US defense contractors caught celebrating the financial benefits of ISIS and war in the Middle East
At a Credit Suisse conference in West Palm Beach this week, representatives from major defense contractors spoke to their investors about how well business was going in these times of global war. Representatives from top firms like Raytheon, Oshkosh, and Lockheed Martin were in attendance, in somewhat of a celebration of the escalating conflict in the middle east and Africa.
Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President Bruce Tanner gave a speech openly praising the “indirect” benefits that defense contractors would see as a result of the war in Syria. A portion of his speech was captured on audio by someone inside and shared widely on the internet hours after the conference.
In the audio that was captured, Tanner discussed the many recent troubles in the Middle East, with an escalation of conflict in Syria and Turkey. He pointed out how these conflicts would lead to increased sales for their company.
Tanner said that the increased conflict would cause “an intangible lift because of the dynamics of that environment and our products in theater.”
According to the Intercept, during another speech at the conference, Wilson Jones, the president of the defense manufacturer Oshkosh, said that “with the ISIS threat growing, there are more countries interested in buying Oshkosh-made M-ATV armored vehicles.”
Raytheon Chief Executive Tom Kennedy also joined in the informal celebration, saying that his company was seeing “a significant uptick for defense solutions across the board in multiple countries in the Middle East.”
“It’s all the turmoil they have going on, whether the turmoil’s occurring in Yemen, whether it’s with the Houthis, whether it’s occurring in Syria or Iraq, with ISIS,” Kennedy added.
In addition to the growing wars, the contractors also celebrated the fact that the defense sector was recently granted a $607 billion budget by the government.
“Our programs are well supported [in the budget]. We think we did fare very well,” Tanner concluded.
A recent report by journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out stock prices for weapons manufacturers sharply increased just after the terrorist attacks in Paris last month. Greenwald was following the tip of Brooklyn journalist Aaron Cantú, who posted screenshots for the recent stock performances of major weapons contractors on his Twitter page.
Defense industry stocks this morning following Friday night's attacks in Paris: pic.twitter.com/8a35RcpPJ6
— Aaron Cantú (@aaronmiguel_) November 16, 2015
You can listen to the leaked audio from the conference below: