Iraq Watch: Army Pays Bonus to Halliburton Despite Fraud, Journalists Targeted in Iraq, Nader’s Stop the War Campaign

Nader Announces Democracy Rising ‘Stop the War’ Campaign, US Army pays Halliburton Big Bonus despite Massive Fraud, Journalists continue to be targeted in Iraq

Nader Announces Democracy Rising ‘Stop the War’ Campaign

On Thursday Ralph Nader held a press conference announcing a new “Stop the War” project by the organization Democracy Rising. The purpose of the “Stop the War” campaign is “to bring the troops home and end the occupation of Iraq by empowering activists so they cannot be ignored by decision makers in Washington, DC.” In conjunction with this new project, Democracy Rising has released two new reports related to the war in Iraq: Bush Family War Profiteering and The Institutionalization of Corruption.

The Bush Family War Profiteering report details how various members of the Bush family have personally benefited from the Iraq war. According to the report:

“The extent of Iraq contracts going to corporations which involve members of President George W. Bush’s family is widespread and extensive involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Often these firms receive contracts where the corporations have no expertise and certainly the Bush family members have no expertise or experience in these areas. It is a world not of know how but of know who, marinated in campaign contributions. It seems like Bush family and friends are trading on their relationship to the President. The matrix of government contracts and Bush related corporations invites further investigation by the media and Congress – inquiries that are long overdue.”

The Institutionalization of Corruption report looks at the hidden cost of the war and occupation of Iraq. According to the report:

“Repeatedly, the Iraq War and occupation has led to corrupt practices by U.S. government officials and corporations working with the U.S. government. Despite repeated reports of serious financial irregularities, business continues as usual – the United States keeps doing business with corporate criminals and agency and department heads responsible for this corruption continue to remain in office or go to work with contractors. This is the tip of the iceberg of a major political scandal.”

US Army pays Halliburton Big Bonus despite Massive Fraud

According to an article in Al-Jazeera, The US Army has awarded defense contractor Halliburton more than $9 million in bonuses for some of its work supporting the military in Kuwait and Afghanistan. These bonuses are for contracts being carried out by Halliburton’s subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root for logistical services. Overall, KBR has earned $7.2 billion under a massive 2001 logistics contract with the US military and is set to earn more than $10 billion under that deal.

The Iraq reconstruction and logistics contracts have come under considerable scrutiny as Halliburton has squandered or “misplaced” billions of dollars. Halliburton’s fleecing of government dollars reached a new low as it was revealed in an article earlier this month that the U.S. Army agreed to pay Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary nearly $2 billion for work that, according to Halliburtonwatch.org, nobody can prove ever took place. The work was allegedly performed in Iraq and Kuwait under the Army’s LOGCAP contract, awarded to KBR in 2001 via competitive bidding. Army auditors determined last year that 43 percent of the $4.5 billion requested by Halliburton under LOGCAP could not be verified under normal accounting procedures

Journalists continue to be targeted in Iraq

Reporters Without Borders reported on Feb. 21 about a new wave of journalist kidnappings in Iraq after Raeda Wazzan, a presenter with the regional public TV station Iraqiya, was kidnapped yesterday in Mosul, 390 km north of Baghdad, probably with her 10-year-old son. Wazzan was the fourth journalist kidnapped in the last two weeks in Iraq. 21 journalists have been kidnapped in Iraq since March of 2003. Wazzan is the only woman presenter at Iraqiya, a TV station that covers the area surrounding Mosul. She and her son were abducted by gunmen while driving. Iraqiya producer Jamal Badrani narrowly escaped a kidnapping attempt in Mosul about a week ago. The headquarters of the TV station has been the target of several attacks, the most recent on 16 February when six mortar shells were fired at the building, injuring three technicians.

Earlier in the week, two Indonesian reporters who were taken hostage were released. The kidnappers, the Jaish al-Mujahedeen, or Army of Warriors said that they “freed the two Indonesian journalists after checking their identity and offered its apology for the operation to the Indonesian people”.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org