Currently viewing the tag: "arms trade"

Since the Institute for Economics and Peace began publishing its Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2008, each year has become less peaceful than the past, based on an assessment of 22 variables that measure the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarization of [...]

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Commissioners, I am now faced with a difficult choice. How should I respond to your subpoena?

I am mindful of the fact that the arms deal has wrought havoc on the lives of ordinary South Africans and corrupted our politics for the past 15 years. It has profited international arms corporations while weakening our democratic state institutions. It has profited the rich at the expense of the poor.

I am also mindful that the cover-up that followed the arms deal has put in place a system of patronage with the purpose of keeping alleged corrupt elites out of prison. It allows them to continue benefiting from the spoils of an unequal society. I have regretfully come to the conclusion that this Commission will provide no remedy to this situation.

For these reasons, I can no longer in good conscience participate in a hearing of the Arms Procurement Commission.

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On April 9, 2014 an advance release of a report by professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page titled, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens declared that ordinary American citizens have little or no independent influence on policy, and rather than operating as a system of “Majoritarian Electoral Democracy” or [...]

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This is a lesson in recycling, that the United States government and defense industry have been slow to learn, and the result could look something like an arms race that the United States is waging with itself, in which it provides proxy groups or allies with arms and training. These proxy groups re-form and radicalize or the weapons fall into the hands of groups labeled as terrorists by the United States. In response, the United States invests large amounts of money in military technology to combat terrorism and provides yet more arms to groups that assist it in fighting terrorism globally.

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But a billion here and there adds up, with the F35 program cost ballooning from $219 billion (1997) to $395 billion (2012) and counting. Even after the Pentagon finally strong-armed Lockheed into serious cost control a few years ago, and significantly cut the number of planes it will buy, the total lifetime cost of the F35 looks to be, optimistically, $1.02 trillion.

All of the figures in the previous paragraph are so enormous that they cease to have any real meaning – they’re unimaginable. To bring them down to earth, the World Peace Foundation decided to have a concrete look at what else that money could have bought:

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The New York Times this morning has an article that begs attention–not only for what it says about the mercenary  (i.e. “private security”) firm formerly known as Blackwater, then Academi, merged with Triple Canopy, and now part of a new firm, Constellis Holdings– but for what it says about the state of defense [...]

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