The Comey College Of Prosecutorial Knowledge

This one is for Mary, who sent me the link from the road. As everyone knows, once you earn your bones in the Bush DOJ on torture and/or illegal wiretapping, you get a plum position in the private world. As Mary has consistently pointed out, Jim Comey got jumped in to the gang that couldn’t torture straight when he invoked state secrets to cover for Larry Thompson and other malfeasants in the Maher Arar case. For that fine work, Comey is now General Counsel at Lockheed Martin Aerospace while Thompson had to settle for the General Counsel slot at PepsiCo. But today is about Comey’s current crew, Lockheed.

The Wall Street Journal has an article out describing the fine educational possibilities provided the world community by the American military-industrial complex:

Lockheed Martin Corp. became the nation’s No. 1 military contractor by selling cutting-edge weaponry like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Its latest contribution to the U.S. arsenal: training prosecutors in Liberia’s Justice Ministry.

The U.S. government has hired the defense contractor to test an emerging tenet of its security policy. Called “smart power,” it blends military might with nation-building activities, in hopes of boosting political stability and American influence in far-flung corners such as Liberia.

Yep, the makers of strike fighters, cruise missiles and other niceties of global thermonuclear war, are gonna school up the new justice class in Liberia. Really, what could go wrong??

Defense firms are eager to oblige. “The definition of global security is changing,” says Lockheed’s Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Stevens. He wants the maker of the Air Force’s most advanced fighters to become a central player in the U.S. campaign to use economic and political means to align countries with American strategic interests.

Last year, Lockheed had two of its highest profile programs, the F-22 Raptor fighter and a fleet of presidential helicopters, ended by the Obama administration. Now, Lockheed is one of several defense firms expected to bid for a State Department contract to support “criminal justice sector development programs world-wide,” that could be worth up to $30 billion over five years.

Well, that does seem like a promising business opportunity and, hey, why should Halliburton and Blackwater/Xe get all the fun and Ferengi profit?

Morgan Stanley defense analyst Heidi Wood says Lockheed’s early push into this realm sets it apart from competitors. It is too soon to pinpoint a financial impact, she says, but the moves will pay off. “It’s a complete paradigm change.”

Yeah, ya think?? I wonder what kind of homework the Lockheed law professors assign? Read the entire WSJ article, it is worth it.

Now, to be fair, Jim Comey is not specifically referenced in the comprehensive article, but there is little question but that he is the top prosecutorial experience Lockheed possesses and, really, a joint with the history of Liberia would be the perfect place for former Bush/Cheney prosecutors to impart their “special” skills. It could all fit so nicely.

41 replies
  1. Minnesotachuck says:

    . . cutting-edge weaponry like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    Ha! Like all major USAF procurements over the past 30 years, the F-35 is a clusterfuck. Sprey, as a civilian employee of the DOAF in the ’70s, was the point man in shoving the A-10 down down the throats of the kicking and screaming AF bureaucracy. Arguably the most effective ground support aircraft ever built. Wheeler was a long-time staff member of various Hill Defense committees, and is editor of the must read America’s Defense Meltdown. Sprey co-authors one of the essays in the book.

  2. sundog says:

    Democracy and justice for sale, step right up, get your democracy and justice while they’re hot!!! People like Lockheed (Loughead) need to get real jobs! Or should I still refer to them as corporations? Need justice? Just call the Lockheed and Martin Firm for a consultation about your countries needs.

    This is so stupid on so many levels, it’s just difficult to keep up with. I’m shocked they aren’t getting into the sexual surrogate market. I hear there’s pent up demand.

    BTW, OT, the J. Geils band? Dude, are you old? I know I am, because I remember them. :)

  3. cbl2 says:

    wow. I have missed so much over here this past year. bmaz this is really well written.

    so who opened the contractual floodgates at State ? previous administration ? but now who (whom?) is greasing the skids for LM presently ? probably in the article, I’m going, I’m going

  4. sailmaker says:

    Kind of OT – Chertoff has joined the Brit defense giant BAE Systems (the ones who promised not to bribe our guys anymore).

    Chertoff was welcomed by the board’s chairman, retired four-star General Tony Zinni.

    • bmaz says:

      Keep in mind, BAE made that exact same promise the last time they got caught and were literally right back at it as they were leaving the courthouse.

  5. fatster says:

    I do hope the future leaders of Africa are studying the Latin American experience with El Norte in order to learn how not to repeat it.

    • sundog says:

      One of Lockheed’s is the The Beast of Kandahar. It’s been operational for a while but was recently declassified, since they started operating it in daylight at an operational airbase, and it’s hard to keep secrets there.

      Every major aircraft manufacturer is involved in drones. Many of them classified. Northrop Grumman has the Global Hawk (Formerly Teledyne Ryan, until NG bought them), the X-47 for the Navy, the Bat, etc.

      Boeing has the various X-45s and the newer Phantom Ray.

      General Atomics is also working on the Predator C.

      However, none of these aircraft will actually replace manned aircraft, for various reasons I won’t go into here, but they can be substitutes for some missions and will work as adjuncts in others. Of course, what I have given you is just a small spectrum of the drones available. I just concentrated on the “high end” aircraft that operate in a similar fashion to current full scale combat aircraft.

  6. bobschacht says:

    you’re right on the money with this. Except its not really original with you. Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) and George Orwell (1984) both saw, in their own ways, that major international corporations were going to be the backbone of the new politics.

    I taught an introduction to cultural anthropology last semester. One of the things I needed to talk to the students about was globalization. Think about the IMF, the World Bank (remember Paul Wolfowitz?), the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (known as the G-20).

    Economic warfare is so much more efficient, less bloody, and less costly than warfare– although the big corps are not above violence when it suits their purposes.

    Yes, world fascism is on the rise. And corporations like Lockheed, aided by lawyers like Comey, are in the vanguard.

    Bob in AZ

  7. jerice50 says:

    I thought the Peace Corp was set up to these types of projects.

    How is anything that Lockheed does peaceful?

  8. freepatriot says:

    How is anything that Lockheed does peaceful?

    it gets real quiet after a nuclear bomb goes off

    scares the shit out of all of God’s creatures, for hundreds of miles

    lockheed provides delivery systems

    it’s all relative

    High everybody

    doin my drive-by check in stuff

    I’m loose on the innertoobz for a few hours

    the turtles are fine …

    this is rancho de patriot, signing off

  9. skdadl says:

    I thought I remembered this: Comey’s wife was in the Peace Corps:

    In June 1983, after his first year of law school at the University of Chicago, he was visiting Patrice in Sierra Leone, where she was in the Peace Corps, when he came down with malaria. Only her quick action saved his life. She drove him to a bush hospital run by nuns, where he was treated with massive doses of drugs.

    And beyond that, I’m just stupefied.

  10. emptywheel says:

    Actually, looks like Lockheed AND Northrup Grumman have already been in this business.

    Northrup Grumman is one of the only eligible for training police in Afghanistan. Given the others (DynCorp and Blackwater), I’d almost be happy to have them own this business. And here are the five DOD says are eligible to bid for narco-terrorism War on Drugs work:
    * Raytheon Technical Services Co., a subsidiary of Raytheon Co.
    * Lockheed Martin Corp.
    * Northrop Grumman Corp.
    * Arinc Inc.
    * Blackwater USA

    • bmaz says:

      Quite a difference between providing “equipment, material and services” to the DOD for counter-narcotics and training prosecutors and defenders for a legal system.

      • Mary says:

        Ken Silverstein at Harpers also has a small bit up about this piece:

        His piece was prompted by a nudge from Emira Woods, of the Institute for Policy Studies.

        Woods remarked: “Historically, the Liberian government had forged ties with the American Bar Association and leading U.S. international law schools. Now, this critical training is being transferred to U.S. defense and intelligence operatives, asserting U.S. ’soft’ power while advancing narrowly defined U.S. security interests.”

        So it’s worth keeping in mind that the decision wasn’t just made to go with more “soft” power, it was a decision to fund Lockheed, as a beholden US defense contractor, to impose the legal approaches that the Pentagon and State Department decide, politically, are in their best interests. This wasn’t a decision to bring Liberian justice up to speed by actually funding the entities – ABA and law schools – that had been carrying the torch without that funding so far and which carry the torch domestically as well. Instead, they go to Lockheed, with its wealth of Liberian law professors.

        Lockheed, of course, then brings in the unnamed “contractors” to handle the job:

        Since 2006, contractors hired by Lockheed have mentored Liberian prosecutors as part of a project to bolster the country’s judicial system.

        So for some reason, rather than funding the ABA and law schools, it’s more efficient for Gates and Clinton to use the money to fund Lockheed so that Lockheed can go and be middle man to “contractors.” Any description of those contractors is really a huge big missing element from the story. But even a Murdoch reporter can’t pass up the opportunity to note that:

        Criminals prosecuted by the Lockheed-trained lawyers were caught by Liberia’s national police force whose members were trained by Lockheed’s PAE.

        And they’ll be imprisoned in prisons run by … and executed by machines made by … and disappeared on flights booked by … and – I’m running out of punctuation.

        I especially like this description of how we are helping out the Liberian citizens by training their police:

        On a strip of soggy grass outside a run-down police headquarters, a Liberian commander drilled officers in how to remove a jammed round from their American-made assault rifles. As he shouts, “Jammed round!,” the men, members of the Liberian National Police’s Emergency Response Unit, shoulder their weapons to protect colleagues who drop to one knee to clear their weapons. An American Lockheed contractor wearing navy-blue fatigues and a light-blue United Nations beret looked on.

        So at least we know, if Liberians start any street protests that aren’t in the best interests of Obama’s Lockheed’s Clinton’s Gates’ Liberia’s US supported leader, their police can deal with them, even if the guns jam.

  11. Leen says:

    In the Amnesty International Report on Arms Sales to Israel and the Gaza Lockhead Martin is mentioned several times as well as Raytheon,Pine Bluff Arsenal and many other U.S. weapons producers. Bunker buster and white phosphorus sales to Israel also covered in this report

    In the Amnesty report they mention under “Arms supplies to Hamas” that they have never seen any evidence to verify the allegations that Iran has sold “military equipment and munitions including rockets” to Hamas or other Palestinian armed groups.

    This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition (audio not up yet)
    U.S. Drone Strikes Are Justified, Legal Adviser Says

    by Ari Shapiro
    March 26, 2010

    The Obama administration has for the first time laid out its legal rationale for drone strikes: The State Department’s legal adviser described the reasoning in a major speech to a conference of international lawyers.

  12. Leen says:

    U.S. (Lockhead Martin) F-35 joint strike fighter sales to Israel
    “The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin are eager to wrap up an F-35 deal with Israel, which is tentatively planning to buy an initial 25 F-35s in fiscal 2012 with an option for 50 more.

    The single-engine aircraft, designed to avoid detection by radar, could play a role in any Israeli effort to knock out what it regards as the threat to its existence posed by Iran’s nuclear program.

    Schreiber said he met Israeli procurement officials in New York last week to discuss a “roadmap” for the proposed government-to-government F-35 sale.”

    So many other war promoters/administration officials in the profit from wars and weapons sales revolving door?

    Where is Richard Perle now?

    Lunch With the Chairman
    Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?
    by Seymour M. Hersh March 17, 2003

    “Khashoggi is still brokering. In January of this year, he arranged a private lunch, in France, to bring together Harb Saleh al-Zuhair, a Saudi industrialist whose family fortune includes extensive holdings in construction, electronics, and engineering companies throughout the Middle East, and Richard N. Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who is one of the most outspoken and influential American advocates of war with Iraq.

    The Defense Policy Board is a Defense Department advisory group composed primarily of highly respected former government officials, retired military officers, and academics. Its members, who serve without pay, include former national-security advisers, Secretaries of Defense, and heads of the C.I.A. The board meets several times a year at the Pentagon to review and assess the country’s strategic defense policies.

    Perle is also a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P., which was registered in November, 2001, in Delaware. Trireme’s main business, according to a two-page letter that one of its representatives sent to Khashoggi last November, is to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense. The letter argued that the fear of terrorism would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

    The letter mentioned the firm’s government connections prominently: “Three of Trireme’s Management Group members currently advise the U.S. Secretary of Defense by serving on the U.S. Defense Policy Board, and one of Trireme’s principals, Richard Perle, is chairman of that Board.” The two other policy-board members associated with Trireme are Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State (who is, in fact, only a member of Trireme’s advisory group and is not involved in its management), and Gerald Hillman, an investor and a close business associate of Perle’s who handles matters in Trireme’s New York office. The letter said that forty-five million dollars had already been raised, including twenty million dollars from Boeing; the purpose, clearly, was to attract more investors, such as Khashoggi and Zuhair.

    Read more:

    James Woolsey “Former CIA director James Woolsey strongly advocated for war in Iraq – and then turned his political beliefs into millions for his corporate employers including national security contractor Information Systems Laboratories, Inc. In the past, he’s sat on the boards of major contractors like British Aerospace, Inc., DynCorp., and Titan, Inc. notorious for its role in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. Woolsey’s a big player in the defense world, who’s served on most of the significant national security commissions and boards.”
    “As of the end of 2007, Woolsey is a board member at the following:

    * Information Systems Laboratories, Inc: BOSCH Aerospace, a division of the large national security contractor, supplied several variants of a DARPA-sponsored surveillance rapid air inflated tower (RAFT) to US Army forces in Iraq in 2003.
    * Linsang Partners: In June of 2003, Linsang Partners Manufacturing was selected by Voxtec, a Division of Marine Acoustics, to manufacture the Phraselator 2, a handheld translation device used by the US Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    * Fibersense Technology Corporation: Acquired by major Iraq defense contractor Northrupt Grumman in 2002. Northrop Grumman’s Vinnell Corp. subsidiary was awarded a $48 million contract to train the new Iraqi Army last year. Northrop Grumman has been penalized $191.7 million in the past four years, including $750,000 paid to the Pentagon in 2000 in a case involving allegations of providing faulty replacement parts for the JSTARS airborne surveillance system.

    Pentagon to industry Revolving door
    “This revolving door from DSAA is typical of the unceasing migrations from the military and the private sector. Between 1992 and 1995, number 3,288 Pentagon employees – of whom 2,482 were officers with the rank of colonel or above made – the jump to industry. It’s impossible to determine how fast the revolving door is now spinning because at the request of the Pentagon, Congress in February of 1996 repealed the law that mandated such reporting, a move that apparently was never noticed by the mainstream press.CP”

  13. brantl says:

    So now you’re interested in beating the shit out of Comey, the guy (Republican) that stood up to Bush’s spying? Come on, Marcy.

    • bmaz says:

      It was not Marcy, it was me, bmaz. And while I salute the “Hospital” revolt to some extent, it is fairly clear that there multiple motivations for it as to Comey et. al, and a lot of them were pretty self serving in that they only did enough to save their own butts and pull the scene back from the brink, but little, it anything, to really correct the matter. There were, as I think have (and will) become more clear over time, other programs at issue in that “revolt” involving torture that are not nearly as well known. And what was described in the post regarding the completely bullshit and inappropriate invocation of state secrets on Arar is absolutely valid and a very black stain on Comey. Come on brantl.

    • Mary says:

      As pointed out – not EW.

      But as for qualifications –
      Comey handled the NYC “investigation” into the false admission coerced out of Higazy and strutted around with big ol grin of DOJ self-exoneration, congratulating the FBI and DOJ for what a spiffy job they did, getting that poor guy to admit to being involved in 9/11 and telling us all how proud we could be of them for their efforts.

      Comey handled the Arar cover up affidavit for DOJ.

      Comey cut the deal with Schumer to make Congress back off appointing an independent counsel with a broad mandate for the Plame investigation and instead buy into what was described by Fitzgerald himself as a mechanism that was only intended to give the perception of independence.

      Comey handled the pretty damn shocking and disgraceful Padilla press conf, for which any normal lawyer would have faced bar discipline at the least, and which was chock full of disinformation.

      Comey sat back while Clement misrepresented US torture to the US Sup. Ct and never correct the record.

      Comey sat back while the Abu Ghraib soldiers were scapegoated and never corrected the record.

      Comey sat back while DOJ went amok with disinformation and failures to produce in multiple court proceedings.

      Comey praised as “ready to go” and concurred in one of Bradbury’s torture opinions.

      Comey’s “showdown” ended up with a “retool” of (not a fight against) the Bush unconstitutional surveillance program and AFTER the COMEY retool the courts who have viewed his new, enhanced program found it to be – – an unconstitutional surviellance program.

      Comey supported Jim Haynes, well after Comey was aware of the extent of his involvement in torture, for the 4th Circuit and joined in with his other pals that had also been invovled in torture oks – Thompson, Philbin, Goldsmith -in that effort.

      I could go on, but what the heck, you’re right. A little snark about him not being the best of choices is like, ya know, WILDLY out of line.

  14. tejanarusa says:

    I’ve gradually realized over the last few years that all these defense contractors have expanded way, way beyond hardware.

    Lockheed has a division that was hired to handle telephone child support collection cases back in the late ’90’s or early ’00’s. I used to work for the state AG’s office doing the same, so I noticed that one – it didn’t work out too well.
    Then, I think it was Lockheed (need to go so not looking up links, sorry) that was assigned the contract to sign up Texans for food stamps a couple of years ago. That didn’t work out well at all – of course, many, many state employees were fired to save money, but the contractor wasn’t very well trained. Last year the state was trying to hire more state employees to take over again, IIRC.

    The other day, following a job board lead, I came upon a training or tech writing position at General Dynamics, some sort of non-hardware program. This being a town with 3 remaining military bases and thousands of retired ex-military, it’s full of defense contractors drawing on that pool of potential employees.
    Checking the job listinngs can prove eye-opening as to how far the contractors have taken over ‘soft’ projects, things that the military or govt agencies used to do themselves.

  15. thatvisionthing says:

    As everyone knows, once you earn your bones in the Bush DOJ on torture and/or illegal wiretapping, you get a plum position in the private world.

    I know Marcy has commented before on how AGAG got left out of “wingnut welfare”… just want to say that other former Bush AGs Ashcroft and also apparently Mukasey (much less noticed, no NY Times articles?) got to be “corporate monitors,” which I’m gathering means they get paid by corporations whatever they want to monitor said corporations who have been fined instead of prosecuted for specific crimes– ? What a sweet money loop to be in. I really think this needs to be noticed. And apparently poor Fredo did not get that plum.

    Admitting Misconduct While Avoiding Charges
    NY Times, January 25, 2010

    The prospect of a corporation being charged with a crime has become controversial over the past few years as the Justice Department has ramped up its investigations of companies for overseas bribery, health care fraud and environmental violations.

    To mitigate the effect of a criminal conviction on a company’s employees and shareholders, federal prosecutors now often use deferred and nonprosecution agreements that allow the government to tout the fact that it has punished a corporation for what it considers misconduct without necessarily pursuing a criminal conviction.

    …A deferred prosecution agreement involves the government filing charges against the company and agreeing to dismiss them if it complies with the terms of the agreement. When there is a nonprosecution agreement, the Justice Department announces what it would have charged the company with, but does not do so as long as it complies with the agreement.

    …a provision frequently seen in deferred and nonprosecution agreements: a corporate monitor. This can be a lucrative position for monitors, who usually hire their own law firm or consulting shop to conduct the internal reviews and who can charge almost as much as they want because the company is in no position to object.

    • bobschacht says:

      The prospect of a corporation being charged with a crime has become controversial over the past few years as the Justice Department has ramped up its investigations of companies for overseas bribery, health care fraud and environmental violations.

      Well, in the new era of Corporate Personhood, why shouldn’t corporations be tried as persons, if the corporation is collectively guilty of illegal behavior, then the corporation should be held responsible. And I guess that should mean jail time for the ‘head.’

      Pursuing this metaphor, how can we put a corporation in jail?

      Bob in AZ

      • thatvisionthing says:

        Let Freedom Ka-Ching, from The Colbert Report:

        “Corporations do everything people do except breathe, die and go to jail for dumping 1.3 million pounds of PCBs in the Hudson River.” -–Stephen Colbert

  16. Mary says:

    BTW- some of this ties loosely to the diary up now about Journalist Allan Nairn

    Nairn had this piece in The Nation, starting:

    According to senior Indonesian officials and police and details from government files, the US-backed Indonesian armed forces (TNI), now due for fresh American aid, assassinated a series of civilian activists during 2009. The killings were part of a secret government program, authorized from Jakarta, and were coordinated in part by an active-duty, US-trained general in the special forces unit called Kopassus who has just acknowledged on the record that his TNI men had a role in the killings.

    Obama is wanting to give more money out to the TNI, despite its record of civilian killings. And now the journalist, Nairn, is facing threats of the military pursuing charges against him.

    Hell- what could go wrong with putting the Pentagon in charge of contracting for justice.

  17. bobschacht says:

    Comey was part of a culture of “justice” that saturates the DOJ after 8 years of Cheney and Bush. One of the things that is needed is for the Obama administration to get more assertive about filling his political appointments in the DOJ. Dawn Johnsen is the most visible example, but there are dozens (scores? hundreds?) of others. And we need those positions filled not only to carry out Obama’s policies (such as they are), but also to carry out performance evaluations of their subordinates, in order to weed out the hapless appointments made by Monica Goodling and her pals. Time’s a-wasting.

    Bob in AZ

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