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General Dynamics, Crown Dynasty & Obama

by repost Monday, Feb. 26, 2007 at 6:30 AM

Chicago Indymedia has a good article connecting the dots between war profiteer General Dynamics, the Crown family and Obama, a US Senator from Illinois.

Chicago Indymedia has a good article connecting the dots between war profiteer General Dynamics, the Crown family and Obama, a US Senator from Illinois.

See http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/76429/index.php

restated below:

Chicago's Crown Dynasty financially backs U.S. federal candidate Barack Obama.

Under U.S. federal law an ultra-rich person is not supposed to make a campaign contribution of more than ,300 per election each year to any one candidate for U.S. federal office. Yet in recent years members of an ultra-rich Chicago-based family, the Crown Dynasty, have apparently been making individual campaign contributions of more than ,300 per election each year to a federal candidate named Barack Obama. According to the Center for Responsive Politics web site, for instance:

On September 29, 2003, Paula Crown of Henry Crown & Company gave an individual campaign contribution of ,500 to Barack Obama. Subsequently, Paula Crown gave another individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama on June 2, 2004 and a third individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama on February 24, 2005. Four days later, on February 28, 2005, Paula Crown also gave a ,000 campaign contribution to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The following year, Paula Crown gave another ,000 campaign contribution to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on June 15, 2006;

On March 25, 2003, Susan Crown of Henry Crown & Company gave an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama. Later that same year, on December 10, 2003, Susan Crown gave a second individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama. A few months later, on March 11, 2004, another individual campaign contribution of ,000 was given to Obama by Susan Crown. And the following month, an additional individual campaign contribution of ,000 was given by Susan Crown on April 15, 2004 to Obama;

An individual campaign contribution of ,000 was also given on December 10, 2003 by Renee Crown to Obama. The following year, an individual campaign contribution of ,000 was also given to Obama by Renee Crown on June 2, 2004;

On March 10, 2004, an individual campaign contribution of ,000 was given by Rebecca Crown to Obama. The next month, on April 15, 2004, Rebecca Crown also gave a ,000 campaign contribution to the DNC Services Corporation;

On June 27, 2003, James Crown of Henry Crown & Company gave an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama. The following year, on June 2, 2004, James Crown also gave an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama. That same year, a campaign contribution of ,000 was also given to the DNC Services Corporation by James Crown. The following year, James Crown also gave a ,000 campaign contribution to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on February 28, 2005 and an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama on February 24, 2005. On June 15, 2006, another ,000 campaign contribution was given to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee by James Crown;

On February 23, 2004, Elizabeth Crown gave an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama;

On February 23, 2004, Patricia Crown also gave an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama;

The following day, on February 24, 2004, Joann Crown also gave an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama;

A few days later, on March 3, 2004, William Crown also gave an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama;

A.Steven Crown also gave an individual campaign contribution of ,000 to Obama on September 29, 2003. That same year, on December 11, 2003, a second individual campaign contribution of ,000 was also given to Obama by A.Steven Crown of Henry Crown & Company.

In its 1980 edition, Everybody’s Business: An Almanac (by Milton Moskowitz, Michael Katz and Robert Levering) made the following reference to the Crown family of Chicago ’s history of making money from General Dynamics’ weapons manufacturing activity:

“General Dynamics, more than any other aerospace company, is dependent on the Pentagon; government defense contracts account for two-thirds of their sales…The power behind the scenes is Henry Crown, a Chicago financier and one of the richest, but least known, men in the country. A group headed by Crown, who was 83 in 1980, owns about 20% of the company. His associates, who sit on the General Dynamics board with him, are his son, Lester Crown, and Chicago industrialist Nathan Cummings, founder of Consolidated Foods…”

After Henry Crown's death, General Dynamics sold its F-16 fighter jet production unit and the Crown family reduced its ownership stake in General Dynamics from 20% to 8%. But, according to the General Dynamics web site at www.generaldynamics.com/, in 2005 "General Dynamics Combat Systems” was “becoming the world's preferred supplier of land and amphibious combat systems development, production and support;" and "its product line” included “a full spectrum of armored vehicles, light wheeled reconnaissance vehicles, suspensions, engine transmissions, guns and ammunition handling systems, turret drive systems, and reactive armor and ordnance."

The General Dynamics web site also indicated in 2005 that members of the Crown family like Henry Crown & Company President James Crown and Henry Crown & Company Chairman Lester Crown still sat on the General Dynamics corporate board in 2005—between retired Pentagon officials (like former U.S. Under-Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Paul Kaminski, former U.S. Naval Chief of Naval Operations Jay Johnson, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff John Keane, Retired U.S. General George Joulwan and former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Lester Lyles) and a former Royal Navy Vice-Admiral for the UK Ministry of Defense named Robert Walmsley.

A 2003 press release of the General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems business unit in St. Petersburg, Florida also noted that it had formed "a strategic alliance with Aeronautics Defense Systems, Ltd.," an Israeli firm based in Yavne. Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. is the firm that developed the Unmanned Multi-Application System (UMASa) aerial surveillance tool which the Israeli military uses to "provide a real-time 'bird's eye view' of the surveillance area to combatant commanders and airborne command posts." According to then-Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the agreement between General Dynamics and Aeronautics Defense Systems to bring together "both companies' state-of-the art technologies in defense and homeland security" was "additional proof of the technological and commercial benefits that alliances between industries from the U.S. and Israel can produce."

From its investments in Pentagon war contractors like General Dynamics and U.S. real estate, the Crown family has accumulated a family fortune of .6 billion, according to a 2004 Forbes magazine estimate. The Jerusalem Post also noted in its February 27, 2005 issue that “the Crown family of Chicago ” is also “well-known for its support of sectarian Jewish causes.” In addition, long-time General Dynamics board member Lester Crown was also a member of the Advisory board of Medis Technologies, a joint venture business partner of Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. in recent years.

Yet, ironically, the 2008 presidential candidate who apparently is being financially backed by the next generation of the Crown Dynasty seems to be marketing himself these days as "the next generation's anti-war candidate."

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