In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced
power exists and will persist.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, January 17, 1961
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
January 7, 2009
KBR wins contract despite
criminal probe of deaths
By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Defense contractor KBR Inc. has been awarded a $35 million
Pentagon contract involving major electrical work, even as it is under criminal
investigation in the electrocution deaths of at least two U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
The announcement of the new KBR contract came just months after the Pentagon, in
strongly worded correspondence obtained by The Associated Press, rejected the
company's explanation of serious mistakes in Iraq and its proposed improvements. A
senior Pentagon official, David J. Graff, cited the company's "continuing quality
deficiencies" and said KBR executives were "not sufficiently in touch with the urgency
or realities of what was actually occurring on the ground."
"Many within DOD (the Department of Defense) have lost or are losing all remaining
confidence in KBR's ability to successfully and repeatedly perform the required
electrical support services mission in Iraq," wrote Graff, commander of the Defense
Contract Management Agency, in a Sept. 30 letter.
Graff rejected the company's claims that it wasn't required to follow U.S. electrical
codes for its work on U.S. military facilities in Iraq. KBR has said it would cost an extra
$560 million to refurbish buildings in Iraq used by the U.S. military, including Saddam
Hussein's palaces, which among other problems are based on a 220-volt standard
rather than the American 120-volt standard.
KBR announced last week it won a new $35.4 million contract from the Army Corps of
Engineers to design and build a convoy support center at Camp Adder in southern Iraq.
It will include a power plant, electrical distribution center, water purification and
distribution systems, wastewater and information systems and road paving.
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said the new KBR contract was inappropriate. Sen. Bob
Casey, D-Pa., said he has formally asked the Corps of Engineers whether it was
confident KBR could accomplish it and whether the Corps had any alternatives.
"This is hardly the time to award KBR a new contract for work they've already failed to
perform adequately, and which put U.S. soldiers at even greater risk," Dorgan said in a
statement. "Ultimately, contractors must be held accountable, and so should those who
continue to award these contracts."
A KBR spokeswoman, Heather Browne, said the company was committed to providing
quality services and would comply with the military's requirements in its work on the
Camp Adder contract.
The AP has learned that Army criminal agents have reopened the death investigation of
Staff Sgt. Christopher Lee Everett, 23, a member of the Texas Army National Guard.
Everett was killed September 2005 in Iraq when the power washer he was using to
clean a vehicle short-circuited. KBR and another contractor, Arkel International,
performed the electrical work on the device's generator, according to a civil lawsuit filed
by Everett's family.
"I think it's something that needs to be done so these electrocutions don't continue to
happen," Everett's mother, Larraine McGee of Huntsville, Texas, told the AP in a phone
interview. "There's no excuse for this whatsoever." McGee said the Army's senior
criminal investigator at Fort Hood notified her about the reopened investigation.
The AP previously reported that the Army has reclassified another soldier's
electrocution death as a negligent homicide caused by KBR and two of its supervisors.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, a Green Beret from Pittsburgh, was electrocuted in his
barracks shower. An Army investigator said KBR's contractor failed to ensure qualified
electricians and plumbers did the work. The case is under legal review, and KBR has
said it was not responsible for Maseth's death.
The deaths of Everett and Maseth are among the 18 under review by the
Pentagon's inspector general. Some of the deaths have been blamed on improperly
installed or maintained electrical equipment. In three cases, service members were
shocked while showering. Families of Maseth and Everett also have sued KBR in
federal court for wrongful death; the company is attempting to have the lawsuits
The Corps of Engineers said KBR has earned $615 million on 30 similar contracts as
the newest it awarded to the company and noted that KBR has not been banned or
suspended from winning U.S. government contracts. The government can ban
companies in cases of fraud, antitrust violations, bribery, tax evasion or for actions that
reflect "a lack of business integrity or business honesty," according to federal rules.
"KBR has not been debarred, suspended, nor have they been proposed for debarment
from government contracting," Corps spokeswoman Joan Kibler said.
KBR was previously owned by Halliburton Co., the oil services conglomerate that
former Vice President Dick Cheney once led. Democrats have long complained it
benefited from ties to Cheney.
Separately, court papers filed in Houston on Friday show KBR is preparing to plead
guilty to federal bribery charges for promising and paying tens of millions of
dollars in bribes to officials in Nigeria in exchange for engineering and
construction contracts between 1995 and 2004.
Browne, the KBR spokeswoman, said the company had no comment. The company is
expected to appear in federal court next week as part of a plea deal.
February 6, 2009
Requests Your Help To Protect
From: "National Whistleblowers Center - Bunny Greenhouse" firstname.lastname@example.org
To: “Bobby N. Harmon”
Personal Letter From Bunny Greenhouse
Take Action! Please Urge Your Senators To Support Taxpayers!
Dear Action Alert Member:
My name is Bunny Greenhouse. I am the former Procurement Executive and highest-ranking Army Corps of Engineers civilian procurement official.
Today I am asking you to contact your Senators and Representatives to demand, in the
strongest possible terms, that employees who disclose fraud in federal contracting are
fully and properly protected in the 800 billion dollar stimulus package that Congress is
Shortly before the Iraq War commenced, I blew the whistle on improper
contracting concerning the award of a multi-billion dollar no-bid, cost plus
contract to Halliburton / KBR for the reconstruction of Iraq.
I was concerned that improper contracting activity would cost the taxpayers billions –
and it did. The contract should not have been awarded. From my inside prospective, it
was clear that the “fix was in” – the contract was going to be awarded to Halliburton no
matter what I said or did.
Those who should have protested the contract remained silent. And their silence is not
surprising because, as federal employees, we have no meaningful whistleblower
protection! We can be fired for reporting fraud. We can lose our careers simply for
doing our job and trying to protect the taxpayer.
I know this is true. It happened to me. The top brass demanded that I drop my protests.
I refused. The top brass – many of whom had longstanding relations with government
contractors – retaliated. They removed me from the Senior Executive Service and from
anything having to do with contract oversight. When I went to federal court to demand
protection the judge dismissed my case because as a federal employee I had no
The bottom line is that without access to independent courts, real judges and
juries, whistleblowers don’t stand a chance, and fairness and transparency will
not see the light day.
Only Congress can fix this. The House of Representatives has already acted decisively
by adding H.R. 985 to the stimulus bill, by a unanimous voice vote (now called H.R. 1,
Section IV). President Obama's presidential campaign is on record as supporting the
same whistleblower protections now found in House version of the stimulus bill.
So, the buck stops with the Senate. I urge you to contact your Senators and let
them know that whistleblower protection is a critical part of the stimulus package
for protection of the public trust. I urge you to contact your Representatives and
tell them to hold strong -- and refuse to cut whistleblower protections from the
bill. Federal employees, like me, who risk their careers to protect taxpayer money
need to be protected.
Please act now! Pass this letter to your friends! Pass this letter to your co-workers!
Pass this letter to your family! Send a letter to your Senator Now!
Billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake and it is up to the Senate to do the right
Very truly yours,
Bunnatine H. Greenhouse
Former Procurement Executive
Army Corps of Engineers
National Whistleblower Center Action Alert
July 27, 2008
U.S. acknowledges Baghdad victims
were law-abiding, not insurgents
By Leila Fadel, McClatchy Newspapers
BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military said Sunday that the three people killed last month after
U.S. soldiers shot at their car in one of the most secured areas of Iraq were civilians,
not criminals as the military initially reported.
The correction came more than a month after a bank manager at a branch inside the
airport, Hafeth Aboud Mahdi , and two female bank employees were shot at by U.S.
soldiers as they sped to work on a road within the secured airport compound. The road
is used only by people with high-level security clearance badges. The car veered off the
road, hit a concrete blast wall and burst into flames.
The original statement said that Mahdi and the two women were "criminals" and that an
American convoy on the side of the secured road came under small-arms fire from the
vehicle. Soldiers said they shot back. A weapon was found in the debris and two U.S.
military vehicles were struck by bullets from the attack, the statement on June 25 said.
"When we are attacked, we will defend ourselves and will use deadly force if
necessary," said Maj. Joey Sullinger , a spokesman for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th
Mountain Division, said at the time. "Such attacks endanger not only U.S. soldiers but
also innocent civilians, including women and children, traveling the roadways of
On Sunday the story changed and the tone was apologetic. A military statement said
that neither the civilians who were killed nor the soldiers were at fault for the deaths. An
investigation found that "the driver and passengers were law-abiding citizens of Iraq ."
Soldiers had pulled off the road because one of the vehicles in the convoy was having
maintenance problems. As they worked on the vehicle they saw Mahdi's car and
thought it was moving too quickly toward them, the statement said. Believing they might
be in danger, the soldiers warned the car. When the driver ignored the signals they shot
at the vehicle, the statement said.
The alleged attack and the weapon that was said to have been recovered from the
burned vehicle were misunderstandings, the statement said.
"This was an extremely unfortunate and tragic incident," said Col. Allen Batschelet ,
chief of staff, MND-B and 4th Infantry Division, in a statement. "Our deepest regrets of
sympathy and condolences go out to the family. We are taking several corrective
measures to amend and eliminate the possibility of such situations happening in the
Mahdi's son, Mohammed Hafeth, said the statement was insufficient.
He said the image of his father's burning vehicle haunts him. He'd waited in his father's
office that morning surprised that he wasn't there yet. They'd left at nearly the same
time that morning.
Hafeth drives bank employees to work. That morning his father offered to take one of
Hafeth's passengers and picked up another female bank employee who lived nearby
their central Baghdad home.
As he sat in the office a colleague walked in and told Hafeth his father's car was broken
down on the airport road. Hafeth reached for his car keys.
"I'll drive," he recalled his colleague saying.
As they approached his father's car he saw the flames. He jumped from the car and
started to run toward the burning vehicle, but U.S. soldiers blocked his way.
"Go," he recalled them ordering. But he said he couldn't move. He dropped to the
ground and wept as his father burned inside the vehicle.
"Why did they kill him like this?" Mohammed Hafeth said Sunday in a phone interview.
"We demand that they send those soldiers to an Iraqi and American court."
Mahdi was the father of six, including Hafeth. Hafeth said he now shoulders the
financial responsibility for his family on his approximately $100 -a-month salary.
"I was shocked that my father was killed by the Americans," he said. "Supposedly we
move in a secured area ... we used to wave at them and they waved at us."
Hafeth said he didn't accept the compensation offered by the U.S. military. They offered
$10,000 , he said, and that wasn't enough for his father's car let alone his father's life.
"My father was a peaceful man," he said. "He never did anything wrong. Everybody
knew his good reputation and everybody liked him."
July 27, 2008
Report: Empty prison in Iraq
a $40M 'failure'
By BRIAN MURPHY and PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writers
In the flatlands north of Baghdad sits a prison with no prisoners. It holds something
else: a chronicle of U.S. government waste, misguided planning and construction
shortcuts costing $40 million and stretching back to the American overseers who
replaced Saddam Hussein.
"It's a bit of a monument in the desert right now because it's not going to be used as a
prison," said Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, whose
office plans to release a report Monday detailing the litany of problems at the vacant
detention center in Khan Bani Saad.
The pages also add another narrative to the wider probes into the billions lost so far on
scrubbed or substandard projects in Iraq and one of the main contractors accused of
failing to deliver, the Parsons construction group of Pasadena, Calif.
"This is $40 million invested in a project with very little return," Bowen told The
Associated Press in Washington. "A couple of buildings are useful. Other than that, it's
In the pecking order of corruption in Iraq, the dead-end prison project at Khan Bani
Saad is nowhere near the biggest or most tangled.
Bowen estimated up to 20 percent "waste" — or more than $4 billion — from the $21
billion spent so far in the U.S.-bankrolled Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund. It's just
one piece of a recovery effort that swelled beyond $112 billion in U.S., Iraqi and
But the empty prison compound — in the shadows of more than two dozen
watchtowers now dotted by birds' nests — is an open sore for both American
watchdogs and local Iraqi politicians who had counted on the prison as an economic
The head of the municipal council in Khan Bani Saad, Sayyed Rasoul al-Husseini,
called it "a big monster that's swallowed money and hopes" — including those for more
than 1,200 new jobs.
He sometimes drives out to the site, near groves of date palms and a former Saddam-era military training camp about 12 miles northeast of Baghdad and just over the border
in the tense Diyala Province.
Al-Husseini says he walks the perimeter and wonders what can be salvaged. A housing
development is not possible, he said. Many concrete walls lack proper iron
reinforcements and "can collapse at anytime," he said. Birds and small animals have
found homes in the towers and crannies.
"But some of the cell blocks are good," he suggested. "So maybe it can become a
factory. I don't know. It's depressing."
The idea for the modern-style prison began with the Coalition Provisional Authority
running Iraq after Saddam's fall.
On behalf of the authority, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $40 million
contract in March 2004 to global construction and engineering firm Parsons to design
and build an 1,800-inmate lockup to include educational and vocational facilities. Work
was set to begin May 2004 and finish November 2005.
Nothing went right from the start, the report says.
The Sunni insurgency was catching fire. The U.S. was under pressure to improve
prison conditions following the abuses exposed at Abu Ghraib.
Washington's focus shifted quickly from rebuilding to just holding its ground. The prison
project got started six months late and continued to fall behind — until Parsons asked
to push the completion date to late 2008, the report said.
The U.S. government pulled the plug in June 2006, citing "continued schedule slips and
... massive cost overruns." But they hadn't abandoned the hope of finishing the project
— awarding three more contracts to other companies in a doomed effort.
The waste was made more egregious by the fact that Diyala badly needs more prisons
to handle a growing inmate population. Bowen's team was told that about 600 inmates
are crowded into an existing Diyala prison designed for 250 inmates and that the
overcrowding and health conditions are so grave that several inmates have died, the
The problem at Khan Bani Saad is only one example of the millions of dollars auditors
found were wasted on construction projects by Parsons, which left Iraq two years ago.
In a companion report also being released Monday, Bowen said the prison was part of
a $900 million Parsons contract to build border posts, courts, police training centers and
fire stations. It was one of 12 contracts awarded in 2004 in hopes of restoring Iraq's
Of 53 construction projects in the massive Parson contract, only 18 were completed.
As of this spring, Parsons had been paid $333 million. More than $142 million of that
— or almost 43 percent — was for projects that were terminated or canceled.
While the failure to complete some of the work was "understandable given the complex
nature and unstable security environment in Iraq, millions of dollars" were likely wasted,
the report said.
Bowen said only about 10 U.S. contracting officers and specialists were working on the
$900 million contract, whereas 50 or 60 would be assigned to a comparable
undertaking in the United States.
In a last wasteful act at Khan Bani Saad, the U.S. government allowed $1.2 million
worth of construction supplies to be left unguarded at Khan Bani Saad after work was
suspended in June 2007 — fencing, gravel, piping and other items. Most of it is now
U.S. officials turned over control of the semifinished prison to Iraq's Justice Ministry
nearly a year ago. The ministry promptly replied it had no plans to "complete, occupy or
provide security" for the facility, the report said.
In the end, Parsons got $31 million and the other contractors got $9 million.
Some parts of the facility are usable, but construction in other parts is so substandard
that demolition is the only option, the report said. Inspectors found cracking and
crumbling concrete slabs, columns not strong enough to support the structure and
incorrect use of reinforcement bars meant to strengthen the concrete.
Khan Bani Saad is a microcosm of the shortfalls in the reconstruction program," said
And the choice of Parsons — in retrospect — was part of a far bigger web of alleged
shortcomings by the conglomerate in Iraq.
"This is the worst performing contractor that we have identified" among the
seven firms so far studied in Congress-mandated reviews of Iraqi projects, said
It was not possible to get advance comment from Parsons. Under the rules for the
release of the audit, reporters were not allowed to reveal its details until Monday.
But the report said Parsons had argued that the U.S. government misrepresented the
security conditions. Parsons said that its subcontractors faced threats that either shut
down or slowed work almost daily. In August 2005, the site manager for one of Parsons'
subcontractors was shot to death in his office.
Diyala remains one of the most dangerous places in Iraq. In the past week, U.S. and
Iraqi forces have stepped up sweeps against insurgents in one of their last footholds
But officials of the Army Corps of Engineers — one of the agencies that oversaw the
prison construction — countered that Parsons understood conditions in Iraq at the time.
They also said Parsons rarely reported security threats, and only recorded seven days
when it cited delays due to violence.
Bowen said his agency has done 120 audits on Iraqi projects. "And they tell an
episodic story of waste," he said.
On the Net:
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction reports:
Prison project http://www.sigir.mil/reports/pdf/assessments/PA-08-138.pdf
Audit of Parsons Delaware, Inc. http://www.sigir.mil/reports/pdf/audits/08-019.pdf
July 7, 2008
U.S. role in mass killings detailed
By Charles J. Hanley and Jae-Soon Chang, Associated Press
EDITOR'S NOTE — On May 19, The Associated Press reported on the hidden history
of mass executions by South Korea early in the Korean War. The following report looks
in depth at the U.S. connection.
SEOUL, South Korea — The American colonel, troubled by what he was hearing, tried
to stall at first. But the declassified record shows he finally told his South Korean
counterpart it ”would be permitted“ to machine-gun 3,500 political prisoners, to keep
them from joining approaching enemy forces.
In the early days of the Korean War, other American officers observed, photographed
and confidentially reported on such wholesale executions by their South Korean ally, a
secretive slaughter thought to have killed 100,000 or more leftists and supposed
sympathizers, usually without charge or trial, during a few weeks in mid-1950.
Extensive archival research has found no indication Far East commander Gen.
Douglas MacArthur took action to stem the summary mass killing, knowledge of which
reached top levels of the Pentagon and State Department in Washington, where it was
classified ”secret“ and filed away.
Now, a half-century later, the South Korean government's Truth and Reconciliation
Commission is investigating the killings, largely hidden from history — unlike the
communist invaders' executions of southern rightists, which were widely publicized and
denounced at the time.
In the now-declassified record at the U.S. National Archives and other repositories, the
Korean investigators will find an ambivalent U.S. attitude in 1950 — at times hands-off,
at times disapproving.
”The most important thing is that they did not stop the executions,“ historian Jung
Byung-joon, a member of the 2-year-old commission, said of the Americans. ”They
were at the crime scene, and took pictures and wrote reports.“
They took pictures in July 1950 at the slaughter of dozens of men at one huge killing
field outside the central city of Daejeon. Between 3,000 and 7,000 South Koreans are
thought to have been shot there by their own military and police, and dumped into mass
graves, said Kim Dong-choon, the commission member overseeing the investigation.
The brutal, hurried elimination of tens of thousands of their countrymen, the subject of a
May 19 Associated Press report, was the climax to a years-long campaign by South
Korea's right-wing leaders.
In 1947, two years after Washington and Moscow divided Korea into southern and
northern halves, a U.S. military government declared the Korean Labor Party, the
southern communists, to be illegal. President Syngman Rhee's southern regime,
gaining sovereignty in 1948, suppressed all leftist political activity, put down a guerrilla
uprising and held up to 30,000 political prisoners by the time communist North
Korea invaded on June 25, 1950.
As war broke out, southern authorities also rounded up members of the 300,000-strong National Guidance Alliance, a ”re-education“ body to which they had assigned
leftist sympathizers, and whose membership quotas also were filled by illiterate
peasants lured by promises of jobs and other benefits.
Commission investigators, extrapolating from initial evidence and surveys of family
survivors, said they think most alliance members were killed in the wave of
On June 29, 1950, as the southern army and its U.S. advisers retreated southward,
reports from Seoul said the conquering northerners had emptied the southern capital's
prisons, and ex-inmates were reinforcing the new occupation regime.
In a confidential narrative he later wrote for Army historians, Lt. Col. Rollins S.
Emmerich, a senior U.S. adviser, described what then happened in the southern port
city of Busan, formerly known as Pusan.
Emmerich was told by a subordinate that a South Korean regimental commander,
determined to keep Busan's political prisoners from joining the enemy, planned ”to
execute some 3500 suspected peace time Communists, locked up in the local prison,“
according to the declassified 78-page narrative, first uncovered by the newspaper
Busan Ilbo at the U.S. National Archives.
Emmerich wrote that he summoned the Korean, Col. Kim Chong-won, and told him the
enemy would not reach Busan in a few days as Kim feared, and that ”atrocities could
not be condoned.“
But the American then indicated conditional acceptance of the plan.
“Colonel Kim promised not to execute the prisoners until the situation became more
critical,“ wrote Emmerich, who died in 1986. ”Colonel Kim was told that if the enemy did
arrive to the outskirts of (Busan) he would be permitted to open the gates of the prison
and shoot the prisoners with machine guns.“
This passage, omitted from the published Army history, is the first documentation
unearthed showing advance sanction by the U.S. military for such killings.
”I think his (Emmerich's) word is so significant,“ said Park Myung-lim, a South Korean
historian of the war and adviser to the investigative commission.
June 17, 2008
Probe: Pentagon lawyers sought
By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks pursued
abusive interrogation techniques once used by North Korea and Vietnam on American
POWs despite stern warnings by several military lawyers that the methods were cruel
and even illegal, according to a Senate investigation.
The findings, detailed in a hearing Tuesday, brought rebukes of the Pentagon effort
from Democrats and Republicans alike.
"The guidance (administration lawyers) provided will go down in history as some of the
most irresponsible and shortsighted legal analysis ever provided to our nation's military
and intelligence communities," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an Air Force
Reserve colonel who teaches military law for the service.
The hearing is the Senate Armed Services Committee's first look at the origins of harsh
interrogation methods and how policy decisions were vetted across the Defense
Department. Its review fits into a broader picture of the government's handling of
detainees, which includes FBI and CIA interrogations in secret prisons.
The panel is expected to hold further hearings on the matter and release a final report
by the end of the year.
Among its initial findings is that senior Pentagon lawyers, including the office of general
counsel William "Jim" Haynes, sought information as early as July 2002 regarding a
military program that trained U.S. troops how to survive enemy interrogations and deny
foes valuable intelligence.
Much of the training program, known as "Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape," or
SERE, is based on experiences of American prisoners of war in previous conflicts,
including those in Korea and Vietnam.
In response, SERE officials provided Haynes' office a list of tactics that included
sensory deprivation, sleep disruption and stress positions.
Haynes, who resigned his post in February, testified that he remembers receiving the
information, but that he did not recall requesting it personally.
Several of those techniques, including stress positions, were later approved by Defense
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in a December 2002 memo for use at Guantanamo
Bay. Rumsfeld and Haynes agreed to the methods, despite objections by military
service lawyers that they might be illegal.
"Whatever interrogation techniques we adopt will eventually become public knowledge,"
wrote Col. John Ley of the Army's Judge Advocate General office in November 2002.
"If we mistreat detainees, we will quickly lose the (moral) high ground and public
support will erode."
Haynes said he too had misgivings, but that he was unaware of the legal objections in
the military services. He said he was doing the best he could to help prevent another
major terrorist attack.
"There was a limited amount of time and a high degree of urgency," Haynes said of his
decision to cut short at one point a department-wide review of the legality of the
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said
Rumsfeld's endorsement paved the way for abuses to occur in Iraq and
Afghanistan and makes U.S. troops more likely to someday be tortured if
captured by the enemy.
"If we use those same techniques offensively against detainees, it says to the world that
they have America's stamp of approval," said Levin.
The committee also released previously secret and privately held documents on
Tuesday. According to minutes from an October 2002 meeting, a top military lawyer at
Guantanamo said prisoners were exposed to previously forbidden techniques, such as
sleep deprivation, but that such treatment was hidden from the International Committee
of the Red Cross.
"Officially it is not happening," Lt. Col. Diane Beaver said in the meeting. "It is not being
reported officially. The ICRC is a serious concern. They will be in and out, scrutinizing
our operations, unless they are displeased and decide to protest and leave. This would
draw a lot of negative attention."
A senior CIA lawyer at the meeting, John Fredman, explained that whether harsh
interrogation amounted to torture "is a matter of perception." The only sure test for
torture is if the detainee died.
"If the detainees dies, you're doing it wrong," Fredman said.
Beaver wrote a now-infamous Oct. 11, 2002, memo that determined abusive methods
could be used against detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison because they were not
considered prisoners of war. Her proposed methods included extended isolation, 20-hour interrogations, death threats and waterboarding.
On Tuesday, Beaver told the committee that she was "shocked" that her memo became
the primary justification for Rumsfeld's approval to use harsher methods.
She had asked her superiors for input because those working at Guantanamo and
engaged in the interrogation program "don't always have the best perspective."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the administration does not review every
legal opinion, but that its position has been "to deal with these detainees humanely"
and "get the information from them that we can to protect this country."
Notably absent from the hearing Tuesday was the Senate's biggest champion of
detainee rights and the top Republican on the committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. A
former prisoner of war, McCain has become less visible on the issue of detainee
treatment since becoming a presidential candidate.
McCain was in San Antonio on Tuesday giving a speech on energy and attending
April 28, 2008
Syria says US reactor charges as fake
as Iraq WMD claims
Syria said on Monday that US accusations it had been building a nuclear reactor until
its destruction in an Israeli air raid last September were as bogus as American claims
that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction in 2003.
The ruling Baath party’s mouthpiece daily compared the photographs of the bombed
site shown to US congressmen last week to the images Washington presented to the
UN Security Council as alleged evidence of Iraq’s non-conventional arsenal in the run-up to the US-led invasion.
“When you look at these pictures… a single image comes to mind — that of US
Secretary of State Colin Powell accusing Iraq of hiding weapons of mass destruction
and presenting as proof a dossier of photographs,” Al-Baath said.
“Of course Mr Powell later acknowledged that he had been fooled by the US
intelligence services and by conservatives within the administration.
“The new US campaign of lies should surprise nobody — it’s a continuation of the same
policy of US pressure against Syria that’s been going on” for the past five years, the
“Syria again rejects the US allegations and reaffirms that it has nothing to hide
concerning its legitimate national defences. Syria wants to see peace in the region,
unlike the current US administration which has been behind all its wars and crises.”...
March 1, 2008
Airbus parent beats Boeing for
big U.S. Air Force contract
By Leslie Wayne, International Herald Tribune
WASHINGTON: The U.S. Air Force, in a stunning decision against Boeing, awarded a
$40 billion contract for aerial refueling tankers Friday to a partnership between
Northrop Grumman and the European parent of Airbus, putting a critical military
contract partly into the hands of a foreign company.
The contract, one of the largest at the Pentagon, has the potential to grow to $100
billion. It is also a sign of the growing influence of foreign suppliers within the
Pentagon and breaks a decades-long relationship with Boeing, which built the bulk of
the existing tanker fleet and fought hard to land the new contract.
"This isn't an upset," said Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington
Institute, a Washington-area research group. "It's an earthquake."
Under the contract, Northrop and the parent of Airbus, European Aeronautic Defense
& Space, or EADS, would build a fleet of 179 planes, based on the existing Airbus 330,
to provide in-air refueling to military aircraft, from fighter jets to cargo planes. It gives a
huge lift to EADS, whose commercial aviation program has suffered a number of
setbacks in recent years.
While final assembly of the craft would take place at an Airbus plant near Mobile,
Alabama, parts would come from suppliers across the globe.
At a news conference, air force officials said the creation of domestic jobs was not a
factor in the decision. In response to questions about possible negative reaction to the
deal in Congress, General Arthur Lichte, head of the air force's air mobility command,
said, "This will be an American tanker, flown by American airmen with an American flag
on its tail and, every day, it will be saving American lives."
Reaction from some in Congress, however, was swift.
"We are outraged that this decision taps European Airbus and its foreign workers
to provide a tanker to our American military," the delegation from Washington State
said in a joint statement. Boeing planes are assembled outside Seattle. "This is a blow
to the American aerospace industry, American workers and America's men and
women in uniform."
For its part, Boeing, which had been considered the strong favorite to retain the
contract, said it was "very disappointed" in the outcome. But it did not say whether it
would file a formal protest - something General Michael Moseley, chief of staff of the
air force, has said he hopes the losing bidder will not do because it would only further
delay the tanker replacement program.
In its statement, Boeing said, "We believe that we offered the air force the best value
and lowest risk tanker for its mission." The company added that only after a debriefing
by the Pentagon would the company "make a decision concerning our possible options,
keeping in mind at all times the impact to the warfighter and the nation."
A Boeing victory was considered so certain that many Wall Street analysts had already
factored the contract into their economic forecasts for the company and led one
senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, to prematurely send out a press
release praising Boeing for its victory.
The air force decision is also a surprise ending to a protracted contracting process that
went on for nearly a decade and became mired in scandal and international politics.
Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, had
scuttled an earlier attempt by the air force to award the contract to Boeing,
opening the door for the Northrop-Airbus bid.
McCain's campaign spokeswoman referred calls to his Senate office, which could not
be reached for comment.
Norm Dicks, a Washington Democrat who is a member of the House Appropriations
Committee Defense Subcommittee, said he was attending an anticipated victory party
at Boeing's Washington headquarters when the mood suddenly darkened.
"Here we are in the middle of a recession and we give this to Airbus?" Dicks
added. "That is not going to go down well."
Ronald Sugar, the chief executive of Northrop Grumman, said in a telephone interview
that he expected members of Congress would have a "variety of views" depending on
whether their districts would be gaining or losing jobs under the deal.
He said that 60 percent of the content of the new tanker would come from the United
States and that the contract would create 2,000 jobs in Mobile and 25,000 overall in the
"This is more about the capability that we will give to the kids fighting the wars and the
cost to the taxpayer," he said.
Backing Sugar's view was Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, who
hailed the decision as "great news for Alabama."
The Alabama and Mississippi delegations had lobbied hard in Congress to polish the
image of Airbus. In Paris, at the annual air shows, Airbus officials and these politicians
proudly displayed the proposed European tanker offering and made the argument that
if the United States wanted to sell its weapons to European countries, it should
also open its doors to foreign suppliers....
Replacing these tankers has been the air force's top priority since 1996, when the
government first proposed obtaining new planes. The first 179 tankers will be acquired
at a pace of about 15 a year. But it is expected that, over time, nearly 400 new refueling
planes will be needed, which could bring the program's total cost to $100 billion.
For more than a decade the air force's effort to modernize the fleet has been thwarted
by global politics, Washington scandals and an aggressive attack by McCain, a
member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In the end, a procurement scandal led to the departure of Philip Condit, the chief
executive of Boeing, the resignation of James Roche as air force secretary and the
imprisonment of two Boeing executives, one of whom had worked on the program as a
Pentagon acquisition official.
The air force, short on cash and wanting to acquire the planes as fast as possible,
proposed an arrangement to Congress in late 2001 under which the Pentagon would
lease the Boeing 767s in a sole-source contract that would keep Boeing's aging 767
production line alive.
But just as the air force was about to sign that deal, it came under sharp attack from
McCain, a former navy pilot. He denounced the deal as a sweetheart arrangement
between Boeing and the air force that had been arranged with insufficient scrutiny
and oversight, and that would shortchange the taxpayer.
Soon afterward, it was reported that the air force's No. 2 weapons buyer, Darleen
Druyun, had been promised jobs for herself, her daughter and son-in-law in
return for steering the tanker contract and billions of dollars of other air force
business to Boeing. Soon after joining the company in a $250,000-a-year post,
Druyun and Michael Sears, Boeing's former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty and
received prison terms.
The weight of the scandal caused the deal to collapse in 2004 and opened the door to
Each side spent millions to sharpen its proposal, hire lobbyists and former generals
to argue their case and wage extensive advertising efforts in Washington and at military
March 6, 2008
Move to restrict EADS’
The Financial Times, Limited
By Gerrit Wiesmann in Frankfurt and Peggy Hollinger in Paris
France and Germany are finalising changes to EADS’ corporate by-laws to prevent
foreign investors building significant stakes in – or even taking over – Europe’s flagship
aerospace and defence company.
The move comes at a sensitive time for the Franco-German group, which late last week
secured a breathtaking entry into the US defence market with a $35bn contract for its
Some US politicians have said giving the contract to a foreign company could have dire
security implications – a frenzy that could mount if EADS’ Russian or Middle
Eastern shareholders were to increase their holdings.
Dubai International Capital, a sovereign wealth fund, bought 3.1 per cent last summer
and VEB, a state-controlled Russian bank, took a 5 per cent stake in December.
But the French government, French media group Lagardère, and German carmaker
Daimler, which together control 45 per cent of EADS, are planning to restrict any
investor deemed predatory from owning more than 15 per cent.
That level – a working number that might change – is integral to two models the Franco-German core shareholders are working on to see whether EADS can be given
additional protection against a foreign takeover.
This follows last summer’s agreement between Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president,
and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to consider issuing “golden shares” to
Paris and Berlin to take pressure off the core trio to uphold their stakes.
New takeover defences could herald adjustments to the shareholders’ pact, which
enshrines German and French stakes at 22.5 per cent a piece. Lagardère has been
seen as a probable seller of its 7.5 per cent stake....
March 11, 2008
McCain advisers lobbied for
European plane maker
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top current advisers to Sen. John McCain's presidential
campaign last year lobbied for a European plane maker that beat Boeing to a $35
billion Air Force tanker contract, taking sides in a bidding fight that McCain has tried to
referee for more than five years.
Two of the advisers gave up their lobbying work when they joined McCain's campaign.
A third, former Texas Rep. Tom Loeffler, lobbied for the European Aeronautic
Defence and Space Co. while serving as McCain's national finance chairman.
EADS is the parent company of Airbus, which teamed up with U.S.-based Northrop
Grumman Corp. to win the lucrative aerial refueling contract on February 29. Boeing
Co. Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement Monday that the Chicago-based aerospace company "found serious flaws in the process that we believe warrant
McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in waiting, has been a key figure in the
Pentagon's years-long attempt to complete a deal on the tanker. McCain helped block
an earlier tanker contract with Boeing and prodded the Pentagon in 2006 to develop
bidding procedures that did not exclude Airbus.
EADS retained Ogilvy Government Relations and The Loeffler Group to lobby for
the tanker deal last year, months after McCain sent two letters urging the Defense
Department to make sure the bidding proposals guaranteed competition.
"They never lobbied him related to the issues, and the letters went out before they were
contracted" by EADS, McCain campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said Monday.
According to lobbying records filed with the Senate, Loeffler Group lobbyists on the
project included Loeffler and Susan Nelson, who left the firm and is now the
campaign's finance director. Ogilvy lobbyist John Green, who was assigned the EADS
work, recently took a leave of absence to volunteer for McCain as the campaign's
"The aesthetics are not good, especially since he is an advocate of reform and
transparency," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the aerospace consulting firm
Teal Group. "Boeing advocates are going to use this as ammunition."
McCain, a longtime critic of influence peddling and special interest politics, has come
under increased scrutiny as a presidential candidate, particularly because he has
surrounded himself with advisers who are veteran Washington lobbyists. He has
defended his inner circle and has emphatically denied reports last month in The New
York Times and The Washington Post that suggested he helped the client of a
lobbyist friend nine years ago.
He has also cast himself as a neutral watchdog in the Air Force tanker contract, one of
the largest in decades.
"All I asked for in this situation was a fair competition," he told reporters Monday at
Lambert Field in St. Louis, home of a Boeing fighter jet plant.
On Friday, he defended his aggressive oversight: "I never weighed in for or against
anybody that competed for the contract. All I asked for was a fair process. And the facts
are that I never showed any bias in any way against anybody -- except for the
Last week, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne told the Senate Armed Services
Committee that the EADS-Northrop Gruman plane was "clearly a better performer" than
the one proposed by Boeing.
It is unclear what EADS hired the lobbyists to do. Loeffler and Airbus officials did not
immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages left late Monday.
A Boeing spokesman declined to comment Monday on the links between McCain and
lobbying efforts on behalf of EADS.
But Boeing supporters already have begun to accuse McCain of damaging Boeing's
chances by inserting himself into the tanker deal.
One of them, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Washington, said the field was "tilted to Airbus"
because the Pentagon did not weigh European subsidies for Airbus in its deliberations -- a decision he blamed on McCain. Everett, Wash., is where Boeing would perform
much of the tanker work, and Dicks is a senior member of the House Appropriations
In December 2006, just weeks before the Air Force was set to release its formal request
for proposals, McCain wrote a letter to the incoming defense secretary, Robert Gates,
warning that he was "troubled" by the Air Force's draft request for bids.
The United States had filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization alleging
that Airbus unfairly benefits from European subsidies. Airbus in turn argued that
Boeing also receives government support, mostly as tax breaks.
Under the Air Force proposal, bidders would have been required to explain how
financial penalties or other sanctions stemming from the subsidy dispute might affect
their ability to execute the contract. The request was widely viewed as hurting the
EADS-Northrop Grumman bid.
The proposed bid request "may risk eliminating competition before bids are submitted,"
McCain wrote in a December 1, 2006, letter to Gates. The Air Force changed the
criteria four days later.
Dicks said the removal of the subsidy language was a "game-changer" that favored
EADS over Boeing.
"The only reason that they could even bid a low price is because they received a
subsidy," Dicks said last week. "And Senator McCain jumped into this and said that (the
Air Force) could not look at the subsidy issue -- which I think is a big mistake,
especially when the U.S. trade representative is bringing a case in the (World
Trade Organization) on this very issue."
EADS' interest in the tanker deal is evident in the political contributions of its
employees. From 2004 to 2006, donations by its employees jumped from $42,500
to $141,931, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive
Politics. So far this election cycle, company employees have donated $120,350. Of
that, McCain's presidential campaign has received $14,000, the most of any other
member of Congress this election cycle.
McCain prides himself in the role he played blocking an earlier version of the tanker
deal that gave the contract to Boeing. As chairman of the Senate Commerce
Committee and of an Armed Services subcommittee, McCain led an investigation that
eventually helped kill that contract in 2004. A former Air Force official and a top Boeing
executive both served time in prison, and the scandal led to the departure of Boeing's
chief executive and several top Air Force officials.
"I intervened in a process that was clearly corrupt," McCain said Friday. "That's why
people went to jail."
While McCain has praised Boeing for fixing its practices, his campaign said the
experience prompted him to demand "a full, fair and open competition." His letters --
one to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England in September 2006 and the other
to Gates -- were sent with that spirit in mind, Hazelbaker said Monday.
Once the rules were in place, Hazelbaker said, bidders submitted proposals, the Air
Force reviewed them and the contract was awarded.
"That is a process that McCain, appropriately, had absolutely no role in," she said.
August 29, 2007
Army to examine Iraq contracts
By RICHARD LARDNER, Associated Press Writer
The Army will examine as many as 18,000 contracts awarded over the past four years
to support U.S. forces in Iraq to determine how many are tainted by waste, fraud and
abuse, service officials said Wednesday.
Overall, the contracts are worth close to $3 billion and represent every transaction
made between 2003 and 2007 by a contracting office in Kuwait, which the Army has
identified as a significant trouble spot.
Among the contracts to be reviewed are awards to former Halliburton subsidiary KBR,
which has received billions of dollars since 2001 to be a major provider of food and
shelter services to U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Democrats in Congress have claimed that KBR, formerly known as Kellogg, Brown and
Root, benefited from ties to Vice President Dick Cheney, who once led Halliburton Co.,
the Houston-based oil services conglomerate, and congressional Republicans.
The officials did not specify which KBR contracts would be examined or their value.
The announcement, made by Army Secretary Pete Geren, comes as the number of
criminal cases related to the acquisition of weapons and other supplies for forces in
Iraq and Afghanistan has grown to 76. So far, 20 military and civilian Army employees
have been indicted on charges of contract fraud.
"There have been reported cases of fraud, waste and abuse of contracting operations,
with many of the worst cases originating out of Kuwait," Geren said.
Geren said the Army has been auditing the contracting operation in Kuwait for more
than a year. He acknowledged the expanding list of criminal investigations was a factor
in appointing a special task force headed by a three-star Army general.
"There is fraud," Geren said. "We have seen more cases lately and that's cause for
Lt. Gen. N. Ross Thompson has been empowered to take whatever corrective actions
he determines are necessary "to prevent any further abuse, fraud or waste," Geren
Thompson, the military deputy to the Army's top civilian acquisition official, said his task
force will "make sure that we've identified anything that needs to be looked at that
hasn't been already been picked up by an ongoing investigation."...
Geren has also formed a special commission to examine long-term solutions to improve
the Army's weapons and supply contracting process. That team will be headed by
Jacques Gansler, a former under secretary of defense for acquisition, and its report is
due in 45 days.
Separately, the Pentagon is sending a team of investigators led by Inspector General
Claude M. Kicklighter to examine problems with "weapons and munitions purchased
by the U.S. government and intended for use by Iraqi security forces," according to
Chris Isleib, a Pentagon spokesman.
THE IRAQ STUDY GROUP
The United States Institute of Peace
The Iraq Study Group is a bipartisan group of prominent Americans supported by four
premier institutions. It is led by co-chairs James A. Baker, III, the nation’s 61st
Secretary of State and Honorary Chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for
Public Policy at Rice University, and Lee H. Hamilton, former Congressman and
Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
The other members of the study group include: Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Vernon E.
Jordan, Jr., Edwin Meese III , Sandra Day O'Connor, Leon E. Panetta, William J.
Perry, Charles S. Robb, and Alan K. Simpson.
November 28, 2006
Iraq Panel's Real Agenda: Damage Control
The Iraq Study Group's makeup gives away its true purpose.
by Andrew J. Bacevich, Christian Science Monitor
Even as Washington waits with bated breath for the Iraq Study Group (ISG) to release
its findings, the rest of us should see this gambit for what it is: an attempt to deflect
attention from the larger questions raised by America's failure in Iraq and to shore up
the authority of the foreign policy establishment that steered the United States into this
quagmire. This ostentatiously bipartisan panel of Wise Men (and one woman) can't
really be searching for truth. It is engaged in damage control.
Their purpose is twofold: first, to minimize Iraq's impact on the prevailing foreign policy
consensus with its vast ambitions and penchant for armed intervention abroad; and
second, to quell any inclination of ordinary citizens to intrude into matters from which
they have long been excluded. The ISG is antidemocratic. Its implicit message to
Americans is this: We'll handle things - now go back to holiday shopping.
The group's composition gives the game away. Chaired by James Baker, the famed
political operative and former secretary of state, and Lee Hamilton, former
congressman and fixture on various blue-ribbon commissions, it contains no one who
could be even remotely described as entertaining unorthodox opinions or maverick
Instead, it consists of Beltway luminaries such as retired Supreme Court Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor and lobbyist Vernon Jordan. No member is now an elected
official. Neither do its ranks include any Iraq war veterans, family members of
soldiers killed in Iraq, or anyone identified with the antiwar movement. None
possesses specialized knowledge of Islam or the Middle East.
Charging this crowd with assessing the Iraq war is like convening a committee of
Roman Catholic bishops to investigate the church's clergy sex-abuse scandal. Even
without explicit instructions, the group's members know which questions not to ask and
which remedies not to advance. Sadly, the average Catholic's traditional deference to
the church hierarchy finds its counterpart in the average American's deference to
"experts" when it comes to foreign policy. The ISG exemplifies the result: a befuddled,
but essentially passive-electorate looks for guidance to a small group of unelected
insiders reflecting a narrow range of views and operating largely behind closed doors.
The guardians of the foreign policy status quo are counting on the panel to extricate the
US from Iraq. More broadly, they are counting on it to avoid inquiring into the
origins of our predicament. So don't think for a moment that the ISG will assess
the implications of America's growing addiction to foreign oil. Don't expect it to
question the wisdom of President Bush's doctrine of preventive war or the feasibility of
his Freedom Agenda, which promises to implant democracy across the Islamic world.
Far be it from the group to ask whether an open-ended "global war on terror" makes
sense as a response to 9/11 or to ponder the flagrant manipulation and misuse of
intelligence in the months leading up to the Iraq war. The ISG won't assess the
egregious flaws in US military planning for the Iraq invasion or the manifest deficiencies
in American generalship since the war began. On the role that Congress has played in
enabling presidential fecklessness, you can be certain that Baker and Hamilton will
The ISG will provide cover for the Bush administration to shift course in Iraq. It will pave
the way for the Democratic Congress to endorse that shift in a great show of
bipartisanship. But it will hold no one responsible.
Above all, it will leave intact the assumptions, arrangements, and institutions that gave
rise to Iraq in the first place. In doing so, it will ensure that the formulation of foreign
policy remains the preserve of political mahatmas like Baker and Hamilton, with the
American people left to pick up the tab.
In this way, the ISG will make possible - even likely - a repetition of some disaster akin
to Iraq at a future date.
Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations
at Boston University.
Copyright © 2006 The Christian Science Monitor
July 22/23, 2006
Lebanon and Gaza invasions planned last
month in Colorado meetings between
Netanyahu, Sharansky, and Cheney.
Wayne Madsen Report
The Israeli invasion of Lebanon was planned between top Israeli officials and members
of the Bush administration.
On June 17 and 18, former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Likud
Knesset member Natan Sharansky met with Vice President Dick Cheney at the
American Enterprise Institute conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado. There, the
impending Israeli invasions of both Gaza and Lebanon were discussed.
After receiving Cheney's full backing for the invasion of Gaza and Lebanon, Netanyahu
flew back to Israel and participated in a special "Ex-Prime Ministers" meeting, in which
he conveyed the Bush administration's support for the carrying out of the "Clean Break"
policy -- the trashing of all past Middle East peace accords, including Oslo.
Present at the meeting, in addition to Netanyahu, were current Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert and former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres. Former Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir is very old and suffers from dementia and Ariel Sharon remains
in a coma after a series of strokes.
After the AEI meeting, Sharansky, who has the ear of Bush, met with the Heritage
Foundation in Washington and then attended a June 29 seminar at Philadelphia's
Main Line Haverford School sponsored by the Middle East Forum led by Daniel Pipes.
Sharansky appeared with Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum who this past Thursday
was beating the war drums against Syria, Iran, and "Islamo-fascism" in a fiery speech at
the National Press Club attended by a cheering section composed of members of the
neocon Israel Project, on whose board Santorum serves along with Georgia Sen.
Saxby Chambliss and Virginia GOP Rep. Tom Davis.
Our Washington sources claim that the U.S.-supported invasions of Gaza and Lebanon
and the impending attacks on Syria and Iran represent the suspected "event" predicted
to take place prior to the November election in the United States and is an attempt to
rally the American public around the Bush-Cheney regime during a time of wider war.
By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its
regime, Iraq is unique. As a former chief weapons inspector of the U.N. has said, ‘The
fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime, itself. Saddam Hussein is a
homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.’...
“We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including
mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using
chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in
his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the
number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th....
“Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from the weight of oppression, Iraq's
people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time. If military action is
necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and
create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.”...
– George W. Bush, October 7, 2000
IRAQ BODY COUNT
National Priorities Project - Cost of War
A Timeline of Oil and Violence in Iraq
THE EAGLE HOODED: THE 9-11 COVERUP
PART I - PART II - PART III
THE 10 MOST BRAZEN WAR PROFITEERS
< < < FLASHBACK < < <
July, 1953, from SEE Magazine:
WE CAN NEVER GET OUT OF KOREA
By Col. James E. Wilson, former Military Mayor of Seoul
Bloody, costly frontier is vital to U.S. defense
WE CAN NEVER get out of Korea – no matter who says what to the contrary.
We did try to get out five years ago. It didn’t work.
I remember the spring day in 1948 when we in the military government turned over our
responsibilities to the Koreans and prepared to sail for home. I was standing in my
office in the City Hall of Seoul, Korea’s capital, saying goodbye to the staff we had
trained to run the city.
Someone in the rear of the room spoke up. “You’ll be back,” he said. “You’ll find that
Korea is not just a little peninsula in Asia, but a frontier of the free world. You’ll be back
to help us guard that frontier.”
Since then, in the past two and a half years, oceans of blood have been shed in Korea.
More than 20,000 American boys have been killed in action there, and our casualty
list, at 129,000 is longer than those of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, Indian
wars and Spanish-American War combined.
Directly, the war has cost us about 15 billion dollars. Indirectly, it has doubled
government spending, from 40 billion dollars a year to 80.
Korea has become a charnel house, with an estimated million of its civilians killed, and
more millions wounded, starving and homeless.
In this frustrating, little-understood war, the persistent question is “Why?” Why has
remote Korea become the inferno whose flaming cities may ignite World War III?...
Korea Checks Red Expansion
The current war again has produced the chaotic conditions that breed men like Kim Koo
– which is another reason why we cannot abandon Korea again.
As long as Korea is a nation friendly to our cause, it remains as a counter-check to
Communist aggression in both south and north Asia.
The Chinese Communists cannot stage an all-out offensive southward into Indo-China and Malaya while they remain exposed on the Korean front....
The fact is, South Korea’s cause is ours also. Korea is still the loaded pistol pointed at
all we must defend in the Pacific. In our own self-interest, we cannot let that pistol be
The Media and the Military-Industrial Complex
– From Derailing Democracy, by David McGowan
It has been 40 years since President Eisenhower, in his final address to the nation
before leaving office in 1961, issued a rather extraordinary warning to the American
people that the country “must guard against unwarranted influence, whether sought or
unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist.”
Following the same course that virtually every other major industry has in the last two
decades, a relentless series of mergers and corporate takeovers has consolidated
control of the media into the hands of a few corporate behemoths.
The result has been that an increasingly agenda has been sold to the American people
by a massive, multi-tentacled media machine that has become, for all intents and
purposes, a propaganda organ of the state....
And it is certainly true that by all outward appearances the United States does appear
to have the very epitome of a free press. . . . Yet behind this picture of plurality there
are clear warning signs that an increasingly incestuous relationship exists between the
media titans and the corporate military powers that Eisenhower so feared.
For example, the number-one purveyor of broadcast news in this country— NBC, with
both MSNBC and CNBC under its wing, as well as NBC news and a variety of
“newsmagazines”-- is now owned and controlled by General Electric, one of the
nation’s largest defense contractors.
Is it not significant that as GE’s various media subsidiaries predictably lined up to
cheerlead the use of U.S. military force in Kosovo, it was at the same time posting
substantial profits from the sale of the high tech tools of modern warfare it so
Equally alarming is that those viewers choosing to change channels to CNN, the
reigning king of the cable news titans, were treated to the surreal daily spectacle of
watching Christiane Amapour, who is the wife of State Department mouthpiece James
Rubin, analyze her husband’s daily press briefings, as though she could objectively
respond to the mounds of disinformation spewing forth from the man with whom she
shares her morning coffee.
Were it to occur elsewhere, would this not be denounced as symptomatic of a state-run
The Catbird Recommends for some of the latest REAL news:
The Republic Network
March 29, 2005
Pentagon Strips Air Force of
21 Major Weapons Programs
Las Vegas Review-Journal
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a highly unusual move, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer on
Monday took away the Air Force’s authority to oversee 21 major programs with a
combine value of $200 billion.
The move, called temporary, was made because of a civilian leadership vacuum at the
Air Force after the departure last week of Peter Teets, who was under secretary of the
Air Force as well as acting secretary. Teets had been fillin in since James Roche
resigned as secretary in January.
It also comes amid continuing controversy over the Air Force’s handling of a multibillion-dollar Boeing aircraft lease deal that fell through last year and led to the conviction of
former Air Force executive Darleen Druyun on charges of conspiring to violate
Druyun admitted in court that she favored Boeing on deals worth billion of dollars
because the company gave jobs to her daughter and son-in-law. Her admission led to
a detailed Pentagon review of her nearly 10-year tenure as a key weapons buyer for the
Air Force and prompted rival defense companies to file protests over Boeing contracts
awarded during that period.
The episode has taken a tool on the Air Force. Since Roche departed, the White
House has not nominated anyone to replace him as the Air Force secretary, a post that
requires Senate confirmation. Some believe the current Navy secretary, Gordon
England, will get the nomination.
In addition, no one has been nominated to replace Teets as the under secretary.
What’s more, the post of Air Force acquisition chief has been vacant since Marvin
Sambur left in January.
With Teets gone, the most senior civilian in the Air Force is Michael I. Dominquez, who
has served since August 2001 as assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and
In Monday’s announcement, the Pentagon said it was giving the decision-making
authority for the 21 major Air Force weapons programs to Michael Wynne, the No. 2
Pentagon civilian in charge of weapons procurement.
The No. 1 slot has not had a Senate-confirmed holder since May 2003. Wynne was
nominate for the top spot but his nomination – and others in the Air Force – have been
blocked by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, as part of a long-running dispute over the
Boeing lease deal....
The 21 programs include a $59.2 billion Boeing contract for C-17A Globemaster II
advanced cargo aircraft, and a $31.7 billion Boeing and Lockheed Martin contract for
the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle....
Among other programs affected are air-to-air missiles, B-2 bomber radar modernization,
C-5 cargo plane improvements, propulsion replacement for the Minuteman III
intercontinental ballistic missile and a $18 billion communications satellite program....
< < < FLASHBACK < < <
Program Manager Interviews:
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR ECONOMIC SECURITY
Which Defense Firms Will Survive – Meet the
Man Who Helps the Pentagon Decide
A large white banner is first thing you notice upon entering the reception area of Joshua
Gotbaum’s third-floor Pentagon office. In foot-high red letters, it reads:
“Please Mr. Gotbaum, Save Natick [Mass.] Labs”
Secretary Gotbaum, a former Wall Street investment banker, achieved the status of
Washington insider in 1 short year. He is respected both by the Pentagon brass and
defense industry officials. He influences key decisions ranging from BRAC to which
defense industries will survive.
Secretary Gotbaum is the right man for the job at the right time. A 44-year-old lawyer,
Secretary Gotbaum is at home in the world of mergers, acquisitions, and restructurings.
He heads the new 260-person Pentagon Office of Economic Security and has won the
confidence of many defense industry and military officials for helping educate the
Pentagon brass on their decisions which impact the nation’s troubled defense industry.
And so far, both sides appear pleased with his efforts or their behalf....
~ o ~
For more recent poop on Joshua Gotbaum, GO TO > > > Hawaiian Airlines
~ o ~
July 30, 2003
No Market for Terrorism
Pentagon terminates trading on violent world events
By Carl Hulse, The New York Times
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon’s new terrorism futures market is suddenly a thing of
Only a day after it was disclosed, outraged senators of both parties called yesterday for
the immediate end to the online trading bazaar that would have rewarded investors
able to predict terror attacks and other global unrest. Pentagon officials raced to oblige,
saying it would be shut down post haste.
“It is a very significant mistake,” said Sen. John Warner, R-Va., and chairman of the
Armed Services Committee, which oversees the Department of Defense.
Democrats said the cancellation of the program was not enough and that those
responsible should be fired. Attention immediately turned to retired Rear Adm. John
Poindexter, a key official involved in developing the plan.
Poindexter first gained notoriety in the Iran-contra scandal during the Reagan
administration and more recently was involved in a controversy over a Pentagon
program for extensive electronic surveillance of computer records in the search for
Two Democratic senators, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron Wyden of Oregon,
revealed the futures program Monday. Under the Pentagon plan, traders were to be
able to begin registering Friday to trade futures in world terrorism developments as
of Oct. 1 on a Web site of the Policy Analysis Market, which the Pentagon was
operating with private partners.
At a Senate hearing yesterday, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said he first
learned of it from news accounts.
“I share your shock at this kind of program,” he said. “We’ll find out about it, but it is
Warner and his colleagues summoned the head of the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency, where the market idea was developed, to the Capitol to explain how
the concept originated. The director, Tony Tether, put out a statement saying the
program was finished, effective immediately.
Warner and other senators responsible for overseeing Defense Department spending
moved quickly to disassociate themselves from the program, and they promised
hearings and much more aggressive oversight of the research arm of the Pentagon.
They said they had never been told any details of the $3 million program, which they
harshly criticized as ill-conceived and unwarranted....
Dorgan said, “I think those who thought it up ought not only close down the program,
they ought not be on the public payroll any longer.”
Republican lawmakers said the uproar over the marketing plan could jeopardize
congressional support for research agency programs though they were not ready to call
for the end of the terrorism information effort. As for personnel changes, they said
those decisions were the responsibility of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
But Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan, who serves on both the intelligence and Armed Services
committees, called the market plan “absurd,” and added, “It seems to me they are way
off base and somebody should bear that responsibility and I think we know who that is.”
Poindexter was a central figure in the 1980s Iran-contra scandal and was
convicted of lying to Congress; his conviction was later overturned.
At the Pentagon, spokesman Lawrence Di Rita was asked about the status of the
former naval officer and said, “At the moment, Admiral Poindexter continues to serve” in
the research agency.
The Pentagon market Web-site was the first step in a broader program entitled Futures
Markets Applied to Predictions.
In statements over the past two days, the agency said the idea behind the project was
to use a marketplace to assess the probability of events, a concept that has worked
with predictions in such matters as commodity prices and elections.
Examples of potential events on the site included the overthrow of the king of Jordan, a
missile strike by North Korea or the assassination of Yasser Arafat....
See also: John Poindexter
May 13, 2002
WAGES OF SIN
By Christopher H. Schmitt, U.S. News & World Report
In the mid-1970s, Lockheed Aircraft Corp. was center stage in a scorching bribery
scandal. Millions in secret payments were slipped to public officials and political
parties around the globe, to curry favor and win government contracts.
Stung by the blowback, the company promised stringent reforms. Two decades later,
Lockheed was again in the spotlight, pleading guilty to paying off an Egyptian official to
win a deal for C-130 cargo planes. Once more, the company was contrite. Standing
before a federal judge in 1995, a top executive pledged Lockheed’s “commitment to the
highest ethical standards of conduct.”
In the years since, however, Lockheed’s troubles have only grown. The company has
been named in at least 33 more cases covering overcharges on government
contracts, improper technology transfer to China, falsifying results of nuclear
safety tests, job discrimination, environmental pollution, and more.
These cases, some of which were in motion before the 1995 conviction, have produced
at least $145.3 million in penalties, settlements, and restitution. And at least 13 more
cases are pending.
Lockheed Martin, as the company is known today, says it has a vigorous ethics and
compliance program. And, it turns out, says it has a vigorous ethics and compliance
program. And, it turns out, that promise is good enough for the Pentagon.
Last October, despite the company’s record, the federal government awarded
Lockheed the richest military contract in history – a deal to build the nation’s next
generation jet. The project, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, could be worth as much as
$200 billion over several decades.
Lockheed Martin is not the only big federal contractor that continues to do business with
Washington despite repeated contract difficulties and other legal and regulatory trouble.
In the past dozen years, 30 of the 43 largest federal contractors have racked up more
than 400 enforcement cases, resulting in at least 28 criminal convictions, 286 civil
settlements, and 88 administrative settlements, mostly involving their government
contracts, according to data from the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit
Washington, D.C., group that investigates government activities, and additional
research by U.S. News.
The companies have breached environmental, labor, and securities regulations as well,
For their difficulties, the analysis shows, they have paid at least $3.4 billion in fines,
penalties, and restitution.
The cases cover a wide swath, including price fixing, bogus testing, polluting,
overcharging, hiding product defects, violating export laws, and withholding financial
data from the government.
They also represent more than accounting quibbles: Company workers have been killed
and seriously injured and national security potentially put at risk. Yet, together, these
firms have corralled more than 4 of every 10 federal procurement dollars. “If it was a
food-stamp recipient, they’d go to jail,” says Rep Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat,
who complains about repeat offenders.
“If it was a student-loan recipient who wasn’t paying, they’d have their wages garnished.
It’s an extraordinary double standard.”
The government actually has a process for cutting off wayward contractors from future
work, but in practice, purchasing officers focus on getting projects done, not holding
firms accountable for past behavior. And other officials responsible for barring firms
can’t legally use punishment as a motive, says Robert Meunier, head of a committee of
“We’re here to protect the government’s business interest,” he says. Even if a current
contractor is prevented from doing future business, the company could continue to do
billions of dollars’ worth of government work under existing agreements. As best as can
be determined, the government has cut off only one of the 30 big contractors with
problems – General Electric Co. – and, even then, suspended the company for just a
If federal agencies wanted to crack down on offending contractors, they couldn’t.
The U.S. government is the biggest shopper on the planet, buying some $235 billion
worth of goods and services last year – everything from military hardware to
management of nuclear laboratories to food for school lunches. But the reasons of
cost, bureaucracy, and plain indifference, it doesn’t keep tabs on the behavior of its
vendors. Contracting officers don’t know, for instance, if a company has already agreed
with other agencies to clean up its act, and several agencies – including the General
Services Administration – can’t even produce a list of whom they have suspended or
barred from further contracts.
In effect, contractors have no official history when they line up for government work.
The military tops the government’s buying list – with contracts for $156.5 billion last
year. Not surprisingly, some of the worst offenders are military contractors.
But while the government may be reluctant to move against its biggest suppliers,
federal agencies don’t have the same qualms about cracking down on small firms.
Officials maintain that federal rules are written evenhandedly, but they acknowledge
that larger companies can naigate them more successfully.
Take James Verlander, a Houston-area researcher who in early 1990s got tangled up in
Operation Lightning Strike, a federal sting operation targeting NASA suppliers.
Federal agents drew Verlander and several others into a scheme revolving around a
bogus medical device that supposedly could improve monitoring of space-station
Threatened with a heavy prison sentence, he pleaded guilty to having accepted $2,000
as part of an effort to win approval and funding for the device, says his attorney,
Charles Portz. Barred from government work ever since, Verlander suffered a nervous
breakdown and has since become a medical technician.
By contrast, two big contractors that came under scrutiny in the affair – Martin Marietta
and General Electric – settled their involvement by paying $1 million to defray the
“They didn’t want to make arrests of the higher-up people because it would
damage the space program,” says Portz, “so they busted a bunch of little people.”
Small fry get nailed more often because it’s more likely that senior executives were
involved in any wrongdoing, say those familiar with the issue. And large contractors
have more financial juice to make a case go away – to hire pricey legal talent, create
compliance programs, or pay settlements.
“They’re pretty willing to settle it to stay in business,” says Jacques Ganaler, former
undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, who is now a
professor of public affairs at the University of Maryland.
Oversight of military and other federal spending has been kneecapped in recent years –
through budget cuts and under the banner of streamlining regulation – and new
proposals would weaken it further. Reflecting those developments and changing
priorities, federal prosecution of contract fraud has fallen sharply in recent years, as
have attempts by federal agencies themselves to rein in abuse, according to
government data obtained by the Transactional Records access Clearinghouse at
Many expect enforcement efforts to suffer further still as homeland defense comes to
the fore. U.S. Department of Justice officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Even in extreme situations, the biggest firms don’t face contracting’s version of the
Take behemoth General Electric. In the early 1990s, problems including bribery and
mispricing became so pervasive that the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Management
Agency took the unusual step of setting up a special investigations office just for GE.
The office produced 22 criminal indictments of the company, its sub-contractors, and
employees, and recovered $221.7 million.
Although individuals were booted from future government work, the company was not,
despite recommendations from frustrated investigators. Not barring the firm “is clearly a
disincentive to forcing a major contractor to institute [change],” they said at the time.
“Other remedial actions, including criminal prosecutions, did not seem to be effective.”
Since then, GE has been named in new cases, involving both its military and civilian
businesses. GE spokesman Gary Sheffer says that the earlier cases involved a small
number of people and that the company used the experience to tghten an already
strong compliance program....
BIG CONTRACTS - REPEAT OFFENDERS
In the past dozen years, 30 of the federal government’s biggest contractors have
accumulated more than 400 enforcement cases, resulting in at least $3.4 billion in
penalties, settlements, and restitution.
The top 10 firms:
GENERAL ELECTRIC ... $982.9 million for 63 cases
TRW ... $389.5 million for 17 cases
BOEING ... $358.0 million for 36 cases
LOCKHEED MARTIN ... $231.9 million for 63 cases
UNITED TECHNOLOGIES ... $214.8 million for 18 cases
ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND ... $208.2 million for 8 cases
UNISYS ... $182.2 million for 12 cases
RAYTHEON ... $128.7 million for 24 cases
LITTON * ... $111.5 million for 8 cases
CARGILL ... $102 million for 8 cases
* Acquired by Northrup Grumman
– Full table and report at www.usnews.com
For more on NASA’s “Wages of Sin,” GO TO > > > NASA...and the war on truth
For more on Boeing’s bribery and boondoggles, GO TO > > > Boeing Bound
For more on GE and the bad things they bring to life, GO TO > > > General Electric
For more on the “Greed at Lockheed,” GO TO > > > Tarnished Wings
January 18, 1999
Pentagon backs down over
Ritter's new book
No intimidation intended
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon is dropping a demand that former U.N.
weapons inspector Scott Ritter turn over advance copies of his new book for official
The Pentagon says the demand was the result of an overzealous contracting officer
and was not an attempt to intimidate Ritter.
Ritter, a retired Marine intelligence officer, has been highly critical of the Clinton
administration since stepping down as a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq. Ritter criticized
the administration for, in his view, not aggressively supporting the work of the U.N.
weapons inspectors who were charged with pursuing Iraq's weapons of mass
In a December 23 letter, the Defense Department told Ritter that he was required to
obtain "written authorization" before "the public release of any material obtained as a
result of work performed under ... contract." The letter asked Ritter to hand over copies
of the book at least two months before publication.
In an article Sunday in the "New York Times", Ritter's attorney, Matthew L. Lifflander,
characterized the letter as part of an administration-wide attempt to intimidate
Ritter into silence.
But David Rigby, chief of public affairs for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said
the letter was sent by a contracting officer who feared Ritter might inadvertently
disclose classified information."
After a "broader view" by senior officials, the agency has decided to rescind the letter
and offer to assist Ritter to ensure that classified information is not released in his book.
Ritter will not be required to submit manuscripts, Rigby said.
Rigby said Ritter would be officially notified of the change on Tuesday, the first official
day of business after the Martin Luther King holiday.
According to the Times, Ritter's book, tentatively titled "Endgame", would provide some
details about Ritter's work as an arms inspector in Iraq "but would focus primarily on his
views about President Saddam Hussein and how the United States and other nations
should deal with him."
All the information is in the public domain, the Times quotes Lifflander as saying.
February 21, 1999
Pentagon Revives Move to Halt
Book on Iraqi Arms
By Philip Shenon, The New York Times
WASHINGTON -- Reversing itself for a second time, the Pentagon has demanded that
Scott Ritter, a former U.N. weapons inspector, provide it with an advance copy of a
book in which he is expected to accuse the Clinton administration of hindering the
search for evidence of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons.
In a letter to Ritter's lawyer on Thursday, the Defense Department said Ritter was
required to turn over the book for a security review before it could be published. A
security review would almost certainly delay publication of the book, which is scheduled
to be printed and distributed to booksellers next month.
Ritter's lawyer, Matthew Lifflander, described the letter as an effort to intimidate his
client into silence.
Ritter, he said, would refuse to agree to the Pentagon's demand for a security review,
raising at least the possibility that the Defense Department would go to court to try to
block publication. "I understand that the book is basically at the printers," Lifflander said
in an interview.
"So you could easily conclude that this is a last-minute effort to delay publication. I
don't think they have a legal leg to stand on. I find this a very destructive approach."
The Pentagon's latest letter reflected another sharp and potentially embarrassing
turnaround in its strategy for dealing with Ritter's book, which is expected to include
accusations that senior administration officials repeatedly hindered the work of U.N.
The book is being published by Simon & Schuster. A spokeswoman said...
Ritter, a former Marine intelligence officer, resigned from the United Nations last
summer and accused the administration of a vacillating policy on Iraq that had led to
repeated U.S. meddling in the arms-inspection program, undermining the search
for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. He said the United States interfered with the
arms inspections in an effort to avoid direct confrontations with Iraq.
The entire arms-inspection program was ended late last year when President Saddam
Hussein of Iraq shut it down, a decision that resulted last December in the largest U.S.
airstrikes against Iraq since the Persian Gulf war in 1991.
The Defense Department, which paid Ritter's salary while the retired Marine worked
for the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq, initially demanded a prepublication security
review of the book in a letter to Ritter last month. But on Jan. 17, the day that news
reports first appeared about the demand, the Pentagon reversed itself, insisting that the
letter had been sent in error and that there had been no attempt to intimidate Ritter.
Last week the department reversed itself again. In its letter to Ritter's lawyer on
Thursday, the general counsel of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the agency
of the Pentagon that paid Ritter's salary under contract, said that it expected Ritter to
"comply with his responsibilities" and turn over the book for a prepublication review....
In a letter of response on Friday, Lifflander said that the Pentagon "attempts once
again to impose an unenforceable censorship agreement on a former employee."
He continued, "For the agency to now reverse the position it stated publicly and once
again seek a right to censor Scott Ritter's work is patently unreasonable."
He said the book did not disclose any classified information about the arms-inspection
program in Iraq.
"Mr. Ritter," he said, "continues to believe that nothing in the manuscript could possibly
be contested on a national-security basis by government censors, although some of
what he has to say may be distasteful to some significant policy-makers."
– Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company
Published July 20, 2002 in the Boston Globe
Is Iraq a True Threat
to the US?
by Scott Ritter
RECENT PRESS reports indicate that planning for war against Iraq has advanced
significantly. When combined with revelations about the granting of presidential
authority to the CIA for covert operations aimed at eliminating Saddam Hussein, it
appears that the United States is firmly committed to a path that will lead toward war
Prior to this occurring, we would do well to reflect on the words of President Abraham
Lincoln who, in his Gettysburg Address, defined the essence of why democracies like
ours go to war: so “... that government of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.”
Does Iraq truly threaten the existence of our nation? If one takes at face value the
rhetoric emanating from the Bush administration, it would seem so. According to
President Bush and his advisers, Iraq is known to possess weapons of mass
destruction and is actively seeking to reconstitute the weapons production capabilities
that had been eliminated by UN weapons inspectors from 1991 to 1998, while at the
same time barring the resumption of such inspections.
I bear personal witness through seven years as a chief weapons inspector in Iraq for
the United Nations to both the scope of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs
and the effectiveness of the UN weapons inspectors in ultimately eliminating them.
While we were never able to provide 100 percent certainty regarding the disposition of
Iraq's proscribed weaponry, we did ascertain a 90-95 percent level of verified
disarmament. This figure takes into account the destruction or dismantling of every
major factory associated with prohibited weapons manufacture, all significant items of
production equipment, and the majority of the weapons and agent produced by Iraq.
With the exception of mustard agent, all chemical agent produced by Iraq prior to 1990
would have degraded within five years (the jury is still out regarding Iraq's VX nerve
agent program - while inspectors have accounted for the laboratories, production
equipment and most of the agent produced from 1990-91, major discrepancies in the
Iraqi accounting preclude any final disposition at this time.)
The same holds true for biological agent, which would have been neutralized through
natural processes within three years of manufacture. Effective monitoring inspections,
fully implemented from 1994-1998 without any significant obstruction from Iraq, never
once detected any evidence of retained proscribed activity or effort by Iraq to
reconstitute that capability which had been eliminated through inspections.
In direct contrast to these findings, the Bush administration provides only
speculation, failing to detail any factually based information to bolster its claims
concerning Iraq's continued possession of or ongoing efforts to acquire weapons of
mass destruction. To date no one has held the Bush administration accountable for its
unwillingness - or inability - to provide such evidence.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld notes that “the absence of evidence is not
evidence of absence.” This only reinforces the fact that the case for war against Iraq
fails to meet the litmus test for the defense of our national existence so eloquently
phrased by President Lincoln.
War should never be undertaken lightly. Our nation's founders recognized this when
they penned our Constitution, giving the authority to declare war to Congress and not to
the president. Yet on the issue of war with Iraq, Congress remains disturbingly mute.
Critical hearings should be convened by Congress that will ask the Bush administration
tough questions about the true nature of the threat posed to the United States by Iraq.
Congress should reject speculation and demand substantive answers. The logical
forum for such a hearing would be the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
Unfortunately, the senators entrusted with such critical oversight responsibilities shy
away from this task. This includes Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Vietnam
War veteran who should understand the realities and consequences of war and the
absolute requirement for certainty before committing to a course of conflict.
The apparent unwillingness of Congress to exercise its constitutional mandate of
oversight, especially with regard to matters of war, represents a serious blow to
By allowing the Bush administration, in its rush toward conflict with Iraq, to circumvent
the concepts of democratic accountability, Congress is failing those to whom they are
ultimately responsible - the American people.
Scott Ritter is author of “Endgame: Solving the Iraqi Problem Once and For All.”
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
Published on Thursday, September 12, 2002 in the Toronto Star
CNN's Hatchet Job
on Scott Ritter
Media smear ex-Marine for seeking answers on Iraq
by Antonia Zerbisias
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to
stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is
morally treasonable to the American public.
-- Theodore Roosevelt
OF COURSE it was just coincidental that, on Sunday, as CNN was discrediting former
United Nations weapons' inspector Scott Ritter, it was running promos for the remake
of Four Feathers, A.E.W. Mason's tale of the coward who would not go to war.
By Monday, professional hairdo Paula Zahn told viewers Ritter had "drunk Saddam
Ritter, who had that day urged Iraq's National Assembly to let in weapons inspectors or
face annihilation, is no chicken hawk. After his 12-year turn as a U.S. Marine
intelligence officer, he faced down Saddam Hussein's goons as chief inspector of the
United Nations Special Commission to disarm Iraq (UNSCOM).
In 1998, he quit in protest over differences between what Washington wanted and what
Ever since, he has been very vocal about what really led to UNSCOM's failure to
complete its mission —— a failure Ritter largely blames on Washington —— and how
weapons' inspectors must be allowed back in to avert what will certainly be a brutal,
He insists that, if the Bush administration has evidence showing that Saddam is building
nukes, then the American people have a right to see it before they sacrifice their lives.
So, naturally, CNN talking head Miles O'Brien on Sunday questioned Ritter on his
"As an American citizen, I have an obligation to speak out when I feel my government is
acting in a manner, which is inconsistent with the —— with the principles of our
founding fathers," said Ritter.
"It's the most patriotic thing I can do."
Not in this climate. Not when there's the ironically named U.S.A. Patriot Act which
abrogates civil rights.
Not when those who criticize the administration are considered to be "with the
Not when the U.S. media let President George Bush's advisers —— who, with the
exception of Secretary of State Colin Powell, have never served their country as Ritter
has —— gallop all over the airwaves.
You couldn't flip a channel on Sunday without catching one of the Bush bunch,
including wife Laura, Powell, vice-president Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld and National Security adviser Condoleeza Rice, promoting an attack on Iraq
as if they were actors flogging their latest project on Leno and Letterman.
Certainly, the line of questioning was no more tough.
Nowhere was any of them asked seriously, if at all, about such trivia as the costs of a
war, or what, if anything, is known about connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam,
or what proof there is that Iraq has the ability to make and deliver nuclear weapons, or
why that country as opposed to others, or what oil has to do with it, or how Cheney
justifies his former business dealings with the regime he now so desperately wants to
Still the demonization of Ritter continued.
First CNN had on its own news chief, Eason Jordan, who had just returned from
Baghdad where he was bagging the rights to cover the war. (Imagine the ratings!)
He dismissed Ritter with a "Well, Scott Ritter's chameleon-like behaviour has really
bewildered a lot of people..." and a "Well, U.S. officials no longer give Scott Ritter much
The network followed up with more interviews vilifying Ritter, neither of which cut to the
heart of the matter: Why declare war? On what grounds? At what cost? Ritter was
characterized as "misguided," "disloyal" and "an apologist for and a defender of
By Monday, professional hairdo Paula Zahn told viewers Ritter had "drunk Saddam
Over on MSNBC, Curtis & Kuby co-host Curtis Sliwa compared him to "a sock puppet"
who "oughta turn in his passport for an Iraqi one."
But the nadir came later on CNN when makeup job Kyra Phillips interrogated him,
implying that he was being paid by Iraq ——and all but calling him a quisling.
"Ha! Excuse me; I went to war against Saddam Hussein in 1991. I spent seven years of
my life in this country hunting down weapons of mass destruction. I believe I've done a
lot about Saddam Hussein," he replied. "You show me where Saddam Hussein can be
substantiated as a threat against the United States and I'll go to war again. I'm not
going to sit back idly and let anybody threaten the United States. But at this point in
time, no one has made a case based upon facts that Saddam Hussein or his
government is a threat to the United States worthy of war."
Maybe today, in his speech to the United Nations, Bush will make that case.
Whatever happens, the list of cowards and traitors here won't include Scott
Copyright 1996-2002. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited
* * * * *
October 28, 2002
Ex-weapons Inspector Ritter Condemns
Bush's Policy on Iraq
By Jim Adams, The Courier-Journal
LOUISVILLE, KY - If you remind Scott Ritter that his knowledge about Iraq's weaponry
is now four years old - that perhaps things have changed since he left his position as a
U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq in 1998 - his voice rises, his speech quickens, his arms
"Forget the validity of my knowledge," he insists.
"Forget me. I'm not the issue."
"We're talking about war. The issue is the tens of thousands of Americans who are
going to put their lives on the line for the people of Kentucky.
"The first thing I'd ask everybody in Kentucky is, are they willing to give their lives for
this? Do they believe the president enough to volunteer their life, or the life of their son
or daughter? How much sacrifice are they willing to make on this one? Is it just a partial
belief? Or is it a total belief?"
And if it's only a partial belief, Ritter said, "maybe you need to acknowledge you don't
have all the data you need to solve this problem."
Ritter had an opportunity to put that question, and many more, to a sympathetic crowd
of about 500 last night in a free public appearance at the Church of the Epiphany . . .
As one of the few informed American voices challenging the Bush administration's
policy on Iraq, Ritter has become a media darling in recent months - while also earning
intense criticism from supporters of President Bush's Iraq policy, who have portrayed
him as a misdirected shill for Saddam Hussein, or worse.
Ritter was brought to Louisville last night by the Louisville Committee to Stop the War
Against Iraq, a group that formed about 18 months ago ... according to Pat Geier, one
of its leaders and a local peace activist as co-chairwoman of the Fellowship of
Ritter has a complex history - he is a 41-year-old former Marine Corps captain and
military intelligence officer who also was a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to
He has been investigated by the FBI for, among other things, a documentary film he
made about Iraq's weapons status about two years ago and whether his role in the film
may have made him an agent of the Iraqi government, Ritter has said.
"I worked with the FBI on this. I said I'd be happy to talk about their concerns," and no
violation of law was found, he has said.
But Ritter frets that so much attention upon him distracts from his message.
In an interview yesterday before his speech, he said that Bush has lied to America
about the seriousness of the Iraqi threat - and that the steps that the United States has
taken have wrongly put complete war power in Bush's hands prematurely.
The Bush emphasis on the need for "regime change" in Iraq has polluted what should
be an orderly process to determine Iraq's current weapons status, Ritter said.
"I believe Iraq needs to be held accountable. I lived the job for seven years," he said.
But, "It's difficult to talk about the return of inspectors and holding Iraq accountable
when the policy of the United States is regime removal," he said.
"Why would Iraq ever fully cooperate with an inspection regime when at the end of the
day, after full cooperation, they still have the death penalty?"
The "death penalty," in Ritter's view, is Bush's authority to wage war, as given him by
congressional resolution two weeks ago.
"Due process," Ritter argues, requires a determination that Iraq has violated
international law, before anyone declares war against it.
The administration's ultimate objective in its Iraq policy, Ritter argues, is a form of global
"If we attempt to impose an American imperialist agenda on the world, they will
fight a war against us."
November 12, 2002
“1984" has arrived
-- Posted by Henrietta Bowman on 11:45 am on Nov. 12, 2002
Day by passing day, post-9/11 America becomes the hell envisioned in George Orwell's
classic, 1984. At the rate the metamorphosis is occurring, there soon will be little
recognizable in the totalitarian American police state of the Founding Fathers' dream of
John M. Poindexter was appointed Director of the Pentagon's Information Awareness
Office. A retired Navy Admiral, John Poindexter lost his job as National Security
Adviser under Ronald Reagan and was convicted of conspiracy, lying to
Congress, defrauding the government, and destroying evidence in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Poindexter stated that he personally authorized the diversion of money and withheld
that information from the president. Now, this unethical man will be working with
Ashcroft's Fibbies to spy on Americans.
Continued at John Poindexter
THE FINGERPRINTS OF CONSPIRACY
From Rule by Secrecy, by Jim Marrs
~ ~ ~
War is a racket.... War is largely a matter of money. Bankers lend money to
foreign countries and when they cannot pay, the President sends Marines to get
– Marine Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940)
~ ~ ~
THE PERSIAN GULF
The Allied victory in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 was loudly trumpeted by the American
mass media, but the actions leading to this conflict were sparsely reported throughout
the coverage. These machinations involved people in secret societies and indicated a
very different rationale for the war than the one presented to the public.
No one can argue that the United States military, with some assistance from British,
French, and Arab forces, did not perform magnificently during this brief conflict. It took
only between January 17 and February 28, 1991, for the coalition of Operation Desert
Storm to soundly defeat the Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein, then representing the fifth
largest army in the world. This astounding military success was due primarily to the
Allied forces’ superiority in both weaponry and training as opposed to Saddam’s
conscripts who, through veterans of combat against Iran, had limited training and low
This disparity created a lopsided war which resulted in more than 300,000 Iraqi
casualties, both military and civilian, and 65,000 prisoners, compared to the
extraordinary low Allied losses of 234 killed, 470 wounded, and 57 missing.
Primary leader of the war was U.S. President George Bush, a former CFR member,
Trilateralist, and Skull and Bonesman.
As with most Middle East conflicts, the primary issue was oil. Both Bush and then
Secretary of State James Baker were deeply involved in the oil business. Any Bush
policy which increased the price of oil meant more profit to his companies, those of his
oilmen supporters and, of course, to the Rockefeller-dominated oil cartel.
An added bonus was that any conflict which divided the Arab world would only
strengthen the power of the U.S., Britian, and Israel in the region. A coalition of
countries fighting for the United Nations could only advance the globalists’ plan for a
one-world military force.
This “battle of the New World Order was some kind of manufactured crisis with a
hidden agenda,” wrote conspiracy researchers Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen after
study of the events leading to this conflict.
Bush and Saddam Hussein had had a close relationship for many years. In his role
as CIA director, and later as vice president, George Bush had supported Saddam
through his eight-year war against Iran following the ouster of the Shah in 1979.
By 1990 Saddam’s Iraq was a primary threat to the balance of power between Israel
and its Arab neighbors, but Saddam was strapped for cash due to the Iraq-Iran War
and couldn’t pay his bills. Under pressure from the international bankers for slow
repayment of loans and from the Organization of Petroleum Producing Countries
(OPEC), which refused to allow him to raise oil prices, Saddam turned his eyes to
Kuwait as a source of income. At the time it was the third largest producer of oil next to
Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait had been carved out of Iraq by Britain, who in 1899 took control of Kuwait’s
foreign policy under an agreement with the dictatorial Sabah family. The Sabahs had
produced a series of ruling sheikhs since assuming control of the area’s nomad tribes in
1756. Kuwait became a British Protectorate in 1914 when German interest suddenly
gave the area strategic importance. British dominance was solidified by sending British
troops to the area in 1961 after Iraq sought to reclaim it.
The Pentagon had known that Iraqi troops were massing along the Kuwait border since
mid-July 1990. On July 25 Saddam sought advice from the United States on his
intentions to reclaim Kuwait. He met with U.S. ambassador April Glaspie, who told
him, “I have direct instructions from President Bush to improve our relations with Iraq.
We have considerably sympathy for your quest for higher oil prices, the immediate
cause of your confrontation with Kuwait....
“I have received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship not confrontation,
regarding your intentions: Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait’s
According to transcripts released long after the war, Hussein explained that, while he
was ready to negotiate his border dispute with Kuwait, his design was to “keep the
whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be.” This shape, of course, included Kuwait,
which Saddam considered still a part of Iraq.
“What is the United States’ opinion on this?” he asked.
“We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, like your dispute with Kuwait,” replied
Glaspie. “Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to
Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwaiti issue is not associated with America.”
“Shortly after this, April Glaspie left Kuwait to take her summer vacation, another signal
of elaborate American disinterest in the Kuwait-Iraq crisis,” noted authors Tarpley and
Chaitkin in George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography.
On July 31, Bush met with GOP congressional leaders but said nothing about the Gulf
The crisis escalated on August 2, when Iraqi troops moved into Kuwait. Bush froze all
Iraqi assets in the United States, adding to Saddam’s money woes, which had
worsened in 1990 after international bankers refused him further loans. Glaspie was
prohibited from speaking out by the State Department, so the American public could not
learn of Bush’s duplicity.
In later testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Glaspie pointed out
that the July 25 conference was her first and only meeting with Saddam, who had not
met with any foreign ambassador since 1984, the midpoint of his war with Iran.
But if Saddam had not met with U.S. diplomats, the same could not be said of
American businessmen. Economist Paul Adler noted, “It was known that David
Rockefeller met with the Iraqi leader on at least three known occasions after the Chase
Manhattan consortium became the lead banker in a number of major Iraqi credit
It was also reported that Alan Stoga, a vice president of (Henry) Kissinger Associates
met with Iraqi leaders during a two-year period preceding the Gulf conflict.
“Saddam began to realize that he could not get what he wanted from the striped-pants
set. He began doing business with the people who mattered to him – foreign
businessmen, defense contractors, technologists and scientists, occasionally even
visiting newsmen,” reported the Washington newspaper, The Spotlight.
Following the money trail of such non-diplomatic contacts which led to the Gulf War,
Congressman Henry Gonzalez, chairman of the House Committee on Banking, Finance
and Urban Affairs, discovered that almost $5 billion in loans had been passed to
Saddam Hussein in the 1980s through the Atlanta, Georgia, branch of Italy’s
government-owned bank, Banca Nazional del Lavoro (BNL). The branch manager,
Christopher Drogoul, was finally brought into federal court, where he pleaded guilty to
approving this huge cash transfer without the approval of BNL’s head office in Italy.
However, the whole investigation was put on hold during the Gulf War.
Most observers disblieved that Drogoul could have conducted such a massive
transaction without the knowledge of his superiors. Bobby Lee Cook, one of Drogoul’s
several defense attorneys, argued that his client had been made the patsy in “a scheme
orchestrated at the highest levels of the U.S. Government.”
In court, BNL official Franz von Wedel testified that his boss Drogoul had acted
on the advice of the bank’s consultants, Kissinger Associates.
In both 1989 and 1990 the Bush Justice Department had quashed indictments against
the BNL by the Atlanta Attorney General’s office following an FBI raid on the bank on
August 4, 1989. Action against the bank managers was held up for more than a year.
Indictments were finally handed down one day after Bush declared a cease-fire in the
This scandal – dubbed “Iraqgate” – prompted Gonzalez to prepare a House resolution
called for the impeachment of Bush Attorney General William Barr for “obstruction of
justice in the BNL scandal.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jack Brooks called
on Barr to appoint a special prosecutor in the case.
In a classic case of who-will-watch-the-watchers?, Barr said he could find no evidence
of wrongdoing on his part and refused to appoint a special prosecutor. It was one of
the only times that an attorney general had failed to appoint a special prosecutor when
asked to do so by Congress.
WHO PAYS THE TAB?
The clincher of this sordid story of financial scheming and official malfeasance
was that not only had most of the $5 billion been used by Saddam to buy
weaponry to be used against American servicemen, but the U.S. taxpayers picked
up the tab.
Gonzalez said $500 million of the loans to Saddam came through the government-backed Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and had been intended to purchase
grain from U.S. farmers. However, grain shipped though the port of Houston had gone
to then-Soviet bloc nations for weapons, while the remainder of the grain purchase had
freed Saddam’s limited cash reserves to buy more military materials.
The Bush administration had pledged taxpayer guarantees should Saddam default on
the loans, which he did after sending troops to Kuwait. According to at least one public
source, more than $360 million in American tax money was paid to the Gulf
International Bank in Bahrain which was owned by seven Gulf nations including Iraq.
This amount was only the first of an estimated $1 billion to be paid to ten banks by the
CCC to cover the $5 billion of Saddam’s defaulted loans.
“The $1 billion commitment, in the form of loan guarantees for the purchase of U.S.
farm commodities, enabled Saddam to buy needed food on credit and to spend his
scarce hard currency on the arms buildup that brought war to the Persian Gulf,” wrote
author Russell S. Bowen.
Even after the Iraqi invasion began on August 2, Bush publicly appeared strangely
noncommittal. Asked by reporters if he intended any intervention in the Gulf crisis,
Bush said, “I’m not contemplating such action....”
His attitude apparently changed drastically that same day after meeting with British
prime minister Margaret Thatcher, a regular attendee of Bilderberg meetings who had
been implicated with Bush in both the Iran-Contra and October Surprise scandals.
After meeting with Thatcher, Bush began to describe Saddam as a “new Hitler” and
said “the status quo is unacceptable and further expansion [by Iraq] would be even
Despite assurance from Saddam that Kuwait was his only objective and with no
concrete evidence to the contrary, Bush nevertheless personally telephoned the leaders
of Saudi Arabia and warned that they would be the next target of the “new Hitler.”
Panicked, the Saudis handed over as much as $4 billion to Bush and other world
leaders as secret payoffs to protect their kingdom, according to Sabah family member
Sheik Fahd Mohammed al-Sabah, chairman of the Kuwait Investment Office.
Long after the Persian Gulf War, when audits found this money had been diverted into
a London slush fund, anti-Sabah elements in Saudi Arabis criticized the payoff. They
were told by al-Sabah, “That money was used to buy Kuwait’s liberation. It paid for
political support in the West and among Arab leaders – support for Desert Storm, the
international force we urgently needed.”
Whether this money played any role or not, Bush soon drew a “line in the sand” to
block further Iraqi intrusion. It is interesting to note that this line was located between
the Iraqi forces and oil interests owned by his son, soon-to-be Texas governor George
Bush, the president’s eldest son, was a $50,000-a-year “consultant” to and a board
member of Harken Energy Corp. of Grand Prairie, Texas, near the home of the Texas
Rangers baseball team of which the younger Bush was a managing general partner.
In January 1991, just days before Desert Storm was launched, Harken shocked the
business world by announcing an oil-production agreement with the small island nation
of Bahrain, a former British protectorate and a haven for international bankers just off
the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain was listed among the top forty
countries of the world with the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product in 1996.
Veteran oilmen wondered aloud how unknown Harken, with no previous drilling
experience, obtained such a potentially lucrative deal. Furthermore, it was reported that
“Harken’s investments in the area will be protected by a 1990 agreement Bahrain
signed with the U.S. allowing American and ‘multi-national’ forces to set up permanent
bases in that country.”
The younger Bush, in October 1990, told Houston Post reporter Peter Brewton that
accusations that his father ordered troops to the area to protect Harken drilling rights
were “a little far-fetched.” He further claimed he sold his Harken stock before the Iraqi
invasion, but Brewton cold find no record of the sale in the files of the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC).
Records of Bush’s Harken stock sale finally turned up in March 1991, eight months
after the July 10, 1990, SEC deadline for filing such disclosures. One week after
Saddam’s troops entered Kuwait, Harken stock had dropped to $3.03 a share. The
tardy SEC records revealed that by some good fortune, Bush had sold 66 percent of his
Harken stock on June 22, 1990 – just weeks prior to Iraq’s invasion – for the top-dollar
price of $4.00 a share, netting him $848,560.
Despite locating productive wells in South America, the drop in oil prices in early 1999
caused Harken stock to remain about $4.00 per share.
Stock purchases, oil and grain deals, arms sales, loans and guarantees, the weakening
of the Arabs to benefit Israel, the movement toward a global army and government
created a mind-numbing entanglement.
“It is doubtful whether the ‘real’ reasons why the United States went to war in the
Persian Gulf will ever emerge,” wrote Vankin and Whaley.
“Unlike in Vietnam, where the ambiguous outcome elicited natural suspicions, in the
Gulf the decisiveness of victory has buried the reality deeper than any Iraqi or American
soldier who went to a sandy grave.”
The duplicity didn’t end with the fighting. Throughout the Clinton administration there
have been periodic air forays into Iraq, ostensibly to punish Saddam for preventing UN
inspection of his development centers for biological and nuclear weaponry. However,
this time there was a big difference – probing questions were raised by both a
suspicious public and a few less timid members of the news media.
Following missile and bombing strikes in late 1998, a letter writer to a national news
magazine asked, “By using weapons of mass destruction to deter Iraq from
manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, would America not be doing the
very thing we’re warning Iraq not to do?”
Others raised the question of why we attacked Iraq for refusing UN inspection of its
sensitive military installations when President Clinton also had refused to allow such
inspections in the United States – a refusal greeted with general approval by the
Scott Ritter, a member of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) created
to locate and eliminate Saddam Hussein’s secret weapons caches, resigned in
August of 1998 and accused the U.S. government of using the commission to
justify an attack on Iraq.
Ritter said that before his resignation he disbelieved Baghdad’s minister of defense
when he told him the UNSCOM team was being used by to “provoke a crisis,” but he
slowly came to agree with the charge.
Ritter’s superiors scoffed at the allegation, claiming Ritter’s knowledge of the situation
However, in early 1999 it was reported that Washington had used UNSCOM to plant
electronic bugs in the Ministry of Defense (Iraq’s Pentagon) and other U.S. officials
confirmed much of Ritter’s accusations.
“The relationship between the United States and the inspection commission...has long
been a subject of debate,” wrote U.S. News reporter Bruce B. Auster.
“The issue is sensitive because UNSCOM is an arm of the UN Security Council, not an
agency of the United States, although it does rely on the United States for intelligence
On December 15, 1998, after stockpiling cruise missiles in the Persian Gulf during the
fall, the U.S. launched a much-delayed air strike against Baghdad.
But with Christmas nearing, most Americans couldn’t get too worked up over civilian
casualties halfway around the world. And any doubts about U.S. involvement in the
Persian Gulf – except among those unfortunates have to deal with Gulf War Syndrome
caused by lethal combination of oil fires, biological agents, and radioactive uranium-tipped artillery and tank shells – had been thrown away, along with the yellow ribbons
which had proudly displayed the total support of the uninformed....
– Copyright 2000, by Jim Marrs
* * * * *
The Terror of War-Corporate Greed
Feeds the US War Machine
By Katy Beinart
The attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11th were horrific, and got the
deserved attention of the global media and aid and emergency services rushing to help.
Four months later, the US reaction to those attacks has caused civilian death on a
greater scale, as well as precipitating a massive humanitarian crisis. Far from being
“satisfied” at routing the Taliban and destroying most of the country, the US
Government is now planning military action against Somalia and Iraq and George Bush
has dubbed Iran, Iraq and North Korea an “Axis of Evil”.
Excuse me, but on the same day he unveiled a military budget of $396.1 billion for
2003, and a plan to spend $2.1 TRILLION on the military over the next five years,
which could be said to be pretty evil in itself. $380,000,000,000 per year =
$1,041,095,890 per day = $43,378,995 per hour = $722,983 per minute = $12,049 per
second being spent on killing machines.
Looking at what the money is being spent on and who is being contracted to carry out
the work, it doesn’t look like an anti-terrorist operation. It looks more like a plan for
complete global dominance, including dominance of Space....
It’s no wonder that Bob Smith and the Bush administration are such firm advocates of
missile defence and military spending. The companies that have won the biggest
contracts in the new defence budget, Lockheed Martin, TRW, Boeing, Raytheon, and
Northrop-Grumman have close links to the Bush administration, and have bankrolled
politicians on both sides of the House to ensure defence spending remains top of the
Vice President Cheney is a former member of the board of TRW. His wife, Lynn
Cheney, was a longtime member of the Lockheed Martin board stepping down only as
her husband prepared to take office.
Bruce Jackson, vice president of corporate strategy and development of Lockheed
Martin, said “I wrote the Republican Party’s foreign policy platform.”
Bush’s appointee as deputy director of the National Security Council is Stephen J.
Hadley, previously a partner in Shea & Gardner, the Washington law firm of Lockheed
Other Bush administration officials drawn from the aerospace industry include Albert
Smith, a Lockheed Martin vice president, appointed undersecretary of the Air Force;
Gordon England, vice president of General Dynamics, named Navy secretary; and
James G. Roche, retired president of a Northrop-Grumman division, appointed as Air
In a report by the Arms Trade Resource Center, “Tangled Web: The Marketing of
Missile Defense”, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and TRW are shown to have
given millions of dollars in “soft money donations” and “PAC contributions” to members
of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, in the last few years. The intense
lobbying of these massive multinational corporations is pushing forward the military
agenda with no regard to financial, or human, cost.
The result is increased militarisation and decreased spending on “social” budgets in the
US. However, this has a global impact. The direct impact of Bush’s “War against
Terrorism”, as we have seen, has been the destabilization of the whole region round
Afghanistan, including Kashmir, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel and the Middle East.
There has been an escalation in violence in Kashmir.
Countries are now increasing their aggressions and military spending in a response to
the increased aggression and military spending of the US. In Europe, some ministers
have expressed concern at America’s extension plans for the war, which could be
encouraging as if Europe made a stand, we could break the stranglehold the US has on
world politics. However, one likely consequence of this, which is in the wings already, is
a European Army, with its own nuclear deterrent.
America’s determination to scrap the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty will lead to
counter anti-missile action by China and Russia. These countermeasures are
technologically simple and cheaper and will force the U.S. to attempt to counter the
countermeasures. Meanwhile Non-Nuclear Weapons States will have no protection
from possible attack by Nuclear Weapon States, and the level of fear and anger, and
therefore likelihood of terrorism, will increase.
Along with increased military budgets worldwide, come increased social problems as
less money is spent on healthcare, education, housing, aid and development. In
desperately poor countries like Somalia and Iraq, the result of more war will be massive
humanitarian catastrophe like that in Afghanistan, where at least 3,767 Afghan
civilians had died in U.S bombing attacks, and hundreds of thousands are
desperately trying to survive in refugee camps cut off by war and winter.
In other countries, the result of cuts to social and welfare budgets is likely to be, you’ve
guessed it, fear and anger. And that means terrorism.
Israel’s justification for its aggression against Palestine is that it is a “War against
Terrorism”. The Palestinian people are simply being destroyed by a lack of basic human
rights, to homes, to education for their children, to peace. Their anger is illustrative of
what could happen on a wider scale if more and more people are displaced and denied
basic human rights.
The US Government is not going to suddenly change its mind while it is being
bankrolled by Arms Corporations. That is why it is imperative that we build a global
movement against corporate greed and capitalism, against war, and for peace and
justice for all.
October 19, 2002
Navy missing computers
An audit finds "serious risk" in the loss
of 187 machines, 22 of which
may have classified data
By Gregg K. Kakesako, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
An internal audit shows that 187 computers, including some known to have handled
classified documents, are missing from Pacific Fleet warships and submarines, the
Noting that it is working to answer questions raised in the audit this summer, the Navy
said 22 of the missing 187 laptop and desktop computers have the potential of
processing classified information, but it was not known if they still contained the data.
The Naval Audit Service report issued July 23 found "a serious risk that personal
computers containing sensitive and classified information have been lost or
compromised, which presents a threat to national security and a potential
embarrassment to the Department of the Navy," according to Defense Week and
Reuters news service....
Reuters said the Pacific Fleet, based in Pearl Harbor and commanded by Adm. Walter
Doran, sought to prevent release of the Naval Audit Service report, even though it
was not classified.
"A release of this information could negatively impact national security," wrote Rear
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the fleet deputy commander in chief....
The auditors cited a breakdown in management of the leased computers and the lack
of any system to track them....
October 10, 2002
Pentagon details germ
By Matt Kelley, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon acknowledged yesterday that some soldiers engaged
in chemical and biological weapons testing in the 1960s may not have been fully
informed about the secret experiments conducted at sea and in five states from Alaska
Some tests used the military’s deadliest nerve agent, VX.
Thousands of civilians in Hawaii and Alaska also probably were unaware they were
sprayed with relatively mild bacteria meant to simulate germ weapons such as anthrax,
the Defense Department’s top health official said.
Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant defense secretary for health affairs, said there’s no
evidence anyone died as a result of the classified tests, which were part of biological
and chemical warfare programs and United States abandoned in 1970.
Four people at the military’s Deseret Testing Center in Utah were infected during
biological weapons work, but all recovered, said Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, another
Pentagon health official....
At a press conference, the Pentagon released declassified summaries of 28 of the
tests, showing for the first time the scope of open-air testing of chemical and biological
agents on American soil. About 5,500 service members participated in the tests.
TESTS IN ALASKA exposed soldiers in protective suits to deadly nerve agents,
including VX, and experiments in Hawaii used a hallucinogen developed as a
chemical weapon, according to Pentagon records....
For more, GO TO > > > Uncle Sam’s Guinea Pigs
RICHARD ARMITAGE QUIETLY CONFIRMED
AS DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE
by Mike Ruppert
FTW - On March 23, after being recommended in a unanimous 18-0 vote by the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former Vietnam-era covert operative and
Contra-era figure Richard Armitage was confirmed as Deputy Secretary of State in a
voice vote on the Senate Floor.
The unchallenged confirmation of a figure who had previously been investigated by
President Reagan's Commission on Organized Crime (1984) for alleged links to
gambling and prostitution was totally ignored by the major American media. Armitage
has already begun work at the State Department and is deeply involved in negotiations
over a US spy plane recently captured by the Chinese government.
The total lack of opposition to Armitage's appointment indicates an apparent inability of
the US Congress to muster any critical examination of appointments or policy at a time
when an imperiled US economy and an almost combative Bush Administration is
dealing with mounting economic and political challenges around the globe.
Armitage, who was denied a 1989 appointment as Assistant Secretary of State
because of links to Iran-Contra and other scandals, served as Assistant Secretary of
Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan years. U.S. Government
stipulations in the Oliver North trial specifically named Armitage as one of the DoD
officials responsible for illegal transfers of weapons to Iran and the Contras.
But Armitage's dirty past goes much deeper.
A Vietnam veteran and graduate of Annapolis, Armitage's roots have been thoroughly
intertwined with the likes of CIA veteran Ted Shackley, Richard Secord, Heine
Aderholt, Elliot Abrams, Dewey Clarridge, Edwin Wilson and Tom Clines.
All of these men have been directly linked to CIA covert operations, the drug
trade, the abandonment of U.S. prisoners of War after Vietnam and/or Iran-Contra.
Armitage has also been routinely discussed in FTW as a Bush-era covert functionary
who has been linked to covert operations, drug smuggling and the expansion of
organized crime operations in Russia, Central Asia and the Far East.
In 1986 a private dispute between POW activist Ross Perot and Armitage went public
as photos of Armitage with a topless Vietnamese nightclub owner Nguyen O'Rourke
brought allegations of gambling and prostitution close to Armitage's doorstep. The
stories went public when TIME and "The Boston Globe" wrote lengthy stories on the
feud in 1986 and 1987. That scandal arose as a result of 1984 investigations by
President Reagan's Commission on Organized Crime in which the photo and
documentation of gambling charges and prostitution led to direct Armitage's close
association with O'Rourke. Then LAPD Assistant Chief Jesse Brewer, a former
Commanding Officer of this writer, served on the Reagan Commission.
The 1992 best-seller "Kiss The Boys Goodbye" by former "60 MINUTES" producer
Monika Jensen-Stevenson details Armitage's role as Reagan point man on Vietnam
POW-MIA issues and describes why Armitage has earned the enmity of many POW
activists. However, in a 1995 interview with "The Washington Post", Colin Powell
referred to Armitage as his "white son." This, notwithstanding the fact that the 6 foot,
balding, power-lifter, now 56, can still bench press 300 or more pounds and reportedly
William Tyree, Special Forces Veteran who has provided much reliable information and
documentation to FTW in the past said, "Armitage used to 'sit ambush' on the trails in
Laos and Cambodia. He liked it. Now when Powell, 'the dove,' sits down at a table with
Armitage 'the killer' beside him the message will be that Armitage can reach across the
table and deal with the other party on the spot."
That message will not go unheard.
– Mike Ruppert, Publisher/Editor - "From The Wilderness" - www.copvcia.com
ATTACK OF THE CLOWNS
May 16, 2002
Embattled test range
commander to retire
A housing fund flap marred the captain's term at Barking Sands
By Anthony Sommer, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
BARKING SANDS, Kauai >> Capt. Brian Moss, commanding officer of the Navy's
Pacific Missile Range Facility, who investigators said misspent hundreds of
thousands of dollars refurbishing his government quarters, will retire on May 24
after 30 years of active duty.
Moss also was accused of needlessly spending additional hundreds of thousands of
dollars bringing senior civilian Navy employees to Kauai for temporary duty.
Moss denied that he is stepping down with a cloud hanging over his head.
"I'm in a position in which I cannot defend myself," Moss said in an interview yesterday.
"But I can say this much: To the best I can determine, there never was any fraud, waste
"And there was absolutely no misuse of enlisted men's money," he added.
"It saddens me that many people feel the commanding officer of the base is guilty of
something. I'm confident that, given the opportunity to defend myself in a court of law, I
could prove I did nothing wrong."
Moss's office will remain empty for six to eight months until another captain is selected.
The base's executive officer, Cmdr. Ron Cavazos, will be the acting commander.
Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, Navy spokeswoman at Pearl Harbor, said the yet-to-be-named new commander will be a senior captain who already has held a major
command, indicating the high priority given to the Pacific Missile Range.
The Navy is testing the Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system on Kauai. The
Pacific Missile Range also is expected soon to begin tests of a sophisticated new
Army missile defense system.
Moss, an aeronautical engineer and a fighter pilot, worked for seven years in the Navy's
missile defense program in Washington, D.C., before being given command of PMRF
just as testing of the systems he worked on began.
Moss's retirement ceremony is scheduled for May 24, and the senior officer will be a
vice admiral, a former deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet. Moss's office asked that
the admiral's name not be printed for security reasons.
Campbell said the three-star admiral is attending on a personal invitation from Moss
and is no longer assigned to Pearl Harbor. She said the only officer from Pearl Harbor
attending Moss's retirement "event" (as opposed to an official retirement ceremony) will
be a chaplain.
An inspector general's report April 26, 2001, found Moss took money earmarked for
other projects to refurbish his government quarters and to bring in numerous high-ranking civilian government employees as consultants who performed work other than
why they were sent to PMRF.
Moss was given a letter of reprimand but was not relieved of command. Navy officials
at Pearl Harbor hushed up the report until it was requested by a Honolulu
television station tipped off by a disgruntled PMRF employee.
Navy officials said Moss had not acted illegally, but questioned his judgment. They said
he technically had the authority to reshuffle housing funds. They also said he was
stripped of that authority after the investigation.
The copy ultimately provided to the press under the Freedom of Information Act was
highly redacted with huge sections missing. All of Moss's comments in interviews
with investigators were removed, as were investigators' recommendations.
Moss said he has never "officially" been given a copy of the investigation report but that
he has read it.
"When you read the report, you have to keep in mind that all of these complaints were
filed by a civilian employee I fired a couple of years ago," Moss said. . . .
The investigation found base housing officials told Moss that Congress has set a
$20,000 refurbishment limit on officers' quarters. To get around the limit, Moss tapped
numerous other officer and enlisted housing funds to be spent on his quarters, the
In all, $137,000 was spent on the commanding officer's residence. Of the total,
$13,123.89 went for carpeting -- including $2,698.60 in air freight from the mainland
because Moss rejected locally available carpet. Also, $11,160.52 was spent to build a
turnaround in the commander's driveway with a flagpole and garden as its centerpiece.
Moss, according to the report, did not like the off-white paint used to repaint the interior
of the home and ordered it repainted bright white. The bill for painting the residence
twice was $9,419.84.
Moss also approved the construction of two gazebos, actually beach houses: one
adjoining his quarters, and the other for enlisted use. The original estimate for the two
structures was a total of $15,000. Changes ordered by Moss brought the total cost for
both buildings to $119,511.13, the investigation found.
The investigation also found Moss, who took command in 1999, increased the
consulting budget for the missile range to $2.1 million in 2001 from $508,000 in
The report found that many of the consultants -- all of them senior civilian Navy
employees -- often did not perform the duties outlined in the requests for their
assignments. Once they arrived, they were given different assignments by Moss, the
"This effort would require increases in personnel and resources, not then available at
PMRF, because of the years of downsizing. To support this effort, experts were brought
in to temporarily fill the gap until a more permanent solution could be institutionalized,"
May 3, 2002
Chemical Weapons Mishandled,
Incinerator near Salt Lake City is destroying stockpile
by Robert Gehrke, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Managers at the nation’s only chemical weapons incinerator
encouraged workers to cut corners so a deadly nerve agent stockpile could be
destroyed before the Winter Olympics in nearby Salt Lake City, a plant employee says.
Brenda Mugleston, who has worked for eight years at the Tooele Chemical Agent
Disposal Facility, told The Associated Press workers were promised a $750 bonus for
meeting the deadline. She said they felt pressure from managers to increase
productivity and they sometimes mishandled weapons.
Mugleston said she feared workers and the public were being endangered and told
managers but nothing was done. She also reported problems to the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration.
Stuart Young, attorney for EG&G Defense Materials, which runs the incinerator for
the Army, said Mugleston’s allegations are being investigated and “at this point we don’t
have any reason to believe there are any immediate health, safety or environmental
Mugleston said she has reported the problems to OSHA and provided a letter saying
the agency is investigating. Agency spokesman Bill Wright said whistle-blower laws
preclude him from identifying complainants....
Tooele, located 40 miles west of Salt Lake City, is home to the Pentagon’s incinerator,
created to destroy 13,616 tons of the chemical weapons stockpile. Other incinerators
are being built in Anniston, Ala.; Umatilla, Ore., and Pine Bluff, Ark.
The incinerator was forced to shut down for several months in the summer of 2000 after
a tiny amount of GB nerve agent escaped from its emissions stack.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the amount was small enough
that it did not endanger the public. Plant managers say it is the only time nerve agent
Mugleston’s allegations come as the plant prepares to process VX nerve agent, which
the CDC and Environmental Protection Agency say is 36 times more deadly than the
sarin gas the facility has been handling and much more difficult to detect.
Mugleston said she is concerned what will happen when VX incineration begins
because she has witnessed problems that undermined worker safety, including:
>> Backup generators routinely failed during power outages, compromising systems
meant to protect workers from contamination.
>> Workers were sent into contaminated areas breathing through air hoses that already
had tested positive for nerve agents.
>> Sarin-contaminated waste was stored for several days in an unprotected area.
>> Last September, dust and ash left over from the incineration process and
supposedly free of any contamination billowed out of a waste bin, triggering a
chemical alarm 40 feet away.
She provided internal document to support her claims.
Company officials declined to comment on specific allegations. . . .
~ o ~
Thanks, Brenda Mugleston, for your courage to stand up
and speak out! – The Catbird
April 5, 2002
Taiwan had $100 million
fund to buy favors
Current Bush officials got legal payments in their earlier jobs
The Washington Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan – Desperate for international support, Taiwan under former president
Lee Teng-hui established a secret $100 million fund to buy influence with foreign
governments, institutions and individuals, including some in the United States,
according to current and former Taiwan officials.
The fund was the source of multi-million-dollar payments to leaders in Nicaragua,
South Africa and Panama, according to senior Taiwanese officials and government
It also provided financial support, legal under U.S. law, for U.S. think tanks and
Washington lobbyists, they said. Several people now in senior positions in the Bush
administration were beneficiaries, according to the officials and documents.
The fund operated from 1994 until 2000 under the National Security Bureau, Taiwan’s
main intelligence agency, with no legislative oversight. Taiwan’s new president closed
the fund following the disappearance of one of its senior accountants, Col. Liu Kuan-chun, who allegedly embezzled $5.5 million.
A former Taiwanese official, Su Chi, said Taiwan regularly funded research by U.S.
academics on Taiwan; backed conferences put on by such think tanks as the
American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation; and cultivated
relationships in Congress, sending employees of legislators on free trips to
A Taiwanese committee set up to disburse funds used a lobbying group, Cassidy and
Associates, to push for increased arms sales in Taiwan. Among the Cassidy
lobbying team at the time was Carl Ford, now assistant secretary of state for
intelligence and research....
On April 24 last year, the Bush administration approved an arms package for
Taiwan that included destroyers, anti-submarine aircraft and submarines worth
more than $4 billion.
Documents and Taiwanese government sources also said that the Taiwanese steering
committee was involved in identifying influential Americans, inside and outside
government, and attempting to befriend them.
Paul Wolfowitz, currently deputy secretary, and Kurt Campbell, a deputy assistant
defense secretary during the Clinton administration, were targets of the group, Next
Taiwanese officials said the fund also paid for research by John Bolton, the current
undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, who received
$30,000 over three years in the mid-1990s for research papers on U.N. membership
issues involving Taiwan.
See also: Birds in the Lobby; Drowning in Think Tanks
July 26, 2001
Pentagon Accounting Infuriates Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) - Almost like a broken record, the Pentagon was called on the
carpet in another money matter today, members of Congress declared themselves
furious, and military officials said they would do better.
“The bottom line is that over time this effort has failed,” said Greg Kutz of the General
Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Military officials have made “only
incremental” improvements in how they do business despite dozens of GAO studies a
year documenting Pentagon waste and mismanagement.
Despite a decade-old law designed specifically to foil such actions, the Pentagon used
accounting tricks to spend $615 million last year that it was not supposed to, the GAO
“I don’t know what it’s going to take to give top level Department of Defense officials a
wake-up call,” Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky, D-Ill., said at a House hearing. “This
infuriates me and I think the American people will be infuriated as well.”
A 1990 law said that five years after an appropriation, any money unspent had to be
returned and and the account closed.
Today’s report showed that Pentagon bookkeepers kept tapping old accounts. For
example, a $79 million bill for research and development costs in 1999 was
covered with money from a canceled 1992 account.
From the time the law was passed to Sept 1999, the department adjusted 333 closed
accounts valued at $28 billion. By comparison, all other federal agencies combined
adjusted 21 closed accounts valued at $5 million in that time, under exceptions allowed
for in the law, the GAO said.
As it has numerous times before, the GAO recommended changes in the military’s
mammoth and outdated accounting system, and urged more oversight.
“These abuses must end,” said Repl. Stephen Horn, R-Calif., chairman of the House
Governmental Reform subcommittee that held the hearing on the report.
“We want to examine how these abuses can be stopped – once and for all,” he said.
Thomas R. Bloom, director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, told
lawmakers that officials agreed with the GAO’s recommendations, had begun to “revise
Asked if anyone had been disciplined for the actions found by the GAO, Bloom’s
deputy, Tina Jones, said officials ordered a review to see if anyone had broken the law.
Congressional auditors have documented a range of Pentagon problems, including
overpaid contractors and unneeded spare parts bought because the military cannot
keep an accurate inventory.
Jeffrey C. Steinhoff of the GAO said the Pentagon already spends $50 million on
employee training and $21 billion a year on its computer systems and gets little
improvement compared with the costs....
Military Waste & Fraud:
excerpted from the book
Take the Rich Off Welfare
by Mark Zepezauer and Arthur Naiman
Odonian Press, 1996
When it comes to wasting money, the Pentagon has no peer. For one thing, there's the
single question of scale. For fiscal year 1996, the Pentagon budget was $265 billion
($7 billion more than it requested). That's 5% of our gross national product, a larger
percentage than in virtually any other industrialized nation.
In absolute dollars (not as a percentage of GNP), the Pentagon shells out 3 1/2 times
more than the next largest military spender (Russia), 6 1/2 times more than Britain, 7
1/2 times more than France, 7 1/4 times more than Japan, 8 1/2 times more than
Our military budget is bigger than the next nine largest military budgets combined, and
sixteen times larger than the combined military budgets of all of our "regional
adversaries"- Cuba, Syria, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Libya. It accounts for 37% of all
military spending on the planet (in comparison, our economy is only 22% of the world
As enormous as the Pentagon's budget is, there's more military spending buried
elsewhere-in the Department of Energy's production of fuel for nuclear weapons, in
the military portion of the NASA budget, in the VA, etc.
By adding in these hidden military expenses, the Center for Defense Information (CDI),
a Washington think tank run by retired generals and admirals, concluded that we spend
a total of $327 billion a year on the military. (When it did similar computations
independently, the War Resisters League came up with $329 billion.)
But that doesn't include what we have to pay for past Pentagon budgets. The CDI went
back to 1941 and multiplied the military's percentage of each year's budget by the
deficit for that year. Using that method, they figured that interest on past military
spending cost us $167 billion in fiscal 1996. (The War Resisters League went all the
way back to 1789 and came up with $291 billion.)
Since the CDI's estimates are lower, let's be conservative and use them. Adding them
together gives us a figure for total military spending-past and present-of $494 billion a
year ($9 1/2 billion a week, $1 1/3 billion a day.)
Waste beyond your wildest dreams
But just the scale of the Pentagon's budget alone can't explain its prodigious ability to
waste money. Another quality is required- world-class incompetence. There are so
many examples of this that they tend to blur together, numbing the mind.
Here are just a few:
According to a US Senate hearing, $13 billion the Pentagon handed out to weapons
contractors between 1985 and 1995 was simply "lost." Another $15 billion remains
unaccounted for because of "financial management troubles."
That's $2B billion-right off the top-that has simply disappeared...
... According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, every single one of the top ten
weapons contractors was convicted of or admitted to defrauding the government
between 1980 and 1992.
* Grumman paid the government $20 million to escape criminal liability for coercing
subcontractors into making political contributions.
* Lockheed was convicted of paying millions in bribes to obtain classified planning
* Northrop was fined $17 million for falsifying test data on its cruise missiles and fighter
* Rockwell was fined $5.5 million for committing criminal fraud against the Air Force.
In another study, the Project on Government Oversight (PGO) searched public
records from October 1989 to February 1994 and found-in just that 4-year period - 85
instances of fraud, waste and abuse in weapons contracting.
* Boeing, Grumman, Hughes, Raytheon and RCA pleaded guilty to illegal trafficking
in classified documents and paid a total of almost $15 million in restitution,
reimbursements, fines, etc.
* Hughes pleaded guilty to procurement fraud in one case, was convicted of it in a
second case and, along with McDonnell Douglas and General Motors, settled out-of-court for a total of more than $1 million dollars in a third case.
* Teledyne paid $5 million in a civil settlement for false testing, plus $5 million for
* McDonnell Douglas settled for a total of more than $22 million in four "defective
But General Electric was the champ. PGO lists fourteen cases, including a conviction
for mail and procurement fraud that resulted in a criminal fine of $10 million and
restitution of $2.2 million.
In our own research, we found several other examples of GE crimes and civil violations:
* In 1961, GE pleaded guilty to price-fixing and paid a $372,500 fine.
* In 1977, it was convicted of price-fixing again.
* In 1979, it settled out-of-court when the State of Alabama sued it for dumping PCBs
in a river.
* In 1981, it was convicted of setting up a $1.25 million slush fund to bribe Puerto
* In 1985, GE pleaded guilty to 108 counts of fraud on a Minuteman missile
contract. In addition, the chief engineer of GE's space systems division was convicted
of perjury, and GE paid a fine of a million dollars.
* In 1985, it pleaded guilty to falsifying time cards.
* In 1989, it paid the government $3.5 million to settle five civil lawsuits alleging
contractor fraud at a jet-engine plant (which involved the alteration of 9,000 daily labor
vouchers to inflate its Pentagon billings).
In 1990, GE was convicted of criminal fraud for cheating the Army on a contract for
battlefield computers; it declined to appeal and paid $16 million in criminal and civil
fines. ($11.7 million of this amount was to settle government complaints that it had
padded its bids on 200 other military and space contracts - which comes to just
$58,000 or so per contract.)
In 1993, GE sold its weapons division to Martin Marietta for $3 billion (retaining 23.5%
of the stock and two seats on the board of directors).
The largest investigation of Pentagon fraud took place between 1986 and 1990. Called
Operation Ill Wind, it began when Pentagon official John Marlowe was caught
molesting little girls. He cut a deal to stay out of jail and, for the next few years,
secretly recorded hundreds of conversations with weapons contractors.
There's no way of knowing how much the crimes Ill Wind looked into cost the
taxpayers, but the investigation, which cost $20 million, brought in ten times that much
According to Wall Street Journal reporter Andy Pasztor, "more than 90 companies and
individuals were convicted of felonies... including eight of the military's fifteen largest
suppliers....Boeing, GE and United Technologies pleaded guilty...Hughes, Unisys,
Raytheon, Loral, Litton, Teledyne, Cubic, Hazeltine, Whittaker and LTV...admitted they
violated the law."
Unisys signed the largest Pentagon fraud settlement in history: $190 million in fines,
penalties and forgone profits (which means they weren't allowed to charge for cost
overruns the way military contractors usually do).
Assistant Navy Secretary Melvyn Paisley was the central figure in the Ill Wind
scandal and the highest-ranking person convicted (he was sentenced to four years in
He ran his office like a supermarket for weapons manufacturers, soaking up bribes,
divvying up multibillion-dollar contracts and diverting work to a firm he secretly
controlled with a partner.
Paisley may have been a bit more...flamboyant than most, but there was nothing terribly
unusual about his approach. As of 1994, nearly 70 of the Pentagon's 100 largest
suppliers were under investigation. Fines for that year totaled a record $1.2 billion.
That may sound like a lot, but it's less than 2% of the weapons industry's net income
(which averaged $64 billion a year in 1994 and 1995).
A billion or two in fines is hardly an incentive to end the corruption and waste in
The black budget
Not all Pentagon waste is visible. Hidden within the military budget is a secret "black
budget" that's not subject to any congressional oversight (toothless as that usually is).
It includes money for the CIA (tucked away in the Air Force budget, it gets about 10%
of the total) and for less well-known but better-funded "intelligence" organizations like
the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Reconnaissance Office
In 1995, several members of Congress tried to argue that, with the Cold War over,
there was no harm in publishing the total amount of the intelligence black budget,
without details on how it was spent. Even this modest proposal went down to defeat
but, in the process, led to the absurd spectacle of legislators mentioning the figure –
$28 billion for fiscal 1996 – while arguing that it shouldn't be publicly disclosed.
John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists estimates that the 1996 black
budget included an additional $3 billion or so in military "stealth" projects, for a total of
about $31 billion – down from about $36 billion a year during the Reagan years. Pike
attributes the decrease to a couple of projects that grew too huge to be hidden in the
One of the projects that "surfaced" into the public budget is the B-2 bomber.
Originally projected to cost $550 million each, B-2's ended up costing $2.2 billion
each – literally more than their weight in gold.
Another is MILSTAR, which is designed to ''fight and win a six-month nuclear
war...long after the White House and the Pentagon are reduced to rubble."
The Air Force has tried to kill this idiotic program four times since it emerged from the
black budget, but Congress won't listen. MILSTAR has cost us between $8 and $12
billion so far, and could cost another $4.5 billion between 1996 and 2000.
Since the black budget is completely off the books, it encourages waste on a titanic
As one Pentagon employee put it: "In a black project, people don't worry about money.
If you need money, you got it. If you screw up and need more, you got it. You're just
pouring money into the thing until you get it right. The incentive isn't there to do it right
the first time. Who's going to question it?" ...
Don't call it bribery
Why do our legislators put up with military waste and fraud?
For the same reason they do anything. Defense PACs gave members of Congress
$7.5 million in 1993 and 1994.
And PAC money is just part of the story.
Of the $4.5 billion in unrequested weapons funding added to the Pentagon budget for
fiscal 1996, 74% was spent in or near the home districts of representatives who sit on
the House National Security Committee.
Another $290 million was spent in or around Newt Gingrich's home district, Cobb
County, Georgia. (Cobb gets more federal pork than any county except Arlington in
Virginia, which is right next to Washington, and Brevard in Florida, where Cape
Canaveral is located.)
Although the Pentagon insists that it doesn't need any more B-2 bombers, Norman
Dicks (D-Washington) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) don't care.
Dicks – who's one of the largest recipients of military PAC money in the House –
received over $10,000 from nine major B-2 contractors in the four months just before
the battle to resurrect B-2 funding.
Stevens got $37,000 between 1989 and 1994, making him one of the top ten recipients
of PAC contributions from B-2 contractors. (Isn't it amazing how little politicians cost?)
If PAC money isn't enough, military lobbyists can always argue jobs. It didn't hurt
funding for the B-2 that spending for it was spread across 88% of all congressional
districts and all but two states.
Liberal California Representative Maxine Waters defended her vote to continue B-2
funding by candidly admitting that it was one of the few ways she knew to bring federal
jobs to her district. (Since her district is South-Central Los Angeles, you can understand
There's no conceivable need for Seawolf submarines (which cost $2.4 billion apiece)-
except for the votes in Connecticut, where it's built, and in surrounding states. That's
why liberal New England senators like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and George Mitchell
supported it, as did Bill Clinton – who needed votes from those states – in his 1992
Neither the Air Force nor the Navy wants any part of the V-22 Osprey assault plane,
which the Bush administration tried in vain to kill. But it's supported by legislators in
Texas and Pennsylvania – the two states that do the most contracting for it – and by
Clinton, who...oh, you get the idea.
What about the jobs we'd lose? -- If new weapons systems are nothing more than
make-work programs, they're really inefficient ones. A 1992 Congressional study
estimated that shifting money from the Pentagon to state and local governments would
create two jobs for every one it eliminates. Building weapons we don't need is so
wasteful that the economy would probably be better off if we just paid people the same
money to stay at home.
The Congressional Budget Office concluded that a billion dollars spent on successfully
promoting arms exports creates 25,000 jobs, but if that same billion is spent on
mass transit, it creates 30,000 jobs; on housing, 36,000 jobs; on education,
41,000 jobs; or on health care, 47,000 jobs.
Aside from the cost, using federal money to prop up military contractors creates a
disincentive for them to convert to civilian products. Shifting Pentagon funds to
urgently needed domestic uses would be good for both the US and the rest of the
As President Eisenhower put it, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are
not fed, those who are cold and not clothed."
Pentagon boosters argue that military spending has already been slashed too far, since
more than 800,000 military-related jobs have disappeared since 1990. But many of
these layoffs were in nonmilitary divisions of the companies, and more than half of them
were caused by the economy contracting in a recession, not by smaller Pentagon
budgets – especially since they've dropped off only slightly from their all-time high of
$304 billion (adjusted for inflation) in 1989.
Just eight companies – McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, Martin Marietta, Boeing,
General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Hughes – were responsible
for half of all military contractors' layoffs in 1993.
Only 15% of Boeing's layoffs and a third of McDonnell Douglas' were related to military
production. After the firings, the stocks of these eight companies rose by 20% to 140%,
and the salaries of their CEOs soared.
The revolving door
Another reason for Pentagon waste and fraud is the revolving door between military
contractors and government personnel. Before he was Secretary of Defense, Caspar
Weinberger was a top executive at Bechtel, which does massive engineering projects
for the Pentagon and foreign clients like Saudi Arabia.
Before he was Secretary of State, George Shultz was president of Bechtel.
Before his days as a Navy felon, Melvyn Paisley worked for Boeing - as did his boss
at the Pentagon, Navy Secretary John Lehman.
Secretary of Defense William Perry and CIA Director John Deutch both did
consulting work for Martin Marietta before they joined the Clinton administration. The
list goes on and on.
Generals have an interest in keeping weapons contractors happy – at least if they want
to sit on the boards of corporations after they retire.
Contractors can use their connections at the Pentagon to find work there and, like
Paisley, feed lucrative contracts to their friends in the private sector.
On both sides of the revolving door, militarists live in the lap of luxury.
Nobody batted an eyelash when Paisley entertained contractors in staterooms on the
Queen Elizabeth, nor is there ever much dismay when military aircraft are used, at a
cost of tens of thousands of dollars an hour, to fly politicians, lobbyists and weapons
contractors on pleasure trips.
Still, personal perks don't cost us much compared to corporate perks. For example,
when Lockheed and Martin Marietta merged to become Lockheed Martin, $92 million
in bonuses — or "triggered compensation," as they prefer to call it – was handed out
to top executives and members of the board.
They expect the government to pick up $31 million of that.
John Deutch quietly reversed a 40-year ban on such compensation when he was at
the Pentagon. The biggest bonus, $8.2 million, went to the new company's president,
Norman Augustine, who Deutch and William Perry had done work for at Martin
Both Deutch and Perry obtained waivers from an ethics regulation that prohibits
Pentagon officials from dealing with people they formerly did business with until a year
has passed. (Up to 30,000 employees will lose their jobs as a result of this merger.)
Military contractors milk the government in other ways as well. It's common for the State
Department to give foreign aid to brutal dictatorships like Indonesia and Guatemala,
with the requirement that the money be used to buy US weapons.
Each year this program results in the transfer of $5-7 billion from US taxpayers to US
arms merchants (not to mention the murder of lots of innocent people in the
The Pentagon has similar programs that not only provide subsidies to foreign countries
to buy from US weapons suppliers but also help them negotiate the sale.
In 1994, General Dynamics and Lockheed received a total of $1.9 billion in foreign
military sales awards – 126,567% more than the $1.5 million they gave to candidates
for federal offices in the 1994 elections. (As we've already remarked, politicians sure
are a bargain.)
Thanks in large part to these Pentagon programs – on which we spend $5.4 billion a
year, almost half our total foreign aid expenditure – the US is the largest arms
supplier on earth, with 43% of the world trade.
What's more, many of these loans are ultimately defaulted on or forgiven.
Egypt, for example, was let off the hook for $7 billion in loans, as a reward for
participating in the Gulf War...
For more on the Black Budget, GO TO > > > Down the Rabbit-Hole
December 6, 2001
Auditors at Pentagon get
poor grade in new review
WASHINGTON (AP) - The agency that investigates fraud and abuse inside the
Pentagon is getting a poor grade after it was caught cheating on a review of its own
The Pentagon inspector general’s office was subjected to an intensive audit this fall
after a discovery that the watchdog office destroyed internal documents – and created
new ones – to win a favorable grade in a previous check of work.
The discovery invalidated the previous review, which had given the office a passing
In a new review, also called a “peer review,” federal investigators gave the Pentagon a
“qualified opinion,” the second-lowest rating a federal inspector general can receive.
The review found the agency didn’t always follow proper auditing procedures and raised
new questions about its paperwork, noting that some investigative documents were
prepared or changed after the fact....
The review said the Pentagon agency had a subpar performance in planning audits,
documenting its conclusions and, in one instance, allowed an auditor to review a
program in which he directly participated.
The Defense Department’s deputy inspector general, Robert Lieberman, said his
agency is correcting the problems and that a new computer program will eliminate
many of the mistakes. . . .
Lieberman would not discuss the document destruction, which was revealed by a
whistle-blower and confirmed by an internal report.
Inspector general offices are installed inside federal agencies as internal watchdogs to
investigate fraud, waste and abuse, and to audit financial statements, a massive task in
the Pentagon, which spends some $300 billion a year.
(For more on the net, GO TO > > > Global Beat.)
December 11, 2001
THE RON BROWN
By Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid
Chief Petty Officer Kathleen Janoski, who photographed Secretary of Commerce Ron
Brown’s body at Dover Air Force Base, described at a recent AIM conference how the
Navy punished her for raising questions about the cause of Brown’s death.
Janoski said she hasn’t come to any conclusions about whether the former Clinton
cabinet official was murdered or not. But she is certain that certain top officials didn’t
want the questions answered.
At the conference Janoski showed a video tape that aired on the Christian Broadcasting
Network about the case. The story, narrated by Dale Hurd, noted that Brown was said
to have been killed in a 1996 plane crash in Croatia. But there were several
irregularities in how his death was handled.
Janoski, in photographing Brown’s corpse, saw a round hole in the top of his head
that three pathologists said looked like a .45 caliber bullet wound. Head X-rays
showed what appeared to be bullet fragments inside the head.
Recommendations by three pathologists, including Lt. Col. Steve Cogswell, that an
autopsy be made were ignored and the head X-rays were destroyed. Colonel Cogswell
was given what amounted to a demotion through a transfer out of the Armed Forces
Institute of Pathology. His career was ruined.
Janoski, once the head of photography at the institute, was given 32 hours to clear out
of her office and her staff was taken away. Her offense was having given copies of her
photos of Brown’s head and the destroyed head X-rays to journalist Chris Ruddy.
Reporter Hurd asked, "is Cogswell’s and Janoski’s punishment by the AFIP [Armed
Forces Institute of Pathology] simply because they shined the light on shoddy work
and embarrassed the Pentagon? Or is there something more?”
Hurd found that the AFIP was continuing to lie. In a statement, it claimed that extensive
forensic tests were conducted on the body. Janoski said that was completely false.
In another anomaly, Hurd said that an Indian medicine bag given to Brown by his
girlfriend Yolanda Hill as a good luck charm was removed from a diplomatic pouch and
destroyed. There’s no explanation for why this happened. Hurd said a Maryland private
investigator had gotten his hands on a government document indicating that a top-secret investigation had been conducted into Brown’s death. But there’s no indication of
what they found.
One thing is certain: the crash was not due to bad weather. The Croatian ground
controller who may have been responsible for diverting the plane into a mountain
allegedly killed himself before he was questioned.
The death takes on added significance because of the belief that Brown, one of Bill
Clinton’s close associates, was about to cooperate with an investigation of
corruption in the Clinton Administration.
For her part, Kathleen Janoski said she was isolated, relieved of her duties, and left to
sit at a desk with nothing to do. Her colleagues were afraid to be seen with her. She
said her faith in the Navy and its integrity was badly shaken. The chain of command
But she has no regrets and is proud of working with Chris Ruddy to bring the facts
about this bungled death investigation to the public’s attention....
For more on Ron Brown, GO TO > > > Part I - The Birds
The Project On Government Oversight
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 25, 1997
The National Defense Panel:
Conflict of Interest Doesn't Get Any
Clearer Than This
- - -
Last year Congress established what should have been a crucial "National
Defense Panel" (NDP) of ostensibly independent experts to comment on the
Defense Department's major review of military strategy, priorities, and spending...
The panel was also directed to perform its own review of military strategy...
- - -
Unfortunately, many members of the "independent" panel are far from being "neutral
third-party" reviewers. The majority of the panel members work for defense contractors
or companies with financial ties to defense contractors.
These companies have current and future business with the Defense Department that
will be affected by the findings of the NDP.
It should come as no shock that the National Defense Panel's reported
recommendations benefit defense corporations-- asserting that the Defense
Department needs to spend more money on futuristic new technology and weapons.
The "spin" on the NDP will likely be that it was successful since it criticized the Defense
Department's "business-as-usual" Quadrennial Defense Review.
But early reports indicate that the thrust of the NDP's recommendation amounts to
spending money faster in areas where the Defense Department is already boosting
spending - new high-tech weapon programs. Individuals with ties to defense
contractors cannot have an objective view of issues and decisions involving tens of
billions of dollars worth of their employers' potential contracts.
Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight, comments,
"A team consisting primarily of defense contractors decides that we need to give more
money to the defense industry for high-tech weapons--Congress went to the trouble of
establishing the National Defense Panel for this? The NDP is a case of the foxes
designing the chicken coop."
The table on the following page shows the links of some of the panel members to
National Defense Panel Members' Affiliations
Defense Contractor Links
Philip A. Odeen, NDP
CEO and President
30th largest DOD contractor, with $407
million in contracts in Fiscal Year 1996.
Chairman of the Board is former Defense
Secretary Frank Carlucci.
Richard L. Armitage
former officer, USN
Richard D. Hearney
Gen., USMC (Ret.)
2nd largest defense contractor in FY 1996
with $9.9 billion in contracts. Major
weapons include the C-17 transport, AH-64 helicopter, F-15 and F-18 fighters.
David E. Jeremiah
Adm., USN (Ret.)
Technology Strategies and
President and CEO
Influential firm founded by ex-Defense
Secretary William Perry and ex-acquisition
chief Paul Kaminski. Used as a consulting
firm by many major defense contractors.
Robert M. Kimmitt
Brig. Gen., USAR
Wilmer, Cutler &
Pickering, Partner, and
When the NDP was formed, Gen. Kimmitt
was with Lehman, a large investment
banking firm involved with defense
contractor financing, for example the
merger of Lockheed Martin and Loral in
Col., USA (Ret.)
Center for Strategic &
Think tank that receives some funding
from the Defense Department and
numerous defense contractors.
James P. McCarthy
Gen., USAF (Ret.)
Air Force Academy
Janne E. Nolan
Defense contractors are clients of
Brookings' executive education programs.
Robert W. RisCassi
Gen., USA (Ret.)
Corp., and Lockheed
When the NDP was formed, Gen. RisCassi
worked for Lockheed Martin, which has
since spun off several divisions to form L-3
Communications (retaining 35%
ownership). Lehman Brothers Capital
Partners (see Gen. Kimmitt above) owns
about 50%. The spinoff continues in
defense work. Lockheed Martin is the
number-one defense company, with $12
billion in FY 1996 contracts.
* International lobbying, marketing, and strategic planning consulting firm. Whether clients
included defense contractors was not publicly available. Richard Armitage was an Assistant
Secretary of Defense in the 1980s.
** Think tank partly funded by corporate donors. Whether corporate donors included defense
contractors was not publicly available.
Table prepared by The Project On Government Oversight
It is particularly disturbing that the two largest defense contractors in 1996 -
Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas - have "representatives" on the
NDP. (During the work of the NDP, the panel member working for Lockheed
Martin began switched to L-3 Communications Corporation, a new company
formed from several Lockheed Martin divisions.)
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) complained that "The selection of forward-thinking members for the NDP was critical, and quite frankly the Administration
missed the mark - with a few notable exceptions."
He was particularly disturbed about the choice of chairperson:
"While Mr. Odeen is well-respected for his intellect and work on previous
commissions, his past experience does not support the very broad-ranging goals
of the NDP. His appointment only fuels early reports that the QDR will go
unchallenged and will only restate the status quo without addressing the most
pressing questions facing our military today."
Given that the Defense Department's bureaucratic Quadrennial Defense Review
predictably failed to come up with deep redirection in military strategy or forces,
the "independent" NDP could have played a key role in exploring alternative
international security structures rather than focusing on new hardware needed
when the existing security system fails.
If an objective, unfettered review of U.S. defense needs in the 21st Century is
actually to take place, it must be conducted by a panel not subject to this conflict
If the review is to be creative and bold, it will need to include more individuals
noted for their "out of the box" thinking and fewer, if any, people with direct ties to
The following tour is extremely dangerous and
may be hazardous to your health.
You are advised to don your helmets,
flak jackets and gas masks
before entering these vulture nests!
PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Continued in Part II