Don’t Mention the War

Today’s Weekend Markets and Money will suggest a couple of stocks you can put on your watchlist as the US continues to expand the military industrial complex. If you’re not watching, you should be: The biggest trend of the last thirteen years has been the ongoing War on Terror. You can expect it to continue.

Mind you, you’re not going to hear about it in Australia’s media. While everyone else was watching the Federal Reserve this week, Australia’s politicians continued their encroachment on our civil liberties and passed the Foreign Fighters Bill. This line in the Financial Times  caught my attention:

A law passed last month by the Abbott government — with the support of the opposition Labor party — makes it a criminal offence for journalists or whistleblowers to reveal details of intelligence agency operations.

I bring it up because I just put a new book on order, James Risen’s Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. Risen is an American investigative journalist and author. He won a Pulitzer Price for exposing the National Security Agency’s secret warrantless wiretapping program. He’s also facing prison for refusing to reveal a source that exposed a botched CIA program from his previous 2006 book, State of War. The man clearly has guts.

Here’s James Risen being interviewed on NPR about the government attack on US free society since 2001 :

In a society where we have a rule of law and a democracy, if you allow the government to have a massive transformation of the way it does business without any real debate, then you’re not going to be a real democracy anymore. And that’s what’s happened since 9/11…we have allowed the government to completely overhaul and transform virtually the entire intelligence community and create a new counterterrorism apparatus and a new national security state that is massive with virtually no debate at all.

Risen’s observations about the rise of the US security state are just as applicable to Australia. Anyone who has read a bit of history knows the first casualty of war is truth. The pretexts for invading Vietnam, Kuwait and Iraq (to name just three) in the last half century have been exposed as utterly bogus government hoaxes. ‘Political language, wrote George Orwell, ‘is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’ Old George knew a thing or two about politics.

Pay Any Price is about the growth of the US national security state and the rush of money that’s flowed from Congress to counterterrorism agencies such as the CIA, FBI and the Pentagon. You can rest assured all that money has come with plenty of fraud, corruption and incompetence as well. I’ll fill you in on the details when the book hits my desk.

Meantime, consider the following chart. I’m guessing some of that congressional money has had something to do with Lookheed Martin’s dramatic price appreciation.


25 Years of Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is one of the biggest military contractrors in the world. It hit all time highs this week. You can see the astonishing rise it’s had since 2013. You’d think when the sitting American President has a Nobel Peace Prize, business might be off. Not so!

I keep coming across suggestions that the next build up of US power — and where Congress is going to spend billions — is the US Navy. If you’ve seen the World War D DVDs, you’ll know military analyst Byron King pointed out the huge decline in US naval power since its peak in 1940. In fact, he said it’s the same size now as it was in 1916.

It might not stay that way for long. US foreign policy is all about the ‘pivot’ to the Pacific, presumably with the view to containing China. For that reason, another stock you might like to watch is Australian ship builder Austal [ASX: ASB]. It’s already taking orders from the US government. It’s quite possible it will win a lot more. A rising chart should tell us. Yes, dear reader, the Australian government might keep muzzling the press, but there’s no hiding the buying and selling going on in the share market.

Of course, all Australian government officials are honest souls. I have no doubt that should any of them receive information about pending government contracts, they would never act inappropriately to gain from it. Especially not now that journalists can be convicted for revealing anything untoward.

I mean, they’re from the government. They wouldn’t do that…would they?


Callum Newman+
for The Markets and Money Australia

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Originally graduating with a degree in Communications, Callum decided financial markets were far more fascinating than anything Marshall McLuhan (the ‘medium is the message’) ever came up with. Today Callum spends his day reading and researching why currencies, commodities and stocks move like they do. So far he’s discovered it’s often in a way you least expect.

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