Abu Dhabi, UAE (TFC) – This week, American Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP) developer and manufacturing conglomerate Oshkosh has signed a massive $235 million ($864 million dirham) technical support contract. This contract pertains to the 750 MRAP vehicles it has sold to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) mega-conglomerate Emirates Advanced Research and Technology Holding (EARTH), since 2013. EARTH is a defense and security subsidiary of the uber-mega-conglomerate Emirates Advanced Investments Group (EAIG), LLC, says Chairman of the organizing committee for the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), Obadi Al-Ketbi.
Oshkosh Corporation is the leading MRAP developer for the US Department of Defense (DOD). The manufacturing giant specializes in emergency and military vehicles and has been researching and developing equipment for the DOD for over 90 years. Its beginning is as humble as any other enormous global, weaponized vehicle manufacturer with its roots in the early American Industrial Revolution. It began in Oshkosh, WI as the Wisconsin Duplex Auto Company. A company which began in 1917 with the singular purpose of developing the first severe-duty four-wheel-drive truck, the precursor the modern MRAP. Nearly 100 years later and Oshkosh is yet another defense contractor with a burgeoning Middle East division.
Oshkosh is far from the only company who sees the Middle East as nothing more than a profitable market sector. Textron’s Bell Helicopter and Textron System jointly opened a division of their defense sectors in Abu Dhabi this week as well. Not far from Textron, Boeing has an office in Abu Dhabi and another in Dubai. Minutes away in Masdar City, America’s largest missile manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, has a brand new UAE division as well. Why is America building billions of dollars of weapons for its most overstated enemy: Islam?
Under the tutelage of 70 year old Richard Donnely, Oshkosh’s Chairman of the Board since 1961, Oshkosh has become one of the major players in the modern war-economy. Richard Donnely retired in 1999 but has remained a prominent figure under an official advisory role for Oshkosh as well as General Motors Europe, RHJI, a merchant banking firm, and Morgan Samuels, a human capital consulting firm. Since 1996, Oshkosh has acquired 15 independent corporate entities. For several of which, including Pierce Manufacturing, Mcnelius Companies, and CON-E-CO, Richard Donnely was working in a high level official corporate capacity during the time of acquisition.
According to Oshkosh’s 2013 Annual Investors Report, Oshkosh signed a massive $6.5 billion sole-source contract in June 2009 with the Department of Defense (DOD) for 8,700 Mine Resistant All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV). The report outlines broad strokes initiatives for expanding the companies defense sectors in developing countries all over the world, including the Middle East, Russia, Asia and Latin America. In 2011, 2012, and 2013, sales to foreign interests increased by 17%, 22%, and 21% during each respective year. By the end of the fiscal year of 2015, Oshkosh plans to derive more than 25% of its yearly revenue from foreign contracts.
The report specifically outlines 2 sets of contracts that are irrefutable evidence that the US is a major contributor, financially and militarily, to the ceaseless border and proxy wars that keep the Middle East centuries behind the rest of the industrialized world and is most likely helping Saudi Arabia fund the efforts of the Islamic State.
In 2013, Oshkosh Corporation completed deliveries of 750 MRAP to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and announced multiple orders for MRAPs from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This week the contract was extended to include the $235 million technical support agreement.
Once again, America’s most valuable of values, hypocrisy, makes a loud entrance into the equation. After 9/11, the American government pumped the public so full of scary hyperbole about the “evil-doers” that “wear turbans and live in the dirt” that now a muslim family can be killed in North Carolina because of where they park their car. Now a mass-murdering psychopath can get a big budget Hollywood action film made about him that exaggerates his claims of murdering 160 people defending the borders of their homeland.
The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have the 4th and 1st largest oil deposits on the globe, respectively. They share a border with each other and following the UAE’s declaration of independence from the British Empire in 1971, have, collectively, developed a close business and political relationship with the US.
They also have decades of US financial and diplomatic support. Americans reacted with the indignant force of a thousand hurricanes when the news of 2 American journalists being beheaded by members of the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) broke last summer. Major media made this horrible event seem like the centerpiece of ISIS’ regime with all the coverage given to it. In reality, beheadings are far more common in America’s allied Middle Eastern countries than in other parts of the region.
In Saudi Arabia, for example, more than 65 people were beheaded last year. Saudi Arabia practices Sharia Law. Sharia Law is a centuries old cultural set of beliefs and principles that is based on the Qur’an. While there is no definitive “list” of commandments that defines the tenets of Sharia Law, certain aspects are enforced with varying degrees of severity. Under Sharia Law, there are 7 Hudub crimes, similar to “mortal sins”, that include theft, zina (illicit sex), highway robbery, sexual slander (falsely accusing someone of zina), drinking alcohol, disputing Imam, and apostasy (converting from Islam). All of the Hudub crimes, most frequently zina and apostasy, are punishable by death or bodily injury, depending on the enforcer.
The UAE also has a terrible human rights record. Reports of torture, rape, and exploitation at detention centers are a regular occurance. Abuse and inhumane treatment of migrant workers is also a huge issue in the UAE. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 88% of UAE residents are low-paid foreign workers. Recruiting agencies routinely charge these poor, working immigrants thousands of dollars in kafala (sponsorship fees), confiscate their passports and force them to work until the kafala is paid.
Saudi Arabia has a storied history with US Oil and Defense contractors, specifically those owned by the Bush family. Members of the Saudi Royal family provided the seed money for George W. Bush’s first oil venture, Arbusto. They also have over 50 years of history dealing with the Carlyle Group, a major defense contractor full of many former heads of state and intelligence officials. They have investments in many of the major corporations responsible for the economic collapse in 2009. The Saudis pulled billions out of the American economy which catapulted the US on to the path of mass poverty, global takeover and police militarization it is on right now.
Michael Moore reported in his initially censored and eventually best selling book “Dude Where’s My Country?” that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the disgraced, former Secretary General of the Saudi National Security Counsel was so close with the Bush family that he said Barbara and George Bush, Sr. were “…like my mother and father. I know if ever I needed anything I could go to them.” Being a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team, Prince Bandar also had a customary seat, next to team-owner Jerry Jones, in Cowboys Stadium. Prince Bandar was also allegedly the one responsible for arranging the flights of 24 members of the Saudi Royal Family, Osama Bin Laden’s family, that were allowed to fly across America and eventually back to Saudi Arabia while the rest of America was stranded in airports during the total Airport blackout immediately following the attacks on 9/11.
Followers of Bandar’s spy thriller-esque saga as a broker for US war efforts in the Middle East and his role in 9/11 still can’t be certain where the “Prince of Defense” is as of today. Reportedly, Bandar has been completely ousted from Saudi Royal proceedings. All of his sons and brothers, aside from Prince Muteb, have been removed from power, as well. Prince Muteb is still the head of the Saudi National Guard. Bandar is reported to have given the US false information blaming Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad for the use of chemical weapons against his people. He is also linked with funding the Pakistani Army.
For the past few years, Saudi Arabia has begun to take advantage of its position of holding the keys to the world’s oil supply by instigating a 3-way bidding war between China, Russia, and the US for the rights to pipelines and oil futures. Meanwhile, 30,000 oil workers have gone on strike demanding fair pay and safe working conditions and the average American consumer has no idea why gas prices have dropped dramatically over the last few months.
To the average American member of the affluent “apathy generation,” there is little to worry about other than how many sparkles are on their iPhone and how much gas money is being put onto their parent’s credit cards. They see cheaper gas prices and stock photos of an ethnically sensitive blend of smiling faces while pumping diesel into their SUVs, subliminally implying that America is winning whatever war it started last week and gas prices are lower because the evil-doers are dying. Don’t worry about the fact that the flag you are told from birth to pledge allegiance to, or be deemed a treasonous terrorist, is being used as a bloody smock to cover the current of oil that keeps the planet’s economy online.
Don’t think about how a father in Yemen feels when American “liberty” drops “justice” on his elderly neighbor’s house and shrapnel takes the life of his only daughter. Don’t think about how HE might feel about that drone pilot. How HE might think that “hero” is a murdering terrorist. Don’t think about how there is absolutely no statistical evidence to support the claim that America is “the greatest country in the world.” Don’t think about how dad paid for your college tuition to a school whose board meetings he attends with money he earned selling American weapons of mass destruction to Saudi Arabia, so he can use Iraq as a smokescreen to build a pipeline from the top of the world to the bottom. Don’t think about the company that owns the factory that makes the weapons that makes your water undrinkable and the factory that filters that water and then sells it back to you in a plastic bottle that you don’t recycle. Don’t think.
Just go watch American Sniper, instead.