Multinational Monitor

MAY/JUN 2005
VOL 26 No. 5


How the East Was Won: BAT and Big Tobacco's Conquest of the Former Soviet Union
by Anna Gilmore and Martin McKee

Yasuní Blues: The IMF, Ecuador and Coerced Oil Exploration
by Matt Finer and Leda Huta

White Gold or Fool's Gold: What Will a Rollback of U.S. Cotton Subsidies Mean for Farmers in Burkina Faso?
by John Liebhardt

Deadly Consequences: How the IMF Provoked Bolivia Into Bloody Crisis
by Jim Schultz and Lily Whitesell


Tackling Big Tobacco: The Establishment of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
An Interview with Derek Yach

Big Tobacco's Big Seduction; Women, Tobacco and the Glorification of Addiction
An Interview with Mary Assunta

Philip Morris Comes to Indonesia: What Does a Company Get for $5 Billion?
An Interview with Tjandra Aditjama


Behind the Lines

Big Tobacco and Justice

The Front
Chile's Terror Duplicity
- The Curse of Gold

The Lawrence Summers Memorial Award

Book Notes

Names In the News


Behind the Lines

Grotesque Militari$m

Global military expenditures soared past the $1 trillion mark in 2004, according to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and published in the Institute’s 2005 Yearbook.

The United States is responsible for almost half of this global total.

In inflation-adjusted terms, military spending is now rivaling the record total achieved during the peak of Cold War expenditures in 1988-1989, according to SIPRI.

Since 1998, government military spending has jumped almost 6 percent annually in real terms.

“The major determinant of the world trend in military expenditure is the change in the USA, which makes up 47 per cent of the world total,” according to SIPRI’s 2005 Yearbook. U.S. spending in Iraq and Afghanistan is the key factor in the global trend.

The 2005 Yearbook also reported on the world’s largest arms-trading companies. The combined arms sales of the top 100 companies in the world (excluding China) in 2003 was $236 billion.

Thirty-eight of the largest companies are based in the United States. Along with the single Canadian company in the top 100, these companies accounted for 63.2 per cent of arms sales by the top 100.

“In the past decade the top arms-producing companies have grown enormously in size, primarily through acquisitions,” noted SIPRI. “They are now comparable in economic importance to many other multinational corporations and, like them, the largest arms-producing companies have sales of a magnitude that make them major economic entities. ... The value of their arms sales exceeds the GDP of most low-income countries and their total sales compare to the GDPs of medium-sized developed or industrializing countries.”


Corporate Speech Control

German soccer players who refuse to wear Adidas shoes may be kicked off the national team, reports

Adidas has an exclusive contract with the German team to supply shoes, but this deal conflicts with the players’ personal contracts with other shoe makers.

Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who has also been employed as a spokesperson by Adidas, said players refusing to don Adidas will not be permitted on the team. Up to a dozen players may be affected by the ultimatum.

“There will be nobody representing the national team without wearing Adidas boots,” said Klinsmann, according to “If any player says that he must wear an alternative [brand], he can go home and watch the game on television.”

Meanwhile, in an altogether different permutation of corporate speech restrictions, Advertising Age reports that Morgan Stanley has informed various publications that it wants ad copy pulled if those publications plan to criticize the financial firm.

“In the event that objectionable editorial coverage is planned, agency must be notified as a last-minute change may be necessary. If an issue arises after-hours or a call cannot be made, immediately cancel all Morgan Stanley ads for a minimum of 48 hours,’’ says the Morgan Stanley directive, according to the Advertising Age report.

Some publications, such as the Wall Street Journal — the largest recipient of Morgan Stanley advertising — state that it would be impossible for them to follow the directive, because there is a strict wall between the advertising division and the news and editorial divisions.

However, such instructions apparently have an impact. Advertising Age reports that more and more companies are issuing such directives.


Insecure at the IMF

Security workers at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) building in Washington, D.C. had their labor rights violated, according to a U.S. administrative law judge.

The private security firm Wackenhut employs the workers.

Wackenhut broke the U.S. National Labor Relations Act by intimidating and threatening IMF security workers who were seeking to form a union, administrative law judge Michael Rosas found, in response to a claim filed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Rosas found Wackenhut broke the law “on several occasions … by threatening employees with retaliation or the loss of the Respondent’s IMF contract if they formed a union, interrogating employees about union organizing activities, engaging in surveillance and/or creating the impression of surveillance of employee activities, and discouraging employees from accepting union literature on public property in front of their workplace.”

Wackenhut has since lost the contract to guard the IMF offices.

Since 2000, Wackenhut employees and their unions have filed nearly 100 claims alleging the company has violated U. S. labor law, according to SEIU. The claims include interfering with employee rights to organize and bargain and discriminating against employees based on their union activity or membership.


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