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Military Industrial Complex

Last Year, You Spent Over A Month’s Rent On Pentagon Contractors

Ever wonder where your taxes go? Each year, the Institute for Policy Studies releases a tax receipt so you can find out. One item always stands out: the Pentagon — and the contractors who profit off it. In 2023, the average taxpayer spent $2,974 on the Pentagon. Of that, just $705 went to salaries for the troops, who often have to rely on programs like food stamps. A much larger sum — $1,748 — went to corporate Pentagon contractors. That’s more than the average American’s monthly rent, $1,372. From Lockheed Martin to SpaceX, these corporations don’t need your support. And they aren’t operating with your well-being in mind.

Fatal Flaws Undermine America’s Defense Industrial Base

The first-ever US Department of Defense National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS) confirms what many analysts have concluded in regard to the unsustainable nature of Washington’s global-spanning foreign policy objectives and its defense industrial base’s (DIB) inability to achieve them. The report lays out a multitude of problems plaguing the US DIB including a lack of surge capacity, inadequate workforce, off-shore downstream suppliers, as well as insufficient “demand signals” to motivate private industry partners to produce what’s needed, in the quantities needed, when it is needed.

Exercise Tradewinds: 40 Years Of US Counterinsurgency In The Caribbean

Between December 5-7, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas military planners from the United States, Canada, Barbados, and other CARICOM entities met to make plans for Tradewinds ’24.[1] There, it was determined that the 39th iteration of Exercise Tradewinds (EXTW24) would take place, at least in the first phase, in Barbados. Although Exercise Tradewinds “began” in 1984, EXTW24 will only mark the 39th iteration of these exercises versus the 40th iteration, given that no exercise was held in 2020 given the (ongoing) global COVID-19 pandemic.[2] Between January 29, 2024, and February 2, 2024 military planners met again, this time at the Hilton Resort in Barbados, to survey the terrain for EXTW24.

Health Workers Shut Down Headquarters Of A Gaza War Profiteer

Last week, hundreds of UK health workers shut down the central London headquarters of US tech giant and spy firm Palantir to disrupt its business. Their mass picket aims to blockade entry to and exit from the building in protest against National Health Service (NHS) England awarding a £330 million contract to Palantir, a company that professes to be keeping the Israeli government “armed and ahead” in its ongoing bombardment of Gaza, including Israel’s systematic targeting of health care facilities, health workers, and patients. Palantir specializes in artificial intelligence–powered military and surveillance technology and data analytics, working with the CIA and the UK Ministry of Defence.

Toronto Picketers At Military Contractor Pratt And Whitney

On Tuesday morning of December 12, more than two hundred workers and union members from across the Toronto area picketed the Mississauga manufacturing plant of defence contractor Pratt & Whitney Canada. As Israel pursues its deadly assault on Gaza for a third month, the picket lines interrupted business as usual at an aerospace giant that makes engines for aircrafts that the Israeli military is using to carry out its bombing campaign against Palestinian lives and infrastructure. Encountering banners that read “Stop Arming Apartheid” and “Arms Embargo on Israel Now” as they arrived for morning shift, cars were turned away from the entrance to the factory.

Why Veterans Are Calling For Peace In Ukraine

In Ukraine right now, we have a stalemated war of attrition, where as Caitlin Johnstone writes, “soldiers are being killed and maimed in a battle for inches.  At least tens of thousands have died in this war with hundreds of thousands wounded, all for those teeny, tiny little blips on the map. Ukraine is now freckled with more landmines than anywhere else on earth, which experts say will take decades to clear. This giant deathtrap is exacerbated by the cluster munitions that are covering the land with greater and greater frequency, which will go on to detonate and kill civilians (mostly children) for years to come.

Could We Actually End The CEO Defense Contractor Gravy Train?

Could corporate CEOs anywhere in the universe have a deal much sweeter than U.S. defense contractor chiefs? The CEO at CybeCys, Inc., a Texas-based defense contractor, might quibble with that question. He isn’t feeling all that much sweetness these days. Last month, federal prosecutors announced a deal that will have this CEO and CybeCys pay over $283,000 in penalties and damages for cheating on two Covid-era federal loan programs. The CybeCys CEO seems to have transferred hefty chunks of taxpayer dollars into his own personal investment accounts and used those dollars, prosecutors charge, to buy up “securities, exchange-traded funds, and cryptocurrency.”

A Highway To Peace Or A Highway To Hell?

In April 1953, newly elected President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a retired five-star Army general who had led the landings on D-Day in France in June 1944, gave his most powerful speech. It would become known as his “Cross of Iron” address. In it, Ike warned of the cost humanity would pay if Cold War competition led to a world dominated by wars and weaponry that couldn’t be reined in. In the immediate aftermath of the death of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Ike extended an olive branch to the new leaders of that empire. He sought, he said, to put America and the world on a “highway to peace.” It was, of course, never to be

We Need To Cut The Military Budget, But Don’t Trust The Far Right To Do It

Since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives earlier this year, the so-called ​“Freedom Caucus” — the badly misnamed right-fringe of the congressional GOP — has been flexing its influence. Caucus members are deeply invested in an agenda that would increase inequality and enrich corporations and billionaires, strip hard-won rights from people of color, immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ community, destroy the environment to enrich fossil fuel companies and slash social investment for the poor. And yet surprisingly, some of these extremists are also—sort of—calling for cutting the military budget. Does that provide an opening for anti-war progressives looking to cross the aisle? Unfortunately, no.

The Trillion Dollar Silencer

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across the U.S. in the last few years to decry police brutality, to oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict abortion rights, and to contest what they believed was a rigged election (the January 2021 Capitol riots). Only small hardy bands by comparison have taken to the streets to protest record military budgets—approaching $1 trillion under Joe Biden—or the illegal bombing of Syria, expansion of U.S. troops in Africa, provision of $20 billion in U.S. military aid to Ukraine, and military provocations directed against China. Joan Roelofs’ new book The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2022), starts with an important question: “Why is there so much acceptance and so little protest against our government’s illegal and immoral wars and other military operations?”

Contractors Cash In As Congress Adds Billions To Pentagon Budget

Congress has spoken when it comes to next year’s Pentagon budget and the results, if they weren’t so in line with past practices, should astonish us all. The House of Representatives voted to add $37 billion and the Senate $45 billion to the administration’s already humongous request for “national defense,” a staggering figure that includes both the Pentagon budget and work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy. If enacted, the Senate’s sum would push spending on the military to at least $850 billion annually, far more — adjusted for inflation — than at the height of the Korean or Vietnam wars or the peak years of the Cold War. U.S. military spending is, of course, astronomically high — more than that of the next nine countries combined. Here’s the kicker, though: the Pentagon (an institution that has never passed a comprehensive financial audit) doesn’t even ask for all those yearly spending increases in its budget requests to Congress.

US Launched 251 Military Interventions Since 1991, And 469 Since 1798

The United States launched at least 251 military interventions between 1991 and 2022. This is according to a report by the Congressional Research Service, a US government institution that compiles information on behalf of Congress. The report documented another 218 US military interventions between 1798 and 1990. That makes for a total of 469 US military interventions since 1798 that have been acknowledged by the Congress. This data was published on March 8, 2022 by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in a document titled “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2022.” The list of countries targeted by the US military includes the vast majority of the nations on Earth, including almost every single county in Latin America and the Caribbean and most of the African continent.

US Sends Ukraine $228 Million Per Day In Aid To Wage Proxy War On Russia

Researcher Stephen Semler documented the 21 distinct military aid packages that the Joe Biden administration approved for Ukraine in the year between August 2021 and August 2022, at a total of $40.13 billion. Two of those 21 pledges were approved before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Excluding these two Presidential Drawdowns from August and December 2021, which are worth $260 million combined, the Biden administration passed $39.87 billion for military aid in Ukraine between February 25, 2022 (the day after the Russian invasion) and August 19, 2022.

Inside Lockheed Martin’s Sweeping Recruitment On College Campuses

To a casual observer, the Black Hawk and Sikorsky S-76 helicopters may have seemed incongruous landing next to the student union on the University of Connecticut’s pastoral green campus, but this particular Thursday in September 2018 was Lockheed Martin Day, and the aircraft were the main attraction. A small group of students stood nearby, signs in hand, protesting Lockheed’s presence and informing others about a recent massacre. Weeks earlier, 40 children had been killed when a Saudi-led coalition air strike dropped a 500-pound bomb on a school bus in northern Yemen. A CNN investigation found that Lockheed — the world’s largest weapons manufacturer — had sold the precision-guided munition to Saudi Arabia a year prior in a $110 billion arms deal brokered under former President Donald Trump.

Arsenal Of Autocracy?

These are good times to be an arms maker.  Not only are tens of billions of dollars in new military spending headed for the coffers of this country’s largest weapons contractors, but they’re being praised as defenders of freedom and democracy, thanks to their role in arming Ukraine to fight the Russians. The last time the industry gained such a sterling reputation was during World War II when it was lauded as the “arsenal of democracy” for fueling the fight against fascism. Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes recently underscored this point in an interview with the Harvard Business Review. While discussing how he should respond to criticism of his company benefiting from a rise in sales right now, he said: “Look, we don’t apologize for making these systems, making these weapons. The fact is, they are incredibly effective in deterring and dealing with the threat that the Ukrainians are seeing today…"
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