Boom Time In Beirut

Who profits when we sell arms to Israel?

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IT’S WELL KNOWN that Israel is the world’s top recipient of U.S. military assistance, but not so often noted that most of the annual $3 billion in aid can be spent only on U.S.-made weapons. Below, a guide to the top industry beneficiaries along with their ethics records.

 

 

COMPANY

WEAPONS SYSTEMS

UNIT COST, NUMBER IN ISRAELI ARSENAL

2005 LOBBYING EXPENDITURES

NUMBER OF LEGAL SETTLEMENTS OR FINES, TOTAL PAID*

THE DIRT

 

Lockheed Martin

F-16 fighter planes

$40 million
279

$8,399,600

84
$365,534,245

Two years ago, when Lockheed was considering buying Titan Corp.—the contractor whose employees were implicated in the Abu Ghraib scandal—a vice president told investors the torture allegations “were not significant to our strategic decision.”

Destroyer mobile rocket launchers

$4.17 million
48

Hellfire missiles

$100,000-$150,000
n/a

Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems

$20.5 million
85

Raytheon

AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles

$620,000
n/a

$4,903,892

31
$156,576,914

This year, CEO William Swanson was busted for cribbing most of his best-selling booklet, Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management, from a 1944 book on engineering, as well as from the writings of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Raytheon’s board responded by freezing Swanson’s salary at a mere $1.12 million (while leaving his $2.6 million bonus untouched).

Maverick air-to-surface missiles

$200,000
n/a

Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles

$211,290
n/a

GBU-28 5,000-pound bunker-buster bombs

$300,000
100

United Technologies

Black Hawk helicopters

$12.3 million
48

$3,786,212

23
$240,287,702

In the late ’90s, United Technologies settled charges that it had conspired to divert $10 million in U.S. military aid into a slush fund subject to the exclusive control of an Israeli air force officer.

Boeing

AH-64 Apache helicopters

$15.3 million
44

$9,240,000

50
$360,441,913

In 2002, Air Force procurement official Darleen Druyun negotiated a deal with Boeing to lease tanker planes for $23.5 billion—$6 billion more than the Congressional Budget Office found they should have cost—while she was in secret job talks with the company. Druyun and Boeing CFO Michael Sears were sent to prison, and CEO Phil Condit was forced to resign.

F-15 fighter planes

$38 million
93

Joint Direct Attack Munitions (“smart bomb” kits)

$27,500
n/a

Textron

AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter

$10.7 million
83

$3,860,000

21
$25,564,166

In an early test of Textron and Boeing’s vastly over-budget and behind-schedule V-22 Osprey, the $100 million tilt-rotor plane plunged into the Potomac in front of a crowd of congressmen and killed seven people. Two more crashes in 2000 killed 23. 

General Dynamics

M-60A3 tanks

$743,000
1,040

$3,027,648

8
$73,400,894

During the 1980s, a series of government investigations revealed massive overbilling, such as $9,609 for a 12-cent hexagon wrench; at one point the company charged the government for a $571 mattress delivered to a hotel for a “very large” executive.

Additional research by Carl Gutierrez, Eric Hundman, and Jennifer Wedekind.                     *1991-2006

 

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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