A Can of Worms


by Alfred Mendes

The British government recently unveiled plans to introduce identity cards to its citizens. One intriguing aspect of this was the revelation, in the media, that a top-secret military research firm/organisation, ‘QinetiQ’ (pronounced ‘kinetic’), would play a crucial role in the

scientific/technical aspects of this controversial subject. That, in itself, is enough to arouse curiosity, which, in turn, surely calls for closer scrutiny of QinetiQ. Hopefully, this curiosity will be justified by what follows in this article, which will - necessarily - be prefixed by brief historical background notes.

Exacerbated by the Cold War, research into military technology became a matter of priority on both sides of the Divide (to the detriment of the USSR). In Britain, this took the form of the Royal Signals & Radar Establishment (RSRE); the Defence Research Agency (DRA); the Defence Test & Evaluation Organisation (DTEO); the Chemical & Biological Defence Establishment (Porton Down); and the Centre for Defence Analysis (CDA) – all leading to the formation of the Defence Evaluation & Research Agency (DERA) in April 1995.

The Strategic Defence Review undertaken by the MOD in 1998 recommended the adoption of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement as the best means of maximising the strategic value and operational cost effectiveness of the United Kingdom's defence research capabilities. As a result, on July 2nd 2001, DERA was split into two organisations: the Defence Scientific &

Technical Laboratory (DSTL), and QinetiQ Group plc. The former remaining part of the MOD, continuing to handle the most sensitive areas of research, whereas, as a public private partnership, QinetiQ would have greater freedom and access to capital, allowing it to exploit its technologies and capabilities in wider markets and to achieve a significantly higher return on capital. As noted by the Defence Minister, Dr. Lewis Moonie, in Hansard on the 5th February 2002, the contract to oversee this privatisation of part of DERA was awarded to the accountancy firm, Arthur Andersen (of recent notoriety). At this point, it would not be amiss to mention a statement made by the CEO of QinetiQ, Sir John Chisholm: “The fact that we are in competition, and win those competitions, tells us that we are doing well. Profit is not in itself an objective, but it is a measure that you are really good at what you are doing”... It can safely be assumed that they are doing well.!

This marriage of convenience between government and private/corporate companies mirrors precisely what had occurred in America previously: the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was established in 1958 as the first U.S. response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik. Since that time DARPA's mission has been to ensure that the U.S. maintains a lead in

applying state-of-the-art technology for military capabilities. In its own words: “DARPA’s original operating philosophy has changed over the years in only three ways -- its relationships with the commercial marketplace, its business practices, and its emphasis on joint systems”. This merely reflects the clonal relationship which has existed for decades between the US

Administration and US corporations - and in view of the similar clonal relationship that exists between the US and British governments, it is hardly surprising that the latter has adopted a similar system for its military research projects - hence QinetiQ.

That such privatisation of a government organisation raises doubts as to its efficacy and incorruptibility can be illustrated by a glance at DARPA itself: DARPA is listed as one of its prime clients by the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a CIA-front company whose Vice-President (until 2002) was David Kay (again, of recent notoriety), who, while with SAIC, was also co-ordinator of SAIC’s ‘homeland security & counterterrorism’ initiatives. Furthermore, Admiral John Poindexter – of Iran-Contra infamy - had been working for DARPA when he was forced to resign when it was revealed that DARPA was prepared to trade ‘futures’ in terrorist attacks - et al.

As for the importance of QinetiQ on the political scene, it is among the largest - if not the largest science and technology company in Western Europe, with some 42 locations in Britain alone. As for its ‘partnerships’ (of which there are many): the most influential is almost certainly the prestigious American Carlyle Group, one of the largest equity firms in the world, which currently manages around $18 billion of capital on behalf of its investors. As a result of its decision in March 2002 to seek a strategicpartner to invest in QinetiQ, the MOD chose Carlyle Group who would now acquire a 33.8% interest in QinetiQ. This meant that management control and

responsibility for setting future commercial strategy would now be shared between the two companies. As Dr. Moonie (see above) put it: “The Carlyle Group shares our vision for the future of QinetiQ” - a statement enlarged upon by the CEO of QinetiQ, Sir John Chisholm (who had held a similar position in DERA): “Working together, QinetiQ and The Carlyle Group will be a strong team with complementary experience. We can now be even more confident of achieving our ultimate goal of moving from a European leader to a global technological solutions provider for our diverse range of customers. Carlyle's investment secures a bright, long-term future for our business, our employees and our customers." The partnership would now be

confirmed by the appointment of two Carlyle nominees to the QinetiQ board of directors: a managing director of Carlyle, Glenn Youngkin (American); and a Carlyle board member, Sir Denys Henderson (British). A look at some of the present Senior Management Team (as they like to call themselves) of the Group confirms the influential status of Carlyle within

the military/industrial complex of Corporate America:

Chairman Emeritus (!): Frank Carlucci (Deputy Director CIA ‘78 - ‘81; Deputy Secretary of Defense ‘81 - ‘82; National Security Adviser ‘87 - ‘89). Senior Counselor (sic): James Baker lll (Chief of Staff ‘81 - ‘85; Secretary of Treasury ‘85 - ‘89; Secretary of State ‘89 - ‘93). Chairman of Carlyle Europe: John Major (ex-Prime Minister of Britain). Senior Adviser to Asia Advisory Board: George Bush Snr. (Director CIA ’76 - ‘77; Vice-President ‘81 - ‘89; President ‘89 - ‘93). This was a position he had held since 1999. In October 2003 he reportedly retired from this position - but no mention was made that he had sold his investment in the Group....(Ref: previous article entitled ‘The Carlyle Group’ by this author).

The logical conclusion to be drawn from the above is that Britain is now firmly tied to the USA on the latter’s march towards capitalist global domination - and it must be kept in mind that the fact that this ‘onward march’ is being carried out under such banners as: ‘In the Name of the International Community’, ‘In the Name of Humanity’, and ‘In the War Against Terrorism’ - reflects duplicity of the highest order.

Alfred Mendes writes frequently for Spectre and, according to our electronic watchdogs, his articles are consistently our most popular.