Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The big DHS scam

with 3 comments

Companies are reaping billions in taxpayer dollars and we endure weird airport procedures. For what? Greenwald looks at the issue:

The Los Angeles Times examines the staggering sums of money expended on patently absurd domestic “homeland security” projects: $75 billion per year for things such as a Zodiac boat with side-scan sonar to respond to a potential attack on a lake in tiny Keith County, Nebraska, and hundreds of “9-ton BearCat armored vehicles, complete with turret” to guard against things like an attack on DreamWorks in Los Angeles.  All of that — which is independent of the exponentially greater sums spent on foreign wars, occupations, bombings, and the vast array of weaponry and private contractors to support it all — is in response to this mammoth, existential, the-single-greatest-challenge-of-our-generation threat:

“The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It’s basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year,” said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor who has written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism.

Last year, McClatchy characterized this threat in similar terms: “undoubtedly more American citizens died overseas from traffic accidents or intestinal illnesses than from terrorism.”  The March, 2011, Harper‘s Index expressed the point this way: “Number of American civilians who died worldwide in terrorist attacks last year: 8 — Minimum number who died after being struck by lightning: 29.”  That’s the threat in the name of which a vast domestic Security State is constructed, wars and other attacks are and continue to be launched, and trillions of dollars are transferred to the private security and defense contracting industry at exactly the time that Americans — even as they face massive wealth inequality — are told that they must sacrifice basic economic security because of budgetary constraints.

Despite these increasing economic insecurities — actually, precisely because of them — the sprawling domestic Security State continues unabated.  The industry journal National Defense Magazine today trumpets: “Homeland Security Market ‘Vibrant’ Despite Budget Concerns.”  It details how budget cuts mean “homeland security” growth may not be as robust as once predicted, but “Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman . . . have been winning more contracts from DHS”; as a Boeing spokesman put it: “You’ll still continue to see domestically significant investment on the part of the government and leveraging advances in technology to stand up and meet those emerging threats and needs.”

Of course, the key to sustaining this Security State bonanza — profit for private industry and power for Security State officials —  is keeping fear levels among the citizenry as high as possible, as National Defenseexpressly notes, and that is accomplished by fixating even on minor and failed attacks, each one of which is immediately seized upon to justify greater expenditures, expansion of security measures, and a further erosion of rights:

Polls still show that there is increasing public concern about another terrorist attack. It is this fear and an unrealistic American perception of risk that will continue to propel some aspects of the market, analysts say. . . .

Small-scale attacks, whether successful or not, will continue to prompt additional spending, the market analysts at Homeland Security Research Corp. say. They point to the failed 2009 Christmas plot of a man trying to blow up a flight to Detroit with explosives sewn into his underwear and the attempted car-bombing in Times Square early the next year. Though unsuccessful, these events led to immediate White House intervention, congressional hearings and an airport screening upgrade costing more than $1.6 billion.

The LA Times, while skillfully highlighting these wasteful programs, depicts them as some sort of unintended inefficiencies.  That is exactly what they are not.  None of this is unintended or inefficient but is achieving exactly the purposes for which it is designed.  That’s true for two reasons.

First, . . .

Continue reading. Normally, of course, Congress would be taking a hard look at pointless and expensive projects, but now Congress has come under control of the people who make money from these things, so Congress will never object. The mainstream media are owned by large corporations that themselves are eager to control Congress, so the media are not going to attack this. And the US populace seems to be increasingly beaten down and frightened by financial worries, so they are becoming increasing manipulable. Not a good time.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 August 2011 at 10:01 am

3 Responses

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  1. Great Article on a subject that really needs to be addressed more as there is no doubt, as to the rampant disregard in spending on military and HS hardware.

    I wish more attention could be spent by our politicians and research think tanks on how to dismantle or retool and redirect the vast Military-Industrial complex that America has. If we could find a way to redirect the manufacturing base from Kill type weapons towards more proactive manufacturing by taking into account the future of conflict and security, then it would not cost so many jobs.

    Jobs is what seems to keep these large corporations running since most are in the USA and congressional seats fight for the corporations factories (and there output) to keep producing and selling in their state, it’s a vicious circle.

    I wonder if in Washington, there is a committee that might be formed to look into this matter.

    Nick

    31 August 2011 at 12:28 pm

  2. Good idea: “swords into ploughshares” committee. We’ve certainly built up an ENORMOUS industrial capacity and capability for turning out weapons. If that couple be put in service of creating sustainable technology, it would indeed be great.

    LeisureGuy

    31 August 2011 at 12:34 pm

  3. That’s a perfect description “Swords into Ploughshares” as no doubt there is plenty of past project material to take and learn from.

    Nick

    31 August 2011 at 12:52 pm


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