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Hillary and The Arms Industry

Cluster Bombs Ian has this article, on concerns about Clinton’s donations from big arms manufacturers — and, in particular, the money she’ taken from Textron:

Last October, in an examination of campaign contributions in 2007 from employees of major defense industry contractors, Thomas B. Edsall wrote on the Huffington Post that “Senator Clinton took $52,600, more than half of the total going to all Democrats, and a figure equaling 60 percent of the sum going to the entire GOP field. Her closest competitor for defense industry money is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R), who raised $32,000.”

Critics have previously rapped Clinton for voting in 2006 against Senate Amendment 4882, which would have banned the sale of cluster munitions for use in heavily populated areas.

Acknowledging that $2000 in PAC money is a minor amount in the scheme of campaigns, Segal, in an interview, nonetheless says that he is an Obama supporter “substantially because of the difference in his and Clinton’s behavior relative to issues like this.”

The full press release is after the jump.

ELECTED OFFICIALS AND ACTIVISTS DEMAND CLINTON RETURN DONATIONS FROM ROGUE MILITARY CONTRACTOR
Textron bribed Saddam Hussein’s regime, and manufactures cluster bombs

Providence, RI: Various elected officials and anti-war activists are calling on Hillary Clinton to return campaign contributions from Textron, Inc. Textron is a Rhode Island-headquartered Fortune 500 conglomerate, from whose PAC Clinton took money in 2005 and 2006. Textron bribed the Hussein government during the lead-up to the Iraq war, and is a major manufacturer of cluster bombs, which yield high rates of civilian casualties.

BRIBERY OF SADDAM HUSSEIN’S REGIME:
Last August, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice fined Textron more than $4.6 million dollars as punishment for more than $600,000 in bribes that the company’s David Brown subsidiaries paid to Saddam Hussein’s regime from 2001-2003. Textron paid the bribes to Hussein to obtain contracts within the United Nations’ Oil-for-Food program. [1] The SEC found that Textron’s corporate leadership either knew about the bribes or was negligent in not knowing about them.

In the fall of 2002, Hillary Clinton voted to authorize military action against Iraq, saying of Hussein, “Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people, even his own family members, to maintain his iron grip on power.”

In 2005 and 2006 she accepted at least $2,000 dollars from Textron’s PAC, whose bribes would serve to further entrench Hussein’s despotic regime and facilitate its ability to perpetrate atrocities against its own citizens and coalition forces. (The amount received from Textron’s employees, and employees of its many subsidiaries could not be determined.)

Providence City Councilman Miguel Luna (D) said, “I find appalling the double standard that allows her to vote for war with Hussein, and also take money from a corporation that was bribing him.” He added, “By taking money from Textron and those who profit from war, she’s committing herself to continuing a foreign policy based on war, and not on dialogue.”

PRODUCTION OF CLUSTER BOMBS:
Additionally, Textron is a major manufacturer of cluster munitions. [2] The Red Cross and United Nations have decried the use of cluster bombs; the UN has found that 40% of those killed by cluster munitions are children. [3] This week, more than 120 countries are meeting in New Zealand to discuss an agreement to limit the use of cluster bombs. [4]

In September of 2006, as Clinton took money from Textron, she crossed party lines to vote against Senate Amendment 4882, which would have banned the use of cluster bombs by the US armed forces, and whose stated purpose was “To protect civilian lives from unexploded cluster munitions.” [5]

State Representative David Segal (D-Providence, East Providence), whose district includes Textron’s international headquarters, has submitted legislation condemning Textron’s bribery of Hussein (H7489) and banning the facilitation of the manufacture of cluster bombs (H7496) in Rhode Island.

“Textron is a particularly nasty corporation whose conduct is starkly opposed to the values of most Democrats and Americans. Nobody who takes their money can legitimately claim to be against this war, or the horrors of war more generally,” Segal said.

CAMPAIGN DONATIONS FROM MILITARY CONTRACTORS:

Clinton’s contributions from Textron are part of a broader pattern of taking large sums of money from arms manufacturers. In 2007, Clinton took more money from major arms manufacturers than did any other presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat. [6]

“Hillary Clinton now says that she is against the Iraq war, but she is the number one recipient of campaign contributions from the arms manufacturers,” said Medea Benjamin of the peace group CODEPINK. “Returning their contributions, starting with Textron’s, would enhance her credibility among skeptical voters.”

Jack Amoureux, a Providence resident and member of the board of directors of Military Families Speak Out said, “As the sibling of an Iraq War veteran, it is terribly disturbing to me that Clinton’s continued support of the war and the resulting loss of American and Iraqi life might be tied to campaign donations from the defense industry. If Clinton is to credibly form an unbiased position on the war she should return this money and pledge to refuse such money in the future.”

Segal added, “I hope Clinton will change her ready willingness to fund her campaign with money from the arms trade, and heed the prescient words Dwight Eisenhower spoke as he left the presidency in 1961:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” [7]

[1] Iraq bribes to cost Textron $4.6 million – Providence Journal

[2] B-52 Crews Use ‘Smart-guided’ Cluster Bomb – Textron

[3] Humanitarian, Military, Technical, and Legal Challenges of Cluster Munitions – International Committee of the Red Cross

[4] NZ hosts meeting on cluster bombs – BBC News

[5] U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress – 2nd Session – U.S. Senate

[6] Defense Industry Embraces Democrats, Hillary By Far The Favorite – Huffington Post

[7] Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961 – Michigan State University

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