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Targeting War Profiteers in 2007

Fire up the industrial-sized printer, we've got subpeonas to issue! 

Election Day has come and gone.

Democrats have ascended to power in the legislative branch, capturing both chambers of Congress — House and Senate — and did not lose one Democratically-held seat. In what can only be considered a landslide victory, come January, Democrats will wield the almighty power of the gavel and control the legislative agenda of the United States.

If there is one issue that Democrats have hammered the Republicans on before and should not lose sight of in the fog of orgasmic electoral splendor, it is the war profiteering issue.

2007 will not be a happy year for war profiteers. 

Filmmaker Robert Greenwald put it this way, in context of his documentary Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers:

"I think that it's going to take three things to start to address these issues about war profiteering: public pressure, public shame and finally, legislation," he said.

Since the American people threw most of the bums out of office on November 7th, though a few still linger, Democrats are poised issue subpeonas faster than Don Sherwood can deny ever alledgedly strangling his mistress in a campaign ad.

Operating in basements as the minority party, Democrats in the House and Senate independently investigated allegations of massive corruption, defrauding and bilking of the government and the extreme levels of shoddy construction work that I have ever seen in my, now, 22 year lifetime. (Today, Veterans' Day is my birthday. I was born a patriot.)

That was without subpeona power.

With Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) chairing the House Government Reform Committee, war profiteers such as Halliburton/KBR, Parsons and Blackwater USA are on notice that their days of scamming the American people and undermining U.S. forces in Iraq are numbered.

"With the exponential growth in contracting and tens of billions of dollars being spent, there needs to be very aggressive oversight so the Congress knows if the money's being spent wisely," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.).

You're damn right, Byron. There needs to be a committee established. January 2007 cannot come any faster. With the elections over and that scummy politician Richard Pombo given the boot by CA-11 voters, my schedule looks pretty clear and my resume is available upon request…

Related Apparently, there's isn't enough war profiteer pie to go around for Bush administration officials. Cheney's KBR is going up against former Treasury Secretary John Snow's IAP:

WASHINGTON: A small defence contractor now controlled by a former Bush administration cabinet secretary is taking on Halliburton Co by bidding for one of three US Army contracts worth up to $50bn each to provide food and shelter to US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Within days of former US Treasury Secretary John Snow becoming chairman of the New York hedge fund that owns IAP Worldwide Services Inc, the company submitted its bid for huge US Army contracts that will be awarded by year-end.  Cerberus Capital Management LP owns Cape Canaveral, Florida-based IAP, which is led by former executives from Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root.  KBR is currently the US Army's sole contractor for providing food and shelter to the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the Army now wants multiple contractors for these services and KBR is bidding again. Some defence analysts are predicting both KBR and IAP, which is run by former KBR executives, will each win one of the 10-year deals that start in 2007.

On Election Day, the New York Times reported that a new audit showed more bilking by Halliburton and its subsidiary, KBR.

A Halliburton subsidiary charged the Iraqi government as much as $25,000 per month for each of as many as 1,800 fuel trucks that were to deliver gasoline to Iraq after the 2003 invasion, but the trucks often spent days or weeks sitting idle on the border, says a report released yesterday by an auditing agency sponsored by the United Nations.


The new audit gives the first detailed picture of how the company incurred many of those costs.

The audit said the Kuwaiti government had set the price of its gasoline at $1.13 a gallon. But with the delivery charges, the effective cost of the gas was calculated to be much higher, about $8 a gallon, according to a participant in a meeting in Paris last week at which the audits were presented to the auditing agency and the Iraqi government.

$8 a gallon for gas and $45 for a case of Coke.

Originally, the charges of $200 million were deemed justified.

The audit firm, Crowe Chizek, based in Chicago, agreed that in the wartime conditions of Iraq, the Army was justified in reimbursing KBR for the original $200 million in disputed costs.

But the monitoring board said Crowe’s detailed findings on how KBR came up with $1.4 billion in charges on the contract between May 2003 and March 2004 raised new questions on hundreds of millions of dollars more. [emphasis added]

The Washington Post examined how some PMCs and defense contractors escape accountability:

Critics say that because of legal loopholes, flaws in the contracting process, a lack of interest from Congress and uneven oversight by investigative agencies, errant contractors have faced few sanctions for their work in Iraq.

And the inspector general's office credited with doing the most to root out waste and fraud is scheduled to go out of business by next October.

Stewart Bowen, the Special Inspector General in Iraq, recently was handed a pink slip for all his troubles. Or, as the Carpetbagger put it: "Stuart Bowen did his job in Iraq, so he's getting fired ."

Kenneth Starr is back selling his soul for a sham legal cause: Representing Blackwater USA.

Blackwater USA has added a new lawyer to its legal team in a landmark lawsuit: Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel in the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Starr is the highest-profile lawyer brought on board yet by the Moyock, N.C.-based security company since it was sued by the families of four contractors killed and strung up from a bridge in Fallujah, Iraq, in March 2004.

It’s a high-stakes case, not only for Blackwater but for the private military industry. If Blackwater loses, it could set a precedent for holding companies liable when their contractors are wounded or killed on the battlefield. 

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