Cheryl SealWar and Terror: The Fastest-Growing "Industries" on EarthWed Oct 19, 2005 15:35126.96.36.199
By Cheryl Seal
10 April 2003
War has become the most lucrative source of revenue for the same corporations that have the closest ties to the Bush administration. Not only do these companies get to supply the troops (the more massive the mobilization the better), they also get to supply the equipment for trashing a country, then the contractors for rebuilding what they have destroyed.
All the while, G.W. Bush gets to scoop up on increased approval ratings as a "war time president." It's a win-win situation all around for the greedy destroy-and-rebuild empire.
Since inauguration day 2001, Cheney's company Halliburton and its subsidiaries (which includes Kellogg, Brown and Root) have been landing contracts for everything from running military kitchens to building the Guantanomo Bay Prison to "reinforcing" embassies against terrorism. If there's money to be made from suffering, the Cheney empire has been there with its hand out. As of early 2002, Kellogg, Brown and Root "owned" roughly 37% of the US government's global business.
Tony Blair's business pals, too, are cashing in on the spoils of suffering. It is obvious that one of the biggest bonds between Tony Blair and the Bush administration are the kickbacks the two make available to each other. Thus, it was a British company, AMEC, that landed the most lucrative World Trade Center cleanup contract (it should be noted that said company hastily destroyed or sold off the bulk of the evidence at the site, and was, perhaps quite significantly, placed in charge of trucking the rubble to dump sites).
In exchange, the Blair government gave Cheney's company ("former" in name only) a $420 million to support a fleet of new mammoth tank transporters for the British Army - while the Brits were struggling with a sagging economy, no less.
The only contractors allowed to bid on reconstruction in post-war Iraq were hand-picked by George Bush. Collectively, the construction companies involved in the bidding have given a combined $2.8 million in campaign contributions since 1999. Six companies have won contracts -two of them are so incestuously close to the Bush administration they could, euphemistically, kiss it good morning each day.
Halliburton, Cheney's "old" company (since when do the ties that bind ever end at the White House door?) is one of the two top gravy-suckers, while Bechtel is the other. High atop Bechtel's board of directors is George Shultz, secretary of state under President Reagan and Bush's father.
In the past few years, "war contractors" are not waiting for reconstruction, but cashing in on the action, literally. "During the Persian Gulf war in 1991, one of every 50 people on the battlefield was an American civilian under contract," states Apec News. "By the time of the peacekeeping effort in Bosnia in 1996, the figure was one in 10. No one knows for sure how big this secretive industry is, but some military experts estimate the global market at $100 billion. As for the public companies that own private military contractors, they say little if anything about them to shareholders."
The number of such contractors has burgeoned in the Bush administration. Many military folk are extremely skeptical of the presence of so many private corporatos in a war zone. Reports Apec: "In war, while providing functions crucial to the combat effort, they are not soldiers. Private contractors are not obligated to take orders or to follow military codes of conduct. Their legal obligation is solely to an employment contract, not to their country."
To make matters worse, just like Bush government appointments, when corporations win contracts from this administration, competence or even appropriate background are irrelevant. Here's a case in point: Dynport (a thinly disguised subsidiary of DynCorps, now the 13th biggest DoD contractor in dollars).
"Last year," reports Cryptome.org, "the Pentagon hired a systems contractor called Dynport, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, to develop and make a number of different vaccines for troops. The smallpox-vaccine contract calls for three hundred thousand doses, at a cost of $22.4 million, or seventy-five dollars a dose, with delivery now scheduled for 2006. (The date has been pushed back at least once already.) This amount of vaccine could be made in about fifteen flasks the size of soda bottles". There are 2.3 million people in the armed forces, and they have several million more dependents. "Three hundred thousand doses is not enough vaccine to protect anyone -- not even our troops. It totally ignores the fact that smallpox is contagious," one military man said. "These guys ought to be buying tank treads and belt buckles. They know nothing about vaccines."
Army General Philip K. Russell, M.D., who gave the order to send biohazard troops into Reston in 1989 to deal with a building full of monkeys infected with Ebola said, "Many of us are afraid that Dynport won't deliver the goods without wasting an inordinate amount of money." (Of course spending -and wasting- money, taxpayer and stockholder money, is what Bush buddies (Ken Lay, et al.) do best.)
But the Dynport story is a bedtime tale compared to the companies involved in the anthrax "industry." Bush gave BioPort the sole right to produce the anthrax vaccine in 2001, a company heavily rumored to have been funded in large part by his father's corporation, the Carlyle Group. The most important players in BioPort include former British Prime Minister John Major and US Admiral Wm Crowe, who has been accused of selling anthrax to Saddam Hussein. BioPort was given the contract despite their failure three times to pass a DHS inspection. For more on this story, see. here and here.
Vaccine production, by the way, is one of the most lucrative "pharmaceutical" enterprises going. Vague, ongoing threats of bioterrorism are an essential part of the business plan. For a great, in-depth look at the vaccine "corporate hog trough" see this.
But, the bottom line is, with war the most lucrative possible business for Bush's friends, you can bet the phony Bush "ranch" on the likelihood that this administration will make damn sure business stays good -and thus that the US stays at war.
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