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Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is a multinational IT company with deep present and past complicity in Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing, US tracking, detention, and deportations of Black and Brown migrants, the US prison system, the US NSA's regime of mass surveillance against its own residents, and US military's regime of mass violence worldwide. HPE was formerly part of Hewlett Packard (HP), prior to Hewlett Packard splitting into Hewlett Packard Inc. (HP Inc.) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in 2016.

Support for Israeli colonization and apartheid

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) previously served as the exclusive provider of the Itanium servers compatible with Israel’s Biometric Population Registry, managed by the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority. As reported by AFSC Investigate, the Israeli government uses its Biometric Population Registry to document the ethnic and religious identities as well as the geographical residencies of the different peoples who live under its control. The Israeli government records information from its Biometric Population Registry onto government-issued ID cards which all residents must carry, and uses this information to streamline its system of legalized apartheid, through which Israel denies equal rights and freedoms to Palestinians relative to Jewish Israelis, while granting tiered levels of rights and freedoms to Palestinians relative to one another based on geography -- '48 Palestinians (Palestinians with Israeli citizenship), Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Palestinians in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, and Palestinian refugees living outside of historic Palestine. Additionally, from 2009-2016, HP installed and maintained the "Basel System," a "biometric access control system" which utilized hand and facial recognition along with biometric ID cards to manage and limit Palestinian movement, particularly that of Palestinian workers commuting through Israeli military checkpoints to get to and from work. Israel stopped using the Basel system in 2016.

This Biometric Population Registry, which HPE equipped, makes it possible for the Israeli government to organize information in order to grant Jewish Israelis (including those living in its West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements) full rights and freedoms while subjecting Palestinians to a tiered system of more limited rights and freedoms. The Registry enables to Israeli government to curtail Palestinians' ability to move freely across their land (forcing Palestinians to walk and drive on separate and unequal roads and walkways), limit where Palestinians can live, deny Palestinians access to social services, deny Palestinians the ability to marry loved ones and reunify their families, and force many Palestinians to face trial for alleged "legal infractions" in Israeli military courts (whereas all Jewish Israelis are tried by a panel of peers in civil courts, Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank are tried in Israeli military courts which have a conviction rate of 99.7%), and more. In addition to severely curtailing the rights and freedoms of Palestinians relative to the rights and freedoms of Jewish Israelis, Israel's Biometric Population Registry facilities the fragmentation of the Palestinian people between '48 Palestinians (aka Palestinians with Israeli citizenship), Palestinians with "residency" in East Jerusalem, Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Palestinians in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, and Palestinian refugees living outside of historic Palestine. Israel's fragmentation of the Palestinian people into these separate groups with tiered rights and freedoms relative to one another is part of an intentional Israeli effort to prevent and disrupt unity across the Palestinian people, unity which has the proven potential to upend Israel's system of settlement expansion, ethnic cleansing, and legalized apartheid. Israel's Biometric Population Registry, which HPE equipped, is the technological backbone which makes it possible for this Israeli system of tiered rights and freedoms based on identity and geography to function, and function with efficiency. 

Recently, after years of pressure from Palestinians and Palestine Solidarity activists, HPE appears to have stopped providing servers for Israel's Biometric Population Registry. Through a FOIA request by WhoProfits in April 2021, the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority confirmed that in forthcoming years the Israeli government plans to phase out the computerization system for which HPE supplies servers. They plan to replace this system with a new computerized system provided and managed by IBM (see the entry on IBM). WhoProfits reports that although Israel will phase out the computerization system for which HPE supplied servers, HPE will continue to provide: data storage, data security services, and equipment maintenance services for the Israeli Ministry of Interior's biometric database; Virtual Contact (VC) systems and servers for the Israeli Police; servers, data storage, and data security services to the Israel Prison Service; and computer and communication maintenance for the Israel Prison Service.

Support for ICE, Prisons, NSA, and the US Military

Hewlett Packard and Hewlett Packard Enterprise previously developed and supplied "Status Determination" and "Criminal Alien Tracking" technologies to US Immigration Customs Enforcement ICE, while providing broad technological support to the California Department of Corrections' "Offender Management System." Like the technologies HPE supplied to the Israeli government, the technologies HPE supplied to ICE and the California DOC helped each of these agencies organize population data in order to streamline their respective regimes of discrimination and repression on a broad scale. The "Status Determination" and "Criminal Alien Tracking" technologies HPE supplied ICE enabled ICE to organize information--on who does vs who does not have access to US "citizenship," streamlining ICE's regime of tracking, detentions, and deportations of people who are not "citizens." The California DOC's "Offender management System" which HPE equips enabled the California DOC to organize data necessary to continue caging over a hundred of thousand disproportionately Black and Brown human beings statewide, as well as organize data on who has vs has not been incarcerated in the past in order to efficiently deny access to housing, employment, social benefits, and voting to people who California labels as "felons."

In 2017, HPE split into three entities: HPE, DXC Technologies, and MicroFocus. HPE spun off many of its most criticized contracts, including contracts with ICE and the California Department of Corrections, to DXC Technologies, likely in an attempt to distance the HP brand from the actions of ICE and the California prison system (while still profiting from these agencies). Following the split, HPE stated that it would “maintain a strong relationship with DXC, with agreements in place to support current customers.” In total, HPE along with its parent company HP (from which HPE split in 2016) have derived $128.80 million to date through contracts with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS is the parent agency of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which jointly carry out the US government's regime of tracking, detention, and deportation of Black and Brown migrants.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise also provides technological support to the US federal government's program of broadscale surveillance of its own residents. As AFSC Investigate reports: "In 2001, following the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, Hewlett-Packard Company donated “truckloads” of servers to the National Security Agency (NSA) to enable the creation of Stellar Wind, the mass domestic surveillance program of warrantless wiretapping. As of 2016, HP Enterprise still provides equipment to the NSA."

Furthermore, as The Massachusetts Against Hewlett Packard Campaign reported in 2016: "HP technology is employed by every branch of the US Armed Forces — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 'the greatest purveyor of violence in the world' — for logistics, propaganda, recruitment, vehicle and weapon systems integration, and battlefield computers." Hewlett Packard Enterprise, along with its parent company HP, have derived $1.54 billion to date from US Department of Defense (DoD) contracts for the provision of products and services to the US military. 

Links to Massachusetts

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has corporate offices in downtown Boston. The state of Massachusetts currently holds rate contracts with Hewlett Packard, through which municipalities, school systems, and other public entities within MA can purchase HP products in large quantities at rates pre-negotiated by the state of MA. 

In May 2021, hundreds of community members in the city of Cambridge MA mobilized in support of a policy order submitted by members of the Cambridge City Council which called upon Cambridge to end its business ties with Hewlett Packard and other companies supporting Israeli apartheid. Cambridge city councilors opposed to this BDS policy order submitted a last-minute "substitute policy order" which revised the language of the original policy order by removing HP, drawing false equivalences between Israeli ethnic cleansing and Palestinian resistance, while stating that the city should review all of its contracts for violations of human rights. A majority of Cambridge City Councilors voted to replace the original policy order (which hundreds of residents had testified on) with this last-minute, watered-down substitute policy order, after which the city council passed the substitute policy order. 

In March 2022, the Cambridge City Manager responded to the watered-down substitute policy order, claiming that the city was not equipped to make determinations as to which companies were engaged in human rights abuses. Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan, who sponsored the original policy order, wrote the following in response to the City Manager's decision:

The City Manager has finally responded to the policy order from last term that asked him to identify vendors and manufacturers the city does business with which are in violation of International Human Rights Laws. The administration is effectively refusing to comply, claiming that the council did not provide enough specificity in terms of which purchase orders and which human rights violations were to be reviewed.

This response is unsurprising given the council's effective neutralizing of the initial order, which very specifically called into question the city's purchasing contract with Hewlett Packard over their facilitation of apartheid in Israel via being the exclusive provider of computers that are used to biometrically track Palestinians, deny them access to water and healthcare in the Gaza strip, and imprison them without access to a fair trial. It remains beyond disappointing that a majority of the council refused to directly confront the situation in Israel despite the city's long and storied history of terminating purchasing contracts with companies that facilitate discrimination or other ethically questionable practices, including during South African Apartheid in the 1980s. 

Clearly, the City Manager has no interest in establishing a human rights screen on procurement requests and is conveniently leaning on the council's amendments to absolve himself of any pressure to do so. I particularly take issue with the final line of the city's letter, which states that the city is "not equipped to make adjudications based on mere allegations of such violations". The mistreatment of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli Government is happening clear as day and we cannot allow ourselves to turn a blind eye to that gross injustice by considering it merely an allegation. To do so is to be complicit in the oppression.

See also: This press release BDS Boston (who mobilized community support for the original policy order) put out following the Cambridge City Council hearings.

321 Summer St, Boston, MA 02210

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