Warning: Corporate Interests Are Not Public Interests

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Common Dreams

Warning: Corporate Interests Are Not Public Interests

The modern-day conflation of corporate and public interests forms the bedrock of what is likely the most dangerous ideology to afflict humanity.  

Domestically, it creates a "predator" economic system which disembowels the public domain by creating “new” markets which unnecessarily imperil the public’s health, safety, freedom, and material well-being.   

Internationally, it manifests itself as corporate-driven imperial conquest which divides and ruins target countries as it destabilizes political economies globally.

Corporate profit is the foundation of this ideology.  Beneath the lies of the corporatocracy is directionless profit-making that is oblivious to—if not contemptuous of—common sense and the public’s best interests.  

The same war criminals who orchestrated the fraudulent, but lucrative, “War On Terror”, and the subsequent illegal war of aggression in Iraq and elsewhere, were those who benefited the most thanks to inflated contracts with the U.S State Department.

Halliburton, which offers a myriad of services, including oil field work, plus construction work, benefits when countries are “bombed to the stone age,” since those same countries need to be rebuilt.  Angelo Young describes the war-profiteering in "Cheney's Halliburton Made $39.5 Billion On Iraq War":

As private enterprise entered the war zone at unprecedented levels, the amount of corruption ballooned, even if most contractors performed their duties as expected.

According to the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the level of corruption by defense contractors may be as high as $60 billion. Disciplined soldiers that would traditionally do many of the tasks are commissioned by private and publicly listed companies.

Blackwater/Academi also offers numerous services, including those previously conducted by the military: security and mercenary work are some of its mainstays.  Jeremy Scahill in "Blackwater's Black-Ops"  describes the pay they earn from lucrative government contracts:

A four-man team headed by Prado for counter-surveillance in the United States cost $33,600 weekly, while "safehouses" could be established for $250,000, plus operational costs. Identical services were offered globally. For $5,000 a day, clients could hire Prado or former senior CIA officials Cofer Black and Robert Richer for ‘representation’ to national ‘decision-makers.’

These profit-driven corporations, all of which have developed “new” and lucrative markets in domains traditionally reserved for the military, also have tremendous legislative clout.  Former attorney-general John Ashcroft, for example, not only heads up the consulting/lobbying firm Ashcroft Group , but he is also on the Board of directors for Blackwater/Academi. The two agencies work together hand in glove to impact legislation that expands and protects Academi’s government contracts.

As author and investigative reporter Naomi Wolf explains on her Facebook page:

"Terror and crisis didn't used to be MARKET PLACES YOU COULD HAVE LOBBYISTS FOR -- they invented an INDUSTRY TO LOBBY FOR, LEGISLATION, AND A DEMAND OUT OF WHOLE CLOTH -- it is a closed loop of laundered billions generated by war, militarized police, and fear of 'shooters' and terror 'threats'! You don't even need a real industry now, they just MADE ONE UP!"

In this closed-loop dynamic, fear is exploited by corporations (ie Academi) that lobby for newly-created – and counter-productive markets (police-industrial complex) – as the money flows from the tax base to the “new” markets.

In her book, Give Me Liberty: A Handbook For American Revolutionaries, Wolf paraphrases historian Stephen Kinzer: “… each time a corporation would benefit from a conflict, hyped war fever swayed most citizens to support the conflict.  So, there has been a century in which American citizens were often manipulated to support policies that were not in their own interests—and that crushed liberties overseas.”

Canada, increasingly the “living room” of the U.S, is also using the same playbook. Blackwater/Academi is now training Canadian troops, and our autocratic prime minister, Stephen Harper, is reframing the nation in terms of a warrior nation, rather than in terms of peace keeping.  No doubt the profit motive plays a part, just as it plays a part in Canada’s aggressive arms dealing , and the recent trends towards police militarization, despite the fact that police militarization is counter-productive for many reasons, not the least of which is that it creates a “police versus public,” rather than a “police serving  public” atmosphere.

Let’s now project what we know to developing events.  Ukraine is the next Iraq.  Beneath the lies, the war fever, the Putin bashing, the shameful western support—and orchestration—of the illegal Nazi/Banderite coup, and the daily toll of corpses, there are resources to exploit for foreign gain: primarily shale gas. Just as in Iraq, the country is being divided and ruined, and just as in Iraq (and elsewhere) corporations will exploit the catastrophe for corporate profit.

Corporations are also eager to drill fracking wells in Moncton, New Brunswick.  Fear has already been generated by the tragic shooting of three Mounties and the wounding of two others.  Will the fear be  exploited to create new markets for the police-industrial complex, and to repress anti-fracking protestors? Will the public interest be falsely conflated with corporate interests so that the province’s ground- water is poisoned?

Only time will tell, but there are plenty of red flags suggesting that the closed-loop corporate tactics are on the sidelines, just waiting for the right moment to engage.

Mark Taliano

Mark Taliano is a retired high school teacher who spends much of his time as an activist and citizen journalist.

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