Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Krigsvinster ... suck

June 10, 2008
War Biz War and Peace

We all know that private contractors and others have been siphoning off billions of dollars in Iraq, but nobody has really tried to put a number on the total. Now the BBC thinks they have the number: $23 billion. With a B. BBC:

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.

For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC's Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

While George Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.

To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.

The president's Democrat opponents are keeping up the pressure over war profiteering in Iraq.

Henry Waxman who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said: "The money that's gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, its egregious.

"It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history."

In the run-up to the invasion one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth seven billion that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company, which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president.

Unusually only Halliburton got to bid - and won.

If nobody goes to jail over this, we will well and truly know that we are living in a terminally corrupt, dying empire. A kleptocracy. When war is this profitable, and nobody is held accountable, war will never stop.

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