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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Gestapo's Birthday
Today is the first anniversary of the founding of the Department of Homeland Security (Gestapo). This Orwellian mishmash of lucrative contract awards and color-coded alerts was the brain fart of Senator Joe Lieberman. It was co-opted by George Worthless Bush in 2002 after he had opposed it for many months as a way to distract attention from his multitude of failings which enabled the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Exceedingly expensive, poorly coordinated, and apparently still pretty much unclear about what the heck it is doing, DHS is, like most items in Bush's (and Kerry's) platforms, politics at its worst.

Here's a little DHS-related passage from Kevin Phillips' book, American Dynasty:

The defense business, soon fleshed out by companies providing homeland security services, was one of the few to flourish through the bear market.

Homeland security became a cornucopia as the new Homeland Security Departments's annual budget hit $40 billion, and hundreds of Secretary Tom Ridge's former aides and other insiders registered to lobby for companies seeking a slice of the pie. "Homeland Security appears to be viewed by the lobbying firms as a huge honeypot," complained Fred Wertheimer, president of the public interest group Democracy 21.

Those better connected than former Ridge aides had found the pot of gold within months of 9/11. Marvin Bush, the brother of George W. Bush, was a large shareholder--through his Winston Partners investment firm--in Sybase, which marketed a "Sybase PATRIOT Compliance Solution" to put companies and banks in compliance with the anti-money-laundering provisions of the 2001 USA Patriot Act. Clients included the People's Bank of China and Sumitomo Mitsubishi Bank. Former CIA director James Woolsey, a leading neoconservative, was a principal of the Paladin Capital Group, a private firm investing in companies that defended against terrorist attacks; Richard Perle had a stake in the Autonomy Corporation, a supplier of eavesdropping equipment to intelligence agencies.

L. Paul Bremer III, the antiterrorist expert named by Bush to govern Iraq in May 2003, was profiled this way by The Nation a month later: "On October 11, 2001, just one month after the terror attacks in New York and Washington, [Bremer,] once Ronald Reagan's Ambassador at Large for counter-terrorism, launched a company designed to capitalize on the new atmosphere of fear in U.S. corporate boardrooms. Crisis Consulting Practice, a division of insurance giant Marsh and McLennan, specializes in helping multinationals come up with 'integrated and comprehensive crisis solutions' for everything from terror attacks to accounting fraud."
-- Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty, pp. 273-274.

It goes on and on and on. For decades, the Bush family and their capitalist cronies have had enormous stakes in world instability and war. They got rich off of Vietnam; they got rich off the Iran-Iraq war; they got rich from Nicaragua and El Salvador and Panama; and they're still getting rich from 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Haiti. They have no interest in world peace; exactly the opposite is the case.

So happy birthday, Homeland Security! Here's hoping it's your last!