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L-3: the $15 billion defence contractor that will be scanning us

27 February 2012 (Original: 2012-02-08) | Source | Permalink | comments: 0
By Bernard Keane

Categories: [ Full Body Scanners ]

Part two of a report by Crikey political correspondent Bernard Keane on the awarding of an airport body scanner contract by the Australian Government without conducting a risk analysis

So who is the real beneficiary of the government’s decision to impose body-scanning technology on international passengers?

Step forward L-3 Communications, a key member of the US defence establishment and one with links to some of the worst scandals of the past decade.

The company will reap $28 million dollars from the government’s obsession with security theatre that has no demonstrated security benefits, through its provision of body scanners.

L-3 began as an orphan company after a Lockheed merger saw several business units sold off to two former Loral executives funded by Lehman Brothers, which still has a big stake in the company and a board seat. Since then, L-3 has grown into one of the top 10 US defence contractors. The company earned nearly a billion dollars in profit in 2010, from revenues of more than $15 billion.

Along the way, it has been involved in some of the US’ biggest defence and procurement scandals. In the late 1990s, the company’s lobbyist Linda Daschle helped the company get a Federal Aviation Authority contract to supply airport baggage scanners courtesy of legislation passed by her husband, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The scanners were later revealed to be faulty, but the FAA was obliged by Daschle’s legislation to continue to purchase them.

The company later acquired defence contractor Titan, which has been implicated in several procurement scandals. Titan provided “interpreters” at the US Army’s Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and the company was sued by a victims of US torture and abuse there, until the US Supreme Court finally dismissed the case in 2011. In 2010, a division of the company was suspended from providing any services to the US government after it was found using US government networks to spy on competitors. There have also been several lesser procurement scandals typical of the US defence industry.

But even as the US looks to cut back defence spending, with flow-on effects for big suppliers such as L-3, the fertile field of security theatre has opened up as a revenue source — there’s little or no political will to cut war-on-terror funding. By 2010, the company had provided nearly $US40 million worth of body scanners following the “underwear bomber”, having massively ramped up its lobbying effort. Not unhelpful is the fact that several US congressional representatives have big L-3 shareholdings, including former 2004 Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry.

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Cris,

the point that rational people make is that the stuff coming from the airplane exhaust stays indeed the same, but what’s changing is the situation around the plane. At one day there is dry air, at annother there is a lot of humidity. (See my explanation how the latter can happen when a front is approaching.)

If a contrail persists and grows, the additional mass comes from the humidity that is already present in the air - just like when natural clouds form, seemingly out of nothing.

By the way, that is a well-known plausibility argument against chemtrails - no plane is able to carry the mass equivalent of even a small persistant trail (search “ice budget”).

By Josh on 2014 10 31 - 23:46:16
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

Andrew Adams,

I don’t claim to be an expert. However, I have read a lot about both chemtrail claims and their dissection from a scientic point of view, from sources that are accessible to everyone.

If something specific that I wrote is wrong, I certainly welcome a correction. Usually, I’m giving references from actual experts, so it’s only fair that any rebuttal should include specific references too. Also, I’d welcome if we could stay polite.

The science of persistent contrails is well established. They were observed since the early days of aviation (see also the top article), and the conditions that favour them were researched in the middle of the 20th century (Schmidt and Appleman, see for instance the introduction of this paper).

The Appleman Chart is a rule of thumb for contrail prediction. It is not very intuitive, but there is a visualization available which allows to adjust the parameters and see how the contrail properties are changing (needs Java).

Any claim that a specific persistent contrail cannot be explained with this knowledge needs to be based on very good evidence. If the evidence is reviewed and still stands, science has to be corrected. That’s the whole idea about scientific research - but the burden of proof lies with the person who makes the claim.

By Josh on 2014 10 31 - 22:38:08
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

It amazes me how rational people can think that the same stuff coming out the back of a plane can one day increase to enormous size and exhibit strange transformations(usually when rain is forecast) and other days is either non existent or merely dissipates from visibility within a minute.

By Cris on 2014 10 31 - 21:51:08
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

“i have been neither dictatorial, nor abusive” - yes, you have mate. Earlier you said “how about just taking a big gulp from the mug of STFU”. That is both dictatorial and abusive. We’ll now add “dishonest” to the list of your shortcomings. Have a nice day.

By Hereward Fenton on 2014 10 31 - 21:01:25
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

Moderate Muslims:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=253_1412566275

By Eugene Donnini on 2014 10 31 - 20:28:52
From the entry 'A review of violence and intolerance in Islamic and other societies'.

fenton, i didnt say i didnt want to engage in rational debate, i said i wasnt interested in engaging with an obviously mendacious shill. i have been neither dictatorial, nor abusive, and as far as failure to prove anything goes, ignoring evidence does not mean evidence has not been provided, nor proof been established.

you have certainly not proven by any stretch of the imagination, that chemtrails are imaginary, and the concern of thousands of credible experts worldwide is without justification.

may i suggest if you can not prove what you are asserting, that you also take a hearty sip yourself. have a shitty day.

By Andrew Adams on 2014 10 31 - 15:33:15
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

The onus of proof is on those promoting geoengineering (David Keith, etc.Ken Caldera) to prove that what they say about the spraying, i.e. that it is a proposal, not a global reality, is true. That follows from the precautionary principle.

By W, Hall on 2014 10 31 - 15:10:14
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

As admin of this site I feel I need to step in here. Andrew, if you do not not want to engage in discussion and debate that’s fine, however you have absolutely no right to tell anybody to “STFU”.

I have provided a comment section to encourage free discussion and debate. Your dictatorial and abusive tone merely demonstrates your failure to prove anything.

Since you don’t want to engage in rational debate may I suggest that you refrain from posting here?

Have a nice day!

By Hereward Fenton on 2014 10 31 - 14:52:32
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

@ lumpen josh
what part of “I have no interest in hearing anything else you have to say, ” is too hard for you to understand?
I do not have to justify anything to you, i dont have to point you to anything, i dont have to engage you in any sort of conversation here because you have proven yourself to be of no credibility, a nonsensical bore.

nothing you can say can prove that chemtrails are a figment of the imagination of highly qualified credible people worldwide, so how about just taking a big gulp from the mug of STFU and stop pretending you are some sort of authoritive arbiter on anything.

By Andrew Adams on 2014 10 31 - 14:08:25
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

First off i applaud you for seeking facts rather that resorting to slander as i have all too commonly seen among alternate media. On that note i would like to make known some experiments the Australian government was carrying out! My grandfather was an aircraft maintenance technician many years ago. He obsessively tells me of an experiment they carried out where dry ice was shoveled into a modified chute into the clouds. He claimed they were at the aircraft altitude ceiling and the dry ice would cause the clouds to drop their water. He claimed they were wearing oxygen masks to breathe!

By Stephen on 2014 10 29 - 14:39:09
From the entry 'Chemtrails brownshirts renew threats against TNRA'.

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