Posts tagged “Edwin Black

Part II: Campaign Cash & the Security-Industrial Complex

When discussing issues pertaining to the emergence of the American surveillance state, supporters of the security-industrial complex often remark, ‘What does one have to fear if they have nothing to hide?’

My answer, of course, is, “Government.”

In the Twentieth-century alone, governments murdered over 17.2 million people—hundreds of times more than organized crime syndicates and serial killers combined.

A chilling exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum paints a poignant portrait of what can occur when a corporation’s pursuit of profit morphs with a government’s agenda of social control. 

“Several years ago,” wrote author Edwin Black, “I stood with my parents—both Jewish survivors—in front of an IBM Hollerith machine on display—at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. DC. I stared at it for a long time, thinking that the exhibit description—this machine was used for “census”—represented only the tip of a dark iceberg.”[1]

According the Black, the author of IBM and the Holocaust, IBM’s involvement with Hitler’s Germany began on the first day of the Third Reich and ended with Germany’s surrender 12-years-later.[2]

Unfortunately, Germany’s Jewish population at the time, believing they had ‘nothing to hide,’ answered census questions regarding their religious faith and ethnicity truthfully. Census bureaucrats then numerically coded and transposed the data to computer punch cards, which enabled Hitler’s Gestapo to locate the victims of the regime’s ‘Final Solution’ with relative ease.

This is why it is important to hold federal lawmakers accountable for their votes on domestic surveillance initiatives.

In the 1930s, Black’s book shows that IBM was not particularly concerned about the autocratic nature of the Nazi regime or the plight of Europe’s Jewish population. Like many corporations, IBM’s bottom line was showing a profit. 

In the second part of a series that links campaign cash to members of the security-industrial complex, SF examines the political donations made to U.S Rep. Gwen Moore, whose district encompasses Milwaukee County.  

From July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2011, Moore received $11,750 from DRS Technologies—a supplier of products to military services and intelligence agencies that focuses on thermal imaging (i.e. infrared), and electronic sensor systems.[3] In 2009 and 2010, she also received a $250 contribution from Alan Perlstein of DRS Technologies.[4]

Law enforcement agencies use thermal imaging to observe marijuana grows and human movements through the walls of structures. One law enforcement source recently told me that the thermal imaging devices his department uses are so intrusive that investigators can actually see potted marijuana plants through the walls of a structure from over a mile away.

Police helicopters and drones also use thermal imaging to locate suspects and monitor the movements of people on the ground. During the Occupy Wall Street protests, an NYPD helicopter hovered over the tents of protestors and, with the use of thermal imaging equipment, ascertained the number of those present.  

In 2011 and 2012, Rep. Moore raised $292,600 from political action committees and $158,360 from individuals.[5]

In 2007, Rep. Moore received $1,000 from Geogre Stejic, of TELSA Technologies—a company that solves issues related to defense intelligence sectors.[6]  In early 2012, Moore received $1,000 for General Electric’s political action committee. She has also received $2,000 from Honeywell’s political action committee in 2010 and 2011.[7]

A review of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore’s campaign finance reports shows few transparent connections to corporations related to the security-industrial complex, although donations make by lobbyists and attorneys do not report which interests these entities represent.

———————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


[1] Black, Edwin. IBM and the Holocaust: the Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation.  Dialog Press.  Washington, D.C. 2012.

[2] “IBM and the Final Solution: an Interview with Edwin Black.”  TeacherWeb.com. 26 May 2012. http://teacherweb.ftl.pinecrest.edu/snyderd/MWH/readings/10/IBM%20&%20Final%20Solution.htm

[3] “Gwen Moore: Democrat (elected ’04) WI House District 04.” Maplight.org. 25 May 2012. http://maplight.org/us-congress/legislator/666-gwen-moore

[4] “Moore for Congress.” Nictusa.com. 25 May 2012. http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_ind/H4WI04183/P-T/

[5] “Congressional District Fact Sheet: Wisconsin District 4.” Opensecrets.org. 25 May 2012. http://www.opensecrets.org/address/mydistrict.php?id=N00026914

[6] “Moore for Congress.” Nictusa.com. 25 May 2012. http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_ind/H4WI04183/P-T/

[7] “Moore for Congress.” Nictusa.com. 25 May 2012. http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_com/H4WI04183