Washington Babylon — March 24, 2010, 10:36 am

Liberian Justice, Brought to You by Lockheed

Emira Woods of the Institute for Policy Studies sent along this article from the Wall Street Journal:

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…

Some question whether big military contractors are the right ones to carry these programs out. Sam Rosenfeld, a former British army officer who trained soldiers in Sierra Leone and is chairman of security consultancy Densus Group, says it is hard to determine if big contractors are creating lasting programs or simply passing recruits through training. “Is the taxpayer getting value for money because they’re getting sustainable systems, or is it just headcount?”

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.”

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