GEI is a long-term military contractor and manufacturer of protective body armor, munitions equipment, and armored vehicles, with annual revenues of $300 billion. GEI employs 140 workers each highly paid union technicians and mechanics, members of the Union of Munitions and Armor Workers (UMAW). GEI manufactures protective body flak jackets, night vision rifle scopes and armored tank vehicles for the US military.
Contrary to international law and treaties, it also manufactures land mines exporting them to Afghanistan and Iran, its best foreign customers. More than half of its profits derive from these clandestine operations.
All of GEI’s products have problems. Although paid handsomely for its body armor, munitions equipment and armored vehicles, the materials used in manufacturing are substandard. The flak jackets do not fully protect military service members from most antipersonnel ammunition. The simple addition of superior quality material in the flak jackets would prevent most injuries, but GEI did not tell the military because changing materials would be costly, and GEI fears it would lose its contract. In addition, its night vision rifle scopes work erratically and often not at all, resulting in injuries and deaths of service personnel in combat situations. The armored vehicles, though strong and sturdy on the sides and top have only a thin sheet on their undersides, making them especially vulnerable to IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosions.
Most of the Land mines GEI sells to the Taliban in Afghanistan and to the Iranian government are also defective. Many who attempt to plant the mines are killed in the process because the land mines have faulty switches. Most of the mines’ victims are children and soldiers.
As the US military began to understand the problems with the flak jackets, night vision rifle scopes and armored vehicles it purchases from GEI, the US Department of Justice...