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Hillary Clinton Gives 'Shameless Pitch' for Crooked Corporation in Russia

by Jeremy Scahill

On a recent visit to Moscow, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was there to deliver a "shameless pitch" to the start-up Russian airline Rosavia to sign a major contract with Boeing to purchase a new fleet of aircraft from the US aerospace giant. "This has been a consistent commitment on the part of the United States Government here in Moscow to promote this, because it really does illustrate very powerfully what we can do together," Clinton said during an October 13 visit to Boeing Design Center Moscow. She said the Export-Import Bank of the United States "would welcome an application for financing from Rosavia to support its purchase of Boeing Aircraft, and I hope that on a future visit I'll see a lot of new Rosavia-Boeing planes when I land in Moscow."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a news conference in Moscow, October 13, 2009. (REUTERS/Ivan Sekretarev/Pool) Boeing is the leading aerospace company in the world and a major US defense contractor. Overall, it is the third largest US government contractor with some $24 billion in annual federal contracts. The company does more than $60 billion in annual sales.

Boeing is also a major recidivist corporate crook.

Since 1995, Boeing has paid $1.5 billion in fines to settle more than 30 instances of misconduct, according to the non-partisan Project on Government Oversight. According to POGO, these include multiple violations of the Arms Export Control Act, including selling defense technology to Russia and China showing "blatant disregard" for State Department directives. According to POGO, Boeing settled cases with the US government for:

  • In 1995-96, violating the Arms Export Control Act, involving the transfer of rocket data to China.
  • In 1998, violating the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations by exporting technical data and defense services to Russia, the Ukraine, Norway and Germany "without the required approvals from the Department [of State] and, in other circumstances, violated the terms and conditions of approvals that were provided by the Department."
  • In 2001, violating the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations in connection with its involvement in the Australian military's Wedgetail project "by violating the express terms and conditions of Department of State munitions license and other authorizations, by exporting defense articles and defense services without a munitions license or other authorization, and by omitting material facts from its applications for munitions licenses or other authorizations."
  • Between 2000 and 2003, violating the Arms Export Control Act. According to the State Department, Boeing sold to China and other countries 94 commercial jets with the gyrochip embedded in the flight boxes without obtaining an export license and in "blatant disregard" of State Department directives.

Other misconduct by Boeing, according to POGO, includes "unauthorized possession of defense information," gender discrimination, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the False Claims Act and anti-trust laws, water pollution in California, contaminating thousands of homes in Colorado with radioactive waste from the Department of Energy's Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, radioactive and toxic contamination near Los Angeles, over-billing and illegal hiring of government officials.

In Moscow, Clinton said: "During his last visit to Moscow in July, President Obama said that when our economies grow more intertwined, all of us can make progress. And I can't think of a better illustration than what we see here at the Boeing Design Center." Perhaps Boeing's victims and the prosecutors that pursued the company's repeated violations of US laws may have a different perspective from Clinton on that comment. But when said she was engaged in a "shameless pitch," Clinton was telling the truth: A shameless pitch for a shameless corporation.

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