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Raytheon missile sales funding USSC

Never heard of Raytheon before? They’d probably prefer it that way. They are the world’s largest producer of guided missiles and of the largest sponsors of the United States Studies Centre (USSC), by way of its US-Australian alliance research project, Alliance 21.

They have also been implicated in a corruption scandal that led to the resignation of the Brazilian Aviation Minister and have formally admitted to illegal surveillance and industrial espionage as part of a settlement agreement.

An artist's impression of the USSC offices
An artist’s impression of the USSC offices

Most recently, they’ve signed a deal with a prison in California to test their heat ray on inmates. And as if to prove that evil is terrifyingly petty, their CEO has admitted to plagarising his book, Unwritten Rules of Management. When a student does it they’re charged with academic misconduct. When a sponsor does it they’re thanked on the website.

More disturbing is Raytheon’s attitude to the Middle East. Former company spokesman and program manager Adam Cherrill spent his decade of employment actively promoting the idea of a “Greater Israel” that included the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank. He has also argued that the Palestinian people have no right to self-determination because they don’t have sufficient “national identity.”

But it’s hardly surprising that Raytheon wants to gloss over Palestine’s right to exist. Since 1998, they’ve sold Israel almost $300 million of weapons, including the “bunker-buster” bombs that killed civilians in Lebanon in 2006 and the electronic equipment used to keep Palestinians isolated behind the West Bank separation wall. And yet the US Studies Centre cheerfully accepts this almost comically evil merchant’s blood money, while the university administration turns a blind eye.

At the time of writing, the USSC’s Chief Operating Officer Sean Gallagher had refused to answer Honi’s questions about how much the Centre had received from Raytheon, what procedures the Centre had to ensure their donations came from ethical sources, and whether the Centre was aware of Raytheon’s shady past.

The office of Sydney University Provost Stephen Garton, meanwhile, stated that while the University normally has procedures in place to ensure that gifts are only accepted where those gifts don’t “compromise its core objects and values,” the US Studies Centre is conveniently exempt from all of these requirements, because though it is “affiliated” with the University, it is not “controlled” by it. This despite the fact that the Centre is located in a Sydney Uni building, teaches Sydney Uni students, and has on its Board of Directors and Council of Advisors none other than Stephen Garton and Michael Spence respectively.

Raytheon fits into the US Studies Centre’s long and proud history of receiving funding from ethically ‘interesting’ sources. A glance over their website reveals such ‘partners’ as NewsCorp, Chevron, and the Dow Chemical Company, whose infamous Napalm B and Agent Orange burnt one generation alive and condemned another to gruesome birth defects.

Perhaps it is not so surprising that the US Studies Centre receives funding from such dubious sources. The fact that they would unashamededly boast of it on their web page, however, certainly is.