GettingTruth

RandallJones

Those who blow whistle on contractor fraud in Iraq face penalties

Corruption has long plagued Iraq reconstruction. Hundreds of projects may never be finished, including repairs to the country’s oil pipelines and electricity system. Congress gave more than $30 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least $8.8 billion of it has disappeared, according to a government reconstruction audit.

Despite this staggering mess, there are no noble outcomes for those who have blown the whistle, according to a review of such cases by The Associated Press.

”If you do it, you will be destroyed,” said William Weaver, professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso and senior advisor to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.

”Reconstruction is so rife with corruption. Sometimes people ask me, ‘Should I do this?’ And my answer is no. If they’re married, they’ll lose their family. They will lose their jobs. They will lose everything,” Weaver said.

They have been fired or demoted, shunned by colleagues, and denied government support in whistleblower lawsuits filed against contracting firms.

”The only way we can find out what is going on is for someone to come forward and let us know,” said Beth Daley of the Project on Government Oversight, an independent, nonprofit group that investigates corruption. ”But when they do, the weight of the government comes down on them. The message is, ‘Don’t blow the whistle or we’ll make your life hell.’

”It’s heartbreaking,” Daley said. ”There is an even greater need for whistleblowers now. But they are made into public martyrs. It’s a disgrace. Their lives get ruined.”

Bunnatine ”Bunny” Greenhouse knows this only too well. As the highest-ranking civilian contracting officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she testified before a congressional committee in 2005 that she found widespread fraud in multibillion-dollar rebuilding contracts awarded to former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.

Soon after, Greenhouse was demoted. She now sits in a tiny cubicle in a different department with very little to do and no decision-making authority, at the end of an otherwise exemplary 20-year career.

People she has known for years no longer speak to her.

complete article here http://www.newspress.com/Top/Article/article.jsp?Section=NATIONAL&ID=565074540867487317  It’s written by DEBORAH HASTINGS, AP National Writer, August 24, 2007

August 25, 2007 Posted by | aid, democracy, George W. Bush, Iraq, natural resources, oil, politics, Saddam Hussein, terrorism, Uncategorized, United States, war, war criminal, war on terror, weapons | Leave a comment

Judith Miller and the Bloodbath in Iraq (Repeat)

Here is a reminder of Judith Miller’s contribution to journalism by Jospeh A. Palermo

On April 21, 2003, Judith Miller, now working as an embedded reporter with the U.S. military’s MET Alpha, wrote the story, “Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert.” In this piece of propaganda, Miller claims without evidence or proof that the Iraqis destroyed or shipped to Syria their vast stockpiles of WMDs. Miller’s anonymous source was a guy claiming to be an “Iraqi scientist,” and she tells her readers that she “was permitted to see him from a distance at the sites where he said that material from the arms program was buried. Clad in nondescript clothes and a baseball cap, he pointed to several spots in the sand where he said chemical precursors and other weapons material were buried.”

This “Iraqi scientist,” who turned out to be bogus, allowed Miller to appear on PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer and have the following exchange:…

complete article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-a-palermo/judith-miller-and-the-blo_b_57023.html

August 25, 2007 Posted by | genocide, George W. Bush, Iraq, Judith Miller, media, oil, Saddam Hussein, terrorism, United States, war, war on terror, weapons | Leave a comment

What if everyone knew the early relationship between Iraq and the United States?

Would there have been this approval (or is it nonchalance) towards the invasion of Iraq?

Here is an informative article “What Every American Should Know About Iraq” by David Michael Green.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17891.htm

I’ll just quote a few of his facts

  • Mesopotamia has long been a playground for great powers. The British invaded the area in 1917, causing a widespread revolt of the Iraqi people. Britain later ruled under a League of Nations mandate that produced the artificial creation of the country Iraq (and Kuwait), and continued to control oil production in the region. Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour said at the time, “I do not care under what system we keep this oil, but I am quite clear it is all-important for us that this oil should be available”.
  • Saddam Hussein started his career as a political thug, on the payroll of the CIA during the 1950s and 1960s, torturing and murdering Iraqi leftists whose names were provided by American intelligence, and participating in an armed coup against the Iraqi government.
  • In 1972, the United States conspired with Iran and Israel to support a revolt of the Kurdish people within Iraq against their government
  • In 1980, the United States provided encouragement, weapons, intelligence, satellite data and funding for Saddam’s Iraq to invade Iran, launching an eight year war – the longest and probably the bloodiest of the post-WWII era.

I would just like to point out that the Untied States also provided weapons to both sides of the Iran-Iraq war
“In his book Veil – The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987, Woodward sums up the results of this U.S. double-dealing: “Doling out tactical data to both sides put the agency in the position of engineering a stalemate. This was no mere abstraction. The war was a bloody one….almost a million had been killed, wounded or captured on both sides. This was not a game in an operations center. It was slaughter.” (p. 507)

from http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=2292

  • During this war, Ronald Reagan dispatched Donald Rumsfeld to Iraq to improve relations with Saddam. The United States then restored full diplomatic relations with Iraq, despite the administration’s clear awareness that Saddam was using chemical weapons at the time
  • During the presidential campaign of 2000, candidate Bush said very little about Iraq, and certainly never suggested the need for urgent action. Somehow, though, in just two years time – during which, if anything, Iraq actually got weaker, not stronger – Saddam and his country became a perilous and imminent threat that had to be addressed immediately.
  • Former members of his own cabinet have revealed that Bush planned to invade Iraq from the very beginning of his administration, well before 9/11. All discussions were about the how of doing it, never about the why, the justification, the costs or the wisdom.

August 25, 2007 Posted by | 9/11, civil war, Iran, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, terrorism, Uncategorized, United States, war, war on terror | Leave a comment

Human Trafficking and Slavery Countries named by U.S.

government officials admit politics plays part in decisions, who to name

August 25, 2007 Posted by | democracy, human trafficking, India, politics, slavery, United States | Leave a comment

Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation

For all the money Bill Gates (of Microsoft) gives to help the people of Africa, he makes much more money by investing in companies that do a lot of harm to the people and environment of Africa.

“The Gates Foundation has poured $218 million into polio and measles immunization and research worldwide, including in the Niger Delta. At the same time that the foundation is funding inoculations to protect health, The Times found, it has invested $423 million in Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total of France — the companies responsible for most of the flares blanketing the delta with pollution, beyond anything permitted in the United States or Europe.”

See article at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gatesx07jan07,0,4205044,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines
article in Jan. 7, 2007 Los Angeles Times, written by Charles Piller, Edmund Sanders and Robyn Dixon

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Africa, Bill Gates, charities, United States | Leave a comment

Would you donate to a charity that is associated with the war criminal Henry Kissinger?

What about a charity associated with Madeline Albright? She is the former U.S Secretary of State who when asked by Lesley Stahl about U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright are listed in the International Rescue Committee’s website as “Overseers.” See http://www.theirc.org/about/ircboard.html
Look at what this article, concerning the Congo, says about the International Rescue Committee (IRC):

A UN Panel of Experts in a recent report challenged many airlines and companies for undertaking illicit flights (illegal, secret, unregistered, or falsely registered) into and out of the DRC. One of many notable companies apparently connected to Victor Bout’s arms trafficking networks is Simax, an Oregon-based company using an address in Sierra Leone. However, the UN Panel of Experts has once again ignored certain western agencies —with histories of illicit activities —whose flights remain equally surreptitious and unaccountable. At the
top of the list is the International Rescue Committee (IRC)—whose directors include Henry Kissinger and whose flights in and out of the Congo and internal flights to and from isolated airports in eastern DRC are completely unmonitored by MONUC arms embargo inspectors. In Bukavu, for example, all light aircraft are subject to MONUC arms embargo inspections, but IRC flights are not within the MONUC mandate.

Complete article at http://zmagsite.zmag.org/JulAug2006/snow0706.html

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Africa, charities, Congo, genocide, Henry Kissenger, International Rescue Committee, Iraq, Madeline Albright, Uncategorized, war, war criminal | 1 Comment

Founder of Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers) did not oppose Iraq War (in other words did not oppose genocide)

One of the most prominent roles went to a member of the Socialist Party. Bernard Kouchner, who is best-known for starting the humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres, is the new minister of foreign affairs. Like Mr. Sarkozy, he has taken a pro-American stance and was one of the few French politicians who did not oppose the war in Iraq.

Source http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-05-18-voa12.cfm

August 21, 2007 Posted by | charities, Doctors without Borders, France, genocide, International Rescue Committee, Iraq, politics, Uncategorized, war | 3 Comments

U.S. aid to Africa does more harm than good

I first heard about this in a radio interview with Michael Maren, author of The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity published in 1977. To see a review of the book click here.
Here is more current information about this, where one charity organization is seeing the ligjht.

“…Care, one of the world’s biggest charities, has announced that it will boycott the controversial policy of selling tons of heavily subsidised US produced food in African countries. Care wants the US government to send money to buy food locally, rather than unwanted US produced food.
The US arm of the charity says America is causing rather than reducing hunger with a decree that US food aid must be sold rather than directly distributed to those facing starvation. In America, the subsidies for corn in particular, help underpin the junk food industry, which uses corn extracts as a sweetener, creating a home-grown a health crisis.
The farm lobby meanwhile has a stranglehold on Congress, which has balked at making any changes that would interfere with a system that promotes overproduction of commodities.
Critics of the policy say it also undermines African farmers’ ability to produce food, making the most vulnerable countries of the world even more dependent on aid to avert famine.”

from http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/article2871490.ece

August 19, 2007 Posted by | Africa, aid, charities, natural resources, Somalia, United States, war | Leave a comment

The U.S. has Returned Fundamentalism to Afghanistan

Malalai JoyaHere http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/12/468/
is a transcript of the speech given by Malalai Joya, member of the Afghan Parliament, at the University of Los Angeles on Tuesday April, 10th
. Here are two quotes from her speech.

Respected friends, over five years passed since the US-led attack on Afghanistan. Probably
many of you are not well aware of the current conditions of my country and expect me to
list the positive outcomes of the past years since the US invasion. But I am sorry to tell
you that Afghanistan is still chained in the fetters of the fundamentalist warlords and is
like an unconscious body taking its last breath.

The US government removed the ultra-reactionary and brutal regime of Taliban, but instead
of relying on Afghan people, pushed us from the frying pan into the fire and selected its
friends from among the most dirty and infamous criminals of the “Northern Alliance”, which
is made up of the sworn enemies of democracy and human rights, and are as dark-minded,
evil, and cruel as the Taliban.

The Western media talks about democracy and the liberation of Afghanistan, but the US and
its allies are engaged in the warlordization, criminalization and drug-lordization of our
wounded land.

————————————————————————————–

The gang-rape of young girls and women by warlords belonging to the “Northern Alliance”
still continues especially in the northern provinces of Afghanistan. People have staged
mass protests a number of times but no one cares about their sorrow and tears. Only a few
of the rape cases find their way into the media. One shocking case was that of 11 year old
Sanobar, the only daughter of an unfortunate widow who was abducted, raped and then
exchanged for a dog by a warlord. In a land where human dignity has no price, the vicious
rapist of a poor girl still acts as district chief.

The only protests in Afghanistan the mainstream media reports on are the ones involving the abuse of the Quran or those Muhammed cartoons. Much of the mainstream media does not care to portray Muslims as human beings, who have the same concerns as everyone else. How much attention has Malalai Joya gotten in the mainstream media or from Western feminists? It is because she criticizes both U.S. military actions and the Taliban that she is not well known.

August 11, 2007 Posted by | 9/11, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, civil war, feminism, genocide, Islam, Malalai Joya, Muslim, Osama Ben Laden, politics, terrorism, United States, war on terror, women's rights | Leave a comment

Laila Lalami on Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji

Here is an article writtten by a Muslim women that gives constructive criticism of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji . I was suprised this appeared in the Nation magazine because in general, the political right and left have similar attitudes about Muslim women.
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060619/lalami

Here are just a few excerpts from the article

This lumping together of various Islams–the geographical region, the Abrahamic religion, the historical civilization and the many individual cultures–is symptomatic of the entire book, and makes it particularly difficult to engage with Hirsi Ali in a useful way. Her discussion of female genital mutilation (FGM) is a case in point. In at least six of the seventeen essays, she cites the horrendous practice of FGM, which involves excising, in whole or in part, young girls’ inner or outer labia, and in severe cases even their clitorises. Hirsi Ali is aware that the practice predates Islam, but, she maintains, “these existing local practices were spread by Islam.” According to the United Nations Population Fund, FGM is practiced in sub-Saharan Africa by Animists, Christians and Muslims alike, as well as by Ethiopian Jews, sometimes in collusion with individual representatives of the faiths. For instance, the US State Department report on FGM reveals that some Coptic Christian priests “refuse to baptize girls who have not undergone one of the procedures.” And yet Hirsi Ali does not blame Animism, Christianity or Judaism for FGM, or accuse these belief systems of spreading it. With Islam, however, such accusations are acceptable. A few years ago, Hirsi Ali proposed a bill in the Dutch Parliament that would require young girls from immigrant communities to undergo a vaginal exam once a year as a way to insure that the parents do not practice FGM. The suggestion is all the more interesting when one considers that the vast majority of Muslim immigrants to the Netherlands are from Turkey and Morocco, where FGM is unheard of. But there is a personal reason for this passionate stance: When Hirsi Ali was 5 years old, her grandmother had the procedure performed on her, without her father’s knowledge or approval. The experience marked Hirsi Ali profoundly, and the fervor and determination she brings to the fight against this horrifying practice are utterly laudable. By making inaccurate statements like the one quoted above, however, she muddies the issues and alienates the very people who would have the religious standing in the community to make this practice disappear.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

So now what? Where does this leave feminists of all stripes who genuinely care about the civil rights of their Muslim sisters? A good first step would be to stop treating Muslim women as a silent, helpless mass of undifferentiated beings who think alike and face identical problems, and instead to recognize that each country and each society has its own unique issues. A second would be to question and critically assess the well-intentioned but factually inaccurate books that often serve as the very basis for discussion. We need more dialogue and less polemic. A third would be to acknowledge that women–and men–in Muslim societies face problems of underdevelopment (chief among them illiteracy and poverty) and that tackling them would go a long way toward reducing inequities. As the colonial experience of the past century has proved, aligning with an agenda of war and domination will not result in the advancement of women’s rights. On the contrary, such a top-down approach is bound to create a nationalist counterreaction that, as we have witnessed with Islamist parties, can be downright catastrophic. Rather, a bottom-up approach, where the many local, homegrown women’s organizations are fully empowered stands a better chance in the long run. After all, isn’t this how Western feminists made their own gains toward equality?

August 5, 2007 Posted by | Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christianity, feminism, FGM, Irshad Manji, Islam, Judaism, Laila Lalami, Muslim, Nation magazine, politics, women's rights | 10 Comments