5 WikiLeaks Revelations Exposing the Rapidly Growing Corporatism Dominating American Diplomacy Abroad
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This article has been updated.
One of the most significant scourges paralyzing our democracy is the merger of corporate power with elected and appointed government officials at the highest levels of office. Influence has a steep price-tag in American politics where politicians are bought and paid for with ever increasing campaign contributions from big business, essentially drowning out any and all voices advocating on behalf of the public interest.
Millions of dollars in campaign funding flooding Washington's halls of power combined with tens of thousands of high-paid corporate lobbyists and a never-ending revolving door that allows corporate executives to shuffle between the public and private sectors has blurred the line between government agencies and private corporations.
This corporate dominance over government affairs helps to explain why we are plagued by a health-care system that lines the pockets of industry executives to the detriment of the sick; a war industry that causes insurmountable death and destruction to enrich weapons-makers and defense contractors; and a financial sector that violates the working class and poor to dole out billions of dollars in bonuses to Wall Street CEO's.
The implications of this rapidly growing corporatism reach far beyond our borders and into the realm of American diplomacy , as in one case where efforts by US diplomats forced the minimum wage for beleaguered Haitian workers to remain below sweatshop levels.
In this context of corporate government corruption, one of WikiLeaks' greatest achievements has been to expose the exorbitant amount of influence that multinational corporations have over Washington's diplomacy. Many of the WikiLeaks US embassy cables reveal the naked intervention by our ambassadorial staff in the business of foreign countries on behalf of US corporations. From mining companies in Peru to pharmaceutical companies in Ecuador, one WikiLeaks embassy cable after the next illuminates a pattern of US diplomats shilling for corporate interests abroad in the most underhanded and sleazy ways imaginable.
While the merger of corporate and government power isn't exactly breaking news, it is one of the most critical yet under-reported issues of our time. And WikiLeaks has given us an inside look at the inner-workings of this corporate-government collusion, often operating at the highest levels of power. It is crystal clear that it's standard operating procedure for US government officials to moonlight as corporate stooges. Thanks to WikiLeaks, here are five instances that display the lengths to which Washington is willing to go to protect and promote US corporations around the world.
1. US officials work as salespeople for Boeing. The merger of state and corporate power is striking in a slew of cables detailing US State Department officials acting as marketing agents on behalf of one lucky corporation. Earlier this year the New York Times revealed details about how US diplomats have actively promoted the sale of commercial jets built by the US company Boeing.
Hundreds of cables from WikiLeaks show that Boeing had a sales force of US diplomats that went up to the highest levels of government, even going as far as sabotaging sales for Boeing's European rival Airbus. Enticing deals for the jetliners were offered to heads of state and airline executives in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Turkey and other countries. The WikiLeaks documents also suggest that demands for bribes and payment to suspicious intermediaries still take place.
In a deal that was valued at about $3.4 billion, the US Embassy in Istanbul pushed for the sale of Boeing jetliners to Turkish Airlines (THY), according to a cable from January 2010 . In return, the president of Turkey asked the Obama administration to let a Turkish astronaut sit in on a NASA space flight.