BIG BUSINESS, FOREIGN POLICY, AND KURDS

“Ralston and [James M] Loy are on the board of Lockheed Martin, which paid the Cohen Group about $550,000 in 2005, according to a Lockheed filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That did not compromise their independence as directors, Lockheed said in the filing.”
~ “From Public Life to Private Business,” David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post.

It would appear that the F-16 deal between Turkey and Lockheed Martin (LM) is going to be a temporary fix for Turkey’s aging F-16 inventory, while Turkey awaits the possible acquisition of a new generation of aircraft, the JSF F-35, from TDN:

Turkey also is due to choose its next generation fighter aircraft before the year end. The candidates include the U.S.-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II and Europe’s Eurofighter Typhoon. Under that ambitious program, Turkey is planning tospend some $10 billion to buy nearly 100 fighters over the next 15 years. It has said that it could buy only the JSF, only the Eurofighter or a combination of both.

There’s more on the pros and cons of the Eurofighter vs. the F-35, here. Turkey’s decision to purchase the F-35 may depend on whether or not it can obtain access to “sensitive technologies” of the aircraft. Britain recently negotiated access to the aircraft’s “sensitive technologies” from the US:

In addition, in late July U.S. and British defense officials signed a new agreement on the transfer of sensitive technologies for the JSF, removing an irritant in the close relationship between the two allies that has rankled both sides for months. Under the deal, Britain is set to have operational sovereignty of the JSFs it would buy.

Access to software codes by the Turkish government had put a damper on a helicopter tender back in June, 2006, but the defense contractors involved in that bid did not include LM.

Now things are a bit different, since the American administration has appointed a board member of LM to coordinate the PKK for Turkey. In fact, it’s very convenient for LM to have someone like Joe Ralston, from LM’s private lobby, The Cohen Group, in Ankara to negotiate important issues, like access to “sensitive technologies” of the F-35. This is much more important than finding a peaceful solution to Turkey’s genocide of the Kurdish people.

The founder of The Cohen Group, former Defense Secretary, William S. Cohen, has been a big supporter of the JSF F-35 project for some time, having urged Congress to approve funding for the project according to schedule, a year before the contract was finally awarded to LM. Bill Cohen, as a private CEO, has remained loyal to the the JSF project to this day. Consider the example of India, from last year.

Who should be present at last year’s Indian air show, Aero India, than LM and our current PKK Coordinator, Joseph Ralston, from the IndiaNews:

Lockheed Martin made its pitch at the event to hardsell F-16 Falcon fighter against rivals from France, Sweden and Russia to sell 125 fighter Jets to the Indian Air Force.

Joseph Raltson, former joint chief of staff of the US Air Force and currently vice-chairman of the Cohen Group, which led the US-India Business Council executive defence mission to the air show, echoed Gorry’s views.

“We view the Indian defence sector not only as a market but also as a potential supplier and partner — and we will be seeking through our discussions to identify additional opportunities in all these areas,” he said.

The US-India Business Council mission attending the Indian air show was led by, “Thomas R. Pickering, former US ambassador, senior vice president for Boeing, and Joseph W Ralston, retired US Air Force general, led the mission. The USIBC includes Boeing, the Cohen group, BAe Systems NA, Bell Helicopter, Fremont, General Dynamics, International Turbine Engine Co, ITT Defence, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.” More on that, here.

Once again, everyone overlooked the fact that old Joe Ralston is on the Board of Directors of LM.

A little over a month after the air show, William Cohen began to spin the propaganda on this budding relationship. I wonder how much LM paid him to plant that article?

Naturally, an F-16 purchase by India will put it on the fast-track to future F-35 purchases, something that makes The Cohen Group and LM rub their hands together in eager anticipation.

Appointing corporate managers and high-powered lobbyists, like all those at The Cohen Group, has been the policy of the Bush Administration since it began its War On Terror®, as the World Policy Institute has documented:

Accompanying this massive growth in defense spending is a large presence of former executives, consultants or shareholders of weapons contractors in key policymaking posts in the Bush administration. During the first George W. Bush administration, at least 32 administration appointees had ties to the arms industry, including 17 appointees with links to major defense contractors, including Secretary of the Navy Gordon England, a former General Dynamics vice president and Secretary of the Air Force James Roche, a former Northrop Grumman executive.

We can add the name of PKK coordinator, Joseph Ralston, to that list. Read that whole article; it’s a diamond mine of information.

With so many executives and officials passing through the revolving door between public and private life, we might go so far as to say that it is Corporate America, particularly the defense contracting establishment, that is in full control of the US government. It makes all foreign policy decisions. The idea of peace as a result of negotiated political settlement is not going to be good for business, i.e. foreign policy. That’s why there is a need to ignore atrocities committed by your best customers, such as Turkey, as well as ignoring questions of legitimate armed defense on the part of the Kurdish people, or their demands for a peaceful settlement.

The only thing that Ralston, his colleagues at The Cohen Group, LM, the ATC, and the US government are coordinating is a Turkish purchase of F-35 aircraft and a continuation of the low-level conflict that they started against Kurdistan. As a result, it’s much better for business to continue with the lie that is commonly known as the War on Terror®.

By the way, for more on the shady life of former Defense Secretary Cohen, you’ll find the Washington Post’s “From Public Life to Private Business,” a fascinating read.

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