Tag: contractors

War For Corporate Profit

I can think of no better way to emphasize the current theft of our nations treasury at the expense of its youth than to use the words of Major General Smedley Butler in November 1935.

Never Ending War

We are not suppose to win, we are not suppose to lose …. We have always been at war with East Asia. This post is going to largely stand on its own from the research I have turned up.

WASHINGTON, Nov 2, 2009 (Reuters) – The U.S. government does not know exactly how many contractors it employs in Afghanistan, a U.S. commission said on Monday, raising basic questions about oversight of wartime operations.

Contractors in Afghanistan outnumber U.S. troops there and scandals involving misconduct by employees of private firms on the U.S. payroll in Afghanistan and Iraq have prompted calls by Congress for greater accountability.

[..]A traditional manual count by the U.S. military’s Central Command turned up nearly 74,000 U.S. Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan as of June 30 — more than twice the number shown in another survey by the Pentagon.

A more recent count from July 2010

[..]The Department of Defense has more contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan than it has uniformed military personnel, another newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service reminds us.

“The Department of Defense increasingly relies upon contractors to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in a DOD workforce that has 19% more contractor personnel (207,600) than uniformed personnel (175,000),” said the CRS report

At 57% of total Defense Department workforce, the number of contractors represents “the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by DOD in any conflict in the history of the United States,” the study concludes.

Its the same Old Story (no date)

Currently in Afghanistan, there are 121,000 U.S. contractors and 68,000 U.S. troops. As a result of the coming surge, another 30,000 troops and 56,000 contractors are expected. But U.S. lawmakers are afraid that the mistakes that plagued military contracting in Iraq will be repeated in Afghanistan. Will the shadow armies be required to protect the Afghan civilian population? What are the chances that military contractors could cause major damage to America’s mission in Afghanistan? Will the Obama administration be able to prevent the waste, fraud and abuse seen in Iraq?

[..]Recently the CIA announced that it had stopped using Blackwater (now known as Xe Services) to conduct raids and other special operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but some press reports say Xe Services are still at the center of a secret program in Karachi, Pakistan, where they plan assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda members, among other operations.

Millions of US Tax $ funding the Taliban every week! ARE YOU F$%KING KIDDING ME?

End this fucking war NOW!

Private security contractors protecting the convoys that supply U.S. military bases in Afghanistan are paying millions of dollars a week in “passage bribes” to the Taliban and other insurgent groups to travel along Afghan roads, a congressional investigation released Monday has found.

The alleged payments, which are reimbursed by the U.S. government, help fund the very enemy the U.S. is attempting to defeat and renew questions about the U.S. dependence on private contractors, who outnumber American troops in Afghanistan, 130,000 to 93,000.


Bold text added by the diarist

  So taxpayer money is funding contractors in Afghanistan who in turn fund THE TALIBAN with US Government reimbursable bribe money.



More areyoufuckingkiddingme below the fold

“The war in Afghanistan is a RACKET” — Kucinich on the floor

The war in Afghanistan is now officially a racket.    We are paying the Taliban, literally paying them American dollars, so that they won’t attack our “contractors” supplying our troops.    

So that we can go fight the Taliban.

Go figure.

It’s a racket for everybody, the contractors, the Taliban, everybody but the poor bastards who have to fight this useless fight, and the American taxpayer who, it appears, will shell out a couple of Trillion dollars (yes, Trillion with a “TR”) to keep the scam going for another 10 to 15 years.

The truth hurts.

Kucinich also makes it clear that the war is unconstitutional in the first place.

Looks like Obama is just another tool of the M.I.C. and we were all punked.

Blackwater bribes Iraqi officials with $1 million to buy their silence over crimes

Well, I’ll let the article just speak for itself:

WASHINGTON – Top executives at Blackwater Worldwide authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, according to former company officials.

Why is this coming out now?

Blackwater’s strategy of buying off the government officials, which would have been illegal under American law, created a deep rift inside the company, according to the former executives. They said that Cofer Black, who was then the company’s vice chairman and a former top C.I.A. and State Department official, learned of the plan from another Blackwater manager while he was in Baghdad discussing compensation for families of the shooting victims with United States Embassy officials.

Yeah, right, Cofer’s just a real nice guy, I’m sure his concerns were all about “doing the right thing”.   Or maybe it was more like “staying out of jail”.

What a bunch of sleazebags:

The pure hypocrisy of our pols on Acorn

Jeremy Scahill is, to my mind, the finest journalist working today.   There are very few real journalists left, I could probably count them on one hand, and Scahill is simply on fire.  

I wanted to share his latest, from his website where he simply destroys the whole notion of ACORN being any kind of a real scandal.

Here is the jist of his article:

How could any sane person put even the wildest allegations against ACORN up against the systematic misconduct and criminality of war corporations and gigantic multi-nationals?

This, considering the way the media has covered this, the way our politicians have such a terrible, palpable fear of any real Democracy that they all, including our complicit Democrats, have decided that Acorn is the real enemy and worthy of being punished, to the point where they are trying to pass legislation called “The Defund Acorn Act”.

If you just put ACORN up against Blackwater, the charges are absolutely ludicrous.   Acorn received $53 million over 15 years, most of which went to support housing for low-income people.   Blackwater has received over a BILLION in government contracts in the last few.  

And check this out:

The GOP smear machine tries to link ACORN to prostitution. Beyond the hypocrisy of Republicans denouncing prostitutes (long history of using them), do they really want talk of prostitution? One former Blackwater employee recently stated in a sworn declaration that Blackwater owner Erik Prince “failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men.” Another former employee described “having young girls provide oral sex to Enterprise members in the ‘Blackwater Man Camp’ (in Iraq) in exchange for one American dollar.” (PDF links to these affidavits are here) Even if ACORN did provide inappropriate tax advice to a prostitute, is that really on the same level as this conduct being conducted on a huge US government contract? If you think these are just the allegations of disgruntled employees, read the Justice Department’s perspective on Blackwater’s crimes and how its men “specifically intended to kill” Iraqi civilians as “payback for 9/11.”

As Scahill notes in his previous work on the website, Where is the “Defund Blackwater Act”?     Where, indeed?    Supposedly Democratic and supposedly liberal and supposedly “for the people” Barack Hussein Obama has decided to keep using Blackwater until, well, god only knows how long.   Yet what do we hear about in the press?   How bad and terrible and corrupt Acorn is.  

Nobody talks about defunding the real criminals, others of which are mentioned here:

Beyond the question of innocent until proven guilty, these questions must be asked of Democratic lawmakers who support this punitive legislation against ACORN: Where is your legislation to defund the companies whose men are indicted by actual, real life prosecutors for manslaughter; who are accused by the IRS of tax fraud and whose North Carolina compound has been raided by the ATF for possessing unauthorized, automatic weapons? What about the move to defund KBR, which has provided polluted drinking water to US troops and installed faulty electrical wiring that has resulted in the electrocution deaths of US soldiers? What about the move to defund the massive US-funded mercenary force DynCorp in Iraq, Colombia and Afghanistan? A company whistleblower alleged that in Bosnia he “witnessed coworkers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased.” What about defunding Armor Group, which employed security guards at the US embassy in Kabul who were throwing fraternity-style parties, complete with disgusting hazing of new recruits in the form of alcohol shots off of butt cracks and the fondling of genitals?

You really just need to read the whole thing.   I can’t possibly do it justice in lame attempts to paraphrase.    And read the rest of his stuff, too, give his site a visit.   He’s amazing.   We need hundreds of Jeremy Scahills in the world, sadly there is just one.

No. 258 – CIA contractor killed person in interrogation

In the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General’s 2004 report on Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities (PDF) is this passage stating “inhumane… detention and interrogation techniques were used”. In addition, a CIA contractor killed “an individual” at Asadabad Base in Afghanistan “while under interrogation” in June 2003.

258 . (TS Unauthorized, improvised, inhumane, and undocumented detention and interrogation techniques were used referred to the Department of Justice (DoJ) for potential prosecution. incident will be the subject of a separate Report of Investigation by the Office of Inspector General.

unauthorized techniques were used in the interrogation of an individual who died at Asadabad Base while under interrogation by an Agency contractor in June 2003. Agency officers did not normally conduct interrogations at that location the Agency officers involved lacked timely and adequate guidance, training, experience, supervision, or authorization, and did not exercise sound judgment.

The argument had been no one died while being interrogated tortured, but the OIG’s report contradicts that. Not only that, but “unauthorized, improvised, inhumane, and undocumented detention and interrogation techniques were used”.

At the time the Abu Ghraib photos became known, the NY Times identified the person killed at Asadabad as Abdul Wali.

The third death under investigation at the C.I.A. occurred in Afghanistan in June 2003. The dead man was named Abdul Wali, a former local commander who had fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980’s and turned himself in to American forces last June in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan. He died while being interrogated by an independent contract employee of the C.I.A.

Wali surrendered to the U.S. and was then killed by a CIA contractor named David Passaro. According to the News and Observer, he is serving eight years for beating Wali resulting in his death.

If you can’t Find the “Terrorists” — you can always Buy them!

How Guantanamo’s prisoners were sold

The president of Pakistan’s [Pervez Musharraf] attempts to publicise his memoirs throw light on the flawed and dishonest processes that the US uses in bringing “terrorists” to justice

by Clive Stafford Smith – NewStatesman – 09 October 2006

The payments help us see why so many innocent prisoners ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Musharraf writes that “millions” were paid for 369 prisoners – the minimum rate was apparently $5,000, enough to tempt a poor Pakistani to shop an unwanted Arab to the Americans, gift-wrapped with a story that he was up to no good in Afghanistan.

(emphasis added)


I guess this is the True Meaning of Capitalism — if you can’t find the “bad guys” —  Buy Them!

Sun Tzu: “Treat the captives well, and care for them.”

     Treat the captives well, and care for them.

    All the soldiers taken must be cared for with magnanimitty and sincerity so that they may be used by us.

    This is called ‘winning a battle and becoming stronger.’

    Hence what is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations. . .

                               –  The Art of War

    Military contractors do not seek victory, but, “prolonged operations.”

    Instead of breaking minds and bodies in order to win hearts and minds, maybe we should have read more history.

    I have recently read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”. Although this book was written over 2300 years ago and in a time before drone missiles, military contractors and Military Industrial Complexes, I feel that it is a good book to read for everyone who would like to learn the age old and time tested concepts of military strategy.

A Marine Mom’s questions about Iraq

The following is by Mary V. Horning the mother of a US Marine now on his second deployment to that country. Her inquiry concerned who is responsible for shoddy work done by contractors in Iraq.

Q. Who has responsibility for shoddy contracting resulting in electrocutions and fires on military sites in Iraq?  Where is the accountability?  Why are our servicemen and women risking injury and dying in showers and housing units in Iraq?

Q. Will Halliburton contractors continue to be awarded electrical contracts based on past sub-par performance?

Q. Will military personnel be compensated for their losses resulting from electrical fires and if so, at what percentage of their losses?

Q. Why are Marine troops currently in Afghanistan having their deployments extended?  Will Marine troops in Iraq be extended as a result of Marines originally scheduled to deploy to Iraq now heading to Afghanistan?

Q. With the same military units being called to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan on a repeat basis (with soldiers and Marines now spending more time out of country than in), what are the plans to reduce this burden on these military personnel?

Q. With studies showing that those military personnel serving repeated combat tours are much more likely to exhibit post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues, what is being done to address this growing problem?


Outsourcing Torture? It Depends.

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


Torture At Abu Ghraib

It depends on what you mean by “outsourcing.”  If, like me, you’ve been assuming that “interrogations” of detainees prisoners at Guantanamo and the “black sites” were all being conducted only by CIA employees or uniformed armed forces personnel or at the very least US government employees, you’re probably making a mistake.  The facts seem to be that “interrogations” have frequently been conducted by “contractors” and not by government employees.  That’s right.  Arguments about what the CIA’s employees can and cannot do don’t directly address what contractors can do any more than US law determines how prisoners are to be interrogated after they are extraordinarily renditioned illegally extradited to other countries.

Follow me behind the facade.