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War Profiteering: Slave Labor’s Sinister Scenario

The Third Reich and Slave Labor

Recently the Daily Mail revealed that the German automaker, Auto Union, predecessor of Audi, used slave labor during WWII.

Some time ago it was revealed that American corporations benefitted from WWII slavery as well. In 1998, Elsa Iwanowa, a slave laborer at Ford Werke in Cologne during WWII, filed a federal suit against the Ford Motor Company for reparations. Elsa Iwanowa said that Ford Motor Company collected profits earned during the war from deposits made into a Swiss bank by its subsidiary. The suit alleged that the Ford Motor Company profited by providing the German army with tanks and trucks during the war. Also the suit claimed that Ford built the Rolls-Royce engines used in Germany’s Stuka JU 87 dive bombers and provided the essential parts for the Nazi’s V-2 rockets that, like Obama’s drones, were used against civilian targets.

April Taylor of Your Black World argues that while reparations have been given to WWII’s “white” slaves, reparations are still owed the descendants of America’s black slaves.

American Corporations: Nazi War Profiteers

Ford was not the only American corporation that profited from the German WWII war machine. IBM provided Germany’s secret police, death squads and concentration camps with the technology to keep the records necessary to identify and round up Europ’s Jews. The German chemical giant, I. G. Farben, the company that supplied Zyklon B to the Nazi gas chambers, had an American subsidiary GAF with Edsel Ford on its board of directors. Blitzkrieg would not have been possible without the fuel and technology provided initially by Texaco. But oil, being the life blood of Hitler’s war machine, GAF formed a consortium of American oil companies to develop Germany’s synthetic oil technology. The consortium included GAF, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Co., DuPont Chemicals and the United States Industrial Alcohol Company and its subsidiary, Cuba Distilling, a major producer of leaded gasoline, Needless to say, without American corporate involvement, there would have been no blitzkrieg, no roundup of Jews and no WWII.

US Government and International Criminal Behavior

After WWII, the Germans were charged with criminal behavior. Their crimes fell into three categories: crimes against the peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. A crime against the peace, in international law, refers to "planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of wars of aggression.” The invasion of Panama, the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of Muammar Khadafi, the financing of the neo-Nazi overthrow of the Ukranian government and illegal killing of civilians in an undeclared war in Yemen are examples of crimes against the peace.

A war crime is a serious violation of the laws and customs of war giving rise to individual responsibility. The widespread use of drones to kill civilians, the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, supplying poisonous Saran gas to rebels for use against Syrian civilians and the deportation of civilians who have not been convicted of any crime to the Guantanamo concentration camp are examples of war crimes.

Crimes against humanity are defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. These crimes "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of human beings.” The well-documented US Phoenix program that systematically murdered 100, 000 Vietnamese civilians, the School of the Americas that trained “death squads” in torture techniques at Fort Benning, Georgia are crimes against humanity. Other examples are the government program to infect black men with syphilis at Tuskegee College, the government distribution of 22 tons of cocaine through its FBI, DEA and military intelligence network into American communities and the operation of the death camp at Jonestown, Guyana.

Criminal Motive: War Profiteering

Courts of law associate criminal behavior with criminal motives. The Third Reich engaged in criminal behavior to dominate the world and for lebensraum. The US government is engaged in international criminal behavior for economic domination and to maximize corporate profits. The history of one of the more powerful military-industrial cabals provides an insight into how war profiteering motivates international criminal behavior.

E. H. Harriman, a major American industrialist, owned a railroad empire. He owned the Union Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the Saint Joseph and Grand Island, the Illinois Central and the Georgia Central railroads. Harriman also owned the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and the Wells Fargo Express Company.

William Averell Harriman, son of E.H. Harriman, was a member of Yale’s Skull and Bones Society. His best friend was Prescott Bush, father of George H.W. Bush. Both Bushes were also ‘bonesmen.’ Averell Harriman served as Secretary of Commerce, Governor of New York, Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Ambassador to the Court of St. James [Great Britain]. Harriman carried out numerous diplomatic assignments for the Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson administrations on the way to enhancing his own corporate empire.

Averell Harriman bought the old-line Wall Street firm, Brown Brothers and controlled the majority interest in the reconstituted Brown Brothers, Harriman and Co [BBH]. Averell Harriman made Brown Brothers Harriman a Wall Street powerhouse using the influential American politicians it employed among whom were Prescott Bush, George H. W. Bush and Alan Greenspan.

Brown Brothers, Harriman purchased Dresser Industries and installed H. Neil Mallon, a Bonesman, as CEO and put Prescott Bush and later George H W Bush the Board of Directors. Dresser Industries included Wayne Oil Tank and Pump Co., Galion Iron Works, Jeffery Manufacturing Co. and International Harvester. When Dresser Industries merged with Ingersoll-Rand, forming the Dresser-Rand Group, Dresser took a 51% share of the assets while Ingersoll-Rand had 49%. In 1998, Dresser merged with Halliburton and became known as Halliburton Company, Dick Cheney negotiated the $7.7 Billion deal. Halliburton was owned by Magnolia, Texas, Gulf, Humble, Sun, Pure and Atlantic oil companies.

Halliburton Energy Services acquired Brown & Root in December 1962 and formed a consortium of four companies that built 85 percent of the infrastructure needed by the Navy during the Vietnam War. Calling itself "The Vietnam Builders" and receiving highly lucrative "no bid" contracts, this consortium received $700 million from Lyndon Johnson’s administration in 1965, alone. During the entire war, the Vietnam Builders received $2 billion in construction contracts from the Johnson Administration.

Before becoming a subsidiary of Halliburton and before the Vietnam War, Brown & Root had been the recipient a variety of no-bid contracts thanks to its relationship with Lyndon Baines Johnson. Brown & Root was the principal source of campaign funds for Johnson's congressional election in 1937. One of Brown & Root’s first large-scale projects, was building a dam on the Texas Colorado River near Austin during the Depression. To pay Brown & Root, the Bureau of Reclamation had to change its rules against paying for a dam on land the federal government did not own. Averell Harriman got President Franklin Roosevelt to order the Bureau of Reclamation to change its rules and Brown & Root made millions.

After receiving numerous no-bid federal construction projects, Brown & Root completely funded Johnson's bid for the U.S. Senate in 1941. But when the IRS filed criminal charges against Brown & Root as well as Lyndon Johnson for making illegal campaign donations, President Roosevelt, himself, called the IRS off. During WWII, Brown & Root received contracts for the Corpus Christie Naval Air Station and a series of warships. In 1947, the government financed Brown & Root’s construction of one of the world's first offshore oil platforms.

Brown & Root funded and directed its subcontractors and other companies to contribute to Lyndon Johnson’s political ‘war chest.’ Johnson’s war chest enabled him to manipulate other members of the House and Senate into supporting Brown & Root and Johnson’s other corporate ‘friends.’

In 1989 Halliburton acquired another major engineering and construction contractor, C. F. Braun Inc., of Alhambra California, and merged it into Brown & Root forming its Kellogg, Brown & Root [KBR] subsidiary. From 1995 to 2002, Halliburton KBR was awarded $2.5 billion to construct and run military bases, some in secret locations, as part of the U.S. Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. KBR was awarded a $100 million contract in 2002 to build a new U.S. embassy in Kabul and 15 additional contracts from the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program worth more than $216 million for other work in Afghanistan. These projects included building a base camp at Kandahar and Bagram Air Base.

KBR employs more American private contractors and holds larger contracts than any company in Iraq. Following the end of the first Gulf War, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney paid Brown & Root $8.5 million to study the use of private military contractors as auxiliaries in combat zones. Halliburton received $39.5B in Iraq-related contracts with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers. Charles M. Smith, the senior civilian Defense Department official overseeing the government's multi-billion-dollar contract with KBR during the early stages of the war in Iraq said he was forced out of his job in 2004 for refusing to approve $1 billion in questionable charges by KBR.

On February 6, 2009, the Justice Department announced KBR had been charged with paying "tens of millions of dollars" in bribes to Nigerian officials in order to win government contracts, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In February 2011, General Electric Co. owned by Wall Street Firm Morgan Stanley, a firm that Barack Obama gave millions in subsidies, bought Halliburton’s Dresser Inc. for $3 billion.

American Criminal Justice System and Slave Labor

Just as the WWII war profiteers used slave labor, the corporations currently profiting from America’s international war crimes use slave labor. The US prison industrial complex with 5 million American citizens under the direct control through imprisonment, probation, and/or parole is a modernized system of the Black Codes imposed after the civil war to “reconstruct” the South.

According to April Taylor: “While the United States population makes up only five percent of the global population, American citizens now make up 25 percent of the world’s prison population. More than 70 percent of the prison population are people of color, with black women being the fastest growing group of prisoners.” Today prison labor is the fastest growing industry in the U.S. Private corporations operating prisons have entered into contracts for prison labor with a great number of major corporations including IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T and TWA. Privately run prisons companies contract out prison labor for as little as 17 cents an hour and as high as 50 cents an hour. UNICOR corporation contracts out the greatest amount prison labor. While posting gross annual sales of $250 million, it pays its laborers 23 cents an hour. Corporate products produced by prison labor include 93 percent of all paints and paintbrushes manufactured in the U.S., 92 percent of stove assemblies, 36 percent of home appliances and 21 percent of office furniture.

The Pentagon is a major purchaser of prison labor. Prison labor produces 100 percent of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. In addition, 46 percent of body armor worn by military and law enforcement personnel is produced by prison labor.

Just as in the case of the German Third Reich, the US government passes the laws and sets up the police state and military presence necessary for corporations to make a profit.

Africa: Site of Future Wars

The Obama administration is continuing this decades long practice of war profiteering. Federal agencies awarded $115.2 billion in no-bid contracts in fiscal year 2012, an 8.9 increase from $105.8 billion in 2011. Obama’s administration authorized AFRICOM to no-bid contracts all over the African continent. With AFRICOM death squads waiting the go-ahead the corporate war profiteers are preparing for another feeding frenzy.