March 18, 2006

Who Thrives From Bush's War?

WHO DIES FOR BUSH LIES is a fine website (if a little out of date) with some great background info in their section on Who Thrives. There are so many big names in this list it is bound to come in useful:
As Vice-President, Cheney commissioned a report on energy policy from the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. The task force for the report included Kenneth Lay, chief executive of Enron; Luis Giusti, a Shell non-executive director; John Manzoni, regional president of BP; and David O'Reilly, chief executive of ChevronTexaco. Sheikh Saud Al Nasser Al Sabah, the former Kuwaiti oil minister and a fellow of the Baker Institute is said to have influenced its contents. The report, which was submitted in 2001, recommended that the United States "conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq" that includes "set[ting] the groundwork to eventually ease Iraqi oil-field investment restrictions" as well as "military... assessments."

Former CIA Director John Deutch is a member of the Bush administration's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He is also a member of the board of Schlumberger, the second largest US oil services company. Schlumberger has serviced Iraqi oil rigs through the sanctions years, and used a French subsidiary, Services Petroliers Schlumberger, and Schlumberger Gulf Services of Bahrain to submit contracts to Iraq.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created the Defense Policy Board in 2001 as a bipartisan advisory group to advise the Pentagon. Its members are selected by the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, currently Douglas Feith, and approved by the Donald Rumsfeld. Nine out of 30 members of the Defense Policy Board have ties to companies which have won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002. Companies with ties to Defense Policy Board members include Boeing, TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton. Defense Policy Board members include Henry Kissinger, Pete Wilson and Dan Quayle.
Pete Wilson... now why does that name ring a bell? Oh, yeah:
Rumsfeld isn't the only political heavyweight benefiting from demand for Tamiflu, which is manufactured and marketed by Swiss pharma giant Roche. (Gilead receives a royalty from Roche equaling about 10% of sales.) Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead's board, has sold more than $7 million worth of Gilead since the beginning of 2005.

Another board member is the wife of former California Gov. Pete Wilson.
Now back to that article...
Another member of the Defense Policy Board is former CIA Director James Woolsey. Woolsey is also a principal in the Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm which is soliciting investments for companies that specialize in domestic security. Woolsey is also a partner in the law firm of Shea and Gardner, a registered foreign agent for the Iraqi National Congress. Woolsey is also a member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a PNAC-linked pro-war group formed last year whose manifesto says it's "committed to work beyond the liberation of Iraq to the reconstruction of its economy."

The Carlyle Group, an investment consortium which has a big interest in the contracting firm, United Defense, recently met in Lisbon, reportedly to discuss its involvement in rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure. The Carlyle Group is headed by former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci. Carlyle's board includes George Bush Sr and James Baker, the former Secretary of State whose think-tank produced a report pushing for a military action against Iraq. One United Defense program alone — the Crusader artillery system — has earned Carlyle more than $2 billion in advance government contracts. United Defense also provides the Defense Department with combat vehicle systems, fire support, combat support vehicle systems, weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault vehicles, combat support services and naval armaments, including the contraversial Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Bush was once appointed to the board of a Carlyle subsidiary, and then directed investments to the Carlyle Group on becoming Governor of Texas.
From that last URL...
The offices of the Carlyle Group are on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, midway between the White House and the Capitol building, and within a stone's throw of the headquarters of the FBI and numerous government departments. The address reflects Carlyle's position at the very centre of the Washington establishment...

In 1990, [George W. Bush] was appointed to the board of one of Carlyle's first purchases, an airline food business called Caterair, which they eventually sold at a loss. He left the board in 1992, later to become Governor of Texas. Shortly thereafter, he was responsible for appointing several members of the board which controlled the investment of Texas teachers' pension funds. A few years later, the board decided to invest $100m of public money in the Carlyle Group. The firm's magic touch was already bringing results.
And here's a few snippets from another URL in the story (see the original for more):
The last time the United States went to war against Iraq, Dick Cheney did very nicely from it.

Having served as Defense Secretary, and basked in the reflected glory of the US military's surprisingly rapid advance across the desert sands to end the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, he then managed to reap benefits of a very different kind once the war was over and he left government to become chief executive of Halliburton, the Texas-based oil services company.

When the United Nations relaxed its sanctions regime in 1998 and permitted Iraq to buy spare parts for its oil fields, it was Halliburton, under Mr Cheney's leadership, that cleaned up on the contract to repair war damage and get Saddam Hussein's oil pipes flowing at full capacity again. Two Halliburton subsidiaries did business worth almost $24m (£15m) with the man whom these days Mr Cheney calls a "murderous dictator" and "the world's worst leader"...

Nobody could justifiably accuse the Bush administration of wanting to wage war on Iraq solely as a favor to its friends in the oil business and the military-industrial complex. But many of the companies that stand to gain most from a war enjoy remarkably close ties to senior figures in the administration...

Mr Rumsfeld was actually in Baghdad on the day the United Nations first reported Iraqi use of chemical weapons, but chose to remain silent, as did the rest of the US establishment. Five years later, he cited his ability to make friends with Saddam Hussein as one of his qualifications for a possible run at the presidency...

There are also uncomfortably cozy ties between the government and the Defense industry. Mr Rumsfeld's oldest friend, Frank Carlucci, a former Defense secretary himself, now heads the Carlyle Group...

None of these links is illegal, but that does not mean there is no conflict of interest. Messrs Bush, Cheney and friends have either sold their stock holdings or put them in a blind trust, meaning personal gain is off the agenda. But gain for their friends and family may well be a by-product of the looming war against Iraq.
That was written in 2002, before the war began, by the way. OK, now back to our original Who Thrives article again...
Bechtel was awarded the primary USAID contract, worth up to $680 million. Bechtel gave $1.3 million in individual, PAC and soft money contributions between 1999 and 2002. In the early 80s, Bechtel had a proposal to build an oil pipeline from Iraq to Aqaba in Jordan. In 1981, George Schultz went from being president of Bechtel to becoming Reagan's Secretary of State and Caspar W. Weinberger went from being a Bechtel Vice President and General Counsel to becoming Defense Secretary. In 1983, Reagan's envoy to Baghdad, Donald Rumsfeld, promoted the Bechtel pipeline proposal to Saddam. Saddam declined, and Bechtel went on to supply Iraq's weapons program. Now, George Shultz is on the board of directors of Bechtel, and the chairman of the advisory board of the pro-war Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Jack Sheehan, a retired Marine Corps general, is a Senior Vice President at Bechtel, and also a member of the Defense Policy Board. Bechtel's CEO, Riley P. Bechtel, was recently named to Bush's Export Council...

The Pentagon hired KBR in November, 2000 to draw up a (classified) plan to deal with any oilfield fires, and then awarded KBR the contract with no bidding process. The contract is a "cost-plus" contract which compensates KBR for expenses and adds up to 7% percent of profit: this could amount to $490 million for KBR. KBR's December, 2000 contract with the Army's Logistics Augmentation Program will similarly reward KBR for every extra dollar spent, providing an incentive for it to maximize costs. KBR has a similar deal with the Navy with no limit on spending. KBR was awarded the $16 million contract to build detention camps for the Afghanistan war's POWs in Guantanamo Bay, a $7 million contract to expand it and a $9.7 million contract for an additional 204-unit detention center. KBR also has a contract to feed troops at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. KBR has provided most of the Army's logistics services since 1992.
And finally, let's not forget our old friends at Qualcomm:
Qualcomm is a telecommunications firm which owns the patents on primary technology for the CDMA wireless standard. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has introduced legislation urging the US to build a cellular network for relief efforts in Iraq based on the CDMA standard, rather than the GSM standard, which is used in every country in Europe and the Middle East. Qualcomm is Issa's second biggest corporate donor: he received $5,500 from Qualcomm in the last election cycle.
War profiteers. Scum.

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