The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Wednesday, December 24

happy holidays

We'll be celebrating the holidays out of town for the next week. The bpost will be back January 1. (sooner if something pops up that is a must post)

Friday, December 19

more bits & pieces

Asia Times (you really must read this great publication on a regular basis) reports on the continuing controversy over who can and cannot bid on primary contracts in War critics lose out on $18.6bn Iraq bonanza It was this snippet that caught the bpost's attention.
"It is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts of these procurements to companies from the United States, Iraq, coalition partners and force contributing nations," Wolfowitz was quoted as say in the report.

The decision is sure to upset France and Germany and other traditional allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the UN Security Council who are being blocked out of prime contracts because of their opposition to the war.
They may, however, bid for subcontracts. And these can be lucrative. For example, Siemens AG, the German industrial giant, won a $95 million subcontract from US construction giant Bechtel last month to build a turbine plant in northern Iraq. The company already had about $50 million worth of subcontracts.
We haven't been trolling Bechtel's website lately so there may be other goodies we have missed but do be sure to check out Bechtel's updated list of subcontracts as of December 18, 2003.


These contracts are not specific to Iraq but caught our eye. They are posted at Defense Link
Ameriqual Group, LLC, Evansville, Ind., is being awarded $80,730,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment and indefinite quantity delivery type of contract for ready-to-eat meals (MRE) and humanitarian daily ration (HDR) for the U.S. military services.
But wait, there's more.
The Wornick Co., McAllen, Texas, is being awarded $79,443,750 fixed price with economic price adjustment and indefinite quantity delivery type of contract for ready-to-eat meals (MRE) and humanitarian daily ration (HDR) for the U.S. military services.
We're not finished yet.
SOPAKCO Packaging, Mullins, S.C., is being awarded $61,565,625 fixed price with economic price adjustment and indefinite quantity delivery type of contract for ready-to-eat meals (MRE) and humanitarian daily ration (HDR) for the U.S. military services.
We wish we knew what each MRE was valued at. That's alot of meals.

bits & pieces

Perini task orders now total $220 million. Read about it on Business Wire Perini's Task Order for Power Restoration in Iraq Increased to $220 Million The husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a significant partner in Perini.
The Task Order was awarded under Perini's Contingency Contract with COE's Transatlantic Programs Center to provide design-build, general construction, and operations and maintenance services in the U.S. Central Command's area of operations (CENTCOM). The maximum potential value of the contract, which was originally awarded in April for up to $100 million, has been increased to a ceiling of $500 million.

Perini's team includes Tetra Tech of Framingham, MA; POWER Engineers of Boise, Idaho; Willbros Group of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Nimrod/PPI of Dubai, U.A.E.; and Hart/ELS Security Services of the U.K.
Comtech Telecommunications Corp. Receives $1.4 Million Contract for Additional Battle Command Mobile Data Communications Products on Business Wire.
The order is for the supply of L-Band mobile aviation terminal transceivers, for use on several helicopter platforms currently operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. These orders relate to Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below - Blue Force Tracking (FBCB2-BFT), a battle command real-time situational awareness command and control system.
The Los Angeles Times reports in Pentagon Probe Delays Start of Iraqi Phone Service by Carol J. Williams on the delays in telecommunications contracts.
Iraqi phone service, thwarted for months because of delays in deploying a mobile network, has been put on hold again with the Pentagon's decision Thursday to investigate suspect license awards.

Nearly nine months after much of Iraq's infrastructure and industry was wrecked during the U.S.-led invasion and the rioting that ensued, there is still no way to make a simple telephone call.

The licenses were supposed to be finalized today...


An announcement went out for a new website for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Program Management Office (PMO) and Sector Program Management Offices (SPMO) at



...we left an empty post. Feel free to make any comments or suggestions.

double standards

So if Erinys is a South African company, and they are officially not in the Coaltion of the Willing (PDF), why are they eligible for a primary contract under their Iraqi subsidiary, Erinys Iraq?

Anyone else wondering about this double standard?

There are some excellent references and links to articles at Global Eye -- Best-Laid Plans
Erinys is a joint venture between a large South African freebooting firm and a few choice Iraqi investors. How choice? They are intimates of Ahmad Chalabi: leader of the Iraqi National Congress exile group, member of the Bush-appointed Governing Council, convicted swindler, darling of the Pentagon -- and the Bush plan's designated tyrant-to-be, the Iraqi face of a compliant, corporate-run colonial outpost in Mesopotamia.
Chris Floyd doesn't like to mince his words or hold back his opinion.

wmd again

The AFP reports that the US wil spend up to $22 million dollars re-training Iraqi scientists in "peaceful civilian fields" US launches 22-million-dollar employment program for Iraqi WMD scientists is currently posted at
The United States on Thursday formally launched a two-year program that will spend up to 22 million dollars to employ former Iraqi weapons scientists in peaceful civilian fields.

The State Department said the program was aimed at keeping those scientists from selling their expertise to terrorist groups or rogue states and assisting the reconstruction of Iraq's shattered infrastructure and technology sector.
Washington File carries the full text of the announcement at U.S. to Fund "Redirection Training" for Former WMD Scientists in Iraq
The first step in a multi-stage process will be to establish a new, United States-funded office in Baghdad -- the Iraqi International Center for Science and Industry (IICSI). The Center will identify needs and provide funding for specific scientific projects that use the expertise of personnel formerly involved in Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. Initial projects will focus on establishing priorities for future scientific work, training, and long-term cooperation between the United States and Iraqi scientific communities. These projects will begin within six months of the opening of the Center, and are expected to cost around $2 million, to be funded by the United States Nonproliferation Disarmament Fund (NDF).
So while preliminary funds will be $2 million, it looks to be a project that will grow in scope and cost.

Thursday, December 18

go molly

Molly Ivins has a nice little column on the hypocrisy of limiting reconstruction contracts. Check it out
I was especially entranced to read about the moral case for stiffing these nations on the op-ed page of The New York Times in an article by Claudia Rosett, senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. It says on its website that the foundation is against terrorism, thus distinguishing it from all the foundations in favor of terrorism.

Rosett calls the three delinquent countries "the Axis of Avarice." Isn't that cute?
Nice slap to Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (anti-arab/muslim organization that Donna Brazile should not be associating with but unfortunately is...)

Wednesday, December 17


Lots of international moaning and groaning about the contracts ban Paul Wolfowitz unveiled. It's a really dumb idea and does nothing to help get Iraq on its feet again. In fact, it was a real bone headed move unveiling it as Baker goes to talk to countries about forgiving all and/or portions of Iraq's debt. Makes you wonder if the left hand knows what the right hand is doing in the White House. Our guess is no one talks to anyone. There are so many articles we are not going to link to them but they are out there if you are interested. If we do see a good one, we'll post it.

If you would like to read Paul Wolfowitz original Determination and Findings, there is a PDF document available. It includes the list of 63 countries who may bid as primary contractors. No Mexico, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, or South Africa. Hmmm...seems like alot of the big nations are missing. And those are just the ones we noticed on first glance.

btw: we had a helluva time finding the PDF. It's hidden in the following paragraph on this web page. See if you can spot it below.
The PMO will soon release Requests for Proposals on up to 26 contracts, to be awarded by February 3, 2004. Companies from 63 Coalition and troop-contributing countries are eligible to compete as prime contractors on the U.S.-funded contracts (see contract and country listings in the Defense Department statement on the PMO Web site). Companies from all non-terrorist countries will be eligible for subcontracts.
And in case you are curious, the PMO website at wouldn't launch for us but maybe if you try it, it'll work.

Tuesday, December 16

bits & pieces

World Space is bidding on running Iraq's television and media network in partnership with 9 other firms. Read about it in WorldSpace Bids on $98 Million Deal to Rebuild Iraqi Media Network Basically, it's more satellite stuff worth about $98 million and due to be awarded in Jaunary 2004.

News from the DoD: The director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Stephen M. Younger, is leaving to return to the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Why is this significant? DTRA is the group responsible for looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Maybe this means there aren't any.


Portal Iraq includes an announcement from the publishers of the Iraq Reconstruction Report that they have launched a new database.
WorldTrade Executive today announced the Iraq Reconstruction Contract Database, the first comprehensive database of contracts and subcontracts related to Iraq reconstruction procurement opportunities. To date, more than 400 procurement projects, RFPs, and contracts have been announced from a variety of international sources including the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S. Department of Defense, and USAID. It is expected that the number of contracts, and the number of issuing sources, will increase in coming months as reconstruction accelerates.
We visited the site but found no link to either the database or for additional information.

Sounds good though.

kbr go boom

Wow. Halliburton units file for bankruptcy
Halliburton Co. said Tuesday its Kellogg Brown & Root and DII Industries units filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Pittsburgh court to resolve asbestos claims against the company.


Monday, December 15

bits & pieces

Earlier this month, the CPA removed large busts of Saddam Hussein off of the Republican Palace. You can read about it in the New York Times Another Symbol of Hussein's Regime Comes Down by Joel Brinkley.
Twelve companies bid for the work, including the firm that actually installed the monuments after Mr. Hussein commissioned them in 1996. But only one company said it could assure that the three-ton busts could be lowered to the ground safely. And so that company won the contract, for $27,000 — a bargain price, given that it took all day today to remove just one of them.

The company declined to be identified publicly; the workers said they were afraid they would become instant targets for the Hussein loyalists terrorizing much of Iraq.
Add it to the list.

FMC Tech wins Air Force contract: Will supply cargo loaders for use in Iraq by Kelly Quigley mentions that the DoD has ordered "cargo loaders".
Chicago-based FMC Technologies Inc. on Tuesday said it won a $24.5-million order from the U.S. Air Force to supply 61 cargo loaders to carry food, equipment and other goods to military troops around the world.
Interesting essay in Middle East International magazine Iraqi reconstruction: change of tack by Samer Badawi. Problem is, they've gone and changed tack yet again.
More and more, US officials are seeing reconstruction as a diplomatic process. That process, say some, cannot be entrusted to private firms whose business templates and “critical paths” fall apart in Iraq. As one private consultant put it: “In the rest of the world, a work plan covers a year; in Iraq, you’re lucky if it makes it through the first month.”

That might explain Paul Bremer’s habitual changes of heart, particularly when it comes to how Iraqis should govern themselves. Although he insisted from the beginning that the Iraqis draft a constitution before holding general elections, he returned from Washington in mid-November with a plan for district councils to select a transitional assembly by June, constitution or not. At the beginning of December, reacting to strong objections by Sistani and others, Bremer appears to be scrambling again.



Can you believe it? Sue Pleming pens Halliburton Gets More Business in Iraq for Reuters.
The U.S. military said on Monday Vice President Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton was allocated $222 million more last week for work in Iraq, at the same time as a Pentagon audit found the firm may have overbilled for some services there.

Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root has now clocked up $2.26 billion under its March no-bid contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild Iraq's oil sector.
More Halliburton details in the Dow Jones newswire U.S. May Have Steered Halliburton to Kuwaiti Supplier
U.S. and Kuwaiti government officials may have tried to steer Halliburton Co. and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue working with a Kuwaiti subcontractor that Pentagon officials point to as the source of potential overcharging in Iraq, Monday's Wall Street Journal reported, citing documents and a person familiar with the situation.


Auditors found that the cost of gasoline purchased by KBR from a subcontractor in Kuwait was almost twice as expensive as gasoline KBR purchased from a Turkish subcontractor. Corps of Engineers officials said KBR was ordered to move gasoline both from the north and south into Iraq to ensure security of supply. Halliburton officials said the Corps of Engineers ordered purchases from Kuwait. Pentagon officials said they don't believe KBR pocketed the money, but faulted the company for apparently not finding a subcontractor that could deliver gasoline at better prices.

But Corps of Engineers documents, copies of which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, indicate KBR attempted to negotiate lower rates from their Kuwaiti subcontractor -- Altanmia Commercial Marketing Co. -- earlier this month, and also tried to line up alternate contractors inside Kuwait as early as October.
If anyone is curious, you can purchase a credit report for Altanmia Commercial Marketing Co. WLL at the website of International Company Profile. See

Sunday, December 14

no audits

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has this post from a few days ago.
According to Inside the Pentagon, a weekly newsletter, "Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz last week directed a newly formed inspector general's office in Iraq not to request sensitive information about Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) activities related to intelligence or operational plans."
In other words, no audits.

operation red dawn

They caught Saddam. Who will be collecting the $25 million reward?

Saturday, December 13


Nevada congressman calls for House hearings into Halliburton
Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., called Saturday for congressional hearings of Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, calling allegations that it overcharged for fuel in Iraq "an absolute outrage."

Gibbons said he wants the House Armed Services Committee to hold hearings early next year on allegations that Halliburton Co. charged up to $61 million too much for delivering gasoline to Iraqi citizens under a no-bid contract. The company denies overcharging.
As you may have read, Halliburton maintains a Kuwaiti subcontractor is responsible for the overcharges. This is interesting in light of an earlier article on activities seen by a meterologist in satellite images.

Tuesday, December 9

tid bits

De La Rue named as co-sponsor of Iraq Procurement 2004 Doesn't sound very interesting but De La Rue was the company who printed the new Iraqi currency. Now they are co-sponsors on a conference.
De La Rue, the commercial security printer and papermaker, has announced its sponsorship of Iraq Procurement 2004, an event organised by Windrush Communications, official media partners for the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, scheduled to take place in London early next year.
The CPA is pushing back one of their regular get together thingies tothe 19th of December. Other info on their site, all of it as useful as a fork for soup. Visit

James Dobbins is not impressed with current efforts at nation building in Iraq. Nation-Building in Iraq: Lessons From the Past in the New York Times.
Mr. Dobbins's basic argument is this: The Bush administration would have been better prepared for its Iraq mission if it had heeded the lessons of the United States' ongoing peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and other recent nation-building efforts. Those are cases, he argues, in which the United States had to contend with a security vacuum and the potential for ethnic strife, and designed a force to maintain order.
We were surprised to read that the Humvee doors in Iraq are canvas. They are being replaced with armored door kits. An article in The Dispatch Arsenal granted Humvee armor contract by Beverley Lindburg provides details of the contracts.
Joe Shoemaker, a spokesman for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said a contract for 1,000 armored door kits was split between the Rock Island Arsenal and the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, and orders for an additional 8,500 kits are anticipated.
The information was provided by Fred Smith, deputy director of Ground Systems Industrial Enterprise Headquarters for the two companies. No numbers.


private military contractors

Ian Traynor of the Guardian takes a look at the increasing use of private military contractors by the US as evidenced in Iraq. Its a good overview of the players in the field. Read The privatisation of war
While reliable figures are difficult to come by and governmental accounting and monitoring of the contracts are notoriously shoddy, the US army estimates that of the $87bn (£50.2bn) earmarked this year for the broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and Afghanistan, one third of that, nearly $30bn, will be spent on contracts to private companies.


The New York Times reports in U.S. Bars Iraq Contracts for Nations That Opposed War that Paul Wolfowitz has issued a directive barring countries who opposed the war from being recipients of any contracts.
The Pentagon has barred French, German and Russian companies from competing for $18.6 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, saying the step "is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States."

The directive, which was issued by the deputy defense secretary, Paul D. Wolfowitz, represents perhaps the most substantive retaliation to date by the Bush administration against American allies who opposed its decision to go to war in Iraq.

Sunday, December 7

bits & pieces

We've got an overflow of stuff to post.

After Attack, S. Korean Engineers Quit Iraq by Ariana Eunjung Cha in the Washington Post is a good illustration of how difficult it is to know where the money is being spent.
The engineers and technicians are employees of Ohmoo Electric Co. of Korea, which is a subcontractor of the Shiloh company of the Philippines, which in turn is a subcontractor of the Washington Group.
The USAID has announced two additional Educational grants as part of the Higher Education and Development (HEAD) program for Iraq.
$4,990,364 to a consortium led by Jackson State University that will partner with the University of Mosul.  The Mississippi Consortium for International Development (MCID) includes Alcorn State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Tougaloo College.

$4,988,569 to the University of Oklahoma’s College of Continuing Education to partner with the University of Al-Anbar, University of Basra, and Salahaddin University.  The Oklahoma Higher Education Partnership (OHEP) includes Cameron University, Langston University and Oklahoma State University.

it's not just us

Others feel the same way bpost does about the lack of transparency on the money flowing into Iraq thru contracts. Read Iraq Could Produce Another Enron by Nomi Prins in Newsday.
Although the amount of public money circling Iraq is staggering, there is no way to even trace it. Therefore, whether it's being spent wisely and methodically, whether projected revenues are on target or realistic, and whether cash is leaking out around the edges remain a total mystery.

During the stock market boom, fraudulent corporations hid losses and boosted earnings by playing complex financial shell games designed to withhold information from regulators and the public. Enron perfected this technique with the establishment of ghost subsidiaries. But the murkiness of Iraq finances goes beyond a mere jiggering of the books. In the case of Iraq, there are no obvious books.

Wednesday, December 3

news and loss

Another article that mentions a contractor killed in Iraq. There should be a more polite way to learn about contracts in Iraq than thru the obituaries of employees.

This time, the company mentioned is Titan Corp. Unknown if they are related to Ft. Lauderdale based Titan Maritime who did subcontractor work for Bechtel early on.
Gordon Sinclair, a former member of the Army's elite Special Forces, was killed two days before his 56th birthday. He was a senior manager for Titan Corp., a San Diego company that provides communications services and products.
See Oviedo man killed in Iraq crash served military even as retiree by Gary Taylor and Jim Leusner in the Orlando Sentinel. Sinclair was working as a "linguistics expert for a civilian contractor in Iraq."

The article also mentions that Titan Corp is soon to be owned by defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

iraq reconstruction contracts briefing

Announcement in Business Wire:
Equity International, a Washington, D.C.-based business development firm announced today it will hold The Iraq Reconstruction Contracts Briefing on Wednesday, December 10, 2003, 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM, at the National Press Club.

The briefing will provide the latest information on the reconstruction of Iraq, including new requests for proposals being announced by the Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Office, the new Pentagon office managing the $18 billion in reconstruction funding recently appropriated by Congress.
Registration is $395 at or Media Contact: To RSVP or to schedule interviews, please contact Candis Roby, 202-756-2244,

Wish we could be there. And by the way, the two websites above are worth a peek. Interesting. Other upcoming conferences listed too.

prince of darkness

Defense Policy Board member, Richard Perle, is in the news again. This time in connection with Boeing whose $20 billion dollar leasing contract with the Pentagon is under scrutiny. But remember, Mr. Perle has no conflicts of interest, according to the investigation by the Pentagon. Read Boeing has $20m stake in Perle fund by Joshua Chaffin and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in the Financial Times.
Boeing has taken a $20m stake in an investment fund run by Richard Perle, a top Pentagon adviser, underlining the close links it has built to Washington's defence establishment.


Boeing said it had no knowledge that Mr Perle had advised the company on a controversial $18bn deal to lease refueling aircraft tankers to the US Air Force, or other Pentagon-related matters.
And if that isn't enough to raise questions about the real role and purpose of the Defense Policy Board, the article also mentions:
Two other members of the Defense Policy Board, a retired admiral and a retired Air Force general, featured in an internal Boeing e-mail from January identifying them as company consultants, and claiming they were "engaging" Pentagon circles on the tanker deal.

Tuesday, December 2


The Atlantic Journal Constitution reports in Idaho-Based Co. Halts Iraq Project that Washington Group is having a little trouble. Their subcontractor Omu Electric from Seoul, South Korea has lost two engineers in shootings.
A Boise-based engineering and construction company has suspended work on power line towers being built in northern Iraq because two engineers for a subcontractor were killed and two others wounded in a weekend attack.


Omu Electric had sent 68 engineers to Iraq under its $20 million subcontract with Washington Group.
Company Washington Group International
Subcontractor Omu Electric Co. of Seoul, South Korea
Award $20 million
Agency USAID
Date of RFP
Date of Award possibly October 3, 2003 (see link)
Nature of work Construction of power transmission towers as part of the contract to rebuild Iraq's power infrastructure.
Idaho-Based Co. Halts Iraq Project
By Associated Press
The Atlantic Journal Constitution
December 2, 2003


Monday, December 1


Really dark humor. In the Utne Reader. Enjoy. New Big Boom in Iraq - Jobs
There are so many other opportunities.  For example, you would think that the dozens of Saddam look-a-likes would be unemployable, but nothing could be further from the truth.  We have a plan.  Once they grow back their mustaches (and our intelligence says they all shaved) then they can get jobs in the new Saddam and Sons Horror Museum.  It's easy work.  All they have to do is stand around like statues and every now and then jump out at Iraqi visitors and scream, 'I'm back.'  Should be good for lots of laughs and, of course, there will be many jobs for ticket takers.
Like we said, dark humor.


Bechtel subcontract for anyone who is interested. See Bechtel Signs Subcontract with Intelsat Government Solutions for Iraq Reconstruction in Business Wire
In a strategic win for the company, Intelsat Government Solutions Corporation today announced that it has been awarded a subcontract to provide a turnkey satellite communications system to support Bechtel National Inc.'s (Bechtel's) involvement with the Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Program. Bechtel was originally awarded a contract with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in April 2003 in support of the Coalition Provisional Authority's reconstruction program.

The operational network utilizes an Intelsat satellite and its newly operational Mountainside Teleport to interconnect Bechtel's Iraqi reconstruction office in Baghdad with its termination point in the United States. Intelsat Government Solutions worked with its subcontractor DataPath, Inc., a company specializing in the design, provisioning, integration, installation, and testing of satellite communications based systems, to effectively implement the turnkey system.
No numbers but there is a description: "The mission of Intelsat Government Solutions Corporation is to provide a range of sustainable, cost-effective, secure communications solutions to civilian government and defense/intelligence users by leveraging satellite communications as a core technology."

How many contracts for satellite related services are there now? We've lost count.

more delays

Guess halliburton is trying to make sure they get full advantage of the Christmas shopping season. The Houston Chronicle reports in Iraq contract award delayed again, that yes, once again, the replacement contract for Halliburton is still on hold.
The Corps of Engineers decided, because of the coming holidays, to add a few extra days to allow contracting experts to evaluate the bids, spokesman Bob Faletti said.

The awarding of two new competitively bid contracts was supposed to end a controversy sparked last January, when the Pentagon handed Halliburton the contract to repair Iraq's energy sector without seeking bids from other companies.

Originally, the Corps of Engineers had hoped to replace the original energy contract by the end of August. The deadline was later pushed back to mid-October, then late October and then to the end of the year.
What a farce.