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The Saudi arms sale + campaign cash = profit?

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Controversy continues to emerge about the United States’ intent to develop a proposed $20 billion, 10-year arms sales package for Saudi Arabia.

Brighter minds than this one can dissect Israel’s concern about point-point, laser-guided weapons parked next door, whether the driving idea behind the proposal is meant “to act as a bulwark against Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East,” and whether the sale is the Bush administration’s way to make nice-nice with Arab nations as the United States plans to sell $30 billion in arms to Israel.

The more mundane issue explored here is cui bono financially? Given the few details reported so far about what weapons systems the Saudis might get, Raytheon, Boeing, Textron and Lockheed Martin may be salivating. Then again, they paid plenty for the privilege.

Raytheon is the manufacturer of the Patriot air and missile defense system and other weapons systems such as “the AMRAAM, HARM, AGM-65 Maverick, AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9M Sidewinder and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles; the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW); and the Paveway family of laser-guided bombs.”

Since 1998, the Raytheon Co. PAC has made $4.6 million in contributions to congressional and presidential campaigns.

Boeing, the manufacturer of the Joint Direct Attack Munition or JDAM, a GPS-guided “smart” bomb, has made through its Boeing PAC $5 million in contributions to congressional and presidential campaigns since 1997.

If the “naval vessels” reportedly in the proposal sale include littoral combat ships, then Lockheed Martin is happy. The Lockheed Martin Employees PAC has made nearly $7.2 million in contributions to congressional and presidential campaigns since 1997.

And if those “naval vessels” include “landing craft air cushion” vessels, then Textron Inc. is happy. It makes LCACs through its Textron Marine & Land division. Textron Inc. owns Avco Corp., which owns Textron Systems. (Textron Marine & Land in June received a contract for $255.5 million for 369 more U.S. Army M1117 armored security vehicles principally for use in Iraq.)

The Textron Inc. PAC has made nearly $2 million in contributions to congressional and presidential campaigns since 1997.

Overall, the defense industry has made nearly $111 million in campaign contributions since 1990, about 65 percent of that from PACs.

Now that is an investment in future earnings …

xpost: Scholars & Rogues and 5th Estate

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 30, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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