USA: Merchants of Death Cash In on Tragedy

Publisher Name: 
Common Dreams

While the dead and missing toll rose toward 7000 people and the stock market
suffered it's largest week's loss since the great depression due to the
terrorist attack on the symbols of U.S. economic and military power, the
stock of the weapon and surveillance industries zoomed. The 401 (k)
retirement plans of U.S. citizens took their biggest one week hit ever as
the Dow Jones fell 14.3% last week, but the big winners of the week were the
weapons industry, who were the top eight corporations in percentage increase
in the price of their stock.

These Merchants of Death increased their stock's value from 39.9% for Armor
Holdings, Inc, who specialize in bullet resistant vests and flax jackets to
armored vehicles and sells them to government agencies and multinational
corporations, to 21.2 % for Northrop Grumman Corporation, who sell killing
tools like the B-2 stealth bomber, warships, and battlefield surveillance
systems and is a 15 billion dollar company with 80,000 employees. Other
members of the money-making-from-misery elite from last week's market
included: Raytheon(meaning light of the gods), whose stock rose 37% and who
sell 66% of their aerospace products to the U.S. Department of Defense;
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. whose stock gained 35.8% from America's
loss because they make specialized communications systems for satellite,
avionics, and marine communications with the U.S. Department of Defense
accounting for 63% of the company's business; EDO Corporation whose stock
gained 24.8 % during the week of war talk and boasts of products that are
used on land , sea and in space that they sell to the U.S. Defense
Department for 70% of their revenues; Alliant Techsystems Inc.(ATK), stock
soared 23.5% last week because they sell about 75% of their gunpowder, smart
bombs, tank mines, and rocket propulsion systems and other war-making
products to the U.S. Government.

Meanwhile, the fear-of-terror syndrome caused security companies' stock on
NASDAQ to soar. InVision Technologies and ICTS International rose 195.5%
and 103.4% respectively. They offer magnetic resonance imaging to check
baggage and risk analysis. Visage Technologies went up 175.8% because they
develop "biometric" technologies such as face recognition and fingerprint
imaging with "instantaneous" surveillance applications that have an
Orwellian aura.

The market for weaponry and surveillance is created by anger, hate and fear.
The successful terrorist attack on the ultimate symbols of the United
State's sole-super-power status, our economic and military might, has
fueled the flames of fear and ignited the passions of patriotism. With U.S.
leadership threatening the world with Star Wars and arrogantly dissing and
ditching long-sought-after-agreements on global climate change, germ
warfare, land mines, small weapons, rights of children, and criminal
justice, our global hegemony has been cunningly challenged by murderous
Muslim martyrs armed with knives and box-cutters. Their mysterious
mastermind is said to be a CIA-trained terrorist named Osama bin Laden, a
Saudi Arabian from a wealthy family, who has lived like a nomad among the
poor people in the Middle East and Africa and in Afghanistan. He is said
to be under the protection of the Taliban ruling religious sect in
Afghanistan which was put into power by the U.S. to "stabilize" the area
against the Russians.

While U. S. public opinion surveys say that more than 90% of the people
support the President in the "war against terrorism", many of us are finally
beginning to question U.S. policies that are causing the deaths of thousands
of innocent people, including children, in places like Iraq, the West Bank
and Gaza. In Iraq the United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF) reported in a
1999 study that without the U.S. led military action and economic sanctions
imposed against Iraq there would have been half a million fewer deaths of
children under five from 1991 to 1998. On the West Bank and in Gaza high
tech U.S. weaponry has been killing Arabs for decades. Are we taxpaying
United States' citizens innocent?

All the people in the United States are people whose ancestors migrated
from just about everywhere in the world or were either brought here as
slaves. Even the Native Americans are thought to have come to this
continent from elsewhere. "Americans" are people of all races, religions,
and ethnic groups who share so many more basic human needs with people
everywhere than differences. We have no differences worth killing one more
person over, anywhere. We must call the hands of the Merchants of Death and
make them realize that war profits are false prosperity. Let's stop the
killing now!

Tom Turnipseed, former President of the SC Trial Lawyers Association, is a plaintiff's and civil rights attorney in Columbia, SC. He was co-counsel for the Macedonia Baptist Church, an African American congregation in Clarendon County, SC which won a $37,000,000.00 (Thirty Seven Million Dollar) verdict in 1998 against the Ku Klux Klan for burning their church. A former SC State Senator, he is active in state politics and has been the democratic nominee for state Attorney General and Congress.

AMP Section Name:War & Disaster Profiteering
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