Blood Money and Arms Industry Whores
by Michael Walsh
WITH ITS staggering $692 billion defence budget the U.S arms industry constitutes 43% of the world’s military expenditure. This is not far behind the value of Britain and Russia’s combined export trade. The financial resources and political clout exercised by this military behemoth’s lobbying apparatus dwarf many national interests and economies. These conglomerates, like the pharmaceuticals industries, are far more powerful and influential than are many governments.
Through lobbying, a euphemism for sharp-suited salesmen drawing on blank cheque books, the arms industries’ lobbyists exerts enormous influence on government policy. If there are no wars or threats, imaginary or otherwise, the arms and surveillance manufacturers soon find themselves in deep trouble. It is in their interests to continually exaggerate or fake a threat just as double-glazing salesmen will overstress faults in near-perfect windows. Mainstream media news desks receive a constant stream of ‘cry wolf’ misinformation spewed out by the Press Departments of the arms conglomerates.
British journalist Barry White participated in a tour covering the European arms industry lobby in Brussels. In that one city alone, more than 20,000 lobbyists seek to influence the European Union’s institutions. Most of them operate from offices situated in the four square kilometres surrounding the European Union’s Commission and the EU parliament.
An impressive 70 per cent of these pushy-pushy lobbyists are employed by corporate giants; the rest by Non-Government Organisations (NGO) or by self-interest organisations such as trade unions. Former EU Commissioner, Marian Fischer Boel described Brussels as a lobbying paradise; it is equal only to the power of America’s lobbyists.
One might wonder why this should be so as the European Union is thought to be mainly dependent upon NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is 70 per cent financed and equipped by the United States. This pressure is due to adoption of the Lisbon Treaty that replaced the obsolete EU Constitution. Since then there has been a European initiative to become less reliant on NATO, which has hitherto fuelled the European arms industry lobby. According to Barry White the arms industry seized the moment.
Following the dissolution of its constitution the EU has become an independent military alliance with an infrastructure for civil-military interventions. It has its own armaments agency. Governments, through banking and arms industry lobbyists, are under continual pressure to prepare or engage in conflict.
This explains why the electorate, who fondly believe their votes influence governments, are confused as to why their parliamentarians wage wars that their constituents are resolutely opposed to. As with the banking cartels the voters are powerless; they are up against dominant well-financed lobbying forces actively influencing government decisions.
Lobbyists are simply more successful at persuading politicians than are voters. The electorate exercise their powers of persuasion one day every five years; the lobbyists exercise their arm-twisting power 24/7. It is doubtful if they take Christmas off. One can presume that key decision makers in government, elected or otherwise, receive many Christmas cards from their arms industry lobbyists. One can only wonder if their messages convey ‘peace on earth to all men.’
The European arms industry, like the pharmaceuticals and banking cartels, use a myriad of strategies to penetrate decision-making institutions. Using a system known in political circles as ‘entryism’ they sit on advisory groups and become members of think tanks. They are slipped on to various advisory and expert groups from where they influence budget decisions and political strategy. Lobbyists cosy up to the government’s key decision makers. An important part of their spiel is to invent internal and external threats, for without such, there would be no need for defence.
Politicians are not renowned for their principles or their intellectual gifts: Many are ambiguous about brown envelopes and other forms of corruption. Often from modest backgrounds, many aspiring politicians on their path of accessing the portals of power are overwhelmed by flattery, free lunches, riches and a gravy train lifestyle undreamed of. These amateur round-heeled prostitutes are pushovers for experienced hard-headed well-paid arms industry lobbyists.
Was it ever otherwise? On October 3, 1938, four days before the signing of the Munich Peace Agreement, the novelist and wife of British Member of Parliament, General Sir Edward Spears bitterly complained: “Poor Edward. Now there’s bound to be a general election, and we are now faced with the prospect of losing £2,000 a year from the Czechs. Can you believe it; and his seat in parliament?”
In the Czech files (Boston University, Massachusetts) was found the records of a telephone call from the pro-war Prague-based Czech Ambassador, Jan Masaryk made in September 1938. This recorded a conversation: “Mr Churchill is asking for more. Mr Attlee is asking for more as well!”
These Czech files revealed that £2 million was sent from Prague to London during July 1938. This sum was the amount required by opposition Conservative Members of Parliament to encourage them to vote for war with the Workers Reich. The bribe takers included Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan and Anthony Eden. Churchill and Harold Macmillan were half-American; all became prime ministers.
The big four arms makers in Europe are BAE Systems, Finmeccanica, EADS and Thales. As with the banking industry there is little effective regulation of these corporate giants. Indeed, many are inextricably linked to government ministers, parliamentarians, infiltrated lobbyists and government personnel in key decision and arms procurement positions.
As a consequence much equipment is bought without there being a need for it. In the meantime service personnel on the frontline are denied appropriate arms and equipment. If it were otherwise, then replacement solutions would not be needed. If that were to happen, then the only ones doing the dying would be those employed in the arms industry. The summary of England’s great poet, Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936) comes to mind:
I could not dig: I dared not rob,
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among,
Mine angry and defrauded young?
Senators who voted to attack Syria received 83 per cent more campaign money from military contractors than lawmakers voting no.
“Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace.” — Charles Sumner.
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