Category "Halliburton & The Iraqateers"

Waste, Fraud Plague Iraq Reconstruction

March 15th, 2009 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

Boy, what a surprise.

From CBS News

*New Report Says Poor Oversight Allowed Greedy Contractors To Take Taxpayers For A Multi-Billion Dollar Ride*

Poor planning, weak oversight and greed combined to soak U.S. taxpayers and undermine American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, government watchdogs tell a new commission examining waste and corruption in wartime contracts.

Since 2003, the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have paid contractors more than $100 billion for goods and services to support war operations and rebuilding.


After invading Iraq in 2003, the United States had a postwar plan for six months. It ended up being six years.

The Bush administration predicted only $2 billion taxpayer dollars would be needed to rebuild Iraq. The tab is $51 billion and counting - half of that amount was spent on private security contractors.

The new report, “Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience,” finds the U.S. government “was neither prepared for nor able to respond to the ever-changing demands” of stabilizing Iraq. The report also says there were multiple shortcomings in the planning.

For example, there were not enough troops to contend with the worsening security situation. And at the same time it was fighting a brutal insurgency, the U.S. undertook a huge reconstruction effort.

Rebuilding water and sewage systems, the electricity grid, buildings, roads, airports, and ports fell on private companies. Much of the work was given to firms like Kellogg Brown and Root and Bechtel, which had contracts, which the report says, functioned like an open-ended checkbook.

The report finds these projects were “grossly burdened by waste,” Mitchell reports. At least 35 people have been convicted of criminal misconduct committed during the U.S. reconstruction program, according to the report.

Read The Complete Report

On a directly related note, another report on some of the corrupt business at hand in Iraq, resulting in a “Fraud Bigger Than Madoff”

GOP Loyalty Dictated Who Would Rebuild Iraq

May 20th, 2007 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

Remember this? An excellent synopsis of the grotesque level of corruption and nepotism involved in the corporate looting spree we know of as “Iraq Reconstruction Policy”. This is the stuff we at USTV were railing about on our program back in 2003.

This article was first published in the Washington Post and comes via the Seattle Times, and is written by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the author of the highly recommended book “Imperial Life In The Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone”.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But they had to get past Jim O’Beirne’s Pentagon office before going to Baghdad.

To pass muster with O’Beirne, a political appointee, applicants didn’t need to be experts in the Middle East or in postconflict reconstruction. They did need, however, to be a member of the Republican Party.

They don’t call it the ‘green’ zone for nothing.

Read The Full Article

And if any of you have not read Col. Pat Lang’s excellent “Drinking the Kool Aid”, you owe it to yourself. And if you have, it’s worth a revisit.

Halliburton Fraud Lawsuit Details Super Bowl Party

October 24th, 2006 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

Standard operating procedure for the Corporate State of America.

No expense spared in the ‘fight for freedom’ in the global war of…uh, ‘on’ terrorism.

Halliburton Co. executives ordered a big-screen television and 10 large tubs of tacos, chicken wings and cheese sticks delivered to Iraq for last year’s Super Bowl, then billed US taxpayers for their party, according to a lawsuit unsealed Friday.

“One former Halliburton employee after another tells the same story of outrageous and intentional overcharging,” Waxman said in a statement. “Yet no one in the Bush administration seems to care.”

Sure they do. That is why they and their cronies are doing this, on a scale never before seen in American history (though The Gilded Age could arguably give this plutocratic kleptocracy a run for its money).

Read The Complete Los Angeles Times Post Here

“Free Market” Ideology Has Killed Thousands In Iraq

August 11th, 2006 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

Joshua Holland elaborates here on something we were talking about on USTV over three years ago, and which has become nakedly apparent. It also helps explain part of what this invasion and occupation was all about.

Iraqis have been brutalized not only by bombs and bullets; they’ve also been the victims of economic violence in the form of the free market “shock therapy” cooked up by a firm in Virginia on a $250 million no-bid contract before the U.S. invasion. Tranforming Iraq’s economy overnight was a matter of ideology trumping commonsense, and it’s killed thousands of innocent Iraqis and shattered a way of life for hundreds of thousands more.

That the radical restructuring of Iraq’s political economy has received so little critical attention - even as Iraq’s nascent government threatens to crash and burn - is a testament to how deeply indoctrinated we are -especially our media - in the narrative of what “American-style” capitalism is. It was taken as a given that after knocking off Saddam, we’d rapidly privatize huge swaths of Iraq’s national companies, get rid of hundreds of thousands of civil servants, completely restructure the country’s tax and finance laws and throw Iraq’s economy wide open for foreign multinationals. File it under bringing “democracy and capitalism” to the poor, backward Arabs.

The reality is that the economic policies we imposed on Iraq were not some generic form of “capitalism”; they included the most radical business-state rules imaginable - policies that developing countries have vehemently resisted for over a decade. What’s more, imposing them at the point of a gun appears to have violated both international and U.S. laws. There’s nothing “normal” about it.

This what these economic royalists and the corporateers have been cooking up for us in the U.S. as well (see ‘Social Security Privatization’ as one of the more obvious and key exhibits). The misery in Iraq is not an aberration. It is literally ‘business as usual’ for the corporate feudalists who continue to attempt to implement a global corporate hegemony over the world. This is their form of ‘globalism’. A corporate version, not a civic version.

Read The Full Article Here

And here is a report in the Los Angeles Times on the related symptoms of this whole fetid affair, that being the huge sums of money earmarked for Iraqi reconstruction that simply disappeared into ‘mismanaged’ cost-overruns.

Iraq Contractors Make Billions On The Front Line

July 22nd, 2006 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

In more honest times these people were referred to as mercenaries. Contractors is the corporate term for ‘dogs of war’.

Private military contractors are earning billions of dollars in Iraq — much of it from U.S. taxpayers.

Business is booming for those willing to tackle one of the most dangerous jobs on Earth. Lucrative U.S. government contracts go to firms called on to provide security for projects and personnel — jobs that in previous conflicts have been done by the military.

A single contract awarded to Britain’s AEGIS Specialist Risk Management company by the Pentagon was worth $293 million, and while the government says it cannot provide a total amount for the contracts — many of which are secret — industry experts estimate Iraq’s security business costs tens of billions of dollars.

These contractors have not been without controversy. Late last year, AEGIS launched an investigation into whether its employees produced video clips that showed up on the Internet in which it appeared civilian vehicles were being shot at. AEGIS has not released the results of its investigation, but a U.S. Army investigation found no probable cause that a crime occurred.

The market for private contractors is there thanks to an unprecedented “outsourcing” of conflict, according to Amy Clark, who led the Baghdad end of a small private security contractor.

All part of the rapidly increasing process of privitizing all aspects of society. We no longer have an army. They have their armed private Pinkerton guards. Socialize the costs, privitize the gains, as we subsidize the training of these soldiers, only to have them ‘contracted’ at much higher rates for personal private gain, yet still paid for with our tax money (at much higher rates). Now, however, they are not there responsible to public policy, but to private interests.

All hail the new Praetorian Guard of the Corporate State.

Read The Full Article Here

Iraq: One of the Greatest Financial Scandals of All Time

April 1st, 2006 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

This is just astounding. Something USTV was elaborating on back in 2003, which some discounted as ravings of ‘the liberal media’. The Guardian of England points out how at the beginning of the Iraq war, the UN entrusted $23bn of Iraqi money to the US-led coalition to redevelop the country. But now, where has all that cash gone?

Callum Macrae and Ali Fadhil report on what we believe is undoubtably one of the greatest financial scandals of all time, allowed by one of the most criminally scandalous American governments of all time.

“Iraq was awash in cash - in dollar bills. Piles and piles of money,” says Frank Willis, a former senior official with the governing Coalition Provisional Authority. “We played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills before delivery. It was a wild-west crazy atmosphere, the likes of which none of us had ever experienced.”

The environment created by the coalition positively encouraged corruption. “American law was suspended, Iraqi law was suspended, and Iraq basically became a free fraud zone,” says Alan Grayson, a Florida-based attorney who represents whistleblowers now trying to expose the corruption. “In a free fire zone you can shoot at anybody you want. In a free fraud zone you can steal anything you like. And that was what they did.”

This kinda sums it up.

Another experienced health worker, Mary Patterson - who was eventually asked to leave Iraq by James Haveman - characterises the Coalition’s approach thus: “I believe it had a lot to do with showing that the US was in control,” she says. “I believe that it had to do with rewarding people that were politically loyal. So rather than being a technical agenda, I believe it was largely a politically motivated reward-and-punishment kind of agenda.”

Which sounds like the way Saddam used to run the country. “If you were to interview Iraqis today about what they see day to day,” she says, “I think they will tell you that they don’t see a lot of difference”.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Read The Full Article Here

Halliburton Lobby Costs See Big Drop

March 20th, 2006 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

Halliburton Lobby Costs See Big Drop
By Maud S. Beelman
The Boston Globe

James Thurber, an American University professor who studies interest groups and lobbying, said of Halliburton… “They’re already in; they don’t need to lobby any more.”

Halliburton, the oil and construction conglomerate formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, dramatically reduced what it spent on lobbying Congress and the federal government after the Bush-Cheney administration took office in January 2001.

During the last two years of the Clinton administration, Halliburton reported spending $1.2 million lobbying the Senate, House of Representatives, and various executive branch departments, according to records reviewed by the Globe. In comparison, during the first two years of the Bush administration, Halliburton reported spending just $600,000.

Despite the dropoff in lobbying, the value of Halliburton’s work began to increase in the run-up to the Iraq War, and eventually came to be worth more than $8 billion for overseeing aspects of the Iraqi reconstruction. Its federal contracts never exceeded $1 billion per year under the Clinton administration.

Read The Report

Halliburton’s War Contracts Could Have Helped Katrina Victims

March 8th, 2006 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

Halliburton Watch reports

A new congressional report on the failed emergency response to Hurricane Katrina concludes that the victims could have benefited from Halliburton’s most-scandalous contract in Iraq.

The report quotes Bill Carwile of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who concludes that future disaster response programs should involve “much more robust private sector partnerships,” including Halliburton’s LOGCAP contract with the Army Corps of Engineers.

LOGCAP is Halliburton’s most lucrative Iraq contract and continues to be the primary focus of the military’s criticisms related to cost-overcharges. In the first 18 months of the war, the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Audit Agency found $1.4 billion in cost overcharges on Halliburton’s work in Iraq, most of it performed under LOGCAP.

Do you think all this talk about Halliburton is just excessive anti-Bushevik hyperbole? Check out some of the facts yourself at Halliburton Watch

American Iraqateer Steals Millions of Your Tax Dollars

February 9th, 2006 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

Big surprise here. So we found where over $8 million went. Now how about the other 9 BILLION they can’t even begin to account for?

I sense that this is only the beginning of these kinds of stories. This is the kind of thing we were telling people about via UnCommon Sense TV back in 2003, and getting some flak that we didn’t know what we were talking about and to ’stop demoralizing our soldiers and the war effort’ and blah blah…

A former U.S. occupation official in Iraq pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to steal more than $2 million and rigging bids on $8.6 million in reconstruction contracts.

Robert J. Stein, 50, of Fayetteville, N.C., admitted that he and his coconspirators smuggled millions of dollars out of Iraq into the United States aboard commercial airliners and laundered cash through multiple bank accounts in Switzerland, Amsterdam and Romania. Stein was a Defense Department employee who served as a contract official for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, controlling more than $82 million in funds slated for rebuilding the Middle Eastern country.

He told U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that he also stole $600,000 in cash and used coalition money to buy dozens of machine guns and other weapons for use by a private security company he and his coconspirators had formed to operate in Iraq.

Read the complete article here

Using Asia’s Poor To Build US Bases In Iraq

October 27th, 2005 by Andy in Halliburton & The Iraqateers

Using Asia’s Poor To Build US Bases In Iraq
By David Phinney

Companies like Halliburton are importing ‘third country nationals’ - and putting them to work in horrible conditions - to fulfill their U.S. government contracts.

Jing Soliman left his family in the Philippines for what sounded like a sure thing - a job as a warehouse worker at Camp Anaconda in Iraq. His new employer, Prime Projects International (PPI) of Dubai, is a major, but low-profile, subcontractor to Halliburton’s multi-billion-dollar deal with the Pentagon to provide support services to U.S. forces.

But Soliman wouldn’t be making anything near the salaries - starting $80,000 a year and often topping $100,000 - that Halliburton’s engineering and construction unit, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) pays to the truck drivers, construction workers, office workers, and other laborers it recruits from the United States. Instead, the 35-year-old father of two anticipated $615 a month - including overtime. For a 40-hour work week, that would be just over $3 an hour. But for the 12-hour day, seven-day week that Soliman says was standard for him and many contractor employees in Iraq, he actually earned $1.56 an hour.

Soliman planned to send most of his $7,380 annual pay home to his family in the Philippines, where the combined unemployment and underemployment rate tops 28 percent. The average annual income in Manila is $4,384, and the World Bank estimates that nearly half of the nation’s 84 million people live on less than $2 a day.

“I am an ordinary man,” said Soliman during a recent telephone interview from his home in Quezon City near Manila. “It was good money.”

His ambitions, like many U.S. civilians working in Iraq, were modest: “I wanted to save up, buy a house and provide for my family,” he says.

That simple dream drives hordes of low-wage workers like Soliman to travel to Iraq from more than three dozen countries. They are lured by jobs with companies working on projects led by Halliburton and other major U.S.-funded contractors hired to provide support services to the military and reconstruction efforts.

Called “third country nationals” (TCN) in contractor’s parlance, they hail largely from impoverished Asian countries such as the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan, as well as from Turkey and countries in the Middle East. Once in Iraq, TCNs earn monthly salaries between $200 to $1,000 as truck drivers, construction workers, carpenters, warehousemen, laundry workers, cooks, accountants, beauticians, and similar blue-collar jobs.

Read The Full Article Here…

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