The union represents 27,000 workers, and it merits asking WHICH 5,000 jobs were secured, and at the expense of which other jobs.

 

Boeing recently reported a 50% decrease in revenue for the first quarter of 2009 (I heard this one morning on Chicago public radio), not surprising in this faltering economy.

 

More labor history, from http://www.crocodyl.org/wiki/boeing:

 

In 1990 the company also settled a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of 700 people who had allegedly been hired by Boeing for jobs that involved exposure to electromagnetic pulse radiation and were monitored for health effects without their knowledge. The lead plaintiffs’ counsel charged that the 700 persons were used as human research subjects without their consent. The settlement, in which Boeing admitted no wrongdoing, involved payment of $500,000 in cash and an annuity to the family of one employee who claimed that he developed leukemia as a result of the exposure. The company also agreed to pay for regular medical examinations over ten years for the other class members, who reserved the right to bring claims for compensation if they develop adverse health effects.

 

In 1991 U.S. EPA fined the company $620,475 for improper storage of hazardous wastes and deficiencies in its training practices regarding toxics. That same year the company was sued by a group of employees who charged that Boeing had concealed the dangers of a substance (Ferro CPH2284P) they were exposed to on the job.

 

 

BOEING IN CHICAGO

 

The Boeing headquarters acquisition can be viewed as part of Mayor Daley’s plan to make Chicago in to a “first tier global city” – and in this vein is tied integrally into Chicago’s attempt to get 2016 Olympic bid – advertising Chicago as an attractive site for business executives and corporate headquarters, transnational capital investment, and a regional tourism destination.

 

Members of Boeing’s Board of Directors sit on the Chicago Commercial Club roster, the elite Fortune 500 cabal who plots public policy initiatives. Here we see the interest of politicians and private corporations aligning so maliciously against the urban poor and people of color: the acquisition of a corporate headquarters creates only low wage unskilled service sector jobs in a city that has been literally gutted and ghettoized by the flight of industrial centers in past decades. More rich capitalists move in, help create public policy to further marginalize and gentrify communities of color/working class, making new hip, niche communities for yuppies working downtown, the city in turn grows “wealthier” by switching out poor and rich from city to suburb or exburb, thus attracting more capitalist fucks and international prestige – the cycle continues in perpetuity.

 

This cycle is that of the policy put forth by neo-liberal urban politicians and explained so beautifully in the Area Chicago article “Growth Machine Gone Global” by Nick Kreitman (http://www.areachicago.org/p/issues/city-as-lab/growth-machine-gone-global/). The neo-liberal agenda goes roughly as follows: shift manufacturing and industry to the third world, build service and knowledge economy in the first world – first world industry lacks the “international competitiveness” to maintain manufacturing jobs, or rather the highly unionized manufacturing labor pool effectively organizes for higher living wages, which is unsustainable for corporations seeking a higher profit margin and more vulnerable labor pool.

 

What this has meant for Chicago is a gutting of manufacturing jobs in the last half century, mainly among the black urban working class and poor. City spending has been moved to downtown, neglecting neighborhoods that desperately need it due to the economic collapse caused by deindustrialization. The service industry has been built up, and the city is attempting to attract corporate investment (Boeing) and tourism. This system also serves to make more capital for already wealthy corporations and politicians, effectively reinforcing their political and power bases.

 

The result is a widening of the gap between rich and poor, which is a highly racialized division. Selected investment gets funneled into “desirable communities,” such as the loop, or those which the city wishes to make “desirable,” like Wicker Park or the expansion of Lincoln Park into what was once Cabrini Green. Public institutions, CPS, CHA, CTA, are neglected along with “undesirable” (read: poor, black) neighborhoods such as North Lawndale.

 

Under the first Major Daley: 1958 “development plan for the central area of Chicago” called for the exclusive use of urban renewal dollars in the central business district. Central Area Committee and Commercial Club support development of downtown by writing editorials for the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, which become vocal pieces for neo-liberal urbanist propaganda. The result was the development of 32 million square feet of office space from 1962-1977. Following this expansion of the business district, from 1967 to 1987 Chicago lost 326,000 manufacturing jobs. The industrial suburb of Cicero itself lost 50% of its total employment in the 1980s.

 

Under the second Daley, state funds were increasingly funneled into building up the tourist and downtown business industries, in an attempt to build up Chicago as a “Global City.” Millions of dollars were invested in revamping various tourist and business properties: $250 million to Navy Pier, $150 million for United Center (which also served to displace and destroy a black neighborhood), $987 million for McCormick Palace, $500+ million for Millennium Park, Soldier field, Comisky Park, etc. These renovations created 128,000 tourism industry jobs, but the lack of investment in industry retention lost around 100,000 jobs in the same period. (Also, there is of course a considerable wage disparity of a factor of 3 between low paying service sector jobs and unionized factory jobs.)

While the globalization and outsourcing of the production of goods does play some part in first world deindustrialization, it is estimated by Paul Krugman that only 15% of industry jobs are lost in this manner – thus, in the case of Chicago, the rapid deindustrialization must be affected by both policy set forth by the city and the individual aspirations of corporate firms in Chicago. Trends seen in Chicago at this time, sometimes called “milking the cash cow,” were epitomized by Gulf & Western, which bought up profitable manufacturing firms, ran them into the ground, and then reinvested the capital elsewhere (Paramount Pictures, for example). Other firms folded due to lack of succession schemes, or because white business owners (who comprised 90% of the industry) did not want to be tied to physical assets in “racially changing” neighborhoods, ie: black communities centered around factory jobs.

 

This resulted in a decrease of employment of black males in the manufacturing industry from 52% in 1978 to 28% in 1987. North Lawndale, mentioned above, was especially hard hit by deindustrialization. The community lost thousands of factory jobs: International Harvester plant closing late 1960s, 14,000 layoffs; Hawthorne plant of Western Electric 1984, 43,000 jobs lost. The loss of factory jobs meant the loss of services sector and retail jobs, and by 2000 the neighborhood had a population of 66,000, with only one bank and one supermarket.

 

Deindustrialization and the neo-liberal urbanist scheme are further analyzed and critique in “The Ghetto, The State & The New Capitalist Economy” by Loic J D Wacquant.

The essay cites a Bensman and Lynch report that discusses the collapse of the steel industry in southern Chicago and its disproportionate impact economically on blacks due to the fact that the mills were such a large source of employment for them. Fewer blacks found jobs after lay offs than their white counterparts. The Urban Poverty Project interviews with Chicagoland employers showed that many employers (we saw from the last article that 90% of the manufacturing firms are owned by whites) enlisted racists hiring practices against and didn’t want to hire black men, based on stereotypes of their character and work ethic.

 

Also, companies employ a corporate strategy of union break up via relocation of manufacturing firms which tends to shut the city out of economic development. Companies will relocate new plants away from central cities and black populations. Blacks historically have been more prone to unionize and use collective action to protect their economic rights.

 

City policy and legislation also played a role in the geographical changes in the city that led to the increased isolation of black populations and the collapse of black neighborhood economies: the Highway Act of 1956 (under the first Daley) aided white flight, also building highways through and on the edges of black communities to create a “buffer” or apartheid wall; the Federal Housing Authority gave loans to whites to build homes in the suburbs, it did not extend that luxury to blacks; the 1954 Housing Act was used to funnel money into urban renewal that favored city-center business, hospital and university interests. Federal subsidies also appeared that encouraged the construction of factories in the largely white suburbs. Black neighborhoods were the site of the construction of 99% of Chicago Housing Authority’s housing projects, which resulted in a net gain of 476 housing units due to all of the existing housing that was destroyed in order to build the projects. The eventual replacement of public housing funds by federal sharing grants controlled by local elites resulted in the diverting of much needed money into real estate and property owner development outside of the ghettos.

 

In this context, the Boeing headquarters acquisition represents a victory for Daley’s plan for creating a global city, and little real significance for Chicago’s working class and poor. The headquarters will transplant 4-500 executive and administrative jobs, relocating many of them from the former HQ in Seattle. Boeing’s relocation brings further prestige to the downtown business district, while working class and poor communities and communities of color continue to be peripherialized, criminalized, and increasingly policed. In fact, some of the only money we see being focused in communities of working class poor and people of color is that of the police state, with the recent allocation of m-4 military grade carbine assault riffles to the Chicago police department.

 

BOEING’S SWEET TAX DEAL, WITH LOVE FROM CHICAGO

 

To relocate its headquarters, Boeing was granted $3 million in tax subsidies, tax-increment financing incentives, and $19 million in property tax abatements over 20 years from the city of Chicago (taxpayers). It got $41 million in tax credits and benefits from the state of Illinois (taxpayers). 15 years of business-tax breaks will allow the company to get corporate tax credits roughly equivalent to the amount of income taxes the firms new employees pay the state (therefore no net tax gain). And, as icing on the money flavored cake, the city agreed to establish a downtown heliport that Boeing, as well as other firms, can use to ferry executives in and out of the city center.

 

PHILANTHROPY/PUBLIC RELATIONS SAVE-FACE

 

Boeing’s 2008 Corporate Philanthropy Report lists the different ways in which Boeing gives to various communities. In the introduction, they state that they are not just interested in funding communities, but changing them. While this language is meant to make Boeing seem like an integrated agent in some sort of positive community growth, more often than not their investment in various locally-based institutions serves as a form of discrete colonization. This is the case not only ideologically with regards to the specific institutions they choose to support and, more importantly, those that they don’t, but also within the direct roles that specific types of cultural capital play in neighborhoods and communities, how they change the demographics of neighborhoods, and how gentrification is prodded along by policy makers and elite business owners all with a vested interest in increasing their stranglehold on capital.

 

That aside, the ways through which Boeing wishes to change communities: cash grants, donations of products (like computers, services, or loaned labor), employee volunteering, collaborations/partnerships with NGOs, local governments and other corporations, donation of intellectual capital, and business donations and sponsorships meant to build Boeing’s branding and reputation.

 

Specific programs Boeing has been involved in: disaster relief (employee and corporate contributions in the hundreds of thousands for various regions from Myanmar to Southern California), micro-financing for Niger’s Zindar Region, Dropout Prevention/America’s Promise Alliance, and the Smithsonian African American History & Culture Museum in DC. The company reports spending around $58 million on various projects in 2008, notably putting 47% toward education and 10% toward arts and culture.

 

BOEING & CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

The 2008 report includes a section on Boeing’s donations to the Chicago Public School system, in the form of cash grants, corporate partnership and intellectual donations. Boeing makes considerable donations to the Renaissance Schools Fund, part of Mayor Daley and CPS Superintendant Arne Duncan’s Renaissance 2010 plan for overhauling Chicago Public Schools, which have grown notorious for their inadequacy, underperformance, underfunding, and high drop out rates. Renaissance 2010 is built off of the premise that “mixed-income” schools will perform better than “poor” schools (read: black and latino schools), essentially ignoring any role that racism, economic strangulation & deindustrialization, and neo-liberalist gentrifying policy has had on deteriorating CPS. This is, of course, because Renaissance 2010 aims at further impoverishing poor communities by removing their access to education, pushing poor/brown/black families out of their properties, moving in higher-income folk, reopening schools, and hailing the success of a transparent transplantational and colonial project.

 

The Performance Pipeline Program that Boeing contributes to through the Renaissance Schools Funds seeks to “replicate” high-performing schools, by examining the “model” through which these schools are run, and transplanting that model to a “new school.”  This of course will serve to replicate private, charter and magnet schools from wealthy white neighborhoods, while increasingly neglected public schools, often in lower-income neighborhoods of color, get closed down due to under-performance. The rhetoric of Renaissance 2010 is much like that of GW Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act: both of them serve to uphold and reward already privileged schools and privatized school models, both rely increasingly on standardized testing, “quantitative” and grade-based forms of measuring schools impact on communities, and both serve to collectively punish schools that under-perform, their students, and their communities.

 

Another similarity between Chicago’s schools and the No Child Left Behind Act is that NCLB requires schools receiving federal funding to provide information to students about the army, and Chicago’s school system is becoming increasingly militarized. Chicago now boasts the nation’s largest number of military high schools (five, soon to be six, as well as nine other high schools that have military academies within them). Chicago middle school students are sold military recruitment propaganda through Cadet Corpse, 10,000 high schoolers are enrolled in JROTC, and 1000 students attend specialized military academies – high schools operated by the military. As “civilian” public schools (the necessity for this qualifier makes me vomit) in low-income communities of color get shut down, rotting due to the neo-liberal neglect of public institutions while millions in city tax dollars are spent bringing corporations like Boeing to the downtown business district, the students are then shuffled off to these military academies (Meiners & Quinn for AREAChicago, “Military in CPS”). As corporate sponsor to Renaissance 2010, thus reaffirming and helping to impose Mayor Daley and the unelected Chicago Board of Education’s designs on the children of Chicago, Boeing profits from the wonderful public image of “giving to education,” contributes to the militarization of Chicago’s youth by supporting a system that restricts their access to education and pushes them into military training facilities due to lack of any other option, and with the opening of Chicago’s air force high school, essentially pays to train future pilots to fly Boeing planes.

 

BOEING & “THE ARTS,” CULTURAL REPRODUCTION

 

Boeing donates to the Old Town School of Folk Music, theatres, the free annual jazz festival in Chicago, as well as property developments in Millennium Park, including $5 million for the Boeing Gallery, open-air art spaces. “The Boeing Pavilion” (as the concrete along Monroe Street at the entrance to the park reads) stands as testament to Boeing’s involvement in building Daley’s dream tourism hub. What does this mean for Chicago? Arguably Boeing is “giving back” to the Chicago community by throwing some money at high profile, visible private and public art programs, but for Boeing this philanthropy means further tax write offs (not that its paying taxes in the first place) and a good public relations image in its new home town. To weigh the cost-benefit to the public of Boeing’s headquarter relocation, one should take into account the MILLIONS of dollars the city of Chicago and state of Illinois have given Boeing, not only in the beginning of the 2000s, but deals that extend for upwards of TWENTY YEARS into the future, weigh that against the less than $5 million, according to their philanthropy report, that Boeing invests in the arts in all communities, not just ones in Chicago.

 

Boeing chooses which art to support; that which is safe an reasserts their objectives, essentially creating an ideological echo chamber. Boeing helps sustain art that serves as distraction, or art as elite class privilege (my experience at the jazz festival for example, where I was squeezed in between groups of middle-aged white folk, dressed nicely, who had brought into the pavilion chairs and tables, and were eating wine and cheese – a testament not only to the complete commodification and de-politicization of jazz, a volatile and powerful art form, with many artists aspiring for social justice from its inception, now jazz is popularized to white middle and upper class consumers as background music, as an elite cultural capital, as something that makes them “high class” – this is all problematic, but I digress – sitting in a park partially funded by Boeing, created to bring in tourism and international businesses like Boeing, watching Sonny Rollins, who was probably paid by Boeing in some capacity to perform in a free festival majorly funded by Boeing that in no way was challenging the hegemony of Boeing or being critical of power in any way…) Boeing in return creates for itself an image of a corporation that is positive and active participant in the cultural “community” (or commodity market) when what they are doing is providing entertainment, not any substantial improvement in quality of life.

 

Boeing supports the Environment, Culture and Conservation (ECCo) Team of the Chicago Field Museum as part of its corporate philanthropy. Without even going any further into what the ECCo team does, I will say that it is LAUGHABLE that a company with an environmental record like Boeing, who has contaminated the earth and its inhabitants with radioactive and chemical waste, could attempt to greenwash its image with such an investment. The children of Simi Valley with extremely rare eye cancer only caused by radioactivity who live within 10 miles of a Boeing operated nuclear facility will never see the Chicago Filed Museum (more on that later).

 

With most of these investments, we see a notable shift in how largely public cultural institutions get the funding necessary to maintain themselves. It is incredibly problematic that private industry is funding public services, as it takes the responsibility, as well as the investment, away from the public and concentrates it in the hands of wealthy capitalists who have very different interests from the general public. Also, when the corporation that funds schools, arts, museums and other neighborhood services in a city is a MILITARY corporation, there is an even more dramatic ideological difference between the funding and receiving institutions. Militarism and military industry, which make capital off of death, arms races, and political power conflicts, that is rigid in its hierarchy and its obsession with political power, that is exclusive in its discrimination against women, transgendered and queer folk, do not marry well with education or the arts, which aim at inspiring creation, critical thinking, and healthy analysis of the very systems dominated by militarism.

 

UNIVERSITY AS LEGITIMIZING INSTITUTION

 

The public university is seen as a democratic institution of learning, the bastion of the highly prized “objectivity” of science, and has the characteristic of adding a positive “fig-leaf of respectability” to industries of death, capital and injustice

 

The University of Illinois, for instance, is assisting Boeing on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor ITER program. Other entities helping with this project are Raytheon Engineers and Constructors, Department of Energy, Westinghouse Science and Technology Center, and General Atomics. R&D is led by Boeing and Argonne National (nuclear) Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Wisconsin. Boeing gives substantial financial help and scholarships to the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Engineering students and programs. Furthermore, the UIC Microphysics lab works in partner with Boeing corporation

 

Boeing is also in a partnership with the University of California and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to make DIME bombs, “small diameter bombs” with a high shock impact that literally tears humans to shreds.

 

More from www.notanotherdime.net:

 

Some of useful facts that need to get into national coverage are these:

  1. The DIME bomb (GBU-39) is manufactured under DOD contract by Boeing Corporation, St. Louis.
  2. The SDB—or the DIME bomb—is a joint project of the AirForce and the Navy. Original research was done at the Elgin Airforce base’s Airforce Research Lab in Florida and later expanded to a collaboration with Boeing under DOD contract.
  3. Another important collaborator in the perfection of the design is the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories of the University of California, which “employed a physics-based code in the design and testing of.(these) munitions based on DIME technology.” Livermore uses simulations to perfect the technical (destruction) specifications.
  4. The killing power of the DIME is the result of innert fine tungsten particles embedded throughout the explosive fill of the bomb. The particles blast out at tremendous speed expending immense short distance high kinetic energy. Thus the power to rent humans to pieces.
  5. The DIME was a spin off from the Bunker Buster design (penetrator bomb) techology research. the Airforce chief loved the concept so much that he rushed it into the pipe line rapidly after 2003 perhaps because of the combination of the propaganda value of a bomb that would be said to reduce “collateral civilan damage” and the tremendous cost efficiency (very high kill/cost ratio with small size, light wt).
  6. On September 9, 08 the DSCA notifed Congress that Israel had applied to receive 1000 GBU-39 bombs, related equipment and training for $77 million. DSCA described the sale as “vital to the US national interest and to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.” Congress voted approval.
  7. President Obama’s national security advisory General James L Jones, Marine Corp Rt. was then a member of the Boeing Board of Directors.
  8. The original production contract with Boeing was for 12,000 of the GBU1-39 bombs and 12,000 of the GBU2-39 bombs for 4.27 billion taxpayer dollars, but long term contracts appear to call for the production (?and use) of up to 150,000 bombs to outfit all bomber squadrons in the US Airforce.
  9. The difference between the GBU 1 and 2 variants is in the type of global positioning systems they use. Both have laser guidance flexibility but the 1 variant is set to a fixed target while the 2 variant can actually track an identifiable target’s movement and can even delay in its attack after launch.
  10. These bombs can be launched from up to 60 miles away and from almost any kind of aircraft including drones—thus putting them in the running for the most diabolical of killing machines at a distance.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency of the Pentagon—DSCA—told Congress last September—while the cease fire was still holding— that the weapon was necessary to Israel’s defense. The central irony is that the US defense establishment is touting these bombs as designed to protect civilians during air attacks because of their smaller blast radius. In fact, they were used in most cases to terrorize and kill the civilan population of Gaza. The DIME is not only one of the most lethal unconventional bombs designed to date, but it is being put into service as one of the main weapons for US Airforce bombers of all types because they are so cost efficient, light weight, small and have high kill capability.

Comment: given the purported accuracy and low blast diameter of these weapons there can be little doubt that the Israelis used them to target civilians. We need only consider the high death and injury count among civilians and young children. We have also heard witness reports of Israeli snipers shooting small children as young as 8 running from the war zones. Even if the use of the DIME weapons is not declared a war crime per se , how they were used surely was among the worst of State terrorist war crimes and the US is implicated. Also the amount of rubble seen in photos suggests the possibility that Israel used US bunker busters on apartment houses and other civilan buildings—not just against tunnels to Egypt.

The University of California is an incredibly esteemed university that has its hand deep in the pockets of the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, DARPA grants, and a number of private military contractors for research and project funding. UC manages Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories. As an institution with massive amounts of credibility, the UC lends that credibility to the corporate bodies it partners with. As a democratic institution, the UC has a great track record of not only ignoring student, faculty, and staff calls to divest from its management of the nuclear labs and quit its funny business with military industry; the UC Regents (the main administrative body of the UC appointed by the Governor) has acted toward student activists and demilitarization organizers with such indignance and disrespect that any remaining shred of “democratic” legitimacy should have evaporated long ago. And with a long-time Regent, Richard Blum, husband of CA Senator Dianne Fienstien, former CEO of URS Corporation (another insidious war-profiteer who was vying for contracts during Blums CEOship, and attempting to acquire Washington Group International, which it did shortly after Blum stepped down due to the scandal), it is no wonder that the capitalist elite of the UC are in ideological alignment with the capitalist elite of the private military industry.

 

These examples of the UC and UIC working in tandem with Boeing mean for the universities lots of resources, financially, materially and intellectually, and for Boeing the credibility of the support of institutions of learning. Boeing also scores recruitment of the brightest minds in the science and engineering fields, who it woos with sexy research grants and scholarship money. In a more visceral sense, however, what these relationships really do is tear at the social and moral fabrics of “impartial” institutions of liberal arts and knowledge by their association with profit on death. The strong and clear voices of resistance from the University of California system help manifest and make transparent the hypocrisy of an institution fronting as democratic and socially responsible that is so heavily invested in poisoning the earth and colonizing its peoples.
THE TROUBLE WITH SUBSIDIARIES: PART ONE

THE SANTA SUSANA FIELD LABORATORY & ROCKETDYNE

 

Boeing’s role in the nuclear industry encapsulates both the production and management of facilities, as well as the research/monitoring effects, clean up and decommissioning of facilities. This presents a complete conflict of interest as they make profit off of every component of the nuclear complex, regardless of the political climate, regardless of whether or not nuclear weapons or energy are being commissioned or decommissioned, and all of this with little to no regard for human life or the health of the environment.

 

The following is written with information from www.rocketdynewatch.org.

 

Santa Susana Field Laboratory occupies a highly toxic mountain in Ventura County/Simi Valley, approximately 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Boeing owns and operates areas 1, 3 and 4, where the development and testing of liquid fuel rocket motors has taken place since the 1940’s. A 90 acre Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) in area 4 was operated by Boeing under contract by the Department of Energy between 1949 and 1988. Boeing operated 10 nuclear reactors and facilities at the ETEC. Current cleanup is managed by the DoE, and all nuclear reactors and fuel elements have been removed from the site.

 

In 1959 there was a partial meltdown which resulted in the third largest release of radioactive iodine in history. Boeing and their subsidiary of the time, Rocketdyne (recently sold to Pratt & Whitney for $700 million in 2005) have managed to keep the incident quiet until a class-action lawsuit by residents was settled (they suffered from cancer and thyroid abnormalities) and the site was closed in 1989. The area is under evaluation to determine if it qualifies as a national priorities list site of chemical and radiological contamination. Regardless of the findings of the EPAs investigations, numerous claims have come out from former employees of the site and community members that offer evidence to the extreme toxicity of the SSFL.

 

A March 2007 report entitled “Cancer Incidence in the Community Surrounding Rocketdyne Facility in Southern California” outlines several important research studies done on SSFL with regards to exposure to radiological and chemical agents by workers and community members and their association to cancer and cancer deaths.

 

The report notes that the 1959 partial meltdown at SSFL was not made public until 1979. The SSFL Advisory Panel in 2006 released a report that the meltdown could have released amounts of radioactive cesium and iodine “much more than was released at Three Mile Island in 1979” – and they estimated that those radioactive releases contributed to about 260 more cancer cases. (Community members estimate 1800 cancer deaths.) A recent article by Sue Sturgis on counterpunch.org (“Startling revelations about Three Mile Island Raise new doubts over Nuclear Plant Safety”) details the studies and reporting agencies contracted to monitor the releases of radioactive elements following the incident at Three Mile Island. Her interviews with early investigators of the site tell of grave misreporting of radioactive releases, and new evidence has supported releases thousands of times higher than those initially reported. If the SSFL meltdown was not made public until TWENTY YEARS after the incident, and investigations were done by corporations with invested interest in minimizing the impact of toxicity of SSFL on the community, it is wise to be skeptical of both the reported releases of the meltdown and their consequences. One should therefore be skeptical of the study made by Boeing in 2006 concludes that “radiation exposure has not caused detectable increase in cancer deaths” of radiation workers.

 

The SSFL Advisory panel study also determined that perchlorate, a chemical associated with the disruption of thyroid function, has been detected in wells in the community surrounding SSFL, brought there by surface water runoff from the site. Radioactive tritium has also been found in drinking water wells in the community at levels four times the federal safety standards (http://www.geocities.com/madelinefelkins/Hotlab.htm).

 

A UCLA study of Rocketdyne workers (1993-1999), made with DoD funding noted that occupational exposures to ionizing radiation among nuclear workers were directly LINKED to rates of dying from cancer between 1950 and 1994. 55,000 workers participating in a radiation monitoring program between 1950 and 1993 showed a trend of increased cancer rate mortality associated with increased radiation exposure.

 

The 2007 report concluded that the strongest and most consistent associations of thyroid cancer with proximity to SSFL have public-health significance due to the perchlorate used in large quantities in Rocketdyne rocket fuel tests. The report also suggests that radioactive releases of cesium and iodine, shown to cause thyroid cancer in lab animals, from the 1959 partial meltdown may have increased rates of thyroid cancer in the area.

 

Problems with all of these studies, however, exist in that they do not take into account the behavior and mobility of community members. (I know that I, personally, would have moved in 1979 when I found out there was a meltdown of a nuclear facility anywhere within 50 miles of my home.) Mobility of the population of Hispanics/people of color in the community surrounding SSFL is particularly high, thus these studies are incapable of testing the occurrence or association of cancer in this, or really any, population. Furthermore, at least one of these studies completely omitted data on Hispanics from their study. The 2007 study concluded that to accurately take these factors of behavior and mobility into account would be “too costly.” Costly, yes, but not as costly as living next door to a toxic waste dump being improperly managed. Finally, this report mentions in passing that all of the nuclear activities at the site since the “closure” of the nuclear facility in the 1980s have been limited to clean up and containment, as well as “isolated experimentation.” Whatever that means.

 

The spotty and racist methodology used to attempt to monitor the effects of the meltdown and other chemical pollutants emanating from the SSFL show not only a complete lack of corporate and governmental interest in evaluating the effects of this institution, but an invested interest in maintaining the discourse on the “safety” of nuclear facilities and the viability of maintaining the nuclear arsenal, in spite of the costs to the American public. SSLF and Boeing’s corporate management of the facility do not represent an isolated incidence; nearly every node in the nuclear industrial complex is contracted out to private corporations with multi-million or even billion dollar contracts for some or all parts of the nuclear life span: from R&D to construction, “safeguarding” and management, to decommissioning and cleanup. Boeing itself is involved in several nodes of the nuclear process, as outlined in the case of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

 

In January of 2008, a negotiation was settled between the Schwarzenegger Administration and SSFL community members. The agreement holds the parties responsible for the cleanup of the SSFL site to a very strict set of standards as set by the surrounding community. This represents a major victory for the community surrounding Santa Susana, who has remained to this day shrouded in corporate and government bureaucracy and silencing while their friends and families are dying of cancers caused by radiation and chemical exposure.

 

THE TROUBLE WITH SUBSIDIARIES: PART TWO

JEPPESEN DATAPLAN & EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION

 

The story of Jeppesen Dataplan illustrates Boeing’s complicity in the degradation of human rights as sanctioned by global superpower (USA), complete disavowal of Geneva Convention agreements and international laws against torture, and the legal precarity of military contractors in the private sector .

 

The following information pertains to ACLU lawsuits, information from “Extraordinary Rendition on Trial” by Christopher Moraff for In These Times.

 

(1) German citizen Khalid El-Masri VS CIA head George Tenet and “several shell companies” affiliated with the CIA. El-Masri was rendered to Afghanistan in 2003 while he was on vacation in Macedonia. El-Masri’s claim was dismissed in 2006 when the government stated a public trial would risk national security. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

 

(2) Yemeni citizen Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah and Iraqi citizen Bisher Al-Rawi join 3 other plaintiffs in an ACLU lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan, a Boeing subsidiary. Their renditions were allegedly planned with logistical support from Jeppesen International Trip Planning Service, a unit of Jeppesen Dataplan. The plaintiffs allege they were physically and mentally abused, from sleep depravation to electric shock torture, at the locations of their detainment. Jeppesen obscured the flight paths of these captives by submitting “dummy flights” to aviation authorities. El-Rawi spent 4 years at Guantanamo following his rendition without being charged.

 

Despite unclassified documents describing rendition flights and CIA officials (Mike Hayden) openly acknowledging the rendition program, the government is still trying to ditch accountability for these extraordinary renditions by claiming they are “state secrets” necessary for national security. Even officials within Jeppesen have openly admitted that the company was profiting from torture flights (from http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/rendition.html).

 

How can we create a discourse on corporate accountability in the contest of tyrannical hegemon (USA) controlled by the interests of corporations — where CEOs are in the administration setting policy, and lobbyists and military corporations are spending millions of dollars to get political headway in Washington? In this context of corporations exempt from prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity that they commit in Iraq, where the USA is not even a member of the international criminal court, thus de facto illegitimating it, where corporations are not legally conceived of as a sum of their human parts?

 

Who can be held accountable and on what scale can an equitable justice be achieved considering the massive amount of destruction visited upon colonized and terrorized populations? No one, there is no justice, the system is fundamentally BROKEN.

 

CONCLUSION

ON FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE VIA OBSOLESCENCE, AN ECONOMY BUILT ON WAR INDUSTRY AND IMPLICATIONS IN POST INDUSTRIAL GLOBAL DEPRESSION

 

This is no longer just a matter of maintaining neocolonial status. The intentions of power and capital have moved beyond the scope of even life on earth, of a human threat, of containment and control of earthly resources and labor. A huge amount of attention, money, research & development, and industry is now focused on SPACE…a realm that contains no practical solutions to earthly problems of access to resources. Vision 2020 and the long range plan are simply delusional attempts at glorifying the almighty cause of “:science” and “understanding,” but on a more visceral and concrete level these ideologies of interplanetary imperialism represent a replacement for the commie specter (one that loosely aligned terrorist groups using unconventional warfare and weapons cannot replace) of the cold war – with no other conceivable enemy capable of challenging the us technologically (guerilla freedom fighters opt for suicide and dirty bombs, or hijacking airplanes or pirating ships) – the ideology of pre-eminence extends to space where fantasies and science fiction somehow justify the most ridiculous or futuristic of weapons, vessels, and surveillance systems, and the most incredibly wasteful squandering of public resources on star wars wet dreams.

 

CONCLUSION: RESISTANCE

 

What can resistance to full spectrum dominance look like? It is a holistic, multi-faceted, diverse struggle that is drawn between all struggles. It is the divestment of privilege of those protected by the military industry, it is the divestment of capital that forces others into colonial bondage, it is the divestment of factionalism and snobbish, cultish activist scenes. Resistance is a map drawn on the human scale, a 1:1 ratio of the

idiosyncrasies and complexities of social interactions, a painfully critical frame for movement, for action, and for life, a map drawn off the page, a map not drawn anywhere.

 

 

 

https://scamuic.wordpress.com

http://www.geocities.com/madelinefelkins

http://www.committeetobridgethegap.org/

http://www.notanotherdime.net/

http://www.ucnuclearfree.org/

http://www.thinkoutsidethebomb.org/

http://www.rocketdynewatch.org/

http://www.peaceeconomyproject.org/site/weblog.php

http://www.corpwatch.org/

http://kickboeingtothecurb.wordpress.com/

http://www.cleanuprocketdyne.org/

findingourroots@riseup.net

 

Triple Canopy Private Security Contracts in Jerusalem

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/4/2/obamas_blackwater_jeremy_scahill_on_triple

Obama’s Blackwater? Jeremy Scahill on Triple Canopy, the New Lead US Mercenary Force in Iraq and Israel

AMY GOODMAN: The Obama administration has confirmed it’s hired the mercenary firm Triple Canopy to take over Blackwater’s contract to protect US diplomats in Iraq. Part of the firm’s job will be to protect the “monstrous” US embassy in Baghdad. Blackwater, now known as Xe, that’s “zee,” lost its State Department contract in Iraq after the Iraqi government refused to grant the company a new license because of the September 2007 Nisoor Square massacre, when Blackwater guards killed seventeen Iraqi civilians.

Meanwhile, independent journalist Jeremy Scahill has just revealed that the Obama administration is also using Triple Canopy to protect US diplomats in Israel. Jeremy’s article, called “Obama’s Blackwater?” appears on alternet.org. He’s the author of the bestselling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Democracy Now! correspondent, here in our firehouse studio.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

JEREMY SCAHILL: Thanks, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what have you learned, Jeremy?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I’m starting to call a series of pieces I’m doing “Operation Rebranded,” because what we’re seeing unfold with the Obama administration’s foreign policy is basically continuing many of the worst parts of Bush’s foreign policy and sort of repackaging these policies. So, for instance, the Obama administration has dropped the use of the term “global war on terrorism” and uses phrases like “contingency operations” to describe the US occupation of Iraq. The latest news we have is that the Obama’s administration has decided on its mercenary firm of choice. Clearly, Obama did not want to continue at least a public relationship with Blackwater.

AMY GOODMAN: Even though they changed their name?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, yeah, they changed their name to Xe. It’s like—well, it’s like our friends in Nigeria used to say, Amy, it’s old Coke in a new bottle, or old wine in a new bottle. And so, Obama picked this firm Triple Canopy, which interestingly was founded in Chicago, in the home state of Barack Obama. And then in 2005, they changed their location to Herndon, Virginia, so that they’d be closer to the epicenter of US war contracting, though on the Israeli contract, that I’m going to talk about in a moment, they list their Lincolnshire, Illinois address as their primary address for the contract.

AMY GOODMAN: Who heads up Triple Canopy?

JEREMY SCAHILL: It was founded by former Special Forces operatives from the US Army. They were minor contributors to the Bush/Cheney campaign, but not real big political players. They clearly started the company as a result of the US invasion in Iraq. They started it in 2003. By 2004, they got one of the primary contracts in Iraq.

An interesting fact about Triple Canopy is that it was one of the big three US companies. Triple Canopy, DynCorp, and Blackwater shared this mother contract. Blackwater had the biggest share of it, to guard US officials in the Baghdad area. DynCorp had the north of Iraq. Triple Canopy had the south of Iraq.

Triple Canopy also, though, did a very lucrative business servicing other war contractors like KBR, and Triple Canopy was also known for being the company that brought in the largest number of so-called third country nationals, non-Iraqis, non-Americans. They hired, for instance, former Salvadoran commandos who were veterans of the bloody counterinsurgency war in El Salvador that took the lives of 75,000 Salvadorans, minimum. Chileans—they used the same recruiter, Jose Miguel Pizarro Ovalle, that Blackwater used when they hired Chileans. This was a former Pinochet military officer.

And this company has been around, you know, for five or six years. The Obama administration has hired them in Iraq, and many of the Blackwater guys are believed to be jumping over to Triple Canopy to continue working on in Iraq. Obama, though, is keeping Blackwater on, and the State Department has not ruled out that they’re going to stay on for much longer, the aviation division of Blackwater in Iraq, and also Blackwater is on the US government payroll in Afghanistan, also working for the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The news that I’m breaking on Triple Canopy, though, is that I obtained federal contracts that were signed in February and March by the Obama administration with Triple Canopy to act as a private paramilitary force operating out of Jerusalem. And this is also part of a very secretive State Department program called the Worldwide Personal Protective Service, which was started under the Clinton administration as a privatized wing of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security division. Triple Canopy was paid $5 million in February, March by the Obama administration to provide, quote, “security services” in Israel.

In congressional testimony in 2007, Ambassador David Satterfield, who was an Under Secretary of State, said that he had been guarded by private security companies when he traveled in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. Triple Canopy had the contract, has had this contract since 2005, the Obama administration continuing it.

I think that the Obama administration should be required to explain to US taxpayers, particularly with the atrocious human rights abuses that we’ve been seeing in Israel, why he’s using a US mercenary company to protect US officials when they potentially come in contact with civilians. And we’ve seen how deadly that’s been in Iraq. And before May 7th, his administration should be required to explain to the American people why he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are continuing the Bush administration’s policy of using deadly paramilitary forces in Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: The alternative?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, the alternative, as Representative Jan Schakowsky has said, is to not use these companies, to ban their use in the war zone and to scale down the scope of what you classify as civilians or diplomats in Iraq. I have long said that I think the Obama administration should destroy that monstrous US embassy that was built in part on slave labor in Iraq. I think that they should pitch a tent in the backyard of the Polish embassy and call it a day and pay reparations to the Iraqi people. Now, call me naive or call me silly, but the fact of the matter is, this is a—it remains an illegal occupation of Iraq, that’s destroyed the lives of millions of Iraqis, and the Obama administration should not have a policy that necessitates using mercenaries.

AMY GOODMAN: I was quoting you with the term you used, the “monstrous” US embassy in Baghdad. How big is it? Why do you say “monstrous”?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, this is the size of Vatican City. And the Vatican has embassies in other countries around the world. I mean, this is a massive small city within Baghdad itself.

AMY GOODMAN: The largest US embassy in the world?

JEREMY SCAHILL: It’s the largest US embassy in world history, and there are already some 1,200 employees that are operating out of this embassy. And according to a recent Government Accountability Office report that I reviewed, the Obama administration is very likely to increase its use of private military companies like Triple Canopy. This is going to be a very lucrative arrangement for these companies. So concerned is the Government Accountability Office with this trend, that they’re actually asking Congress to inquire with the Obama administration as to what they intend to if five years from now they have not reduced their reliance on mercenary companies.

Obama has now made Afghanistan and the occupation there, where there are maybe 78,000 troops, US troops, by next year, along with all the contractors, and the occupation of Iraq—he’s made these two wars his war. And so, the honeymoon should be over now. Barack Obama needs to be held accountable for wars that he is continuing and aggressively escalating.

AMY GOODMAN: We don’t have much time, but I wanted to ask you about this latest lawsuit.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right, well, Blackwater has been sued repeatedly over the course of the past couple of years, But really, over the past month by Susan Burke of the law firm Burke O’Neil, who works for the Center for Constitutional Rights, she’s sued them for the killing of an Iraqi bodyguard to the vice president of Iraq, Adil Abdul-Mahdi. She’s suing them over the Nisoor Square massacre. And just yesterday, she filed a lawsuit against Blackwater for an incident in February of 2007 that you’ve reported on on this show, where three Iraqi security guards working for an Iraqi media network were allegedly killed by Blackwater snipers. She filed the lawsuit on behalf of their estates, their families. And really, Susan Burke has said that the Blackwater empire is responsible for so much death and destruction in Iraq that she’s looking to sue them in any way she can.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Jeremy, I want to thank you for being with us. We’ll link to your article on our website at democracynow.org. Your article appeared at alternet.org. Jeremy Scahill, award-winning investigative journalist, author of the New York Times bestseller, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

from alternet.org:

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s advisers said he “can’t rule out [and] won’t rule out” using mercenary forces, like Blackwater. Now, it appears that the Obama administration has decided on its hired guns of choice: Triple Canopy, a Chicago company now based in Virginia. It may not have Blackwater’s thuggish reputation, but Triple Canopy has its own bloody history in Iraq and a record of hiring mercenaries from countries with atrocious human rights records. What’s more, Obama is not just using the company in Iraq, but also as a U.S.-government funded private security force in Israel/Palestine, operating out of Jerusalem.

Beginning May 7th, Triple Canopy will officially take over Xe/Blackwater’s mega-contract with the U.S. State Department for guarding occupation officials in Iraq. It’s sure to be a lucrative deal: Obama’s Iraq plan will inevitably rely on an increased use of private contractors, including an army of mercenaries to protect his surge of diplomats operating out of the monstrous U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

The Iraq contract may come as no surprise. But according to federal contract records obtained by AlterNet, the Obama administration has also paid Triple Canopy millions of dollars to provide “security services” in Israel. In February and March, the Obama administration awarded a “delivery order” to Triple Canopy worth $5.5 million under State Department contract SAQMPD05F5528, which is labeled “PROTECTIVE SERVICES–ISRAEL.” According to one government document, the contract is scheduled to run until September 2012. (Another document says September 2009.) The contract is classified as “SECURITY GUARDS AND PATROL SERVICES” in Israel. The total value of the contract was listed at $41,556,969.72. According to a January 2009 State Department document obtained by AlterNet labeled “Sensitive But Unclassified,” the Triple Canopy contract is based out of Jerusalem.

According to federal records, the original arrangement with Triple Canopy in Israel appears to date back to at least September 2005 and has been renewed every year since. The company is operating under the State Department’s Worldwide Personal Protection Program (WPPS), which provides for private security/military companies to operate on the U.S. government payroll in countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, and Israel. Triple Canopy, according to an internal State Department report, also worked under the program in Haiti, though that task order is now listed as “closed.” In State Department documents the WPPS program is described as a government initiative to protect U.S. officials as well as “certain foreign government high level officials whenever the need arises.” The State Department spent some $2 billion on the WPPS program from 2005-2008.

Triple Canopy’s Growing Footprint in Iraq

Triple Canopy is hardly new to the Iraq occupation. Founded in Chicago in 2003 by “U.S. Army Special Forces veterans,” the company won its first Iraq contract in 2004. In 2005, with its business expanding, Triple Canopy relocated its corporate headquarters from Obama’s home state to Herndon, Virginia, placing it much closer to the center of U.S. war contracting. (On several U.S. government contracts, however, including the Israel security contracts, its Lincolnshire, Illinois address is still used.)

Along with Blackwater and DynCorp, Triple Canopy has had armed operatives deployed in Iraq on a major U.S. government contract since the early stages of the occupation. At one point during this arrangement, Blackwater was responsible for Baghdad (the largest share of the work), DynCorp covered northern Iraq and Triple Canopy southern Iraq. Triple Canopy also worked for KBR and other corporations. As of 2007, Triple Canopy had about 2,000 operatives in Iraq, but only 257 on the State Department contract. However, its new contract, which takes effect May 7, will greatly expand Triple Canopy’s government presence in Iraq. (Meanwhile, Blackwater is scheduled to continue to work in Iraq under Obama through its aviation division and in Afghanistan, where it has security and counter-narcotics contracts. It also holds millions of dollars in other U.S. government contracts around the world and in the U.S. In February alone, the Obama administration paid Blackwater nearly $70 million in security contracts.) The Obama administration may have traded Blackwater for Triple Canopy in Iraq, but it is likely that some of Blackwater’s operatives, too, will simply jump over to Triple Canopy to keep working as armed security guards for occupation officials.

Like Blackwater, Triple Canopy has had its share of bloody incidents, among them  allegations that operatives have gone on missions where they shot at civilian vehicles, including one after a briefing where a team leader cocked his M-4 and said to his men, “I want to kill somebody today. … Because I’m going on vacation tomorrow.” (The man in question denied any wrongdoing). While Triple Canopy fired some employees for not reporting shooting incidents in Iraq, none have been criminally prosecuted in Iraq or the U.S. (For a full report on this and other incidents involving Triple Canopy, check out the great work of Washington Post foreign correspondent Steve Fainaru, author of Big Boy Rules.)

Also like Blackwater, Triple Canopy has hired mercenaries from countries with atrocious human rights records and histories of violent counter-insurgencies. Among them: Peru, Chile, Colombia and El Salvador. In fact, in Iraq, Triple Canopy hired far more “Third Country Nationals” than Blackwater and DynCorp and has used more TCNs than US citizens or Iraqis. As I reported in my book, Triple Canopy used the same Chilean recruiter (who served in Augusto Pinochet’s military) Blackwater used when it hired Chilean forces, including some “seasoned veterans” of the Pinochet era. In El Salvador, the company reportedly used “a U.S.-trained former paratrooper and officer of the Salvadoran special forces during the country’s civil war” where the U.S. backed a brutal right wing dictatorship in a war that took the lives of some 75,000 Salvadorans. A Triple Canopy spokesperson reportedly said of the Salvadorans, “They’ve got the right background for the type of work we are doing.” A Triple Canopy subsidiary in Latin America has also reportedly used a former CIA base in Lepaterique, Honduras as a training center. In the 1980s, the facility was used by the CIA and Argentinian military intelligence in training Contra death squads to attack Nicaragua. The base also served as the headquarters for the notorious Battalion 316, a CIA-trained Honduran military unit responsible for torture and disappearances.

There is also cause for concern about Triple Canopy’s attitude towards accountability for its forces in Iraq, particularly in light of new rules which, on paper, give Iraqi courts jurisdiction over contractor crimes. Blackwater has, at times, conspired with the U.S. State Department to whisk its forces out of Iraq when they are facing potential prosecution for alleged crimes committed in the country, as in the case of a drunken Blackwater operative who was alleged to have shot and killed a bodyguard to Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel-Mahdi on Christmas Eve 2006.

According to one Triple Canopy operative, “We were always told, from the very beginning, if for some reason something happened and the Iraqis were trying to prosecute us, they would put you in the back of a car and sneak you out of the country in the middle of the night.” Another Triple Canopy operative said U.S. contractors had their own motto: “What happens here today, stays here today.”

The use of mercenaries by Hillary Clinton’s State Department stands in stark contrast to her co-sponsorship as a Senator of a bill last year that sought to ban the use of such companies in U.S. war zones, specifically Iraq. Last February Clinton said, “The time to show these contractors the door is long past due.” Now, Clinton will be relying on these hired guns for protecting her and her staff in various countries.

It’s hardly a surprise that Obama is continuing the use of mercenaries in Iraq and beyond (Triple Canopy itself maintains offices in Abu Dhabi, Nigeria, Peru, Jordan and Uganda); nevertheless, members of Congress — whose actions when Bush deployed these private armies were too little, too late — have a responsibility to investigate his use of companies whose profits are intimately linked to a continuation of war. Moreover, Obama’s choice of this particular company should be investigated, both by the House and Senate, before May 7th when Obama’s mercenaries become the official paramilitary force in Iraq. As for Triple Canopy’s role in Israel, Obama’s administration should explain exactly what these forces are doing on the U.S. government payroll.

structural adjustment post

•March 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

We here at SCAMUIC are attempting to make this page make sense.

SO. we have reorganized some pages. This may be one of the only cases where hierarchy is appreciated.

Please get in touch with us if you have interest in joining the research campaign. Email: badheartbull@riseup.net!

Recently, we have become fascinated with BOEING, as it is a huge facet of the military industry and is headquartered right here in Chicago. Boeing also contribues significantly to the “arts” in Chicago, as a way of gaining some sort of philanthropic legitimacy and seeming like less of a leech off of Chicago’s taxpayers, who get sucker punched double: not only do they subsidise Boeing’s property taxes, they also fund the federal contracts that support Boeings booming construction of aerospace, missile, sensor and sundry “defense” devices.

Remember, these creeps have names and addresses.

sodexho working piece

•November 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

What is Sodexho and Why Should I Care?

 

If you’ve eaten food out of UIC’s campus café’s or bought a meal plan from the university in the past year or two, you have paid for and eaten food catered by the private transnational corporation Sodexho. While catering may seem like a business that is relatively harmless, especially when compared to other corporations that manufacture more obvious implements of destruction like fighter jets or warheads, don’t be fooled! Sodexho, much like more infamous military contractors Blackwater or Halliburton, are only interested in one thing: profits. Sodexho has a history of putting profits before the safety of their food and the quality of their hospitality services, and before their employees’ rights to unionize for fair wages and health care. Furthermore, as it has been contracted to provide services for the United States Marine Corps and US Embassies in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sodexho is more than willing to put profit before human life.

 

How Privatization Schemes Made Sodexho a Giant

 

The last few decades have seen a great increase in government policies, both in the US and her Big Brother the UK, that serve the interests of private corporations. These policies take the form of de-regulation of the public sector, opening it up to encourage private corporations to contract business with governments. As way of an example, rather than having the government employ folks to cook, clean, and “secure” bases in Iraq, the US encourages private corporations to compete for contracts where companies like Sodexho end up feeding US Marines on taxpayers’ dollars. And its contracts like these, which run upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars, which have made Sodexho as huge and successful as it is today.

 

This process of privatization and de-regulation have also forced corporations to compete with each other, thus driving down the prices of their services to make them more attractive. The weight of these price gouges, however, falls onto employees of the companies themselves, and Sodexho is no stranger to refusing living wages and health benefits to their employees. But we will touch on that later.

 

How does Sodexho secure all of these kushy government contracts? For starters, Sodexho’s accountancy firm, Price Waterhouse Coopers, the largest of the world’s five most prominent accountancy firms, doubles as a lobbyist for Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) and Public Private Partnerships (PPP). It effectively sends glowing reports to governments on why they should privatize, thus not only stuffing the pockets of their clientele, like Sodexho, but their own as well.

 

Sodexho’s senior vice president of government affairs, Reginald E. Gilliam Jr., was senior vice president of Hill & Knowlton Public Affairs Worldwide Company, one of the world’s five largest public relations cabals based in Washington, DC. While he worked for the aforementioned PR consortium, he serviced domestic and international corporations, cities and universities. He also served as Chief of Staff under Rep. Louis Stokes (D, Ohio) and as commissioner of the US Interstate Commerce Commission. The Chairman and CEO of Sodexho’s Marriott International, JW Marriott Jr., sits on the President’s Export Council. In this post, he advises Bush on export trade issues. In addition to chumming around with the President, Sodexho gives campaign contributions to folks in Washington, serving to further endear themselves to the same people who award them million dollar contracts.

 

Sodexho and the US Military

 

In 2001, Sodexho secured a contract of $881 million with the US Marine Corps to provide meals at 55 Marine Corps mess halls for 8 years. In 2002, Sodexho was contracted by the US Government $324,000 to provide food, machinery, and services for a US Embassy cafeteria in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Center for Public Integrity) Sodexho has served meals and provided logistical support to US soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines during Desert Storm, Operation “Restore Democracy” in Haiti, and Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia/Croatia. Sodexho is also present at the US Strategic Missile Testing Range at Kwajalein Atoll (read: caters the genocide of south pacific islanders). Sodexho can be found working for Uncle Sam at 98 defense facilities in Korea, where they serve up GI quality slop to more than 100,000 troops, civilians, and military dependents. (Sodexho’s website: www.sodexho.com/military.asp) Sodexho Defense Services has 60 contracts with the UK Military.

 

Gone are the days where Beetle Bailey would get paid by The Sarge to feed an army; instead, Sodexho can pay whatever “competitive” wages they desire to unskilled, un-unionized laborers, putting Beatle back in the line of fire. Unless, of course, he himself decides to switch sides when his tour is up and join the lucrative world of corporate War Profiteers. Should he decide to do so, he could actually kill two birds with one stone by getting a job with Sodexho, who not only serves the US Military, but also the private corporations that are competing with it for government funding on the ground.

 

From Corpwatch:

 

“Sodexho has provided remote services to all the major oil, gas, construction and mining companies including BP-Amoco, Halliburton and Rio Tinto…[It] manages corporate gymnasiums for, amongst others, Shell UK, Clydesdale Bank, Land Rover, Glaxo Smithkline Pharmaceuticals and Norwich Union.”

 

The list goes on: Chevron, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, Texaco, Bechtel, Daewoo, Hyundai, and Caspian Drilling.

 

Sodexho Horror Stories

 

So maybe Sodexho is a war profiteer. They’re the world’s most powerful catering company! At least the service has got to be top rate, right?

 

From Corpwatch:

 

“…in Cape Cod, an automatic slicer that cut off part of a woman’s thumb was not dissembled and cleaned before a cafeteria worker used it to cut vegetables for hundreds of Barnstable High School student lunches. A small piece of the employee’s thumb was later found by a student in her sandwich… Another example was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where more than 500 parents and residents of the Nazareth Area School district signed a petition calling for an end of contract with Sodexho for managing its five school cafeterias. Complaints range from expired freshness dates on bread and milk to lack of consistent management… In El Paso, Texas, a dietician who had stopped working for Sodexho five years previously claimed that Sodexho forged her signature to approve the nutritional quality of the menu.”

 

Sodexho’s Labor Practices

 

Sodexho and the For-Profit Prison Industry

 

The Point

 

UIC is contracting business with a War and Prison Profiteer, and every time we eat on campus, our money is going into the hands of one of the world’s largest food services corporations with a shady history of labor abuses.

 

We live in a world where the only comparable system to direct democracy is capitalism, where each dollar we spend serves as a “vote” to empower whatever corporation from which we are purchasing. In the cases of UIC and the US Military, their vote is clear: for food services, they approve of Sodexho. But even a cursory glance of Sodexho’s corporate history reveals that this company is run unethically.

 

If you disagree with Sodexho’s labor practices and status as a corporation that profits off of the death and destruction of war ravaged countries such as Afghanistan, then STOP SUPPORTING SODEXHO ON OUR CAMPUS. Personal actions can be as simple as boycotting on-campus food and packing your own lunch, or talking to others about the implications of purchasing food every day from a War Profiteer.

 

Past Resistance to Sodexho:

 

Students from across America have worked in solidarity with Sodexho employees to demand the right to unionize. Students from Plattsburg State and Colorado College have contributed significantly to pro-union campaigns against Sodexho. Xavier University, DePaul University, and the State University of New York at Albany have severed their contracts with Sodexho because of the company’s union politics and their ties to the for-profit prison industry. The Prison Moratorium Group and student group Not With Our Money helped organize students at 60 campuses across the US in boycotting, letter writing, and direct actions that effectively ended contracts with Sodexho at several of the campuses. These campaigns continue. Wesleyan College and Harvard pushed to get “reasonable” benefits and higher wages for their Sodexho employed janitorial staff. Solidarity actions were held by the CNT in France, targeting Bateaux Parisiens, a company owned by Sodexho. And this list is by no means exhaustive.

 

The People & Planet group is pressuring Cotham School in Bristol to sever their contract with Sodexho if it doesn’t bring Fair Trade products to their campus stores. In Palo Alto in 2002, parents led a similar campaign to get organic foods in their children’s cafeterias. The downside was this nearly doubled the cost of student meals. Getting Sodexho to carry Fair Trade and organic products in select locations does not, however, improve working conditions or products company-wide. If anything, this gives Sodexho more leverage by letting them make their corporation appear bit-by-bit more “green,” a term that is quickly loosing any vital political significance. While the bourgeois consumers of America would like to ease their guilt for glut through purchasing power by selecting “green” and organic products, this serves only to stratify those who have access to healthy foods by economic class. By relegating “activism” to the market place and further criminalizing those who take direct and instrumental action against environmental degradation, the largely white environmental movement that we know from the 1970s is fast losing steam. In its place, however, is an integration of social justice and environmental groups who are working to illustrate the racist and classist ways in which nations and corporations wish to hide their health and environmental catastrophes behind this “green” curtain.

 

 

 

References:

 

Unless otherwise stated, a majority of the factual information in this article came from Corpwatch’s Company Profile on Sodexho, which can be found at:

http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=347