Lockheed Martin "seeks to establish a long-term presence, earn the trust of customers, develop industrial alliances for growth, and match corporate breadth with customer priorities."
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Whatever you may feel about the validity/desirability of the forthcoming census its operations raise questions about the general drift in the corporate world which we may wish to resist. The Peace Pledge Union has no collective view on the census but it has serious concerns about some of its operations.
Increasingly technology companies - particularly engineering and IT - are coalescing into ever larger conglomerates; many have a long history of designing and manufacturing weapons and associated technology. Due to their size, relationship with governments and technical expertise some have increasingly begun competing for and winning civil contracts. Major weapons manufactures are now providers of civil service.
Lockheed Martin, a mega arms manufacturer 80% of whose work is for the US military, is the company that has won a £150m contract to run the 2011 census. It also provides services for the London Underground, UK air traffic control, the Post Office, the Metropolitan Police etc.
In the US it now does work for more than two dozen government agencies particularly the Department of Defense. It’s involved in surveillance and information processing for the CIA, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, the Census Bureau, and the Postal Service and so on. Also according to "Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex" it ranks number one on the “contractor misconduct” database maintained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-DC-based watchdog group."
"It's moved beyond anything usually associated with a weapons corporation and has been virtually running its own foreign policy, doing everything from hiring interrogators for US overseas prisons (including at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq) to managing a private intelligence network in Pakistan and helping write the Afghan constitution." | more
The growth and intrusion into daily life of companies with codes of ethics which permit without apparent embarrassment the profitable production of the means of killing millions of people at the push of a button should be of serious concern. So too should be the state's extreme legal powers to control our lives. Whether you see the census as something sinister or largely part of a begin bureaucracy it is worth remembering the legislation such as the Civil Contingency Act 2004 that we are already living under. A shorthand take on this here. And a much longer take here. Henry Porter, the author, has written a number of novels including The Dying Light an entertaining but frightening look at what a future in the grip of the Civil Contingency Act 2004 might look like.
And without comment