The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Saturday, May 31

veteran intelligence professionals for sanity

The Birmingham News ran an opinion by Ray McGovern of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity(VIPS) Its a follow up to a memorandum Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times quotes from in his recent article Save Our Spooks

VIPS was formed in January 2003 by former veteran intelligence officials from the FBI and CIA, mostly comprised of analysts. VIPS has been writing opinion pieces, memos to President Bush, and conducting interviews for several months voicing their unease with the handling of intelligence on Iraq. Comprised of 25 former members of the Intelligence Community, their commentary can sometimes be stinging. In one memorandum, they politely order the President to re-read a CIA report.
We recommend you re-read the CIA assessment of last fall that pointed out that "the forces fueling hatred of the US and fueling al Qaeda recruiting are not being addressed," and that "the underlying causes that drive terrorists will persist." That CIA report cited a Gallup poll last year of almost 10,000 Muslims in nine countries in which respondents described the United States as 'ruthless, aggressive, conceited, arrogant, easily provoked and biased.'
The most recent memorandum and follow up Opinion addresses inspectors returning to Iraq.
Washington's decision to bar the very people with the international mandate, the unique experience and the credibility to undertake a serious search for weapons of mass destruction defies logic. U.N. inspectors know Iraq, know the weaponry in question, know the Iraqi scientists/engineers who have been involved, know how the necessary materials are procured and processed.

Unquestionably, their familiarity with the nuclear facilities would go a long way toward ending the looting and thefts there. Yet repeated U.N. offers to make inspectors available have been rebuffed.

This only compounds Washington's credibility problem. Many are already unwilling to take at face value the intelligence reporting offered by the United States on Iraq, particularly since several of the detailed assertions by Powell at the United Nations on Feb. 5 did not bear close scrutiny.

Particularly distressing to us as intelligence professionals has been the revelation that some of the most important evidence used to rally congressional support for the war resolution of Oct. 11 was known to be based on forged documents.
Members of VIPS have published six memorandums to date. The memos are long, detailed and at times, highly entertaining with their no holds barred attitude. Not many are feeling bold enough to criticize this particular administration for fear of being Dixie Chicked. But if you are ex-CIA, you've probably seen worse albeit in other countries.

February 8, 2003 Re: War on Iraq

March 15, 2003 Re: Cooking Intelligence for War

March 18, 2003 Re: Forgery, Hyperbole, Half-Truth: A Problem

April 26, 2003 Re: The Stakes in the Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction

May 1, 2003 Re: Intelligence Fiasco

May 19, 2003 Re: We are Perplexed at the US Refusal to Permit the Return of UN Inspectors to Iraq

May 25, 2003 Re: We need Inspectors to Return to Iraq

Members of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity include:
Richard Beske
Eugene Betit
Ray Close
Kathleen McGrath Christison
William Christison
Patrick Eddington
David MacMichael (added July 15)
Raymond McGovern
Take the time to read VIPS memos. It is well worth the effort.

Friday, May 30

dan quayle

News of former Vice President Dan Quayle is just too too rare. He'll be playing in the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in mid-July.

halliburton: the saga continues

Everyone (most especially Representative Henry Waxman) is still very annoyed over the Halliburton contracts. And now it turns out Halliburton has been collecting for their work in Iraq since March--of 2002.
Halliburton quickly fired back, saying, "To suggest that either Halliburton or any of the firms that support the Department of Defense advocate war in order to make money is an affront to all hard-working, honorable Halliburton employees, who are dedicated to serving our customers and doing what is right."
What does Halliburton expect people to say when all of the biggest contracts go to companies with direct ties to the White House? "Money had nothing to do with it."

Everyone is just calling it like they see it.

more contracts awarded

If you've got an extra $50 a week, you can sign up for the new Iraq Business Reporter. Free copies of the first four published issues are available at
'Iraq Business Reporter is a weekly electronic newsletter providing current business news, leads and other information on rapidly evolving business and commercial activity in Iraq,' publisher Christopher Beard explains. 'It is an essential resource for persons identifying and tracking new opportunities and developments in that fluid environment.'
We love Business Wire. We missed reading their reports during our break. Meanwhile, Washington File has a new announcement from the USAID.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded five contracts to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to promote citizen involvement in community development in Iraq.
Company Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance
Award $7 million
Agency USAID Iraq Community Action Program
Date of RFP
Date of Award May 27, 2003
Nature of work To promote citizen involvement in community development efforts

Company Cooperative Housing Foundation International
Award $7 million
Agency USAID Iraq Community Action Program
Date of RFP
Date of Award May 27, 2003
Nature of work To promote citizen involvement in community development efforts

Company International Relief and Development, Inc.
Award $7 million
Agency USAID Iraq Community Action Program
Date of RFP
Date of Award May 27, 2003
Nature of work To promote citizen involvement in community development efforts

Company Mercy Corps
Award $7 million
Agency USAID Iraq Community Action Program
Date of RFP
Date of Award May 27, 2003
Nature of work To promote citizen involvement in community development efforts

Company Save the Children Federation, Inc.
Award $7 million
Agency USAID Iraq Community Action Program
Date of RFP
Date of Award May 27, 2003
Nature of work To promote citizen involvement in community development efforts

BearingPoint is still rumored to be in the running for a USAID contract to improve Iraq's financial sector. (BearingPoint recently won a three-year, $40 million contract to rebuild the financial system in Afghanistan.)

How do you feel about off-shore corporations?

Bearing Point moves around depending on economic climate.
Though India has long been considered the global hot spot for U.S. offshore application development -- due to low-cost labor, friendly laws and a high degree of English proficiency -- Bearing Point, formerly KPMG Consulting, has selected China as the location for its new offshore application-development facility.

The decision was made because China offers the promise of even lower real estate and labor costs than India.

"The biggest driver is the cost advantage we can deliver to firms from being in China," says Judy List, senior vice president of Bearing Point's Services Solutions Group. "Some rode the India wave but now we see China as the next wave and want to get on the bandwagon early."

Thursday, May 29

media power

Some feel the media isn't all that powerful but a close examination of their choice of words and how they use them can be quite telling.

Reuters edited two paragraphs (after on-line publication) in a recent article that ran in the NYTimes: Bush Signs Tax Cut Bill; Republicans Promise More While the changes in words are minor, the difference in meaning is immense.

original 12:27 pm:
Eventually, Bush could create a flat-tax system, under which savings and investment would be tax-free, said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a political action committee.

"Everything that Bush has done on tax policy since 2001 (has had) one common theme -- that is, to lead us to the promised land of a flat tax," Moore said. "We're crossing this river in five or six jumps rather than one huge leap."
revised 8:16 pm:
Conservatives said many of the tax law changes have brought them closer to their goal of transforming the existing income-tax code into a flat tax or consumption-based system, under which savings and investment would be tax-free.

``We're crossing this river in five or six jumps rather than one huge leap,'' said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, which backed the tax cuts.
Is Reuters now under the Rove thumb?

Tuesday, May 27

war games

You too can play war profiteer with your own special deck of cards. While bpost would have included some different faces in the group, all in all, its a great way to learn who the players are.

Monday, May 26

back to work

After the USAID awarded controversial contracts to Bechtel and Halliburton for work in Iraq, should it come as any surprise that WorldCom can be added to the list?

One day after agreeing to pay a $500 million dollar fine with the SEC for an $11 billion dollar accounting fraud, it was announced that WorldCom had snagged a $45 million dollar contract for work in Iraq. According to an AP news report, the company is "to build a small wireless network with 19 cell towers that can serve 5,000 to 10,000 mobile phones used by reconstruction officials and aid workers in the Baghdad area." There is no evidence the contract was competitively bid.

Motorola Corporation has been awarded a contract for up to $25 million to set up a radio communications network for Iraqi security and coalition forces in Baghdad. Motorola also manages contracts for similar services in nearby Oman.

Company WorldCom (also known as MCI)
Award $45 million
Agency Department of Defense
Date of RFP
Date of Award early May 2003
Nature of work To build a small wireless network for use by reconstruction officials and aid workers in the Baghdad area.

Company Motorola Corp
Award $25 million
Agency Department of Defense
Date of RFP
Date of Award May 2003
Nature of work To set up a radio communications network for Iraqi security and coalition forces in Baghdad.

meanwhile, back in Texas

The law firm of Haynes & Boone has announced a new specialty division:
Haynes and Boone, LLP, an international corporate law firm, recently announced the formation of its Iraq Transactions and Claims Practice Group, built to assist clients in securing business opportunities in the risky and uncertain markets emerging in Iraq. The firm will leverage its attorneys' expertise in working with countries in transition, its excellent governmental contacts, and the firm's extensive knowledge and experience of establishing a viable business presence in the international arena.
Now just who would those excellent governmental contacts be? Well, President George W. Bush would be one. Haynes & Boone contributed $52,600 to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign by 'bundling' contributions supposedly from employees. Co-founder Michael M. Boone has been a long time Bush supporter having also personally contributed to Bush's earlier Texas Gubernatorial campaigns. Boone is also one of the 'Pioneers' each of who raised at least $100,000 for Bush's Presidential Campaign.

Boone and Bush go back a bit. In 1990, Haynes & Boone advised Harken Energy on Bush's pending stock sale and whether it would represent a conflict of interest.
On June 22 1990, George W. Bush sold 212,140 of his 317,152 shares in Harken Energy in an allegedly prearranged stock trade for a total of $848,560; 41 days before Iraq invaded Kuwait and 8 days prior to the end of the second quarter during which it had become apparent that Harken would have to restate its 1989 earnings (major loss) in addition to other operating losses it had incurred that quarter. He managed to sell his stock near its high at $4/share. He made a 200% profit on the trade. This insider trade was not disclosed to the SEC until some 8 months later.
Haynes & Boone issued a 9 page memo outlining their point of view. The memo was withheld from the SEC until one day after their inquiry into the sale had ended.

Harken Energy executive's claimed client-attorney privilege for withholding the Haynes and Boone memo from the SEC. It should come as no surprise that Vice President Dick Cheney is claiming executive priviledge for why he will not release his notes on energy meetings to the GAO.

Thursday, May 15

oo la la

We need a little break to catch up on some reading as well as some surf and sun. We'll be back on May 26. In the meantime, some guests may drop in with their own insights to share with you.

If you are visiting us for information on reconstruction and humanitarian aid contracts to Iraq, the posts start on April 19th to the present. Click on the weekly archives to the left and start to work your way forward to this week.

Monday, May 12

wanna job in iraq? and are posting listings of jobs in Iraq. Just think, you can work as a communications technician, system administrator, network engineer, satellite communications, data help desk or law enforcement.
BE PART OF THE PRIDE In anticipation of a new contract award, Wackenhut Services, Inc., a recognized leader in providing superior personnel, is seeking dedicated individuals to join our paramilitary security force to protect WMD disposition teams in Iraq.
The jobs come with hazard pay. Must be 21 years or older to apply.

Sunday, May 11

washington anyone?

We wish we could attend.
Bechtel National, Inc. is hosting contractor-supplier conferences this month to inform the worldwide contracting community of its role in USAID's Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Program. There is no fee charged for attendance.
If you are in the Washington DC area on May 21, you might want to check it out--and let us know what you find.

Saturday, May 10

the many contracts of halliburton

If you have been confused by the constant flow of news stories on the Halliburton contracts for post-war Iraq, you have good reason to be.

Halliburton is a large company with numerous divisions and subsidiaries divided primarily in to two groups:
Energy Services
KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root) Engineering and Construction
On December 14, 2001, the Army Material Command awarded Halliburton KBR Government Operations an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity 10 year contract known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program III (LOGCAPIII)
[Halliburton KBR Government Operations] will provide for the construction of facilities and infrastructure of base camps including billeting, mess hall, food preparation, potable water, sanitation, showers, laundry, transportation, utilities, warehousing and other logistical support. Also included is support of the Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, Integration (RSOI) process of U.S. Forces as they enter or depart their theater of operation by sea, air or rail.
In November 2002, under LOGCAPIII, the Department of Defense requested KBR develop a contingency plan "for assessing and extinguishing oil well fires in Iraq and evaluating and repairing, as directed by the US government, the country's petroleum infrastructure."

On March 8, 2003, KBR was awarded a cost plus 7% contract thru the Army Core of Engineers to implement the contingency plan KBR had developed for the DoD. This contract was valued at a cap of $7 billion dollars. However, the awarding of the contract was not announced until 5 days after the invasion had begun, on March 24.

KBR has subcontracted the firefighting portion of the work to Houston-based companies Boots & Coots International Well Control, Inc. and Wild Well Control, Inc as well as services from International Response Corporation (IRC) "to assist with the assessment and cleanup of oil spills." IRC is the international service affiliate of National Response Corporation (NRC).

The implementation contract is executed thru task orders. As the work is required, a task order is issued. To date approximately $74.3 million to $89.5 million dollars in task orders related to Iraq's petroleum infrastructure have been issued. The LATimes reports in its May 9 article an additional task order is pending. (bpost has to date seen references to 2 sets of figures for the actual cost: a) $50.3 + $24 million b) $69.5 + $20 million. Both figures are provided as we do not know which is the most accurate.)

In addition to the LOGCAPIII and implementation contracts, on April 10, the New York Times reported KBR was awarded a $30 million dollar contract thru the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to dismantle and neutralize any chemical or nuclear weapons found in the region.

Under the terms of the 10 year LOGCAPIII contract, Halliburton KBR Government Operations also provides direct support to the military in the region. As a result of this Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract, approximately $90 million dollars has been spent. It is estimated this portion of Halliburton's work in Iraq will reach $200 million when completed.

Until August of 2000, Vice President Dick Cheney was employed by Halliburton. Having also served as Halliburton's chief executive officer, he continues to receive an annual pension from the company. Senators are questioning the propriety of the contracts.

Friday, May 9

tv aid

The Los Angeles Times has an article today on US efforts to distribute news and entertainment inside of Iraq. There is no way to tell if this is the same effort being managed by SAIC. There is a little information on the funding though.
Only days before Saddam Hussein's regime fell April 9, the White House called the broadcasting board to ask how quickly a short-term American TV presence in Iraq could be launched. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget scrambled to find the funds -- about $165,000 a week -- and board member Norm Pattiz, creator of the Los Angeles-based Westwood One radio network, asked the heads of U.S. network news divisions to provide free programming.
Bpost thinks this topic is worth following and keeping an eye on. Alot of money and control appears to be going into radio and television outlets in Iraq and through out the Middle East with no clear signs of costs to US taxpayers being revealed. For instance: $5 million has been allocated to the INC's Radio Sawa, USAID funding summaries list Internews at $160,000, SAIC is reported to be administering broadcast transmissions. What else?

A new venture, METN, wants congress to fund a $30 million dollar appropriation to develop and expand regional coverage.
Washington is exploring even more ambitious ways to crack the vast regional market. Tomlinson's agency, for example, is planning to start the Middle Eastern Television Network, a U.S. government-funded venture that would compete directly with Al Jazeera, which has an estimated 35 million adult viewers in the region. Backers expect METN to be on the air by fall if Congress approves a $30-million appropriation. Plans call for the network to eventually broadcast live from studios in Washington and the Middle East.
Company Television program: Iraq and the World
Award $165,000 per week
Agency U.S. Office of Management and Budget & Broadcasting Board of Governors
Date of RFP
Date of Award prior to April 9, 2003
Nature of work To provide a short-term American TV presence in Iraq

Stay tuned.

Addendum: According to an article in the Washington Post, Iraq and the World ceased production on May 8.

Thursday, May 8

the office of special plans

Seymour Hersh has written several articles in The New Yorker on the dynamics operating within the Department of Defense. His most recent, Selective Intelligence in the May 12 issue is a must read.
They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal - a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community. These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq. They relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi. By last fall, the operation rivaled both the CIA and the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency, the DIA, as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaeda. As of last week, no such weapons had been found. And although many people, within the Administration and outside it, profess confidence that something will turn up, the integrity of much of that intelligence is now in question.
Little is known about the Office of Special Plans (OSP), but their positioning within the Department of Defense (DoD) says quite a bit. To understand where exactly in the DoD the OSP is located a basic overview is needed.

International Security Affairs

The Secretary of Defense is Donald Rumsfeld. The Deputy Secretary of Defense is Paul Wolfowitz. Beneath the Secretary of Defense are a number of Secretary and Under Secretary positions heading various departments and agencies.

The newly created Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence of Stephen Cambone is one. The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy of Douglas Feith is a second.

Douglas Feith as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy oversees the following personnel:
Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Requirements
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
Defense Advisor for U. S. Mission NATO
Director of Net Assessment
Defense Security Assistance Agency - through the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Defense Technology Security Administration - through the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy
Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Office - through the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
The Office of Special Plans is located within International Security Affairs.The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs is Peter W. Rodman.
The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Secretary of Defense for formulating international security and political-military policy for Africa, Asia-Pacific, Near-East and South Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. He also provides policy oversight for security assistance and prisoner of war (POW)/missing in action (MIA) issues.
International Security Affairs is broken down into 4 regional offices:
Near East and South Asia
Western Hemisphere
And 3 other offices:
Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
Defense Security Cooperation Agency
International Negotiations and Regional Affairs
Dr. William J. Luti is the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense in charge of Special Plans and Near East and South Asia. The Office of Special Plans is within the Near East and South Asia regional office. The Director of the Office of Special Plans is Abram Shulsky.

Defense Intelligence Community

Progressing down the chain of command from Secretary of Defense thru the Policy branch of the DoD to the Director of the Office of Special Plans, something is missing: The Intelligence Community. While intelligence is an integral part of all departments within the DoD, key intelligence such as that used by the President to declare war, seems wildly out of place in the Policy branch.

Responsibility for intelligence gathering of the significance indicated in Hersh's article is mentioned nowhere in the full directive of Responsibilities and Functions of International Security Affairs. Nor is the Policy branch included in the Department of Defense Intelligence Community comprised of the following DoD members:
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) - provides timely and objective military intelligence to warfighters, policymakers, and force planners.

National Security Agency (NSA) - collects and processes foreign signals intelligence information for our Nation's leaders and warfighters, and protects critical US information security systems from compromise.

National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) - coordinates collection and analysis of information from airplane and satellite reconnaissance by the military services and the CIA.

National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) – provides timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security.

Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps Intelligence Agencies –each collects and processes intelligence relevant to their particular Service needs.
The CIA, while funded under the DoD, is considered a non-DoD intelligence branch. Policy is not a member of the DoD Intelligence Community nor the non-DoD Intelligence Community.

Intelligence Activities

United States intelligence activities are clearly defined in the provisions of Executive Order 12333 of Dec. 4, 1981.
1.11 The Department of Defense. The Secretary of Defense shall:

(a) Collect national foreign intelligence and be responsive to collection tasking by the Director of Central Intelligence;

(b) Collect, produce and disseminate military and military-related foreign intelligence and counterintelligence as required for execution of the Secretary's responsibilities;

(c) Conduct programs and missions necessary to fulfill national, departmental and tactical foreign intelligence requirements;

(d) Conduct counterintelligence activities in support of Department of Defense components outside the United States in coordination with the CIA, and within the United States in coordination with the FBI pursuant to procedures agreed upon by the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General;

(e) Conduct, as the executive agent of the United States Government, signals intelligence and communications security activities, except as otherwise directed by the National Security Council;

(f) Provide for the timely transmission of critical intelligence, as defined by the Director of Central Intelligence, within the United States Government;

(g) Carry out or contract for research, development and procurement of technical systems and devices relating to authorized intelligence functions;

(h) Protect the security of Department of Defense installations, activities, property, information, and employees by appropriate means, including such investigations of applicants, employees, contractors, and other persons with similar associations with the Department of Defense as are necessary;

(i) Establish and maintain military intelligence relationships and military intelligence exchange programs with selected cooperative foreign defense establishments and international organizations, and ensure that such relationships and programs are in accordance with policies formulated by the Director of Central Intelligence;

(j) Direct, operate, control and provide fiscal management for the National Security Agency and for defense and military intelligence and national reconnaissance entities; and

(k) Conduct such administrative and technical support activities within and outside the United States as are necessary to perform the functions described in sections (a) through (j) above.

1.12 Intelligence Components Utilized by the Secretary of Defense. In carrying out the responsibilities assigned in section 1.11, the Secretary of Defense is authorized to utilize the following:

(a) Defense Intelligence Agency, whose responsibilities shall include;

(1) Collection, production, or, through tasking and coordination, provision of military and military-related intelligence for the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, other Defense components, and, as appropriate, non-Defense agencies;

(2) Collection and provision of military intelligence for national foreign intelligence and counterintelligence products;

(3) Coordination of all Department of Defense intelligence collection requirements;

(4) Management of the Defense Attache system; and

(5) Provision of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence staff support as directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Policy Dictates Intelligence

Clearly the DoD has a well established intelligence structure with clearly defined responsibilities . So just what is the Office of Special Plans doing operating inside of Policy if the Defense Department already has a dedicated intelligence community as well as an Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence?

Read Hersh's article. It should now be clear just how far outside of the intelligence community the Office of Special Plans is operating. For more insight from Hersh, read the accompanying online interview.
AMY TÜBKE-DAVIDSON: This week in the magazine, you look at how the case for going to war with Iraq was made. What did you find out?

SEYMOUR M. HERSH: Well, the biggest thing I found out is that what we think of as the intelligence community may not be a community at all. For example, I was just listening to Secretary of State Colin Powell describe how he had briefings from the intelligence community on weapons of mass destruction. It turns out that the intelligence community is really very much dominated by a small group of people in the Pentagon. Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, has more or less muscled his way into day-to-day intelligence operations. I wrote about an ad-hoc analytical group that began working in the Pentagon in the aftermath of September 11th, and which became formally known as the Office of Special Plans last August. The office is the responsibility of William Luti, the Under-Secretary of Defense, and its director is Abram Shulsky. They argued that the C.I.A. and other agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department, weren't able to understand the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and the extent to which Iraq was involved in the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. They felt that these agencies didn't get it right because they didn't have the right point of view. The Pentagon group's idea was, essentially: Let's just assume that there is a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and let's assume that they have made weapons of mass destruction, and that they're still actively pursuing nuclear weapons and have generated thousands of tons of chemical and biological weapons and not destroyed them. Having made that leap of faith, let's then look at the intelligence the C.I.A. has assembled with fresh eyes and see what we can see. As one person I spoke to told me, they wanted to believe it was there and, by God, they found it.
The cart has been placed in front of the horse. Policy is now dictating the interpretation of intelligence. One can only hope that intelligence is not fabricated to satisfy policy in return.

Wednesday, May 7

a little bit more

Halliburton has been awarded an additional $24 million dollars to distribute propane fuel inside of Iraq. Bpost will have more to say on this but for now, here's the update:

Company Kellogg, Brown & Root (subsidiary of Halliburton)
Award $24 million
Pre-planning November 2002
Date of RFP
Date of Award March 8, 2003
Date of additional work order May 4, 2003
Nature of work To distribute fuel within Iraq

poking around

Bpost has been poking around into some of the recent groups to hit the news. Two have caught our eye. The first is the Office of Special Plans of which we know next to nothing. The second is defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

According to online information, the SAIC is funding the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council (IRDC). Established by the Pentagon in late February, the council is made up of Iraqis who would participate in an interim administration in Iraq. The team is apparently headed by Imad Dhia and was temporarily stationed in Virgina.

Our interest, of course, is how much is being paid and under which contract to SAIC. After some looking around, bpost discovered a revised contract to SAIC dated February 13.
Science Applications International Corp., San Diego is being awarded a $7,715,691 to exercise an option under previously awarded indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00140-01-D-H029) for providing services in support of the U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Experimentation Directorate in support of the formulation and analysis of joint operational concepts. Work will be performed at Suffolk, Va., and is to be completed by October 2003. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Fleet Industrial Supply Center, Norfolk Detachment, Philadelphia is the contracting activity.
Our guess work is based on a) the Pentagon would not want to send the contract out for bid b) the contract had to be for services not goods c) the location specified needed to be in Virginia and d) the contract would commence after January 31 on or near the end of February. The contract is also for significantly less than most of the additional awards to SAIC that we saw online at Defense Link.

The U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Experimentation Directorate is a Pentagon program that is part of transforming military response. Here's how Navy Capt. Justin Sherin, chief of the directorate's information superiority working group initially described it:
a pro football team that has the best capabilities, but no game schedule
Bpost thinks the IRDC is now part of this new football team. And we think they just got flown to Baghdad for their first game.

SAIC is also handling the technical operations of the new radio station Voice of the New Iraq launched on April 15 in Umm Qasr. It's a bummer they wouldn't reveal how much the contract is worth or when they got it. If anyone stumbles on anything please let us know. We prefer solid facts to guesswork.

There are now a number of radio stations operating in Iraq. Clandestine radio is monitoring transmissions and reports on the bands so you can tune in if you've got a shortwave radio. It'll probably help if you speak a little Arabic but you can always just enjoy the music.

Note Try this link to Clandestine Radio.

Special thanks to P Glass for contributing to this report

Tuesday, May 6

up, up, and away

Announcement today from the USAID that SkyLink Air & Logistics has been awarded the contract for administering three airports in Iraq. The airports are Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. SkyLink's Canadian subsidiary handled humanitarian air drops for the International Rescue Committee in Kosovo. They have a lot of experience moving stuff around.
Essentially, SkyLink is in the business of getting people and cargo where they need to go on time, on budget and safely. Whether SkyLink is leasing a helicopter in Africa for food distribution and relief programs, or chartering the world's largest aircraft (AN124) to move oil rigs to remote sites around the world, SkyLink has always excelled
Oil rigs? Now why would there possibly be a need for that kind of humanitarian assistance in Iraq?

Company SkyLink Air & Logistic Support, Incorporated (USA)
Subcontractor Patrick Corporation (Australia)
Award $2.5 million
Agency USAID
Date of RFP February 19, 2003
Date of Award May 5, 2003
Nature of work Airport Administration. Management of humanitarian and trans-shipment operations by air. Airport Director for each airport (minimum of 5 airports) is required to be American citizen.

The contract is expected to reach upwards of $10.2 million. Subcontractor Patrick Corporation will be doing the initial assessment. Bet the recent timely meeting between President Bush and Australian Prime Minister Howard didn't hurt. Howard even got invited to the Crawford Ranch, which is apparently an honor, though the press seem to feel otherwise. During the Kosovo relief effort, the cost of the operation was estimated at $1 million a month. Expect the contract to total at a fairly high number when all is said and done.

Monday, May 5

op ed

8.8 million jobs have been lost in the last two years in the United States. National unemployment figures rose this past week to 6%.

Hello? Is anybody in Washington paying attention?

I'm not the president or a presidential candidate (and I don't play one on television) but it seems to me to create new jobs, this country needs to create new industries. A tax cut to maintain the current status quo is just not going to change anything. If the demand for existing products isn't there now, why should the demand increase with a tax cut? How many new cars and television sets can any one person buy? Americans just can't keep buying more of what we already have. We've got to get a move on.

How do we get moving?

There is an entirely new industry this country could develop and export world wide. It's one that's been sitting under our noses since the 1970's. Just about every dis-incentive imaginable has been put in the way to prevent it from emerging, growing, and creating new jobs. It's a no-brainer friends. It's the alternative energy industry.

Take just one form: solar energy. To get solar energy into mainstream use it needs research and development: jobs for designers and engineers. New ideas need the manufacturing sector to see those designs become reality: jobs in assembly and production. Products need to reach wholesale and retail outlets: jobs in the transportation sector for shipping and delivery. Units need to be installed: projects for contractors who in turn give jobs to electrical and construction workers. New products need to be marketed: jobs in advertising and more jobs for the outlets that carry those ads.

Small businesses will need to develop to handle maintenance contracts. New architecture and design standards will need to be invented to incorporate the new technology. Colleges, schools and universities will need classes and teachers to educate how the technology can be utilized. Banks will need to provide loans to help businesses and homeowners to stretch out the costs of purchase and installation. Entire new businesses will be needed just to deal with retrofitting existing buildings and homes.

When new industries emerge, inventors and entrepreneurs find new ways to exploit the new technology. It's American capitalism at its finest. Commonly used products evolve, reinvented as new and improved. Ingenuity imagines new demand for solar cell phone chargers, portable solar radios and televisions, solar powered picnic coolers that stay cool, travel mugs that stay warm. Go wild, and why not - a mailbox in winter could have a solar de-icer, a chilly morning car could have a solar seat warmer. The possibilities are endless because so little has yet to be imagined, invented, and created.

We need jobs. We need new jobs. And a tax cut to hang on to old jobs that no longer exist just isn't going to cut it. We need to move forward and quit standing still.

In the 1700's, we had wood to heat our homes. The 1800's gave us coal as the fuel of choice. The 1900's were the boom of the oil industry. It's the 2000's now and it's time we had new energy that matched our new century.

So let's skip the tax cut and put that money into creating a new industry. Let's invest in our future and let's do it today. Oil is so yesterday.

Besides, we need the jobs.


Company Iraqi Antiquities
Award $2 million
Agency US Department of State
Date of RFP
Pre-planning bpost shall refrain from snide remark
Date of Award April 29, 2003
Nature of work To help protect and restore key museums and archeological sites in Iraq

Something is always better than nothing. But alas, it is too little, too late.
The United States is pleased to announce a contribution of $2 million to help protect and restore key museums and archeological sites in Iraq. The American people value and respect Iraq’s cultural heritage. The funds will support specific cultural preservation needs to be identified in consultation with Iraqi cultural officials. The archeological and cultural heritage of Iraq documents over 10,000 years of the development of civilization.
Not much left in the key museums to protect but the funds will probably help with the clean up.

Wanna see the budget breakdown for all of the aid and reconstruction costs? It's in the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003 Public Law 108-11 signed by President Bush on April 16, 2003. You can read the on-line version of HR1559 here. If you'd like to see the full language of the appropriations bill, you can order it from the Government Printing Office - although, it won't be ready for another couple of weeks.

Saturday, May 3

here kitty kitty

We did wonder when the administration would get around to spending the $2.43 billion dollars it holds in seized Iraqi assets. Looks like the kitty has already been dipped into. What bpost would really like to know is how did it go from $2.43 billion down to $1.7 billion and what happened to that roughly $700 million dollars in between?
The U.S. Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance has already requested $20 million from the $1.7 billion in frozen assets to jump-start the economy. Some 3,500 government employees, dock workers and oil workers have received emergency payments of $20, Treasury officials said.
We're not sure how we feel about spending the money vs giving the money back to Iraq. First the US bombs Iraq. Then it places Americans as the head of its industries. Next step, hires the now unemployed Iraqis to work at the jobs they had before the country was bombed. Pays them with seized Iraqi assets. Something is not quite right in this formula.

In the meantime, does this qualify as aid and should bpost include this in the ongoing list of reconstruction contracts?
The United States suffered a major blow in its campaign to recruit friendly Shia clerics inside Iraq last month when it lost an influential religious ally to an angry mob - and up to $13 million the CIA had given him to cultivate supporters.

While he was widely perceived to be pro-American, Iraqis were unaware that the cleric, Abdel Majid al-Khoei, had agreed to use the CIA cash in a covert program to enlist support within the splintered Shia community, according to knowledgeable U.S. sources.
In case you are keeping track of the contracts/aid it might look something like this:

Company Abdel Majid al-Khoei
Award $13 million
Agency CIA
Date of RFP
Date of Award April 3, 2003
Nature of work To enlist covert support within the splintered Shia community

It would be interesting to know if the $13 million dollars the CIA "lost" came out of the $700 million now missing from the seized assets account. And why does anyone think we wouldn't notice the sudden dip in accounting? Someone please ask Ari Fleischer. Bpost wants to see how Ari evades answering the question.

Defense Policy Board sighting

Over at USA today, Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle shares more of his Perle's of wisdom with us. We're so lucky he likes to see his words in print.
We will find Saddam's well-hidden chemical and biological weapons programs, but only when people who know come forward and tell us where to look. While Saddam was in power, even a hint about his concealment and deception was a death sentence, often by unimaginable torture against whole families. Saddam had four years to hide things. We have had a few weeks to find them. Patience — and some help from free Iraqis — will be rewarded.
But what about all of the intelligence Colin Powell presented to the UN that said the US knew where the weapons of mass destruction were? oops? And what exactly does Perle mean by rewarded--mucho dinero? Perle's end quote held bpost as a captive audience.
Iraqis are freer today and we are safer. Relax and enjoy it.
Lie back and have that post war cigarette.

Friday, May 2

aid & reconstruction

Bpost started an initial list of Iraq reconstruction and aid contracts on April 19. Click here to go to the original post. You can also go into the archive, bottom left, and click on the week 04/13/2003 - 04/19/2003

Posts since April 19 include reconstruction and aid contract information as we find it.

so many words, so little clarity

Company Abt Associates, Inc.
Award $10 million
Agency USAID
Date of RFP March 3, 2003
Date of Award April 30, 2003
Nature of work Public health. Health System Strengthening in Post-conflict Iraq. Support to the Iraqi Ministry of Health to coordinate and report on health activities.

Abt Associates provides a description of their focus in assisting post-war Iraq.
Abt Associates' efforts will focus on the six essential components of the health system: service delivery, health surveillance, health services management, the health workforce, health delivery infrastructure, and assessing the demand for health services. The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase — immediate post-conflict — involves rapid assessment, stabilization and basic reconstruction in order to assure service delivery to vulnerable groups. The second phase — pre-development — involves capacity strengthening of Iraqi health system providers in order to re-establish Iraqi management of the health system and ensure sustainability.
But we here at bpost are somewhat mystified as to the exact purpose of this particular contract. We readily admit that we have no experience in the public health sector. However, our understanding to date is the primary weakness within the Iraqi medical system is one of lack. They lack supplies, equipment, and suffer a shortage of professional staff. Most of these shortages are due to a) war and b) 12 years of sanctions.

The USAID press release does not help to clarify what Abt Associates role will be either.
The 'Health System Strengthening Contract' will support Iraqi-led initiatives in meeting the health needs of the population. Assistance will include supporting a reformed Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH) at the national, regional and local levels as well as delivering health services, providing medical equipment and supplies, training and recruiting health staff, providing health education and information, and determining the specific needs of the health sector and vulnerable populations such as women and children.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research and consulting firm will coordinate with international organizations, including USAID awardees such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), that are
already working within the health, water, and sanitation sectors.
But, we think there may be a clue in this one sentence from the USAID:
Under the terms of the contract, Abt Associates Inc. will have the flexibility to provide rapid response grants to civil society to address specific health needs in Iraq.
Bpost believes Abt Associates' primary role will be that of a granting agency.

If this is the case, why couldn't the USAID just say so?

Thursday, May 1

iraqi national congress

The USAID is improving the way they post information. But there's still too much squidginess. In the meantime, bpost has been trying to nail down how much financial support has gone to the Iraqi National Congress. There's what's been said. And then there's what's been written. But none of it really adds up. At least its consistent.

If you've been following the news of Iraq, you'll have come across the Iraqi National Congress and former exile, Ahmad Chalabi.

The Iraqi National Congress is an umbrella group of exiled dissidents who for years hoped to overthrow Saddam Hussein. It was created by the Rendon Group to facilitate funding of their efforts. The Iraqi National Congress was created in the sense that Rendon Group gave them a name--and then funneled a lot of money to them from the CIA.

Before we get into their funding history, you should know they have a multitude of monickers.
Iraqi National Congress
Iraqi National Congress Support Foundation
Iraqi National Congress Office of Mobilization and Coordination
In theory, its the second organization the US funds. Bpost hasn't actually seen the cancelled checks. To be consistent with how its been reported, bpost uses the INC instead of the more appropriate INCSF.

Between 1992 and 1996 the INC received roughly $12 million dollars thru the CIA to support covert operations against Saddam Hussein's regime. After a failed coup attempt that resulted in the deaths of almost 100 INC members operating outpost media transmitters in northern Iraq, US funding was stopped.

Support within the US for overthrowing the regime in Iraq did not end with the failed coup. In 1998, a group of politicians pressed for and passed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.
Sec 2 (12) On May 1, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-174, which made $5,000,000 available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition for such activities as organization, training, communication and dissemination of information, developing and implementing agreements among opposition groups, compiling information to support the indictment of Iraqi officials for war crimes, and for related purposes.

(A) Grant assistance to such organizations for radio and television broadcasting by such organizations to Iraq.
(B) There is authorized to be appropriated to the United States Information Agency $2,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 to carry out this paragraph.

(A) The President is authorized to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training for such organizations.
(B) The aggregate value (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of assistance provided under this paragraph may not exceed $97,000,000.
However, not much of the above funds found their way to the Iraqi National Congress. In fact, funding the INC became problematic. Money would be appropriated and announced, but smaller sums would actually be allocated. According to reports the INC received less than they were expecting the first two years:

$267,000 in 1999
$850,000 in 2000

During this time, and due to a rather ongoing problem of accountability within the INC, an additional $3.2 million in funding was handled thru Quality Support Inc. of Landover, Md. and $215,000 thru Burson-Marsteller.

Shortly after President Bush assumed office in 2001, efforts were made to see funding increased. But squabbling from the State Department over financial accountability continued to interfere. After conducting an audit (pdf) and making recommendations for room for improvement, the taps got looser on the money. By the end of 2001, the INC had received:

$4.3 million during the audit period of March 31, 2000 to May 30, 2001
$6 million after June 14, 2001

Just one month after the inauguration of George W. Bush, a rather innocuous and cryptic passage appeared in the Daily Telegraph in London on February 25, 2001 that warrants attention. According to the paper:
Members of the opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC) won American funding last week for a £21 million ($33.3 million US) plan to send exiles into the country to gather information and rebuild links with sympathisers in the armed forces. INC officials want the plan to be expanded to include military training and logistical support, although they do not expect President Bush to contemplate using American ground forces.
The only other reference to this funding is again in the Telegraph that reported it the first time. But the date coincides with reports that President Bush had asked his cabinet to analyze the US position on Iraq. By 2002 the INC were receiving funding again:

$2.4 million on January 30, 2002
$11.6 million on January 31, 2002, all of which may or may not have gone to the INC. Its unclear.

With the State Department still not comfortable with the financial responsibility of the INC, the Defense Department took over their funding in August. Ahmad Chalabi is a favorite of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, which probably helps. Bet you feel reassured now.

President Bush sought to speed things up a bit and in December of 2002 signed a memorandum allocating the remaining funding to 6 Iraqi opposition groups that included the INC. How much funding was there to begin with? Questions, questions, questions.
I hereby direct the furnishing of up to $92 million in defense articles from the Department of Defense, defense services from the Department of Defense, and military education and training in order to provide assistance to the following organizations:

Iraqi National Accord
Iraqi National Congress
Kurdistan Democratic Party
Movement for Constitutional Monarchy
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq
According to reports, so far in 2003 the INC has received:

$3.1 million on April 10, 2003 to operate broadcasts inside Iraq

Total to date: $43.9 million dollars (not including the £21 million)

But there's something bpost is not clear on and that's this report (see page 13) Iraq: US Efforts to Change the Regime from August 16, 2002. The report lists Unspecified Opposition Activities in its funding categories. It shows $25 million for 2002 in the Unspecified Opposition Activities column and a big zip in the INC column. But how can that be if the INC had already received at least $2.4 million before the August date of the report? Hmmm. If INC funding is included in that column in addition to their own column, then what else is included up column from the earlier years?

But wait, there's more. There are also education and training expenses. It is unclear where the expense should be assigned, but at least it is listed. Its so confusing. Announcements of appropriations. Announcements of delays on fundings. Reports showing money allocated and spent, not spent, might be spent, could be spent. Here a million, there a million. None of the numbers completely matching up with each other. If bpost listed each appropriation, announcement, change, new announcement, report, revised report, well, it would take pages.

Aaaahhh. Bureaucracies. It's so easy to slop around the numbers when it's not your money you're playing with. We'll probably never really know how much the INC has really received.

By the way, did we mention Ahmad Chalabi was convicted in absentia of embezzling $300 million dollars in Jordan?