Archive for contractors – Page 2

Afghan government starts to close private security firms, including Blackwater


The Afghan army and police are going to have to get busy re-e-eal fast if private contractors are on their way out. Trouble is, Afghan officials say they're "hobbled by a lack of education, drug abuse and corruption."

Gee, that's funny, so is Blackwater. Well, maybe not the education part, but who knows:

The Afghan government said Sunday it has started dissolving private security firms in the country by taking steps to end the operations of eight companies, including the firm formerly known as Blackwater and three other international contractors. [...]

Karzai's original decree gave an exemption to companies used to guard the compounds of international embassies or organizations, and Omar said the disbanding process does not apply to these organizations. It was unclear what this means for companies on the list that also have contracts to guard U.S. government installations or other diplomatic missions.

Omar said the government was focused on security companies who are providing protection for highways or convoys, not those training Afghan forces or guarding embassies.

FYI: Here is my Blackwater for Dummeez primer for a refresher course on who those thugs are.


Doonesbury: "Real" contractors ignore bans, wear Oakleys


I can't express my adoration of Garry Trudeau's work strongly enough:


U.S. Plans to Double Private Security Force in Iraq After 2011 Military Pullout


American soldiers crossed into Kuwait on Thursday as the U.S. military neared its Aug. 31 deadline to end combat operations officially.

Someone better notify Erik Prince out yonder in Abu Dahbi. He'd hate to miss out on the big news:

As the United States military prepares to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, the Obama administration is planning a remarkable civilian effort, buttressed by a small army of contractors, to fill the void.

By October 2011, the State Department will assume responsibility for training the Iraqi police, a task that will largely be carried out by contractors. With no American soldiers to defuse sectarian tensions in northern Iraq, it will be up to American diplomats in two new $100 million outposts to head off potential confrontations between the Iraqi Army and Kurdish pesh merga forces.

To protect the civilians in a country that is still home to insurgents with Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias, the State Department is planning to more than double its private security guards, up to about 7,000, according to administration officials who disclosed new details of the plan. Defending five fortified compounds across the country, the security contractors would operate radars to warn of enemy rocket attacks, search for roadside bombs, fly reconnaissance drones and even staff quick reaction forces to come to the aid of civilians in distress, the officials said.

Nothing says "I feel secure" like knowing the State Department will be pouring more of our money into private contractors. They've worked out so well for us so far.

The department’s plans to rely on 6,000 to 7,000 security contractors, who are also expected to form “quick reaction forces” to rescue civilians in trouble, is a sensitive issue, given Iraqi fury about shootings of civilians by American private guards in recent years.

So by all means, just keep on hiring them. That should resolve everything.


VIDEO: TPC’s own BP whistleblower on the Nicole Sandler Show


Thank you so much, Nicole Sandler, for paying attention and for getting Barkway’s story out:

Nicole Sandler speaks with Teddy Partridge and David Dayen (both of FireDogLake) about today's ruling that says Prop 8 is unconstitutional; Derrick Crowe of Rethink Afghanistan; @Barkway-Deepwater Throat whistleblower; and The Nation's Christian Parenti re: "The Big Green Buy"

We won’t give up on this story until everyone listens to our amazing source, our own “DeepwaterThroat”, Barkway.

All my Barkway-related posts can be found here.


VIDEO: TPC's own BP whistleblower on GritTV with Laura Flanders


Someone finally listened to us, and the someone was the wonderful Laura Flanders her very own self, over at GritTV. Thank you so much, Laura and GritTV for paying attention and for getting Barkway's ("Martha") story out:

"Anything BP does and doesn't do is to preserve their profits and their future ability to operate in the United States, no more, no less." That's according to "Martha," a hazardous waste worker in the Gulf, who joins us via Skype anonymously to report on the conditions workers are facing cleaning up BP's mess.

"Martha" has been reporting on conditions to the blog The Political Carnival, where more of her stories of workers being fired, prisoner labor used in cleanup, improper training and safety conditions, and of course, following the money around the trail of contracts and confusion that is the Gulf Coast post-Deepwater Horizon.

We won't give up on this story until everyone listens to our amazing source, our own "DeepwaterThroat", Barkway.

All my Barkway-related posts can be found here.


Source: Gulf clean-up supervisors refer to black workers with racial slurs


My source of a lot of BP-related information comes from an insider-- a first responder, hazardous waste worker, fully trained "hazwoper" technician-- Barkway, who I call my DeepwaterThroat.  She's shared her real-life stories about  following the money, clean-up workers (as opposed to the usual BP propaganda), and stiffing wildlife organizations.

After some effort on my part, GritTV is interviewing her (they record it tomorrow for a later airing), so hopefully her stories will get even more attention.

Today, Barkway messaged me with this:

My main source of on-scene info from the Gulf quit on Friday! Told her supervisor she'd had her fill of "stupid." Said supers were referring 2 black wrkrs as "niggers", limiting jobs women could do cuz they said women can't work alongside men (??)

Of course, this is hearsay, just an allegation, and Barkway can't name her source. She makes a good point:

Hey, MSM had TeaParty jerks on FILM calling Congressional leaders the N-word & there were still calls for "proof!"

But I decided to post it anyway. She doubts that her source concocted the story, and it opened my eyes to what could be going on out of camera range. If this is true, there's another layer to this story that nobody is addressing, a story of racism and discrimination that should be investigated.

Barkway also said that workers who complain about anything find themselves fired immediately. Surprise!

I decided to call Barkway to follow up. Here's what she just told me:

It's how they look at these workers, they're expendable garbage people. The more I look at it, the dirtier it gets.

And then, as she is wont to do, she veered off on another eye-opening tangent (slightly paraphrased):

I wondered if the clean-up agencies were still hiring, so I looked up one of the main companies, a top hazardous job company, Aerotek. They are advertising nearly exclusively on websites that cater to Latinos.  That made me ask two things.

One: Are they lumping them in with the  "garbage people" who they referred to as N-words, people who will work for nothing?

Two: Were they hanging out a sign saying, "Illegal immigrants welcome"? Why advertise on those sites, ones that were written in Spanish only?

They're using prisoners for clean-up so they don't have to pay them.  Now, if they hire undocumented workers, they won't need paperwork. They can pull from an army of people. This is a big company, they have offices all over Florida.

As I told Barkway, every time I talk to her, another little revelation surfaces.


Once again, TPC's DeepwaterThroat helps us follow the money


Yesterday I posted a video that includes a chart that maps out the BP money trail (hat tip to Hugh Kaufman).  Also in that post is a link to an article that delves into the financial  maze in more detail.

With those in mind, let's continue to follow the money.... all the way to Afghanistan? This is from a report called Fluor Reports Record New Awards of $9.3 Billion, Boosting Backlog to $30.2 Billion (hat tip to Barkway):

Revenue for the Government segment was $777 million for the second quarter of 2010, up 62 percent from $479 million a year ago. Segment profit was $35 million, up from last year’s results which included $15 million from a favorable project settlement. Improved results in the quarter were primarily due to increased contributions from LOGCAP IV task orders in Afghanistan. Second quarter new awards totaled $638 million, including $542 million for LOGCAP IV task orders. Segment backlog at the end of the quarter was $635 million, which is down from $974 million a year ago due to project execution activities related to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act work at the Savannah River site.

Indeed, Fluor did receive $777 million in government contracts for the second quarter of 2010.

Who is this Fluor I speak of?  My own DeepwaterThroat, Barkway, introduced us to Fluor here.

Barkway also pointed me to a piece called Fluor subsidiary P2S selected to support BP'S Gulf Coast cleanup. If you follow the link above the image, you'll see that I included some information about P2S there, too.

Barkway asks if we seeing the big picture, and notes that this is a similar kickback to what we saw in the video I linked to at the top of the post. Here's Barkway from that earlier "follow the money" post:

And they have the BP contract for oil cleanup.…ergo BP is essentially paying an industry colleague the contract money (and I bet dimes to donuts BP gets some of that money BACK from Fluor in some sort of in-kind arrangement). The unemployed they hire from state unemployment agencies are just the pawns in this money shuffle, and hey make for good PR. [...]

This cleanup employment situation gets stinkier with every passing week. There are layers of players here and money exchanging hands we have yet to discover and that I’m sure the public is never meant to know about.

For all of the very revealing news Barkway has shared with us, please go here.