War Profiteering

Companies Auditing Iraq Contracts Have Financial Ties with Contractors
War Profiteering

Two companies monitoring reconstruction contracts in Iraq have business relationships with some of the contractors they're overseeing, according to a report by congressional Democrats. Parsons and CH2M Hill are being paid $28.5 million to prevent waste and abuse in noncompetitive rebuilding contracts that have no cost limitations. Parson is being paid another $43 million to audit energy projects, and also has joint contracts with Bechtel to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. The report said the overseers' fees increase if the companies they're monitoring perform well, creating a financial incentive for the supervising firms not to report poor performance (or deliberate fraud). If you multiply the Harding Administration by the Grant Administration by the Reagan Administration, and then square that number, you might come close to the level of corruption in the Bush regime.

Protest War Profiteering by BushCheney and Their Cronies!
War Profiteering

From Code Pink:

"On February 24, protest Halliburton, Bechtel, and the other corporations that are making millions in Iraq, and speak out for Iraqi workers' rights and self-determination.

"WHAT: International day of protest to end the corporate invasion of Iraq and support Iraqi workers' rights
"WHEN: Tuesday, February 24
"WHERE: In your city, at the offices of Halliburton, Bechtel, or another war profiteering company."

If there isn't a protest in your area, organize one! See the links at the below.

The Bad Guys We Once Thought Good
War Profiteering

Scott Burchill imagines what an interoffice memo at the CIA would look like, if it really told the truth...

Central Intelligence Agency, Langley Virginia
Office of Villains
Department of Wayward Clients and Unsavoury Friends
Status Report: December 2003
To: George J. Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence

In custody on trial or awaiting trial

Manuel Noriega (Panama), Slobodan Milosevic..., Saddam Hussein (Iraq)

Comment: We managed to gloss over the revelation that Noriega was on the CIA payroll under GWB's father before jailing him. Hopefully we can do the same to Saddam, though US and UK support for his WMD programs during the 1980s and 1990s could prove very embarrassing in court. Ditto for Chirac and the Russians. Big mistake taking him alive. Footage of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam in 1983 and not mentioning WMD looks bad, though networks can be trusted to show restraint despite the approaching 20th anniversary (esp Fox).

Wall Street is Bullish on the Spoils of War
War Profiteering

"P.W. Singer, a security analyst at the Brookings Institution, [writes about] the recent proliferation of privatized military firms and their influence on public policy both here and abroad. Calling them the corporate evolution of old-fashioned mercenaries, Singer's new book, 'Corporate Warriors,' says they provide the service side of war rather than weapons. They range from small consulting firms, formed by retired generals, to transnational corporations that lease out battalions of commandos. There are several hundreds of these firms, operating on six continents, boasting yearly revenues of more than $100 billion. Operating mostly in the shadows, they have been players in numerous conflicts over the last decade, ranging from Angola to the former Zaire. They helped put down several low-grade rebellions. The governments of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Ethiopia have used them to remain in power. So can anyone else with, as Singer wryly adds, sufficient plowshares to beat into swords."

One Death a Minute: Toll of the Booming Arms Trade
War Profiteering

"In Somalia, babies are named 'Uzi' and 'AK' after their fathers' favourite assault rifles. In Georgia, arms are so common that English teachers have been paid in hand grenades. In Yemen, the birth of a boy is greeted by tribal leaders with shouts of: 'We have increased by one gun.' Armed with these and a battery of other alarming facts, a coalition of human rights campaigners and aid groups warned yesterday that the spread of lethal weaponry was 'out of control' and the war on terrorism was fuelling a rapid acceleration in the global arms trade, which is worth 17bn [British pounds] a year. The group is calling for a legally binding int'l arms trade treaty by 2006 that would stop governments selling arms to oppressive regimes and halt a trade which is making weaponry part of daily life in many countries. The proliferation of weaponry, in particular small arms, is responsible for the death of one person every minute and more than 500,000 killings a year, the study found."

As Isabel Nears, Americans Pay the Price for What Is Likely an Industry-Engineered Plywood Shortage
War Profiteering

Cheryl Seal writes: "Thanks to the 'engineered plywood shortage', Americans may find, as they brace for Isabel, and then begin their own reconstruction afterward, that they will be paying twice and maybe even thrice for plywood - if they can get it. First, they are paying inflated prices - up to twice what the cost was last spring for a single sheet. Second, the contractors who are buying the plywood for use in Iraq turn around and bill the U.S. government - which, of course, is funded by the US taxpayer. You can bet the invoice won't look like any Home Depot bill! Even as I write this, Halliburton, currently making hay while the Bush sun shines in Iraq, is under investigation by the SEC for gouging the government in the past for materials. In fact, while Cheney was the company's top exec, Halliburton charged the US government $86 for each 4X8 sheet of plywood!"

Protests Begin Against UK Arms Fair
War Profiteering

"Campaigners against Europe's largest international arms show say half of the countries invited to the event next week are not allowed to buy weapons under British law. Up to 60 groups from the UK and Europe say they will hold protests against the event, which is expected to be attended by up to 20,000 top military and government figures from around the world.... Gideon Burrows, author and campaigner, said: '15 years ago Saddam Hussein's henchmen were shopping for arms in Aldershot. Next week we will be selling arms to the Saddam Husseins of the future.'... Countries on the invitation list include Syria, Algeria, Pakistan, India, China and Saudi Arabia.... [The show's organizers] added: 'Every exhibitor signs a compliance form saying they are not going to bring illegal weapons systems.'" WHEW! Thank goodness THAT'S cleared up! Where in the world would we be without those trusty, fool-proof 'compliance forms'?

U.S. Weapons Aid Repression in Aceh
War Profiteering

Frida Berrigan writes for Foreign Policy in Focus: "Far from the spotlight and far from Baghdad, another shock and awe campaign is underway. On May 19th, Indonesia launched a military campaign to 'strike and paralyze' a small band of separatist rebels in the Aceh province. In a made-for-TV photo op, 458 soldiers parachuted onto the island from six C-130 Hercules transport aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the United States' largest defense contractor. As many as 40,000 Indonesian troops and a police force of 10,000 followed close behind, backed up by warships, fighter planes, and other high-tech military equipment, declaring war on 5,000 separatist guerillas armed with automatic weapons, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades."

30 Arrested for Protesting Bechtel Headquarters in SF
War Profiteering

"Amid protests claiming it is profiting from the war in Iraq, Bechtel Corp. plans to start recruiting more Iraqi firms to rebuild the war-damaged nation. The San Francisco-based company[has been] awarded a $680 million contract to direct Iraq's reconstruction... [A] new report released Thursday criticizes what it calls the company's track record of 'environmental destruction, disregard for human rights and financial mismanagement' during its 100-year history of building power plants, water systems and roads worldwide... 'We think Bechtel should be held accountable for war profiteering and devastating many communities around the world,' said Kristi Laughlin, a campaign coordinator at Global Exchange. 'We're taking money from the Iraqi people and U.S. taxpayers to line the corporate pockets of Bechtel.' About 30 protesters, denouncing Bechtel's role in Iraq, were arrested Thursday morning during demonstrations in front of the company's headquarters in downtown San Francisco."

Richard Perle is Not Alone
War Profiteering

"Perle, no stranger to controversy, is likely to get through this dust-up...largely because, right or wrong, the intersection of his business dealings and his part-time public service is not unusual... panels such as the Defense Policy Board were designed to tap the expertise of Corporate America. Appointees don't get paid, but they do get the cachet that comes with being in an elite club...So with a $75 billion (and counting) war under way and a reconstruction plan on the drawing board, hawks on advisory panels are well-positioned. Perle, with fellow DPB members Henry Kissinger and Gerald Hillman, has set up a venture-capital firm, Trireme Partners, to invest in defense and homeland-security companies. 'It looks like hell,' says Charles Lewis, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity. 'We're waging war, and a number of the people serving on these bodies stand to make money from it.'"

Darrell Issa (R - PorkMe) Introduces Bill Calling for Post W-ar Iraq to Go with CDMA Cellular Phone System
War Profiteering

"The congressman representing San Diego, home of CDMA developer Qualcomm Inc., introduced legislation that would require the Department of Defense and the United States Agency for International Development to deploy CDMA wireless technology in post-war Iraq. 'In entering into any contract with a private entity to provide commercial mobile wireless communication service as assistance for Iraq, the administrator of USAID and the Secretary of Defense shall require that CDMA technology be used for such communication service,' reads the legislation introduced Thursday by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa on Wednesday circulated a 'Dear Colleague' letter urging other lawmakers to sign on to letters to Defense Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld and to USAID Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain calling for the same result.'"