A look at the profits of detention.
This year’s lowlights from world politics, the culture wars, and the military-industrial complex.
Each year Conn Hallinan gives awards to individuals, companies, and governments that make reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2016.
The Golden Lemon Award had a number of strong contenders in 2016, including:
General Atomics for its MQ-9 Reaper armed drone, which has a faulty starter-generator that routinely shorts out the aircraft. So far, no one can figure out why. Some 20 were either destroyed or sustained major damage last year. The Reapers costs $64 million apiece.
Panavia Aircraft Company’s $25 billion Tornado fighter-bomber that can’t fly at night because the cockpit lights blind the pilot. A runner up here is the German arms company Heckler & Koch, whose G-36 assault rifle can’t shoot straight when the weather is hot.
The British company BAE’s $1.26 billion Type 45 destroyer that breaks down “whenever we try to do too much with them,” a Royal Navy officer told the Financial Times. Engaging in combat, he said, would be “catastrophic.”
Following the departure of several African nations, Russia has joined the growing list of countries abandoning the Western dominated International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry (FM) said they were withdrawing their signature from the Rome Statute signed in 2000. The FM said that they were backing out of the agreement on the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Similar to the complaints lodged by the African nations that left, Russia has said that “The court did not live up to the hopes associated with it and did not become truly independent,” and agreed with poorer countries who say the court is “one-sided and inefficient.”
Another US soldier has died as the result of Iraq’s third American-involved war. The operative’s death both shadows the new Mosul offensive, and a massive US troop surge launched shortly before. Those forces, like this most recent casualty, are almost entirely dark shades of special forces.
Chief Petty Officer Jason C. “JJ” Finan died as a result of wounds sustained by an improvised explosive device. Few details are currently available, and officials are cautious to admit Finan was directly involved in the battle. Islamic State militants have held Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest, since the beginning of the war. Militants seized the town with American arms and vehicles, with many Iraqi forces retreating without a fight. Many Iraqi soldiers stripped their fatigues, vests, and put down their guns fleeing the Islamic State’s hard-charge from Syria.
As shady as the game is, should anyone be surprised a top military contractor has been named in the Panama Papers leak? No, it’s not Blackwater, AKA Xi, AKA Academi, but it’s merger– Triple Canopy. The group, suspect for illegal killings and weapons trading, now adds tax avoidance to it’s list of crimes.