Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Tax Dollars At Work

Susan Brannon
22 June 2011

After Obama decided to go into Libya and “safe the people” from the atrocities of Gadaffi,  I quickly discovered saw that his words of assurance to the people to stay in Libya for “only a few days”  was false and is ongoing. The estimated cost for going into Libya is 2 billion US dollars of the Americans tax money and more. 

This is not petty change. Considering the realities of our current economic situation and our leaders decide to do as they desire, I decided to find out how much have we been spending on our wars up to date and who has been getting money. The data was not easy to find and not all in one place and not always current.  However, I tried the best that I could to gather the information together and put it into one place.  Not only did I include in this article the cost of our current “wars”, but also a list of defense contractors and how much our tax dollars paid them along with a few sidelines of corruption facts and figures that reflect the reality of our current situation.  While "researching" who is getting the money, I started writing information on each company and some background information.  These will be posted separately.

Using Independent Media such as MMN, as a resource in the attempt to open the people’s eyes is a difficult task, because those who read Independent Media are normally those who already understand that there is a problem.  We need to reach those who do not have the time to research on their own to generate a "flood of letters, protests and sit-ins” telling our government that we will not take this anymore.  (Sadly, I am beginning to think that it is too late, and nothing will work in our country, I feel that we have a "false" sense of Freedom, that does not exist) We can try to boycott each and every company that supports corruption, possibly hurting the conglomerates where it hurts, and that is their wallets.

Cost of the Wars As of 17 June 2011

Iraq:        720,000.000 per day   7.9 billion per month (CRS)
Afghanistan:    300,000.000 per day (AFP) 6.7 billion per month (CRS)
Libya:            2,000,000  per day  (DM)

Amounts Paid to the Top Fifteen Defense Contractors during these wars:
1.  KBR Inc (KBR.N)                                               $16,059,282,020
2.  DynCorp International                                        $ 1,838,156,100
3.  Washington Group Int'l Inc WNG.N                    $ 1,044,686,850
4.  IAP Worldwide Services Inc                                $    901,973,910
5.  Environmental Chemical Corp                            $    899,701,070
6.  L-3 Communications Holdings Inc (LLL.N)         $    853,535,680
7.  Fluor Corp (FLR.N)                                             $    736,853,200
8.  Perini Corp PCR.N                                              $    720,859,110
9.  Orascom Construction Industries (OCIC.CA)      $   617,089,510
10. Parsons Corp                                                     $   579,265,450
11. First Kuwaiti General Trading And Contracting Co. $   495,404,500
12. Blackwater USA                                                  $   485,149,590
13. Tetra Tech Inc (TTEK.O)                                     $   362,107,010
14. AMEC PLC (AMEC.L)                                         $   317,171,280
15. Laguna Pueblo                                                    $   312,677,530

Facts of Corruption:
•    Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion
•    U.S. government contracts for work in those countries have
jumped more than 50 percent a year, from $11 billion in 2004 to
nearly $17 billion in 2005 and more than $25 billion in 2006.
•    Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $900 billion of US taxpayers' funds spent or approved for spending through November 2010.
•    Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 million in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors. Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles.
•    Missing - $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces. (Per CBS News on Dec 6, 2007.)

There is one company that keeps "popping up:

Created in 1992, Cerberus is a hedge fund, a type of private investment group that's not regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. ...
Cerberus Capital Management (dba, Cerberus-Gabriel), is at the center of an emerging Pentagon and CIA contracting scandal that has the attention of three Congressional Committees.The companies under investigation have links to prominent GOP figures, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and several Republican Congressmen indicted for corruption involving kickbacks from defense contractors. The Republican Congressional Campaign Commitee (RCC) has also received substantial contributions from conservative fund managers running Cerberus, a virually unregulated $30 billion hedge fund, which owns the second largest bank in Israel.

The Cerberus scandal involves its holding, International American Products (IAP) Worldwide Services, awarded a $120 million contract to manage facilities at Walter Reed, is only the latest in a long line. IAP’s President, Alfred V. Neffgen, was formerly Chief Operating Officer for KBR's government operations group, which was forced to repay tens of millions of dollars to the Defense Department for food and fuel overcharges in Iraq. IAP has other contracting connections with Dick Cheney’s Halliburton/KBR. Most recently, IAP bid on part of the Iraq oil reconstruction project as a partner with Halliburton KBR. The Army Times reports about Halliburton tie-in:

Cerberus owns, or had a major interest in, a string of now-bankrupt companies that had contracts with U.S. defense and intelligence agencies that were found to have a common pattern of large-scale fraud, security problems, and financial scandals involving GOP lawmakers and lobbyists.

Cerberis donated $100,000 at a single fundraiser to Rep. Jerry Lewis, fmr. Chair of the House Appropriations Comm  (USA Today)
•    Lewis' Future Leaders PAC gave $407,000 to 69 House candidates in the 2004 election. The Cerberus-related money was equal to nearly a third of that amount. In 2003, the PAC collected $522,725 — a quarter of it connected to Cerberus.
•    Cerberus is chaired by former U.S. vice president Dan Quayle. (Haaretz)
•    US investor disclosure regulations will cause Cerberus-Gabriel problems.— Ministry of Finance officials have declared a great victory in the Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) (An Israeli Bank)  tender, but banking specialists are not so enthusiastic. They say that the victory wasn’t so great: the buyers (Cerberus Capital Management LP and Gabriel Capital Management Cerberus-Gabriel hedge fund buys stake in Leumi Bank (FundStreet)
•    Israel is on its way to privatization. (Globes Company)
•    former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon awarded a large contract to the company at the center of the Walter Reed Army Hospital scandal. Rumsfeld may have financially benefited from it along with other major GOP figures, including former Vice President Dan Quaile, and former Treasury Secretary Snow, who also invested in or are employed by, or received campaign contributions from the same Wall Street hedge fund that owns the company. (BusinessWeek)
•    Cerberus has been shopping up a storm for a year now, seemingly coming out of nowhere to build a corporate empire. With more than $16 billion of investors' assets on its books -- almost double what it had in 2003 -- it has bought 28 companies and snapped up stakes of at least 15% in an additional 15 over the past decade. According to BusinessWeek they estimate, Cerberus controls companies that ring up at least a combined $30 billion in annual sales (BusinessWeek)
•    LAPS  business groups are controlled by the following families: Sami Ofer, Nochi Dankner, Shari Arison, the Cerberus-Gabriel consortium, Charles Bronfman, Yitzchak Tshuva, the Saban group, Lev Leviev, Matthew Bronfman, Tzadik Bino, the Borovich family, and Eliezer Fishman. The 12 families own 60 percent of the aggregate market value of all Israeli public companies (excluding the even larger Teva Pharmaceutical Industries) (IsraelNews)

From this information, it is clear that our tax money funds many of the corporations who are involved in war efforts and efforts in other countries as well as in our own country.  The money that is paid to them has made a few wealthy and has started to displace the American middle class.  Not only do we pay for their efforts to "Help our troops" we pay for their corruption across the board.  On my blog I have posted a ton of videos, from various angles, regarding the companies listed above.  For more in-depth information please see: After The War

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