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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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Geoffrey, I’m inclined to agree with what you say, except that I wasn’t saying ‘anything goes’. I was only pointing out what free speech is, and that it isn’t what most people who like to think of themselves as liberal (or whatever) want it to be. They like to think they are open-minded and progressive, yet they support the assertion of authority over others.

If anyone can dictate what I cannot speak about, that sets a precedent. It means that no-one has freedom of speech at all. I don’t want to say nasty things about gays, for example, but if I support the idea of some body being able to stop others doing that, it would be hypocritical to then oppose that same body imposing other similarly arbitrary limitations on me.

Thus I am opposed to any limitations on speech (that is free speech!). It doesn’t mean I approve of any particular thing someone might say, but I do uphold their right to say it.

By zek on 2015 01 31 - 03:30:57
From the entry 'The free speech paradox'.

Free speech of course is free speech, as ‘Zek’ opines.  He is saying that ‘anything goes’.

On the other hand, some ‘anti-discrimination laws’ particularly in NSW Australia, make it unlawful to make any public statement that is deemed to offend persons who are, or who are reasonably believed to be, homosexual.  This anti-free speech law was bought into existence by Ms Clover Moore and it was called the Anti-Discriminaiton (Homosexual Vilification) Amendment Act 1993. Read more about the nightmare this law can create, here: http://bernardgaynor.com.au/into-battle-backup-required/#comment-384568

This show by Hereward Fenton I found very mind-stretching and interesting.  It was as if he was taking us on an inquiry together in order to discover a deeper truth.  It discussed many aspects of free speech in the current climate of fear and loathing. There are several dictionary definintions of ‘paradox’.  Here’s one definition that I think Mr Fenton had in mind:- ‘a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth’.

We can also say free speech is not free speech, in that most of us (except trolls) self-censor.  Our empathy, if we have any, stops our speech from being free.  This raises the question, what do we do about those without empathy, who are psychopaths or trolls, and actually get pleasure from using speech to attack and hurt people. In order to avoid laws that try to control what people can and cannot publicly say, one solution is to change our attitude, and cultivate tolerance and resiliance. This is based on the insight that mothers used to tell their kids who were bullied at school.

Sticks and stones
will break your bones
but words will never hurt you.

This little ditty reresents the opposite of what the vilification laws are about.

By Geoffrey McKee on 2015 01 31 - 00:52:48
From the entry 'The free speech paradox'.

I think the search for answers is pretty obvious now Fenton, it seems most avenues end up in the same place so for you and your followers, I think you are doing a great job, but its time to expose the elephant in the living room, once 9-11, is sorted and the world wars, its pretty much a Rothschild & Israhelli terrorist state purpetrating (ALL) the worlds angst! Imagine no refugees because no wars, MM its like that cure the scource, Breddon O,connell (SPOT ON) mate. Lets support people like this who see the Truth. Here,s to a better world smile Bring it on !

By Lachlan on 2015 01 29 - 20:47:17
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

Sorry guys, “homophobes” in my last post should have read islamophobes…sometimes my finger get a little ahead of my thinking!

By Eugene Donnini on 2015 01 29 - 16:56:08
From the entry 'The free speech paradox'.

josh anonymous thinks his banal obfuscations can dispel any and all concerns regarding atmospheric spraying.
you may believe your bullshit bluff and bluster - but it does nothing to prove your case of no such thing as chemtrails, when that picture is but one of hundreds you will see if you enter chemtrail satellite into a search engine..

you can explain all them away with your unqualified babble - fact is.. if trails require specific rare conditions in oreder to persist, even for a short while.. ie; a few minutes, that doesnt go anywhere near explaining what is shown covering an entire country..  your full of it..  unless you can post evidence of your claim, that there is no such thing as chemtrails, i dont care for anything you have to say, you have proven repeatedly your disposition towards mendacity..

so again.. to put it bluntly.. put up or STFU.

By theehwh on 2015 01 29 - 14:53:44
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

aewt/Andrew Adams/Skywatcher,

the image you posted was taken from this original NASA publication.

Note that it’s an enhanced infrared image, but nevertheless it was a day with many trails in that region (January 29, 2004).

Here is the whole satellite photo (thumbnail) in real color, which provides some perspective about the proportions. Note the cloud band over Florida with the embedded contrails:

The original high-res image (17 MB) is also still available here.


Again, “rare” is a relative term; the actual numbers and the context are more telling.
As the study of R. Sausen and others says (I have referenced it before):

The annual global mean value is 0.09%

(From “A Diagnostic Study of the Global Distribution of Contrails Part I: Present Day Climate”)

Now, the surface area of the Earth is 510 million square kilometers. That means roughly 460 000 square kilometers of pure contrail area - at every moment, excluding all the gaps, and obviously concentrated in areas where there is air traffic.

The central point is that this is the average, so of course there can be local and temporal maxima. Nothing there to make scientists fret about.

By Josh on 2015 01 29 - 01:41:43
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

it appears from this picture

that the specific, RARE, ( i say rare because that is what was said in an article posted by josh anonymous himself ) atmospheric conditions for contrails to persist… actually must in reality, occur all over the world, all the bloody time!

josh and fenton are liars. simple as that.

By aewt on 2015 01 28 - 13:12:16
From the entry 'Contrails dissipate quickly whereas chemtrails linger?'.

At least Christendom has modified its act…even the Pope calls for peace and reconciliation, admited the Churches complicity in past atrocities, apologized to the Jews and so on…

re free speech: I suppose Hereward needs to be very careful about what he says, and would be fully aware that his every word is being monitored by others. I think he does a great job and has on more than one occasion come very close to the edge. He’s also entitled to his opinion, and although I don’t agree with it at times, in my opinion, it doesn’t detract from the work he is doing.

By Eugene Donnini on 2015 01 28 - 10:51:17
From the entry 'The free speech paradox'.

Free speech is free speech. If you believe in any restrictions on it, then you don’t believe in FREE speech. People often say, “I’m all for free speech but…” - there are no buts, it’s either free or it isn’t. Be honest, if you don’t believe in free speech, admit it. I’m not advocating either side of the argument here, just pointing out a fact.

By Zek on 2015 01 28 - 04:26:08
From the entry 'The free speech paradox'.

Rattus, do you know about the military conquests of Christian nations, from the crusades through to the conquest of Mexico? Do you know about how the ‘Christian’ slave traders operated in Africa? Do you know what the ‘Christian’ French did in Indochina, or the ‘Christian’ English did in India, or the ‘Christian’ Dutch did in Indonesia?

I think maybe your education in these matters is a bit one-sided, in that you have read and absorbed only one polemical perspective and missed the forest for the trees.

If you’re looking for atrocities, look no further than Christendom.

As for the Charlie Hebdo cover, surely you understand that the headline is the main message conveyed? The headline says “The Koran is Shit” - a direct insult to Muslims. Imagine if a magazine had the headline “The Torah is Shit” - how long do you think such a publication would remain in circulation?

By Hereward Fenton on 2015 01 27 - 22:40:05
From the entry 'The free speech paradox'.

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