The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Tuesday, June 10

war and money

The inspector general of the USAID has concluded that the agency did not comply with federal regulations in awarding one contract for reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The agency also did not adequately document the procurement process. Gee. We could have told them that and we're not even lawyers.
In its report, the inspector general reported that AID procurement officers had not documented the methods used to narrow the list of potential contractors. Some of the officers told the inspector general that the procurement office did not conduct any research into potential contractors but had chosen the five potential bidders based on “institutional knowledge” built up over years working with educational development contractors. But the AID inspector general took issue with the procurement officials’ reasoning, arguing that federal regulations require the agency to conduct market research and that “expecting that this process be documented and clearly explained is reasonable.”

The IG also criticized AID for inviting a representative from Creative Associates to a November 2002 roundtable discussion with AID personnel and outside academics to share information and discuss the current state of the Iraqi educational system. None of the other solicited bidders were invited to participate in the roundtable discussion.
A collaborative report Bechtel: Profitting on Destruction was recently issued on June 5, by CorpWatch, Global Exchange, and Public Citizen. You can view the report online or download the pdf. It's long by the way.
This report provides case studies from Bechtel's history of operating in the water, nuclear, energy and public works sectors. These case studies reveal a legacy of unsustainable and destructive practices that have reaped permanent human, environmental and community devastation around the globe. Letters from "Bechtel affected communities" included here provide first-hand descriptions of these impacts, from Bolivia to Native American lands in Nevada. The report reveals a 100-year history spent capitalizing on the most brutal technologies, reaping immense profits and ignoring the social and environmental costs.

With Bechtel's new contract in Iraq, the opportunity for expansion throughout the region would be further advanced by a recently announced Bush Administration plan for a U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area by 2013. Bechtel even had a role in this, with Riley P. Bechtel, the chairman and CEO, appointed in February to the President's Export Council - President Bush's advisory committee on international trade. Such an agreement would make the corporate invasion of the entire region a reality, and Bechtel, as usual, would be in the lead.
Back in August of 1997, the Nation published an article Privatizing War How affairs of state are outsourced to corporations beyond public control written by Ken Silverstein. While some of the information is now out of date, for instance Vinnell is no longer owned by Carlyle, it would be a good idea to re-read the original.
The history of American foreign and military policy abounds with deception and scandal, with shadowy actors, monied interests and efforts to keep the public out of what are properly public decisions. Now those efforts have taken an unprecedented turn in scale and degree. Privatization, the process by which the responsibilities of government are transferred to unaccountable corporate hands, now occupies the halls of warmaking.
We recommend the article in the Nation because of a reference to MacDill and its possible bearing on today's news. General (Ret) Peter J. Schoomaker was the Commander of US Special Operations Command at MacDill from late 1997 to October of 2000. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has selected Schoomaker to become the next Army chief of staff.

Security may still be lacking in Iraq and the US military haven't found any weapons of mass destruction but by God, they've got Burger King there now.


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