Tag Archives | Military-Industrial Complex

The Drones Are Coming Home

dronerWill baby-sized drones soon be used routinely for tracking residential property lines and other domestic purposes? With our nation’s adventures in Iraq coming to an end, unmanned drones will need to be kept busy doing something…via BLDG BLOG:

A post on sUAS News—a blog tracking the “small unmanned aviation system industry”—we read about the possibility of drone aircraft being used to enforce residential property tax.

Citing a recent court ruling in Arkansas that “has approved the use of aerial imagery to collect data on property sizes,” and making reference to the already-controversial state deployment of aerial surveillance tools, sUAS suggests that drones could someday be used to manage a near-realtime catalog of local property expansions, transfers, and other tax-relevant land alterations.

Whether enforcing local building codes—keeping an eye, for instance, on illegally built structures such as the so-called Achill Henge in Ireland—or reconciling on-the-ground property lines with their administrative representations back in the city land archives, how soon will drones become a state tool for regional landscape management?

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How Two Bumbling Stoner Kids Became The Pentagon’s Favorite Arms Dealers

efraimdiveroli00_guns_local_embedded_prod_affiliate_56It sounds like the plot of a John Hughes ’80s teen comedy. Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz were a pair of underachieving kids from Miami (interests: football, “whisky”, and “chilling with the boyz”) until, as part of the privatization effort, they somehow landed a $300 million contract from the Bush administration to provide ammunition for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Then things soured: greed pitted the friends against one another, all they could give the military were defective, Chinese-made munitions from Albania, and now Diveroli is in jail. Rolling Stone has the barely-believable saga:

Reassured by the e-mail, Packouz got into his brand-new blue Audi A4 and headed home for the evening, windows open, the stereo blasting. At 25, he wasn’t exactly used to the pressures of being an international arms dealer. Only months earlier, he had been making his living as a massage therapist; his studies at the Educating Hands School of Massage had not included classes in military contracting or geopolitical brinkmanship.

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The Real State Of The Union – From President Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The columnists at MarketWatch must have misread the memo from Murdoch about being staunchly Republican and pro-business no matter the cost. Following Paul Farrell’s rant about the conspiracy of the super rich, now Brett Arends reminds us of Dwight Eisenhower’s warning of a military-industrial complex taking over the United States — and shows us that it’s already happened:

Forget the posturing you’re going to hear tonight. Do you want to hear the real state of the union? Just ask Ike: President Dwight Eisenhower.

As fund manager Jeremy Grantham notes, it was 50 years ago this month that the old general delivered his famous farewell address to the nation after a lifetime of service that few will ever match.

Less well-remembered: His warning against hocking ourselves up to the eyeballs as the easy way out of any problem.

“We… must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow,” he said.

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Blackwater Employees Cleared Of Murder Charges

Once again, the year comes to a close with good news for the Blackwater corporation. From the New York Times:

Iraqis on Friday reacted with disbelief, anger and bitter resignation to news that criminal charges in the United States had been dismissed against Blackwater Worldwide security guards who opened fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007.

The attack left 17 Iraqis dead and 27 wounded. Investigators concluded that the guards had indiscriminately fired on unarmed civilians in an unprovoked and unjustified assault.

Many Iraqis viewed the prosecution of the guards as a test case of American democratic principles…On Thursday, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina threw out manslaughter and weapons charges against five Blackwater guards because he said prosecutors had violated the men’s rights by building the case based on sworn statements that had been given by the guards under the promise of immunity.

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Is Durango Group Evidence of an Evil Military-Industrial Complex?

logo_durangoUSAToday asks some pertinent questions about the fuzzy line separating government and corporations in the military-industrial complex:

In a marketplace awash in consulting firms that help defense companies sell to the Pentagon, the Durango Group has a unique advantage.

The Colorado-based firm has become a base of operations for retired officers who also are handsomely paid by the military for their advice. No other defense consulting firm employs more “senior mentors” than Durango. Of the 59 former officers who work for Durango, 15 also serve as mentors, a USA TODAY investigation found.

As Durango associates, the retired officers are paid to help private companies win and administer Pentagon contracts. As mentors, the retirees are paid by the military to help run war games, which also gives them access to classified strategies and weapons systems. Durango cites these mentoring assignments on its website as signs of its associates’ unique connections.

Along with their work for Durango and the military, these retired officers, mostly from the Air Force, are paid advisers, consultants and corporate directors on the boards of at least 20 companies, according to public records.

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