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Showing posts with label Military industrial complex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Military industrial complex. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Scottish press – contrasts between Scotland on Sunday and Sunday Herald

THE MILITARY/INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

The MOD gravy train, a money-making machine for civil servants and career politicians that functions as a vehicle of death for inadequately equipped servicemen and women, an arm of government that is apparently incompetent and not fit for purpose, yet one that displays superb competence at enriching the politicians who have held senior posts in defence - notably senior Scottish Labour politicians - who wind up with directorships and lucrative consultancies in arms-related industries, and the senior civil servants who spin gleefully through the door to similar appointments.

(If you doubt this, examine the biographies of former defence secretaries, defence ministers, senior MOD civil servants, former NATO officials, etc.)

The Fox/Werrity affair briefly and embarrassingly lifted the veil, a veil that was rapidly dropped again as the Establishment closed ranks.

Today, the Telegraph - Ministry of Defence civil servant awarded £86,000 bonus with the sub-header Ministry of Defence civil servants have been awarded £40 million in bonuses despite fierce criticism of the department.

Search in vain for this Telegraph story in the Scottish Press today – if they didn’t know about it, they should have. But it doesn’t quite fit with David Cameron extolling the virtues of the UK and defence …

The Sunday Herald and Scotland on Sunday provide interesting contrasts today.Here are two Sunday Herald stories - 'Lives at risk' from poor nuclear safety regimes at Trident bases on Clyde and Anger at LibDems over Devo secrecy ruling

Search in vain for them in Scotland on Sunday – they don’t quite fit the narrative of that increasingly sad paper, although maybe they have or will appear, buried away somewhere.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Fox/Werrity affair

Liam Fox must be as lonely as a kitten in a wash-house copper with the lid on this weekend, perhaps reflecting that it is a melancholy truth that even great men have their poor relations. Or he might think that charity begins at home but justice begins next door.

What’s with the Dickensian quotations, you make ask? Well, no good reason other than the Werrity, a surname I’ve never come across before, sounds Pickwickian  to me – a Sam Weller pronunciation of verity, perhaps – and verity means a true statement, especially one of fundamental import.

I don’t like Liam Fox, for a variety of reasons, other than the fact that he’s a Tory (some of my best friends are Tories – I’ve even had relatives who were Tories) but certainly including the fact that he is a high-road-to-England Scot who followed the heat-seeking missile route to defence that ambitious Scots, often Labour politicians, have blazed the trail for, because of certain well-known advantages that it confers it those who wish to have a secure financial base to their political career, as I observed in recent blogs.



I don’t like him because he is a medical doctor by profession who is an enthusiast for weapons of mass destruction capable of killing and maiming millions and blighting the planet for centuries, maybe forever.

And I don’t like him because he loses no opportunity, and spurns no platform where he may profess his undying support for the Union, something that I wholly irrationally don’t like to hear from an East Kilbride boy and graduate of Glasgow University.

And I do not like him for the same reasons as an ancient Roman once set out -

Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quare;

Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te

or in a late 17th century version, familiar to me as a child’s rhyme since primary school

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why - I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

My distaste for the man, however, does not make him guilty of anything, and we await the results of the enquiry.

The facts, as far as they are known, have been set out by the press, and despite being wary of trial by media, they seems pretty strange to me. Some of them, e.g. the trips, the access, the business cards, the two incarnations of a right-wing charity set up to celebrate the Thatcher-Reagan eraAtlantic Bridge - and which some interest groups seems to have been almost indecently enthusiastic about financing – seems to speak for themselves, and they don’t tell a tale I would like to be associated with, but who knows?

(Other speculations about the exact nature of the relationship between Doctor Fox and his friend I will leave to those who trawl in such waters.)

He has the full support of David Cameron, rather as Andy Coulson had, and that should be enough to send a chill down the good doctor’s spine. If in a few months the question is Doctor who? we may be assured that the post will be filled by yet another career politician, party immaterial, since politicians are not at all doctrinaire when it comes to the Great Honeypot and the military/industrial complex.

Perhaps the Coalition can make him a Lord – that path is well-blazed, and well-greased as well.

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Scottish Census 2011 and the Military/Industrial complex

At the end of November, I became aware that the UK government had awarded a contract for data gathering for the 2011 census in England and Wales to Lockheed Martin Corporation of Maryland USA - Trident missile manufacturer.

There were a number of reasons to be concerned about this, and my concern was shared by  a group of eminent scientists and other interested parties.

Firstly, Lockheed Martin Corporation of Maryland USA is the manufacturer of Trident Missiles for the UK Government. Given the Scottish Government’s resolute opposition to Trident missiles and to their being based in Scotland, this alone in my view was reason enough not to award Scottish government contracts to Lockheed Martin or to any subsidiary company owned by it.

Secondly, American companies are obliged by law to disclose on request to US Government agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, any confidential information held by them that might be deemed relevant to national security, i.e. anything.

But my third and most serious concern is the insidious way in which the military/industrial complex subverts the moral consciousness of governments, trades unions and ordinary voters, and the very nature of democracy itself  by the offer of industrial investment and jobs.

I believe in legitimate defence of the Scottish nation, and in conventional defence forces and armaments, but I abhor the use of defence jobs as job creation schemes to induce tacit participation in, and compliance with the foreign policy of the United States and of the UK as its compliant ally. This is exactly the insidious perversion of democracy that former US President and distinguished American WW2 general Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against when he pointed out the dangers of the military/industrial complex.

 Moridura Twitter/blog on the Census

26th Nov. 2010 - email from moridura@gmail.com to the Office for National Statistics, which was referred by them to the Census Director for Scotland - Peter.Scrimgeour@gro-scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Can you please let me know if Lockheed Martin Corporation of Maryland, USA has been awarded the contract for data gathering for the 2011 census?

I assume that I don't need to submit a freedom of information request to obtain this information. If for any reason you are unable to confirm who has been awarded this contract, please tell me how I may find the information.

As a citizen and householder in the UK who will be required to complete the census form, I believe I am legally entitled to this information.

I received a reply on the 2nd of December, as follows -

Your email of 26 November to  2011censusmedia@ONS has been passed to me since the Office for National Statistics (ONS) took the view that, being a Scottish resident, it was the Census in Scotland that you were likely to be interested in. In Scotland the Census  is the responsibility of the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), not the ONS. GROS has awarded no contract in relation to the 2011 Census to the Lockheed Martin Corporation of Maryland, USA.

If, on the other hand, it is the Census in England and Wales that you are interested in, I suggest that you email 2011censusmedia@ONS again, stressing this point.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Scrimgeour
Census Director
GROS

I was reassured by this, and while my concern remained for the English and Welsh census, I felt sure that Scotland would not be so foolish as to award a contract to a company with such links. I should have looked more closely at the list of British companies who were being considered for the census contract. Among them was a company called CACI. The first link below makes it clear what CACI is and what it does: the second is CACI in 2009  referring to Scottish suppliers ( brightsolid and dns) which it had chosen to to deliver data gathering and processing for the Scottish census after CACI (UK)'s appointment last year by the General Register Office for Scotland which is responsible for taking Scotland's census.

What are we left with? I had initially believed that CACI (UK) was a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, but I can find no evidence of this. It is, however, a wholly owned subsidiary of CACI International Inc. which is subject  to exactly the same requirements of data disclosure by the US Government.

However admirable the two Scottish companies, brightsolid and dns are, however high their ethical policies are, and however apparently stringent the legislation is prohibiting the disclosure of confidential information from the census, they are now inextricably linked, as is the Scottish Government, to the highest levels of the US military industrial complex through CACI (UK) and CACI International Inc. - to a giant defence corporation with its HQ in Arlington, Virginia, a company that was deeply involved in American operations in Iraq, notably in the notorious Abu Ghraib.

There are those who will respond with some irritation to all this by saying that this is the reality of global business in the modern world, and that the UK and Scotland must be involved or risk being marginalised economically.

I say that it cannot be beyond the technical ability of independent Scottish companies to carry out the data gathering requirements and the analytical requirements of the Scottish census without being sucked into this web of dependency upon a foreign power with a foreign policy of total and perpetual conflict and war, and it cannot be beyond the competence, wit and ingenuity of the Scottish Government to avoid such entanglements.   And I do not want my personal data to be in the hands of these companies.

CACI defence contracts

CACI on the Scottish census

Here’s what CACI have to say about security of data -

EXTRACT

As part of their contracts, brightsolid and dns - like CACI (UK) - will abide by confidentiality guarantees, mandated by Scotland's census legislation and the Data Protection Act. These are designed to ensure that people can be certain that the personal information they provide for the census will be kept absolutely secure.

And here’s what CACI (UK) says about job creation -

EXTRACT

The appointments fit with CACI (UK)'s policy to purposely choose Scottish suppliers to ensure the census is delivered where possible by local organisations, keeping the economic benefits in Scotland. The census will be the first in Scotland to use both traditional paper and online questionnaires.

Since all the processing work will be carried out locally, over 200 new jobs will be created by CACI (UK) in Scotland to help deliver the census. Those employed will be trained in new IT and data processing skills which can be transferred to other roles once the census is completed.

CACI (UK) - what it says about itself

CACI was founded in 1975 in the UK and operates from several offices across the country.


Headquartered in London, CACI Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of CACI International Inc. CACI International Inc. is a publicly listed company on the NYSE with an annual revenue in excess of US $2.73bn and approx 13,100 people worldwide.

We offer an unrivalled range of marketing solutions and information systems to local and central government and to businesses from most industry sectors.
CACI Limited. Registered in England & Wales. Registration No. 1649776. CACI House, Avonmore Road, London, W14 8TS

EXTRACT from CACI International’s website.

The Department of Defense accounted for more than half of CACI's revenues. CACI was poised to profit from the intensive IT demands of the homeland defense industry after 9/11. The company posted record revenues in 2001 ($564 million) and 2002 ($682 million) and showed no signs of slowing. In 2002, the company's shares migrated from the NASDAQ to the Big Board on the New York Stock Exchange. CACI then had about 5,000 employees at its 90 offices in the United States and Europe.

In 2002, the company acquired Condor Technology Solutions, Inc.'s Government Solutions Division for $16 million and the IT firm Acton Burnell, Inc. for $29 million. Another intelligence specialist, Premier Technology Group, Inc., was acquired for $49 million in 2003. Also purchased in 2003 were Applied Technology Solutions of Northern VA, Inc. for $13 million, C-Cubed Corporation, a producer of mobile command centers and reconnaissance equipment, for $36 million, and Britain's Rochester Information Systems, Ltd. for $2 million.

The acquisition of Premier brought with it a $500 million blanket U.S. Army contract that included, in addition to IT services, supplying interrogators at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. CACI was soon faced with a worldwide media frenzy after an early army report implicated one of its employees in the torture there.

(CACI's larger rival Titan Corp. was also embroiled in the scandal.) In July 2004, another U.S. Army report cleared CACI's ten interrogator