Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Profitting from war

The father-in-law voted for Mr. Movie Star governor and continues to be vociferously sensitive to any criticism about his terminator. However, all's not lost since he did lend me his book on the Carlyle group written by the journalist Dan Briody. The book called The Iron Triangle is a spare book but it's all meat with little fat.

After reading the book, the most stunning thing is to note the media silence on the Carlyle group. Yes, some attention focused on Halliburton, although not enough, but nothing, nada, zip on the Carlyle group. Here's one article I ran across which ends up being a summary of the book.
    The biggest private investor in the world, deeply entrenched in the weapons' sector, is a discreet group that cultivates dealings with influential men, including Bush father and son.

    One year ago, May 1, 2003, George Bush, strapped up in a fighter pilot's suit, landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham-Lincoln along the coast of California. The image became famous. Under a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished", the president prematurely announced the end of military operations in Iraq and his victory. Back on dry land the next day, he made another martial speech, not far from San Diego, in a United Defense Industries' weapons factory.

    This company is one of the Pentagon's main suppliers. It manufactures, among other things, missiles, transport vehicles, and the light Bradley armored vehicle. Its main shareholder is the biggest private investor in the world, a discreet group, called Carlyle.

    It's not listed on the stock market and doesn't have to show its accounts to any but its 550 investors- billionaires or pension funds. Carlyle manages eighteen billion dollars today, invested in defense and high tech (notably biotech), space, security-linked information technology, nanotechnologies, and telecommunications. The companies it controls share the characteristic that their main customers are governments and administrations. As the company wrote in its brochure: "We invest in the opportunities created in industries strongly affected by changes in government policy."

    Carlyle is a unique model, assembled at the planetary level on the capitalism of relationships or "capitalism of access" to use the 1993 expression of the American magazine New Republic. Today, in spite of its denials, the group incarnates the "military-industrial complex" against which Republican President Dwight Eisenhower warned the American people when he left office in 1961.
Carlyle has certainly benefitted greatly from Iraq. But where is the media on this? Given that the media is essentially corporate-owned, I guess there's less incentive on reporting about your own kind, especially when it's about the military-industrial complex.