Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Military Mafia

Army’s Mafia Abuse of Pvt. Bradley Manning by Ray McGovern

When the report leaked to the press, Taguba found himself treated like a disloyal capo who had talked out of school about the Family business.

Rather than thank Taguba for upholding the honor of the U.S. Army, the Bush administration singled out this hard-working, low-key general for retribution and forced retirement.

In an interview with New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh, Taguba described a chilling conversation he had with Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command, a few weeks after Taguba’s report became public.

As the two men sat in the back of Abizaid’s Mercedes sedan in Kuwait, Abizaid quietly told Taguba, "You and your report will be investigated."

"I’d been in the Army 32 years by then," Taguba told Hersh, "and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia."


Similarities Between the U.S. Military and the Mafia by Ian G. Anderson

As Smedley Butler concluded, the military might give mafia leaders lessons on how to oppress in the name of profits:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.


Armed Forces: The Military Mafia, TIME

Military lore is replete with tales of slick operators who fast-talk their way past obtuse superiors, navigate bureaucratic absurdities and come out winners. Sergeant Bilko of TV and Milo Minderbinder of Catch-22 are winked at as engaging barracks rogues, and most Americans only chuckle when told, as one Pentagon official said last week, that "everyone has his own racket in the Army."

Suddenly the humor has turned black. Scandal involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, tainting both Army brass and noncoms, has shaken a Pentagon already under attack from every side. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is digging into corruption in Army noncommissioned officers' clubs in the U.S., Germany and Viet Nam. The key figures implicated have held two of the Army's most respected positions. One is Sergeant Major William O. Wooldridge, 46, once the top enlisted man in the Army. He has been accused of running a "Little Mafia" of senior sergeants that systematically bilked service clubs. The other is retired Major General Carl C. Turner, 56, the Army's former provost marshal general, or head military policeman, who later served as chief U.S. marshal in the Justice Department. Turner, according to testimony, quashed an investigation of Wooldridge and also sold Army firearms for personal profit.

Secret Accounts. Last week congressional investigators delineated an empire of larceny, kickbacks, assumed names and secret accounts in foreign banks that was allegedly run by Wooldridge and four fellow topkicks. The sergeants, some of whom were custodians of servicemen's clubs, were said to have skimmed $350,000 a year from club slot machines in Germany and used the money to set up their own company, Maredem, Ltd., to sell supplies at inflated prices to clubs in Viet Nam. Maredem's partners, who somehow managed to get transfers as a group, became custodians of the clubs in Viet Nam. Thus they, allegedly, sold goods to themselves. In 1968 alone, Wooldridge was said to have made $34,454 from Maredem, the others $44,574 each.

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