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
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.
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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