The failure to fix electricity infrastructure in Afghanistan. IEEE Spectrum published a damning investigation
into the ongoing incompetence, corruption, and waste of the USAID
and its murky cost-plus contracts
, some 'so vague that it did not require the contractor to provide "specific deliverables with concrete delivery dates."' [from here
] Not surprisingly, they spend a lot
of money. previously
How two American kids became big-time weapons traders
- "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via
; previously on arms contractors
The U.S. governmental Commission on Wartime Contracting held hearings today
regarding the corruption, mismanagement, massive financial waste and lack of oversight among private defense contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. [more inside]
The mystery of American Raymond A. Davis, currently imprisoned in the custody of local police in Lahore, Pakistan and charged with the Jan. 27 murder of two young men, whom he allegedly shot eight times with pinpoint accuracy through his car windshield, is growing increasingly murky. Also growing is the anger among Pakistanis that the US is trying to spring him from a Punjab jail by claiming diplomatic immunity. from The Deepening Mystery of Raymond Davis and Two Slain Pakistani Motorcyclists [more inside]
From the Pentagon to the private sector
- In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs [more inside]
The numbers are classified, the dollars are classified, but there's no doubt that the number of "Green Badgers
" are catching up to, and sometimes surpassing, that of "Blue Badgers
" in some of the US's most sensitive national security positions. Bob Baer
is talking about it. Others
have been, too. R.J. Hillhouse has been writing a blog for roughly six months now on the phenomenon: The Spy Who Billed Me
I am sullied -- no more
. Colonel Ted Westhusing was a soldier's soldier -- a multilingual West Point graduate, tough as nails, who was committed to the ancient Greek warrior's ideal of ἀρετή
("arete," excellence). He volunteered to go to Iraq, where he was commanded by another outstanding
rising-star officer, counterinsurgency expert David Petraeus
. (Westhusing's widow, Michelle, recalls that her husband thought his country was doing "a great thing" there.) After working with one of the shadowy contractors the US has relied on to train Iraqi security forces, USIS
, Westhusing became increasingly despondent. In May 2005, investigators say, he put a 9mm bullet in his brain after writing a note that said, "Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I
know it." Westhusing died, as was previously discussed here
, and his former "cdr" is now running the war
. Lots of new information in this article from the Texas Observer
A daily intelligence brief on Iraq,
prepared by a private contractor for the U.S. military and companies working in Iraq--SOC-SMG Inc
--paints a grim picture of life in Baghdad. The information in large sections of the brief? It came from this blog: Iraq the Model
Pentagon has yet to ban contractors from using forced labor
"A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records." ...this is "zero tolerance" ?
A trophy film
of what appears to be civilian defense contractors shooting innocent Iraqi civilians has appeared
on the internet. Investigations are ongoing.
(via Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
Physically and sexually mistreating detainees at Abu Ghraib under orders... 10 years. Abusing prisoners, raping a young Iraqi boy, and lying under oath
(allegedly) because you're a "go-getter"... $164 million
, $16 to $85
Knowing the President and members of congress on both sides of the aisle have your back so long as you're not enlisted(wouldn't have covered corporate types, but what the hey, thought I'd toss it in)... Priceless
Tom Ridge's war profiteering.
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has been reported to hold investments in at least seven different companies directly benefiting from new Homeland Security projects. "In response to a late afternoon telephone inquiry, DHS spokesman Brian Roehrkasse first said the department did not have enough time to answer questions ... Pressed further, he shouted an expletive to a reporter and hung up. "
You too can apply to become a private interrogater in Baghdad
! [Via Randi Rhodes on Air America]
Assists the interrogation support program team lead to increase the effectiveness of dealing with Detainees, Persons of Interest, and Prisoners of War (POWs) that are in the custody of US/Coalition Forces...
Modern Mercenaries on the Iraqi Frontier In his own way, Stevie is a modern soldier-of-fortune, paid by a private security firm to lead a 44-man unit that is protecting American officials in charge of rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq. He left his native Glasgow, Scotland, to join the British army at 16, served for 24 years in conflicts around the globe, about half that time as a member of the special forces. In the shadowy tradition of his trade, he asked that only his first name be used and declined to say much about the wars he has fought. "That is one topic I'd rather not talk about," he said in his rich brogue, speaking by phone from the Baghdad villa run by Kroll Inc., the company that employs him.
have gotten in trouble of late for using the M-word, but now a wider conversation on Kroll, Blackwater
, and friends seems to be emerging. Is the presence of mercenaries --both nationals of coalition countries and foreign nationals--
in Iraq part of Rumsfeld's broader transformation
policy? Is their presence in Iraq even legal
in the first place?
A mob attacked a group of foreign contractors,
shooting four people to death, burning their two vehicles, dragging their bodies through the streets and hanging the charred corpses from a bridge. Another day in the American occupation
Can it be called war profiteering?
The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton
in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than was previously disclosed and demonstrate the U.S. military's increasing reliance on for-profit corporations
to run its logistical operations. Independent experts estimate that as much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors
Halliburton Handed No-Bid Iraqi Oil Firefighting Contract
You still believe this war is about nothing more then WMD's? I wonder how many other of Bush and Cheney's friends are benefiting from this war? The US government didn't even bother to give other companies a chance to bid for this contract. While on the topic of WMD's you might want to check out this
, about the lack of skepticism when it comes to the media making claims for weapons in Iraq. Remember Fox and their claim of a "HUGE" chemical weapons stash? How are we to get accurate news on this war if the journalist's we rely on are nothing more then puppets for this administration?
Can Mercenaries Protect Hamid Karzai?
The US govt is hiring private mercenaries to do it's dirty work overseas. In short, by hiring private military contractors such as DynCorp, the U.S. government has found an effective way to conduct foreign policy by proxy and in secret. These proxies cannot be monitored, are effectively immune from all criminal sanctions, and are dangerously hard to control since they answer to corporate bosses, not military brass.
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