Just as purported humanitarian concerns are wheeled out as justifications for thinly-veiled imperialist wars over resources, military contractors and war profiteering corporations portray themselves as inclusive, socially progressive and gender-sensitive. On their corporate websites, these corporations’ core business is painted over with a cosmetic veneer that could cause us to forget that it is for war and killing people. For example, Pentagon contractors like Northrop Grumman boast of their “workforce diversity” and showcase their women executives. The Canadian and US defence industries have set up organizations like Women in Defence and Security (WiDS), signed memorandums of understanding with Canada’s Department of National Defence, and are affiliated with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), an industry-led association of more than 550 member firms in the defence and security industries in Canada to “promote the advancement of women leaders in defence and security professions across Canada”. Raytheon, the maker of “Bunker Buster” bombs, Tomahawk and Patriot missiles, lobbed at Afghanistan and Iraq, causing many deaths, proclaims: “Diversity at Raytheon is about inclusiveness — providing an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and empowered to perform at a peak level, regardless of the many ways people are different”. Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the biggest suppliers of technology and personnel to US government spy agencies like the CIA, NSA, Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), as well as the US Department of Defence and Department of Homeland Security (former CIA director R. James Woolsey is now a senior vice president of Booz Allen), also boasts how it is committed to diversity in the workforce “because we believe that diversity of backgrounds contributes to different ideas, which in turn drives better results for clients. To us, diversity means all the ways individuals differ from one another—race, gender, ethnicity, physical abilities, educational background, country of origin, age, sexual orientation, skills, income, marital status, parental status, religion, work experience, and military service”. Then there is Aegis Defence Services whose employees were caught on video randomly shooting automatic weapons at civilian cars in Baghdad’s airport road, which claims “Our equal-opportunity policy emphasizes our aim to create a work environment that is inclusive and non-discriminatory, where all employees are empowered by their individuality and encouraged to use it in order to achieve success”. Greenwashing environmentally destructive corporations is despicable enough. Yet there is something particularly obscene about the ways in which these corporations hide behind such mission and values statements and commitments to “diversity”, complementing the claims of the militaries in Afghanistan to be liberating Afghani women.
Many NGOs campaign for instruments like a Global Arms Trade Treaty. But when we see the spectrum of industries and political actors which benefit from militarized capitalism, and the way in which the US, Israel, and other leading producers and users of cluster munitions refused to attend last month’s Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions which adopted an international treaty banning cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, it should be clear that we must go beyond these strategies to confront the system that underpins obscene profits for a few, at the expense of the many, through military contracting and war profiteering. That system is capitalism. Those of us who research must continue to expose and oppose militarization and the violence of capitalism in all its forms, in our communities, nationally and internationally. In doing so we need to support, build and sustain mass movements that understand the interconnectedness of war, neoliberal globalization, corporate profits, the repression of dissent, “peacekeeping”, “reconstruction”, the criminalization and militarization of immigration, violence against women, and colonialism. (Bulatlat.com)
 Gil Scott-Heron. Work For Peace. Taken from the album Spirits, TVT Records, 1994.
 Thomas Friedman, 28 March 1999, New York Times Magazine, Manifesto for the fast world
 See http://stopthewall.org
 BBC News. US-Mexico ‘virtual fence’ ready. 23 February 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7260179.stm
 Jackie Northam. U.K. Firm awarded largest Iraq security contract. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14586525
 For example, DynCorp’s employees in Colombia contracting to the US State Department in its so-called War on Drugs, have engaged as combatants in counterinsurgency operations against rebels (see colombiajournal.org). A number of DynCorp employees and supervisors contracted to UN peacekeeping operations in the Balkans were involved with forced prostitution rings, including children. (see Kelly Patricia O’Meara. US: DynCorp Disgrace. Insight Magazine. 14 January 2002, http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11119)
 Pratap Chatterjee. Outsourcing Intelligence in Iraq: A report on L-3/Titan. CorpWatch. 29 April 2008. Titan, one of the civilian contractors employed by the Pentagon and whose employees were involved in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. See, for example, Peter Beaumont, Abu Ghraib abuse firms are rewarded. The Observer, 16 January 2005. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jan/16/usa.iraq
 Roland Simbulan. U.S. Military Forces: Negotiated Subservience by an Illegitimate Government. Bulatlat. Vol. VIII, No. 5, March 2-8, 2008. https://www.bulatlat.com/2008/03/u-s-military-forces-negotiated-subservience-illegitimate-government
 Richard Sanders. We Didn’t Really Say “No” to Missile Defence.
 Tim Spicer, Founder and CEO of Aegis, (which holds the largest single security contract in Iraq), who prefers the term ‘private military company’ to ‘mercenary’, approvingly cites this as historical model as a precedent for soldiers of fortune today. See Tim Spicer. (1999). An Unorthodox Soldier: Peace and War and the Sandline Affair. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing.
 These include former Chilean, South African, Bosnian, Filipino, Salvadoran and Colombian soldiers and police. Bill Berkowitz. Mercenaries ‘R’ Us. AlterNet. 24 March 2004. Danna Harman. Firms tap Latin Americans for Iraq. Christian Science Monitor, 3 March 2005.http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0303/p06s02-woam.html
 James Risen. Iraq Contractor in Shooting Case makes comeback. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/10/world/middleeast/10blackwater.html?ref=middleeast
 CNN. Blackwater incident witness: “It was hell”. http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/10/02/blackwater.witness/index.html
 Blackwater Worldwide. Company Core Values. http://www.blackwaterusa.com/company_profile/core_values.html
 Steve Fainaru. Where Military Rules Don’t Apply. Washington Post. 20 September 2007. http://www.pulitzer.org/year/2008/international-reporting/works/fainaru05.html
 Christopher Hellman and Travis Sharp. Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation. Fiscal Year 2009 Pentagon Spending Request Briefing Book http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/policy/securityspending/articles/fy09_dod_request/