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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 8:15 am 
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The Pyramid of Skulls: How Saddam Hussein Came to Power
(February 20, 2003) When Genghis Khan's grandson, Hualagu Khan captured Baghdad in 1258, he used fear to strengthen his rule over Iraq by killing every poet, scholar, military, civic and religious leader in the city. Hualagu piled their heads into a pyramid of skulls, topped by the head of their former ruler, the last Abassid Caliph. And some seven centuries later, Saddam Hussein did much the same thing when he took over in Iraq. In his very first week in power he arrested, tortured and executed 450 of the most prominent Iraqis, those whom he feared might someday challenge his rule. Saddam called these crimes, in his own words, a means to "cleanse the nation" of factionalism.

Saddam Hussein was born in Tikrit, Iraq in 1937. His father is thought to have either died or abandoned the family while Saddam was still a young child. His stepfather, Ibrahim Hassan, a brutal and abusive man who made a living by stealing sheep, was Saddam's principal male influence wile growing up. When Saddam was caught stealing sheep, an uncle, Khayrallah Tulfah, took him away.

Khayrallah had been an army officer, but had been forced to resign due to his part in a pro-Nazi coup against the British-installed monarchy during World War II. Khayrallah put Saddam in school and later attempted to have him enrolled in the Military Academy. However, Saddam was refused entry into the academy because of his poor grades. A disgruntled Saddam soon joined the radical nationalist movement known as the Ba'ath.

At that time the Ba'ath had plans to take over power from King Faisal II. However, they were preempted in 1958 by a coup led by General Abdul Qassim. Upset at this, Qassim was killed by the Ba'ath in early 1959.They selected an assain by the name of Saddam Hussein. But during the ambush, and although Saddam sprayed many rounds from his machine gun, he failed to hit the general. Saddam was slightly wounded during the attempted assassination and immediately fled to Egypt.

During Saddam's four years in Egypt he was allowed to enter law school, but did not complete his studies. And then in 1963, Ba'ath officers in the army seized power in Baghdad. The torture and execution of General Qassim were shown on live television. Saddam was invited back to Iraq to be an interrogator at an infamous dungeon called the "Palace of the End." Saddam soon rose in rank to become the chief torturer in the basements of this former royal palace.

And then in 1964, nationalist army officers in Iraq overthrew the Ba'ath in a counter-coup. Saddam was imprisoned but then released due to the intervention by a cousin, General Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr. The general then promoted Saddam to deputy secretary general of the Ba'ath Party and aided him in creating the secret police force, the Jihaz Haneen. Saddam worked diligently to ensure that the Jihaz Haneen became loyal to only two things: Saddam and the Ba'ath, in that order.

Saddam soon became chief of internal security and deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, where he would play a major and bloody role in General al-Bakr's 1968 coup. During the next ten years Saddam was extremely effective, spying on, threatening or killing anyone who might challenge his cousin al-Bakr. Saddam also used that decade to build and extend his own power by the same bloody methods.

Saddam is quoted as having said that among his proudest accomplishments is his 1978 campaign. He says that he ordered the liquidation of 7,000 people on charges of being "communists." It was in 1978 when Saddam began to undermine the ailing president of Iraq. His first step was to convince his older cousin to resign. And in a rare moment of kindness, Saddam allowed the old general to announce that he was retiring due to bad health.

Once this was accomplished, six days later, Saddam called upon the party leadership to decide on the sucessor of al-Bakr as president of Iraq. But of course, Saddam had already decided who the next president would be.

The meeting of the Revolutionary Command Council on July 22, 1979, started with Saddam Hussein reading a list of enemies of the state. There was a stunned silence at the Command Council, as many of the men present were listed as enemies of the state. Included were trade union leaders and religious leaders who had actually helped to consolidate the Ba'ath power. As names were read from the list, each were arrested and taken away from the council meeting. Within mere hours 21 of the men that Saddam named were dead. Not only did Saddam order the executions, but he also personally participated in the murders.

Saddam's first "cleansing" of Iraq continued for a week. And by August 1, at least 450 of Iraq's most prominent men were dead. They included members of the Ba'ath party, union leaders, financiers, army officers, lawyers, judges, journalists, editors, professors, religious leaders, and leaders of most of the smaller parties and ethnic groups.

An international tribunal could easily prove that Saddam Hussein marched into power on a carpet of dead bodies. His regime was born in a bloodbath, and like other such regimes, more blood is destined to flow in order to stay in power. Even conservative reports by human rights organizations, United Nations commissioners and exiled Iraqis estimate that at least 1.5 million Iraqis have been killed to keep Saddam in power. The murdered include some 15,000 Kurds who were attacked to chemical attacks in 1988.

In 1258 Mongol invaders sacked and looted Baghdad for 40 days. According to Islamic chroniclers of the time, they reported that the streets ran with "rivers of blood." In those 40 days, more than 80,000 people died. Those rivers of blood created by Hualagu Khan eventually stopped flowing. Saddam Hussein started his "rivers of blood" in 1979 and the streams that feed it continue to flow into rivers.

Saddam's number of dead in Iraq represents almost one tenth of the population of that country. But then one should add the more than 500,000 soldiers and civilians that were killed or wounded during Saddam's eight-year war with Iraq. At least another 300,000 were killed when Saddam tried to absorb Kuwait in 1990-1991.

Following the Gulf War, in 1992, Saddam's regime was close to collapse when the Kurds, Shi'ites, "Marsh Arabs" and other desperate people rose in rebellion. The best of the Republican Guard had been kept out of the second Gulf War for just such an emergency. Saddam sent these units to crush the rebellions with murderous brutality -- the same brutality he had shown throughout his rise to power.

Saddam Hussein isn't the type of person who would deny that he kills people. When asked by a journalist if his police "have tortured and perhaps even killed opponents of the regime," Saddam responded in his outwardly calm manner, "Of course. What do you expect if they oppose the regime?"

Many, many thousands of refugees still fleeing Iraq report that death squads continue to hunt for Kurdish and other ethnic leaders. Iraqi secret police agents continuously purge the officer corps of suspected plotters. And it is Saddam's second son, Qusai, who leads that army of secret police.

In 1995, it was Qusai who lured his own brother-in-law back to Iraq and back to his own death. And in 1996, Qusai's agents summarily executed 96 members of the Iraqi Congress at Irbil. Many prominent Iraqis just disappear each week, never to be heard of again.

One Iraqi diplomat among hundreds who had served Saddam faithfully for many years learned that he was next on the list for elimination upon his return to Iraq. He decided not to return home, and applied for asylum in England. During an interview with BBC in November 1998, the former diplomat summarized Saddam's rise to power in one short sentence. "Saddam is a dictator who is ready to sacrifice his country, just so long as he can remain on his throne in Baghdad."
Seyyed Rasuli

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 8:33 am 
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MIRACLE OF BAGHDAD
By NILES LATHEM

December 29, 2003 -- WASHINGTON - Startling new Army statistics show that strife-torn Baghdad - considered the most dangerous city in the world - now has a lower murder rate than New York.

The newest numbers, released by the Army's 1st Infantry Division, reveal that over the past three months, murders and other crimes in Baghdad are decreasing dramatically and that in the month of October, there were fewer murders per capita there than the Big Apple, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

The Bush administration and outside experts are touting these new figures as a sign that, eight months after the fall of Saddam Hussein, major progress is starting to be made in the oft-criticized effort by the United States and coalition partners to restore order and rebuild Iraq.

"If these numbers are accurate, they show that the systems we put in place four months ago to develop a police force based on the principles of a free and democratic society are starting to work," said former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who traveled to Iraq to oversee the rebuilding of the police force.

"It shows that the enforcement is working. It shows that the coordination between the Iraqi police and the U.S. military is working. It shows that having an Iraqi face out there standing up is working. The more you stand up, the more these crime numbers are going to go down," Kerik said.

According to the Army, there were 92 murders in Baghdad, a city of 5 million people, in July. The number dropped to 75 in August, 54 in September and 24 in October.

In New York, a city of 8 million people, there were 52 murders in July, 51 in August, 52 in September and 45 in October.

John Lott of the American Enterprise Institute, who recently published an extensive analysis on Iraqi crime figures, says the numbers indicate that Baghdad's murder rate dropped from 19.5 per 100,000 people in July to a rate of five killings per 100,000 people in October.

By contrast, New York's murder rate is seven murders per 100,000 people, Los Angeles' murder rate is 17 per 100,000, and Chicago's is 22, Lott said, citing FBI crime statistics.

The Army also said that the numbers of kidnappings in Baghdad have declined, from 28 in July to 11 in October, and the numbers of aggravated assaults has gone from 135 in July to 40 in October.

But Lott cautions that those numbers may be misleading because not all kidnappings and assaults are reported to police.

The Army's statistics do not take into account "political" attacks on U.S. and coalition personnel by Ba'athist death squads - or the terrorists showing up in Baghdad morgues after having been killed by the U.S. military in those battles.

Experts caution that Iraq's police force is still in the formative stages and it is possible that the Army's statistics might not be as accurate as those reported by police forces in the United States.

Nevertheless, there appears to be good reason for the Bush administration to cheer.

"When you consider that Saddam released thousands of criminals from prisons onto the streets during the war when his military and security apparatus completely collapsed, the progress has been measurable," Lott said.

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 8:37 am 
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Prison Abuse Trumps Saddam’s Mass Graves?

The national media pride themselves on their ability to make fine distinctions and appreciate subtle nuances. But their incessant repetition on the Abu Ghraib prison-abuse story, accompanied by the same rotating set of photographs, lacked context — until the story emerged Tuesday of the savage beheading of American citizen Nick Berg in Iraq.

Before that, network reporters tried to compare prison-abuse photos with Vietnam-era images of point-blank assassinations and the massacre at My Lai. But none of the networks could show the grotesque snuff-film footage of Berg’s murder, although CBS came closest, showing Berg as he was pushed to the ground and holding the still frame as they played the audio of his last screams.

There is a vast difference between sexual humiliation and brutal murder. But to the national media, there is also much greater outrage for U.S. prisoner abuse than there is for the enemy’s murders. Viewers received a false picture of moral equivalence, with only American offenses amplified.

To illustrate a fraction of the bias problem, we counted the number of prisoner-abuse stories on NBC’s evening and morning news programs (NBC Nightly News and Today) from April 29, when the story emerged, through May 11. There were 58 morning and evening stories. Using the Nexis news-data retrieval system, we counted the number of stories on mass graves found in Iraq from the reign of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and 2004. The number of evening and morning news stories on those grim discoveries? Five.

On the May 6, 2003 Nightly News, Jim Maceda reported a very pointed story, suggesting as many as 300,000 may be buried in groups around the country. Tom Brokaw’s show also had a report on May 14, and two more on the weekend of June 7 and 8, when a mass grave was uncovered at Salman Pak. Then, NBC aired nothing until December 16, when reporter Pete Williams mentioned mass graves in a story on an impending trial for Saddam Hussein. NBC has aired no stories on mass graves since then. Today never aired a story in 2003 or 2004 on mass graves in Iraq.

Today has used the Abu Ghraib pictures to insist on political damage to the Bush administration. NBC was in a rush to punish. Co-host Katie Couric opened last Wednesday’s show in full scandal mode, demanding: “What did administration officials know and when did they know it?”

Couric and co-host Matt Lauer have asked repeatedly about whether Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should resign. On Tuesday morning, Pentagon reporter Jim Miklaszewski insisted “there's a steadily growing political and public opinion drumbeat calling for Rumsfeld's resignation,” even though the latest Gallup poll numbers disagree, 64 to 31 percent.

If Americans didn't want Rumsfeld ousted, how about the world? On Monday night, NBC's Fred Francis suggested: “In the Arab street and much of the world, outrage has produced a consensus: Rumsfeld must go.” Francis quoted what he called a “moderate journalist” from Egypt saying Rumsfeld “is reminding me of a sort of neo-Nazi character.” Francis also relayed an unnamed “Arab businessman” commenting on the omnipresent prison pictures: “That is not Jeffersonian democracy. It's more like a lesson from Hitler's book, Mein Kampf.”

Aren’t the NBC-selected Hitler comparisons a bit misplaced when the Baathists are the mass murderers?

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 8:41 am 
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Heads Up, BuckyBoots...

A lesson in research: Provide links to your sources.

:roll:

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 9:04 am 
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See men shredded, then say you don't back war
By Ann Clwyd



“There was a machine designed for shredding plastic. Men were dropped into it and we were again made to watch. Sometimes they went in head first and died quickly. Sometimes they went in feet first and died screaming. It was horrible. I saw 30 people die like this. Their remains would be placed in plastic bags and we were told they would be used as fish food . . . on one occasion, I saw Qusay [President Saddam Hussein’s youngest son] personally supervise these murders.”



This is one of the many witness statements that were taken by researchers from Indict — the organisation I chair — to provide evidence for legal cases against specific Iraqi individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This account was taken in the past two weeks.

Another witness told us about practices of the security services towards women: “Women were suspended by their hair as their families watched; men were forced to watch as their wives were raped . . . women were suspended by their legs while they were menstruating until their periods were over, a procedure designed to cause humiliation.”

The accounts Indict has heard over the past six years are disgusting and horrifying. Our task is not merely passively to record what we are told but to challenge it as well, so that the evidence we produce is of the highest quality. All witnesses swear that their statements are true and sign them.

For these humanitarian reasons alone, it is essential to liberate the people of Iraq from the regime of Saddam. The 17 UN resolutions passed since 1991 on Iraq include Resolution 688, which calls for an end to repression of Iraqi civilians. It has been ignored. Torture, execution and ethnic-cleansing are everyday life in Saddam’s Iraq.

Were it not for the no-fly zones in the south and north of Iraq — which some people still claim are illegal — the Kurds and the Shia would no doubt still be attacked by Iraqi helicopter gunships.


For more than 20 years, senior Iraqi officials have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This list includes far more than the gassing of 5,000 in Halabja and other villages in 1988. It includes serial war crimes during the Iran-Iraq war; the genocidal Anfal campaign against the Iraqi Kurds in 1987-88; the invasion of Kuwait and the killing of more than 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians; the violent suppression, which I witnessed, of the 1991 Kurdish uprising that led to 30,000 or more civilian deaths; the draining of the Southern Marshes during the 1990s, which ethnically cleansed thousands of Shias; and the summary executions of thousands of political opponents.

Many Iraqis wonder why the world applauded the military intervention that eventually rescued the Cambodians from Pol Pot and the Ugandans from Idi Amin when these took place without UN help. They ask why the world has ignored the crimes against them?

All these crimes have been recorded in detail by the UN, the US, Kuwaiti, British, Iranian and other Governments and groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and Indict. Yet the Security Council has failed to set up a war crimes tribunal on Iraq because of opposition from France, China and Russia. As a result, no Iraqi official has ever been indicted for some of the worst crimes of the 20th century. I have said incessantly that I would have preferred such a tribunal to war. But the time for offering Saddam incentives and more time is over.

I do not have a monopoly on wisdom or morality. But I know one thing. This evil, fascist regime must come to an end. With or without the help of the Security Council, and with or without the backing of the Labour Party in the House of Commons tonight.



The author is Labour MP for Cynon Valley.

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 5:49 pm 
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Judging from his last post Catherine, I see that he didn't learn his lesson in citing source.

I suppose that it's hard to retrain Flying Monkeys.

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 9:19 pm 
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Quote:
I suppose that it's hard to retrain Flying Monkeys




no seamus i see you've been trained somewhat.

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 9:25 pm 
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Bucky Balls wrote:
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I suppose that it's hard to retrain Flying Monkeys


no seamus i see you've been trained somewhat.


I'm not a Flying Monkey Mr. Buckshot.

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 10:29 pm 
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if you were an iraqi during saddams rule i bet you would wish you were a flying monkey , so you could fly your monkey ass out of there or just wait for america to save your mokey ass.

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 10:42 pm 
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Bucky Balls wrote:
if you were an iraqi during saddams rule i bet you would wish you were a flying monkey , so you could fly your monkey ass out of there or just wait for america to save your mokey ass.


Mr. Buckshot... What's a "Mokey"? Is that part of that silly dance you do at weddings? Oops, sorry, that's the Hokey Pokey.

What the hell are you talking about?

America is saving Iraqis? Over 100,000 non-combatants killed since Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) has ended, no end in sight for this circle jerk of a war, no money to pay for the war from Iraqi oil profits, a destroyed infrastructure, no jobs, etc etc etc...

Yep, you got me there Mr. Buckshot. The U.S. certainly knows how to fuck up a country. It's a fine cakewalk that your buddies have gotten us into. Thank heavens your buddy Dubya is a "War Prezdent". Where's the next fuck-up Bucky? Iran, Syria or North Korea?

It's a good thing we've off shored all of those jobs. All those unemployed will make great cannon fodder. Is that the plan? Wreck the economy so we have plenty of good Corporate Racketeers to help "liberate" foreign economies?

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 11:13 pm 
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during saddams rule i bet you would wish you were a flying monkey


Under Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi people were much more prosperous than they are now with the American and British occupation taking place.

As much as the right-wing war floggers like BuckyBoots wish it were otherwise, I think the evidence is clear: For the average Iraqi life was much, much better under Saddam.

While Saddam held power, an Iraqi citizen could lead a fairly ordinary life. By all accounts, the only real bar was politics. Become politically active and you could find yourself in one of Saddam’s rape rooms. Otherwise, simply leading your life and keeping your politics to yourself pretty well guaranteed a peaceful and perhaps even prosperous existence. Those were the rules, and they were well understood. (Darn...that sounds like Bush's Amerika!) :shock:


Today there are no rules. Torture and death have become both more widespread and utterly random. You can die in a car bombing, get swept up and sent to Abu Ghraib by the Americans for simply standing on the wrong street corner, get kidnapped and held for ransom by thugs, get rounded up and shot by the insurgents for having the wrong job or the wrong religion, get killed by American soldiers because you do not understand English. And, still, being politically active can get you tortured and killed.

By what possible definition is Iraq better off today?

Link: http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1927.cfm

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 2:21 pm 
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they were much more dead maybe. and no most iraqi's were dirt poor.saddam was much more prosperous but thats about it

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 3:15 pm 
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Bucky Balls wrote:
they were much more dead maybe. and no most iraqi's were dirt poor.saddam was much more prosperous but thats about it


Most Iraqis are dirt poor?

Fascinating.

They’re “dirt poor” by "American Standards" perhaps. Americans are the standard by which everyone is judged? It’s very absolutist of you to make that value judgment.

Not everyone who doesn't own a Wide Screen TV and a SUV that needs its own Mailing Address is defined as poor.

For a quick start in your anthropology and sociology studies read "Affluenza" by de Graaf, Wann and Naylor.

Apparently you refuse to acknowledge strong evidence that Saddam’s been on the CIA payroll since the late 1950s.
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/is ... nindex.htm

No one here has denied that he was brutal dictator and murderer.

Open your eyes; there’s a recurring theme in American Foreign Policy Mr. Buckshot. We love our third world right wing dictatorships, they keep the labor pay scale “under control” so Corporations get their resources and products at bargain basement prices.

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 3:25 pm 
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and no most iraqi's were dirt poor


And they're filthy rich now that Georgyboy, Dick Cheney, and Halliburton have done so much for them, is that what you're saying? They were poor under Saddam, but they had a way of life that did not include car bombs going off and killing them if they choose to attend a frigging funeral.

AND remember one thing if you don't remember anything else...Iraq and Saddam Hussein had NOTHING to do with the attacks on 9/11...NOTHING.

So the fact that we've taken their "poor lives' and made them even worse certainly is one of the most shameful things a country's leaders could ever have done.

Quote:
saddam was much more prosperous but thats about it


Who do you think has become "much more prosperous" from this war in Iraq, BuckyBoots? The Bushies, PEENACS, and NEOCONS...all of those people YOU and those of your ilk support, that's who.

The invasion had nothing to do with democracy, or protection of America...it was all about MONEY, BuckyBoots...OIL for the PROFIT of large industries like Halliburton, and to make Dick Cheney and his croneis richer than King Midas. At the very bottom of the list of reasons to attack Iraq was the chimp's need to get revenge for his father so Daddy Bush would approve of him at last. After all, GeorgyBoy had failed at everything he'd ever attempted in his entire life.

For proof of what I'm saying go to any and/or all of these links:


http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=6008

http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail. ... rticledate

http://www.counterpunch.org/leopold03202003.html

Oh what a lovely war on terror it's been for Halliburton!

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Katherine Griffiths reports from New York on the American company with friends in the highest places, the contracts that all seemed to flow in one direction and the high-ranking army employee who blew the whistle

27 March 2005



Halliburton, the world's largest military private contractor, has made at least $8bn (£4.3bn) in war-torn Iraq - doing everything from washing American troops' laundry to setting up vital oil supplies. Now, a critically well-placed army employee says contracts were unfairly awarded to Halliburton, whose chief executive used to be US Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Bunnatine Greenhouse, the highest-ranking civilian in the US Army Corps of Engineers, saw the contracts handed to Halliburton pass over her desk. She objected to all of them on the grounds that the government was being too generous to the Texas-based company. Now she might lose her job.

The army tried to demote her last autumn after her performance ratings swung from excellent to sub-standard. An alternative offered to the 60-year-old, who followed her husband into the army, is a swift retirement.

According to Ms Greenhouse, who is hanging on to her job under American laws that protect whistleblowers, her superiors want her out because she is "a stickler for the rules". She hopes to stay on at the corps until she is ready to retire, even though many of her colleagues "treat me like I have the plague".

Having worked in government and army procurement for 23 years, she says her duty has been clear as the principal assistant responsible for contracting, known as the Parc. "In a time of war on terrorism, we as a government have to make sure there is a fairness, there is an integrity, and that there is an arm's length approach in the business of contracting," she said.

But when it came to Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, whose services range from oil and gas to meeting all of soldiers' living needs, Ms Greenhouse found her commanders did not share her vision.

Time and again, there was little or no competition for the huge contracts the US administration awarded, and repeatedly, it seemed that senior army people were stepping in to overrule her attempts to make KBR accountable.

On top of that, there was a "revolving door", with senior army employees joining Halliburton. These included Tom Quigley, who had previously done Ms Greenhouse's job, and Chuck Dominy, a three-star general who is now Halliburton's chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

Halliburton, which Mr Cheney led from 1995 to 2000, has a long history of working for the US government in far-flung parts of the world. But it was the war on terror which really expanded its fortunes from government projects. It also focused critics' minds on how close Halliburton continued to be to Mr Cheney and his coterie of hawkish colleagues in Washington.

For Ms Greenhouse, who has been working at the Corps of Engineers since 1997, KBR's good connections became abundantly clear as the American administration prepared to attack Saddam Hussein's regime.

On 26 February 2003 - three weeks before the invasion of Iraq - senior government and army employees gathered in Washington to discuss details of how Iraq would be rebuilt after the US-led invasion. To Ms Greenhouse's surprise, several KBR employees were also present.

The company had apparently already received a letter indicating it would be awarded the work to put out any oil field fires started by the Iraqi dictator. The Restore Iraqi Oil (RIO) programme came to have the much wider remit of ensuring fuel supplies got into the country. It has netted KBR $2.5bn.

For Ms Greenhouse, several things were wrong with the contract, and she made her objections clear. "I got up and whispered in the ear of Lieutenant General [Carl] Strock, who was chairing the meeting, that it was time KBR left the meeting. If you know I've got a budget for $200,000, you're going to give me [a bid of] $199,000 plus some cents," she said.

Another problem for Ms Greenhouse was that KBR already had a contract worth more than $5bn with the US government, known as Logcap, under which it supplied a range of services to American troops around the world.

Having the Logcap contract seemed to put KBR in pole position to get the job of putting together the preliminary plan for RIO. It was called the contingency plan and, at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $2m, KBR mapped out ways to put Iraq back on its feet.

The US administration then made it a requirement that the contractor for RIO needed to be familiar with the contingency plan.

Michael Kohn, Ms Greenhouse's Washington-based lawyer, who is bringing her unfair-dismissal case on the grounds of race and sex discrimination as well as under whistleblower laws, put the issue like this: "If they felt they were going to give KBR the RIO contract later on, why would you give the contingency plan to KBR?

"And then why would you put in the follow-on that you have to have familiarity with the contingency plan? It could only go to KBR."

KBR pointed out in a detailed response to The Independent on Sunday that the Government Accountability Office - Congress's watchdog on public projects - said RIO was "properly awarded". But the body also noted that the contingency plan was improperly awarded.

A third problem for Ms Greenhouse was that she was already familiar with KBR's work, and she was not impressed. Since 1999, the company had earned almost $2bn supplying services to US troops in the Balkans. The costs had got "completely out of control", she said.

Most alarming of all were the proposed terms of the RIO contract. As in the Balkans, KBR was to be the sole contractor, under a five-year deal. Rather than getting a fixed fee, it would be allowed to pass on unlimited costs to the administration, and would receive a fee of between 2 and 7 per cent on top of that.

Ms Greenhouse balked at the proposed terms and tried to have the initial contract reduced to one year. "The Government said the contract was meant to be a bridge, but I could find no signs it was," she said.

According to Ms Greenhouse, "there is no doubt" that KBR - which is now in line to be sold by Halliburton - was not the only company suitable to take on the work in Iraq. Others, such as the energy and engineering companies Fluor and Parsons, were capable.

In the end, RIO was awarded for two years, with three one-year options, and Parsons has now been taken on to restore oil fields in the north of Iraq, with KBR winning the work for the larger area of fields in the south.

The army said it would not comment because of Ms Greenhouse's legal dispute. But she claims her commanders were determined to promote KBR's interests, even if that meant taking the opportunity to do so behind her back.

One such occasion came in Decem- ber 2003, on a day Ms Greenhouse said she would be off because of illness. A document was formulated in Dallas and flown to Washington the same day, which gave KBR a waiver from having to show its paperwork to anyone else.

Plenty of people believe that the corps' commanders were guided by the wishes of those close to the White House. Ms Greenhouse can only point to one occasion when politics were overtly invoked as the reason for the lucrative work being heaped on the company.

She recalls that Tina Ballard - who held the high-ranking post of deputy assistant secretary of the army for policy and procurement - told people in Ms Greenhouse's office that there were "political reasons" why KBR was to be the sole contractor in the Balkans, despite evidence of cost over-runs and mismanagement.

Mr Cheney himself has stuck to a statement he made on the current affairs show Meet the Press in September 2003. "I have absolutely no influence of, or involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form, of contracts led by the Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the federal government," he said.

Yet Mr Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was told KBR had been awarded the task of preparing the contingency plan, according to the office of Henry Waxman, a Democrat member of the House of Representatives who is among Congress's most outspoken critics of Halliburton.

The Washington Post has reported that Mr Libby kept Mr Cheney out of the loop, although Vanity Fair and Time magazines have pointed to a Corps of Engineers email saying the contingency plan had been "co-ordinated" with the vice-president's office.

Mr Waxman has used his position as the most senior Democrat on the Government Reform Committee to try to clarify the opaque nature of Halliburton's political connections. He has also attacked the company over allegations that it overcharged taxpayers by more than $100m on oil supplies.

Mr Waxman unearthed details two weeks ago of a prolonged campaign by the UN's International Advisory and Monitoring Board - which monitors the way revenues from Iraqi oil is spent - to get hold of Defense Department audits of KBR's work in Iraq. It was only after "considerable foot-dragging", Mr Waxman said, that the board was given anything by the US government, and the documents it did receive had information removed at the request of Halliburton.

That included $62m the auditors felt were "unreasonable costs" relating to Halliburton's oil imports from Kuwait, which it carried out with a local company called Al Tanmia. The original audit, but not the altered version, also said "KBR did not always provide accurate information".

According to letters from Michael Morrow, KBR's contracts manager, to the Corps of Engineers, the company was withholding the information on "proprietary" grounds, and in cases where it felt that the audits were "misleading".

A KBR spokesperson strongly rejected the suggestion that it overcharged on fuel, saying: "KBR has delivered vital services for US troops and the Iraqi people at a fair and reasonable cost, given the circumstances".

The FBI is now probing KBR over its work in Kuwait. A former KBR employee was indicted by the Justice Department two weeks ago on fraud charges in connection with a contract he arranged with a Kuwaiti company called La Nouvelle.

KBR has pointed out that its "own internal auditors discovered possible wrongdoing in Kuwait more than a year ago".

Mr Waxman is pressing for his committee to hold more hearings on Halliburton this year. The House of Representatives' subcommittee on national security is also expected to take up the case.

Any significant action is likely to be difficult, though, as both houses in Congress are controlled by the Republicans, who are not known for their readiness to challenge Halliburton.

Ms Greenhouse is co-operating with the FBI investigation. She is also fighting her own case. If this comes to court, her lawyer Mr Kohn says, it will be "uncharted waters", as there has never before been such a senior army whistleblower.

In the meantime, Ms Greenhouse carries on going to work. "In the army they say 'adapt or die'," she said. "I feel I have died."

AROUND THE WORLD WITH KBR

Iraq

Kellogg Brown & Root has been accused of using political connections in its efforts to secure the two largest post-war contracts handed out by the US government: Restore Iraqi Oil and Logcap.

Once these were signed, KBR allegedly ramped up costs. A Defense Department audit says it overcharged US taxpayers by $100m for importing fuel from Kuwait and elsewhere.

Kuwait

There are multiple investigations into whether KBR staff accepted bribes. One former employee has been indicted by the Justice Department for allegedly committing fraud with a local subcontractor, La Nouvelle, in overcharging the US government for services such as doing troops' laundry.

Whistleblowers from the company have also come forward to say some KBR executives enjoyed lavish lifestyles on the company account, with costs being passed on to the US government. KBR has fired several employees working in the country.

The Balkans

According to Bunnatine Greenhouse, costs associated with the contract awarded to KBR in 1999 - to provide a wide range of services to troops - spiralled out of control. The exclusive five-year contract was due to end in May 2004, but was extended by the Army until April of this year.

Guantanamo Bay

Another controversial move, according to its critics, is that KBR has been given work to build cells at the military prison in Cuba.

Nigeria

French and Nigerian investigators are probing a contract to build a gas refinery at Bonny Island in Nigeria, in which KBR was involved. Fees of more than $100m were authorised by KBR executives, some in the UK, and passed through the offices of a small north London law firm.


Link: http://news.independent.co.uk/business/ ... ory=623941

More:

http://www.alternet.org/story/15445

http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2003/3 ... urton.html

And...as for the failures of George W. Bush, here is a list of over 1,000 of them...with links to prove the statements. :D

http://www.thousandreasons.org/listB.php


I could go on and on, but even you, BuckyBoots, should get the picture by now.

Catherine

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Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 2:50 am 
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oh how humanitarian is that , the germans didn't have anything to do with pearl harbor but we kicked their ass out of france.

as far as iraqi's being poor . well now they will have a chance to live like you cathrine with your big screen tv and a suv. so how is that worse ? do you feel like you are better than these people and you should have more than them.ah what the hell they get a piece of bread everyday and just maybe they will live long enough to eat it.


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After all, GeorgyBoy had failed at everything he'd ever attempted in his entire life.


i don't know about that i mean hey he did get 2 presidental terms . i hardly call that a failure.

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