imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

U..S. exports fantasies and weapons systems

by Frida Berrigan Monday, Aug. 07, 2006 at 6:36 AM

In fact, 20 of our top 25 arms clients in the developing world in 2003 were undemocratic regimes or governments with records as major human-rights abusers. All too often, U.S. arms transfers fuel conflict, give weapons to human-rights abusers or fall into the hands of our adversaries. Far from serving as a force for security and stability, these sales frequently empower unstable, undemocratic regimes.

U.S. exports fantasies and weapons systems

What if we marketed guns like movies?

- Frida Berrigan

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Oh, the stars! We're riveted by their clothes, their suntans, what they do (and don't) eat for breakfast. We're titillated when they appear too fat, disheveled or lumpy. We're envious when they're expectably sleek, well muscled and well coiffed. Christie Brinkley's heartbreak is front page news. Britney's baby gaffes are carefully dissected.

America exported .5 billion worth of film and television in 2004. The world's favorite TV show is a soap opera, "The Bold and the Beautiful." Every day, in almost every corner of the globe, people stream to movies made in the United States. They watch Halle Berry conjure up a storm with her eyes, Johnny Depp swashbuckle his way through the Caribbean, and Keanu Reeves swoon and mope in the company of Sandra Bullock. (Sorry about that last one, world).

But in Uzbekistan, those same movie fans are denied the rights of free speech and assembly, while President Islam Karimov tightens his grip on power with an array of arms made in the United States. In the Philippines, they watch the country's debt skyrocket as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gobbles up American weaponry at startling prices and an alarming rate.

Like American entertainment, American arms are a multibillion-dollar industry that leans heavily on foreign sales. In fact, the United States exported .6 billion in fighter planes, attack helicopters, tanks, battleships and other weaponry in 2005. All signs point to 2006 being another banner year for exports.

Just as in the movie, TV and music businesses, we dwarf the competition. Russia is the next largest arms exporter with a measly billion in yearly sales. In fact, U.S. arms exports accounted for more than half of total global arms deliveries -- .8 billion -- in 2004, and we export more of them ourselves than the next six largest exporters combined.

Given the huge payoffs and even larger payloads delivered, isn't it strange how little attention the American arms industry gets? Maybe, in some small part, that's because the industry's magazines all have the word "Defense," or some equivalent, prominently displayed on the cover -- Defense Week, Defense News -- instead of Glamour or Allure.

Maybe it's because of the Pentagon's predilection for less than magnetic PowerPoint presentations, unbearably unexpressive acronyms, and slightly paunchy, very pasty, older white men in business suits. Maybe the arms trade just doesn't seek the plush of the red carpet or the jittery pulse of flashing paparazzi cameras. Or maybe, it's a business that just loves to revel in profitable anonymity.

But don't be fooled. Like Hollywood, the arms industry has sex to spare. After all, the weapons themselves are all gleaming golden curves and huge thrusting spikes; they move at breath-robbing speed, make ear-splitting noise and are capable of performing with awesome lethality.

It's common to say that "You are what you eat"; but, at the level of nation-states, "You are what you export" may be no less true. We think of ourselves as trendsetters and style arbiters because of our best-known export -- mass culture. But weapons are our most deadly and potent export; they help determine who controls key regions of the world and shape how those regions are governed; they create jobs, extinguish lives and sometimes obliterate whole neighborhoods.

In the mountains of Turkey, Kurdish kids may not have a chance to drink Coke, listen to American rap or play Street Fighter, but they do know two things from English, "Cobra" and "Black Hawk," the names of the U.S.-made attack helicopters the Turks have used to strafe their villages. We should at least know as much about the weapons our country sells as they do, and more about the arms industry as whole than we do about Lindsay Lohan's brush with anorexia and addiction.

What if we did? What if American girls grew up reading Jane's Defence Weekly instead of (or in addition to) Jane? What if Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell labored on their craft in virtual obscurity, while Cameron Diaz and Scarlett Johansson did their own laundry after a hard shift on the film set? What if the attention these stars now get went to the arms trade? Then, Jeffrey Kohler and Robert Joseph would be household names, their every move tracked by a voracious media.

Perhaps then we would watch A! (as in "A! Today in the Arms Trade") instead of E! Of course, I wouldn't even have to write this next sentence, because everyone would already know that Jeffery Kohler is the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency within the Defense Department and Robert Joseph is undersecretary of state for arms control and international security -- and that the arms business wouldn't be its sexy self without them.

Even though we know that A! will never replace E!, nor will a magazine named Power replace People in those supermarket racks, there's still plenty to talk about. It's just that you have to read Aviation Week or Sea Power (or the Business pages of major newspapers) to know about it.

Take but one relatively modest example: In March 2003, the United States and Poland inked a Pentagon-brokered agreement worth .5 billion with U.S. arms companies. The emerging power and new member of the European Union bought a whole new military in a box: including 48 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter planes, Raytheon advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles and Maverick air-to-ground missiles.

Putting aside what Poland actually needed all this firepower for, how about a Power magazine in-depth investigation on how the big U.S. arms makers tempted Poland with .3 billion in investments. As one of Lockheed Martin's directors explained, the deal wasn't really about selling weapons to Poland. Nope, they were interested in "enhancing Poland competitively in the global economy, creating jobs and enhancing local labor market skills." Kinda sweet, right?

So, to put this in a simple way, in order to sell Warsaw .5 billion in military hardware, we gave them .3 billion in goodies. Think about that for a moment. Isn't it just a bit too much of a good thing -- like the 0,000 gift-bags movie stars get at parties after their 0 million movie premieres? Poland gets a General Motors plant (wait, didn't one just close in Muncie, Ind.?) and a Motorola communications system in addition to a Lockheed Martin factory and billions more in U.S. investment. As the American ambassador to Poland said, "It's the deal of the century." For Poland yes, for American workers -- like the ones who don't make Pontiacs and Caddies in Detroit and Muncie anymore -- maybe not.

And you want sex, lies and videotape? OK, maybe not the sex part -- and it was e-mail, not videotape, that provided the incriminating evidence -- but there were plenty of lies in a 2003 domestic arms scandal that bilked taxpayers of millions of dollars. Boeing -- the bomber behemoth -- tried to sucker the Air Force into leasing 100 airborne refueling tankers at a cost of perhaps billion dollars, more than it would have cost the government to buy the (unnecessary) planes outright.

The scheme landed Darleen Druyun, a former Air Force weapons buyer, in a Florida prison after she pled guilty to giving Boeing special treatment on a .5 billion government contract in exchange for a post as senior vice president at the company and perks for her family members. Talk about a cheap date! As a Boeing veep, Druyun pulled in a mere 0,000 a year, while the company would have taken in billions in revenue.

Any flak could warn you about how a reputation for late-night carousing can sully a star's squeaky-clean reputation. You can't act like Paris Hilton at night and land roles for Mandy Moore the next morning. The same goes for arms sales. But the United States keeps trying. While boasting about democracy, security and peace, we sell weapons to dictators, human rights abusers and countries at war or at the edge of war (sometimes with each other).

In fact, 20 of our top 25 arms clients in the developing world in 2003 were undemocratic regimes or governments with records as major human-rights abusers. All too often, U.S. arms transfers fuel conflict, give weapons to human-rights abusers or fall into the hands of our adversaries. Far from serving as a force for security and stability, these sales frequently empower unstable, undemocratic regimes.

America's arms trade won't be spoon-fed to us the way model Naomi Campbell's run-ins with the law are. Unfortunately, it takes work on our part to discover how our arms trade functions. But knowing where our weapons are going and what sort of havoc they are wreaking in our name seems worth the effort -- even if it doesn't offer the promise of the perfect tan or six-pack abs.

Frida Berrigan (berrigaf@newschool.edu) is a senior research associate at the World Policy Institute's Arms Trade Resource Center. This piece appeared on TomDispatch.com. Contact us at insight@sfchronicle.com.

Page E - 1

URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/08/06/INGVUK9TIT1.DTL

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 17 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
This is a great article addressing the hypocrisy Researcher Monday, Aug. 07, 2006 at 6:37 AM
Topic is about U.S. selling weapons to human rights violators Reader Monday, Aug. 07, 2006 at 7:57 AM
Us ells arms to Saudis, Egypt, etc many human rights violators Monday, Aug. 07, 2006 at 7:58 AM
Exactly, corporate greed runs wild Did you know that? Monday, Aug. 07, 2006 at 8:02 AM
Not true was an excuse Monday, Aug. 07, 2006 at 8:39 AM
re: Not True TW Monday, Aug. 07, 2006 at 10:40 AM
more terror exports Tuesday, Aug. 08, 2006 at 10:34 AM
"Sold"? johnk Tuesday, Aug. 08, 2006 at 10:53 AM
Uh, not quite TW Tuesday, Aug. 08, 2006 at 8:24 PM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80 A05 12:14PM

Millions Boycott The Sponsors Of Laura Ingraham A05 11:36AM

THE CONSERVATIVE THREAT A05 6:51AM

The US, the Dollar, IS and Saudi Arabia A05 3:34AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy