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News Link • Military Industrial Complex

The Military-Industrial Complex's Win, Part II: Private contracts are now 70% of the "Intel

• Melvin A. Goodman

Barack Obama's crippling inheritance as President of the United States is the near-five-decade failure of the nation's political leadership to heed President Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning that "in the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

This complex, according to Tom Barry of the Center for International Policy, has now "morphed into a new type of public-private partnership — one that spans military, intelligence, and homeland-security contracting — that amounts to a 'national security complex'."

Over the past three decades, despite the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War, U.S. presidents have done next to nothing to challenge or limit the national security complex, which continues to drain the federal treasury and block any potential political threat to the military-industrial status quo.

Through this period, reaching from Ronald Reagan to Obama, military spending has continued to increase, with the United States outspending the entire rest of the world on weapons systems.

The $708 billion defense budget for 2011 is higher than at any point in America's post-World War II history. It is 16 percent higher than the 1952 Korean War budget peak and 36 percent higher than the 1968 Vietnam War budget peak in constant dollars.


3 Comments in Response to

Comment by Olde Reb
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It reminds me of the Inquisition. Accused of an ecclesiastical offense, the individual was assumed guilty. Any individual who attempted to defend the accused was immediately also accused. Seizure of the estate of the accused was virtually automatic. Those massive cathedrals in Europe were not built from donations.

When greedy people get into the power seat of government, it is like the Mafia has the blessing of the local sheriff.

Comment by Die Daily
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"witnesses including government contractors can be kept hidden while being paid part of the assets they cause to be forfeited"...argh, that makes me mad.

Comment by Ross Wolf
Entered on:

NSA Illegally Wiretapped Your Phone, Fax and Private Email Communications? Now Your Internet?  

In 2008 Telecoms were granted government immunity after they helped U.S. Government spy on millions of Americans’ electronic communications. Since, Government has not disclosed what happened to NSA’s millions of collected emails, faxes and phone call information that belong to U.S. Citizens? Could those wiretaps perhaps illegal, become a problem for some Americans? Neither Congress nor the courts—determined what NSA electronic surveillance could be used by police or introduced into court by the government to prosecute Citizens.

In 2004, former Attorney General John Ashcroft asked government prosecutors to review thousands of old intelligence files including wiretaps to retrieve information prosecutors could use in “ordinary” criminal prosecutions. That was shortly after a court case lowered a barrier that prior, blocked prosecutors from using illegal-wire tap evidence in Justice Dept. “Intelligence Files” to prosecute ordinary crimes. It would appear this information, may also be used by government to prosecute civil asset forfeitures.


Considering that court case, it appears NSA can share its electronic-domestic-spying with government contractors and private individuals that have security clearances to facilitate the arrest and forfeiture of Americans’ property—-to keep part of the bounty. Police too easily can take an innocent person’s hastily written email, fax, phone call or web post out of context to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause an arrest or asset forfeiture.

There are over 200 U.S. laws and violations mentioned in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 and the Patriot Act that can subject property to civil asset forfeiture. Under federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. In the U.S., private contractors and their operatives, work so close with police exchanging information, to arrest Americans and or share in the forfeiture of their assets, they appear to merge with police.

Rep. Henry Hyde’s bill HR 1658 passed, the “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” and effectively eliminated the “statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture. The statute now runs five years from when police allege they “learned” that an asset became subject to forfeiture. With such a weak statute of limitations and the low standard of civil proof needed for government to forfeit property “A preponderance of Evidence”, it is problematic law enforcement and private government contractors will want access to NSA and other government wiretaps perhaps illegal and Citizens’ private information U.S. Government agencies glean monitoring the Internet, to arrest Americans and to seize their homes, inheritances and businesses under Title 18USC and other laws. Of obvious concern, what happens to fair justice in America if police and government contractors become dependent on “Asset Forfeiture” to pay their salaries and operating costs?

Under the USA Patriot Act, witnesses including government contractors can be kept hidden while being paid part of the assets they cause to be forfeited. The Patriot Act specifically mentions using Title 18USC asset forfeiture laws: those laws include a provision in Rep. Henry Hyde’s 2000 bill HR 1658—for “retroactive civil asset forfeiture” of “assets already subject to government forfeiture”, meaning "property already tainted by crime" provided “the property” was already part of or “later connected” to a criminal investigation in progress" when HR.1658 passed. That can apply to more than two hundred federal laws and violations.

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