Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Shadow World

In his book 'The Shadow World' Andrew Feinstein comments how, following investigations into deals with Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary,. BAE were fined hundreds of millions of dollars by the US authorities. With the evidence of corruption being irrefutable we might be tempted to clap Uncle Sam on the back for doing a job which the British themselves failed to do. That is if it weren't for the fact that they are such hypocrites.

Therefore, while ostensibly tackling unfair competition at, and corruption by, BAE, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that their own arms companies in general, and Lockheed Martin in particular, are also more than competent when it comes to practicing  corruption at home, while going out of their way to determine the course of American foreign policy abroad. In the late nineties, for instance, the erstwhile CEO, Norm Augustine, promised the Romanian government that it would use its influence in Washington to support that country's entry to NATO, if they bought Lockheed Martin's new radar system (Feinstein: 290). Of course, this is not to suggest that BAE does not use its clout in a similar manner.

Moreover, this is hardly a situation of dog eats dog; in the arms industry, there are in fact no losers, as Dan Margolies in his article, 'Cocktails and wiretaps signal a new anti-bribery era' explained:
"But when you go through the DOJ's own allegations and add up the amount of the bribe payments and the amount those bribes caused the companies to get in business, you're still in a situation where they come out net positive."  In other words the even with fines totaling almost half a billion dollars, business is still good, very good, for BAE.

Of course, in order for business to remain good, the Orwellian war on terror has to be continued and new battles have to be fought. Therefore, it is that we should bear in mind on reading in Monday's 'Guardian' that,: "Tehran on Monday escalated its threats against the west after Europe struck at the Islamic republic's lifeblood by agreeing to impose an oil embargo on it." Too crazy to contemplate, perhaps,  but with Benjamin Netanyahu praising the EU's decision to impose oil sanctions on Iran as "a step in the right direction," and with a  freeze of the assets of the Iran's central bank, while we might question the "step in the right direction", we could just  be a step closer to once again seeing exactly where that "disastrous rise of misplaced power" ultimately leads. Of course, in understanding this, we would all do well to stop listening to make these liars and hypocrites genuinely accountable.

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