SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- A South Korean opposition lawmaker has claimed that a political heavyweight might have worked behind the scenes for the deployment of a U.S. missile shield on South Korean soil.
In his posting on Facebook, Kim Jong-dae, a lawmaker of the minor Justice Party, questioned the decision-making process of the South Korean government with regard to the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
Kim alleged that Lockheed Martin, the THAAD manufacturer, had repeatedly contacted heavyweights of the Park Geun-hye government to lobby for the deployment.
He demanded that the secret figure pulling the strings be found.
Reversing an earlier stance of "Three Nos," South Korea abruptly announced a joint decision with the United States on July 8 to install one THAAD battery in the country by the end of next year.
The "Three Nos" refer to no proposal, no consultation and no decision on THAAD deployment.
Kim pointed out that as the southern town of Seongju was selected as the site for deployment, Seoul would be outside the THAAD range and additional defense system would therefore also be needed.
"By supplying six Patriot missile batteries to defend Seoul at 600 billion won (about 515 million U.S. dollars) per each unit, a new market of 3.6 trillion won (about 3.1 billion dollars) will be created," Kim said. "Additional markets will open when it sells missile-defense combat systems on the Korean Navy's irrational procurement of three Aegis-class ships. Furthermore, another 2 trillion won (about 1.7 billion dollars) market will be offered if Korea purchases just one THAAD battery."
"If it manages to accomplish the THAAD deployment by lobbying anyone possible, the rest is offered automatically," he said. "And you can easily guess who sits in the palm of Lockheed Martin's hand."
The large amount of money is significant to Lockheed Martin, especially when its star product, combat aircraft F-35, is having poor sales.
Established in 1912, Lockheed Martin is the world's largest military enterprise, whose history is packed with scandals, including the astonishing bribery scandal in 1976 in Japan.
The scandal was revealed in 1976 when the vice-chairman of Lockheed told a Senate subcommittee that the company had paid about 500 million yen (about 4 million dollars) in bribes to Japanese Prime Minister Kabuei Tanaka and other heavyweights in order to influence the All Nippon Airways to buy Lockheed's L-1011 TriStar planes instead of McDonnell's DC-10s.
Tanaka was sentenced to four years in prison.
In 1999, Lockheed Martin was again brought to court. South Korea wished to purchase military equipment and finally the contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin's Loral Cooperation. However, Korea Supply Company, which was also competing for the contract, accused Linda Kim, an employee of Loral Cooperation, of bribing two military officers and offering sex favors to South Korea's defense minister to secure the contract from then South Korean government.
Although Lockheed Martin strongly denied the accusation, Linda's lawyer admitted that she had a criminal record of offering bribes and sex favors and was once sentenced in prison for that reason.
According to Forbes, 80 percent of Lockheed Martin's annual revenue is from the U.S. government, of which 61 percent is from the Pentagon. At the same time, Lockheed Martin spends about 15 million U.S. dollars every year to lobby the government and even use illegal methods in order to influence Washington's decision-making process and to get profitable projects.
"Lockheed Martin looks like a classic case of a company that is too big to fail," said William Hartung, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, in an article.
"It supplies the Pentagon with so many kinds of weapons systems that it appears to have made itself indispensable," Hartung said.
Under such circumstances, quite a few members of the U.S. Congress spare no effort to support Lockheed Martin, he said, which explains why the company can get away from severe punishment even though it was reported to have involved in 81 alleged improper behaviors, including inappropriate competition and fraud.
Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the nation about the potentially corrupting influence of the "military-industrial complex" in his farewell address in 1961. Yet more than five decades later, most U.S. military giants, like Lockheed Martin, become even stronger and push many regions around the globe into turmoils for their own interests.