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Will Congress finally cut them off?

Original post made by Albert on Apr 12, 2007

On Monday, April 9, 2007, the Boston Herald reported that the US military had announced the Easter weekend deaths of 10 more American soldiers, including six killed on Sunday. The Associated Press reports that, since the war began in March 2003, over 3,000 members of the US military have been killed in Iraq, as of April 8, 2007.

The military reported the deaths of four more US soldiers on Tuesday.

Its nearly impossible to estimate the number of deaths of civilians in Iraq, but the Herald reports that at least 47 people were killed or found dead in violence on Easter Sunday, including 17 execution victims dumped in the capital.

News releases out of Iraq also report that a woman wearing a black veil and strapped with explosives blew herself up outside a police station in Iraq on Tuesday, killing 16 people.

According to the January 14, 2007 LA Times, Steven Kosiak, director of budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, says that, starting with the anti-terrorism appropriation a week after the 9/11 attacks, he estimates the US has spent $400 billion fighting terrorism through fiscal 2006, which ended on September 30, 2006.

In January 2007, Marine Corps spokeswoman, Lt Col Roseann Lynch, told Reuters that the war in Iraq is costing about $4.5 billion a month for military "operating costs," which did not include new weapons or equipment.

Since this war on terror was declared following 9/11, the pay levels for the CEOs of the top 34 defense contractors have doubled. The average compensation rose from $3.6 million during the period of 1998-2001, to $7.2 million during the period of 2002-2005, according to an August 2006, report entitled, "Executive Excess 2006," by the Washington-based, Institute for Policy Studies, and the Boston-based, United for a Fair Economy.

This study found that since 9/11, the 34 defense CEOs have pocketed a combined total of $984 million, or enough, the report says, to cover the wages for more than a million Iraqis for a year. In 2005, the average total compensation for the CEOs of large US corporations was only 6% above 2001 figures, while defense CEOs pay was 108% higher.

But the last name of one family, which is literally amassing a fortune over the backs of our dead heroes, matches that of the man holding the purse strings in the White House. On December 11, 2003, the Financial Times reported that three people had told the Times that they had seen letters written by Neil Bush that recommended business ventures in the Middle East, promoted by New Bridges Strategies, a firm set up by President Bush's former campaign manager, who quit his Bush appointed government job as the head of FEMA, three weeks before the war in Iraq began.

Neil Bush was paid an annual fee to "help companies secure contracts in Iraq," the Times said.

But Neil Bush is by no means the only Bush profiting from the war on terror. The first President Bush is so entangled with entities that have profited greatly that it's difficult to even know where to begin. Bush joined the Carlyle Group in 1993, and became a member of the firm's Asian Advisory Board.

The Carlyle Group was best known for buying defense companies and doubling or tripling their value and was already heavily supported by defense contracts. But in 2002, the firm received $677 million in government contracts, and by 2003, its contracts were worth $2.1 billion.

Prior to 9/11, some Carlyle companies were not doing so well. For instance, the future of Vought Aircraft looked dismal when the company laid off 20% of its employees. But business was booming shortly after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, and the company received over $1 billion in defense contracts.

The Bush family's connections to the Osama bin Laden's family seem almost surreal. On September 28, 2001, two weeks after 9/11, the Wall Street Journal reported that, "George H.W. Bush, the father of President Bush, works for the bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group, an international consulting firm."

As a representative of Carlyle, one of the investors that Bush brought to Carlyle was the Bin Laden Group, a construction company owned by Osama's family. The bin Ladens have been called the Rockefellers of the Middle East, and the father, Mohammed, has reportedly amassed a $5 billion empire. According the Journal, Bush convinced Shafiq bin Laden to invest $2 million with Carlyle.

The Journal found that Bush had met with the bin Ladens at least twice between 1998 and 2000. On September 27, 2001, the Journal reported that it had confirmed that a meeting took place between Bush Senior and the bin Laden family through Senior's Chief of Staff, Jean Becker, but only after the reporter showed her a thank you note that was written and sent by Bush to the bin Ladens after the meeting.

The current President's little publicized affiliation with the bin Laden family goes back to his days with Arbusto oil when Salem bin Laden funneled money through James Bath to bail out that particular failed company.

Probably the most eerie report about this strange group of bedfellows is that on 9/11, the day that served as a kick-off for the highly profitable war on terror, Shafiq bin Laden attended a meeting in the office of the Carlyle Group, and stood watching TV with other members of the firm as the WTC collapsed.

The fact that so many Saudis, including many bin Ladens, were allowed to fly out of the country right after 9/11, while Americans were still grounded, has always seemed a bit strange to most people also, especially when nobody in the Bush administration was able to explain who gave permission for the flights.

About a month after 9/11, in October 2001, the Carlyle Group severed its ties with the Bin Laden Group, but the Bush family did not. In January 2002, Neil Bush took a trip to Saudi Arabia that was sponsored by the Bin Laden Construction Company and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the same Prince who offered New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani $10 million to help the 9/11 victims, a gesture that Rudy refused.

In the fall of 2003, Bush Senior finally resigned from the Carlyle Group as the accusations of family war profiteering grew louder. However, according to the Washington Post, he still retained stock in the firm and gave speeches on its behalf for a fee of $500,000.

Carlyle companies have also scored big in the Homeland Security bonanza. Federal Data Systems and US Investigations Services hold multi-billion- dollar contracts to provide background checks for airlines, the Pentagon, the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security. US Investigations used to be a federal agency, until it was privatized in 1996 and taken over by Carlyle.

Marvin and Jeb Bush are also highly successful members of the family war profiteering team. Marvin is a co-founder and partner in Winston Partners, a private investment firm, and Jeb is an investor in the Winston Capital Fund, which is managed by Marvin.

Winston Partners is part of the Chatterjee Group, which owned 5.5 million shares in a company called Sybase in 2001, a firm that had contracts worth $2.9 million with the Navy, $1.8 million with the Army and $5.3 million with the Department of Defense. All totaled, the federal procurement database listed the firm's contracts that year as $14,754,000.

And, Sybase was not the only company delivering war profits to Marvin and Jeb. The portfolio of Winston Partners also included the Amsec Corp, which, in 2001, was awarded $37,722,000 in Navy contracts.

Marvin's business partner, Scott Andrews, sat on the board of directors at AMSEC, and the company's CEO was Michael Braham, who formerly worked for Paul Bremer, the leader of the Coalition Provisional Authority responsible for handing out contracts Iraq.

This is the same Paul Bremer who used Iraqi money from the Development Fund for Iraq to award 5 no-bid contracts to Dick Cheney's cash cow, Halliburton, worth $222 million, $325 million, $180 million, and $194 million combined for the last two, according to a July 28, 2004, report by the CPA Inspector General Stuart Bowen, entitled, "Comptroller Cash Management Controls over the Development Fund for Iraq."

As it turns out, Halliburton received 60% of all contracts paid for with Iraqi money. In a January 2005 report, Inspector Bowen concluded that occupation authorities accounted poorly for $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds, and said, "The CPA did not implement adequate financial controls."

The President's uncle, William (Bucky) Bush, is the most visible war profiteer on the team. He sat on the board of a major military contractor called Engineered Support Systems. Six months before the war in Iraq began, on September 16, 2002, CNN/Money Magazine called ESS one of "seven defense stocks that fund managers like," and one fund manager said ESS was one of two companies that "would gain the most from a war from Iraq."

As a director, Uncle William received a monthly fee and held stock options. In January 2003, before the Iraq war began, he owned 33,750 shares of stock, but a year later, in January 2004, he owned 56,251.

The fact that Uncle William had an inside line to the White House can hardly be disputed. On March 25, 2003, Bush asked Congress for funding, "to cover military operations, relief and reconstruction activities in Iraq, and ongoing operations in the global war on terrorism," and the very next day, ESS announced a large order from the Army for its Chemical Biological Protected Shelter systems.

Uncle William has become a very rich man since his nephew took office. In January 2005, SEC filings show that he made about $450,000 by selling ESS stock. But he did even better the next year.

According to the Excess Report, through a series of defense contracts, ESS earnings reached record levels and set the stage for the sale of the firm to another defense contractor, DRS Technologies, in January 2006, and among the beneficiaries of the deal was Uncle William, who cleared $2.7 million in cash and stock off the sale.

Its time for Congress to stop the direct deposits of tax dollars into the Bush bank accounts. Lawmakers need to notify the White House that all funding for Iraq is done, other than what is needed for the immediate removal of our troops from this disgusting war profiteering scheme.

Comments (29)

Posted by Sean, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 12, 2007 at 6:12 pm

Just looking at some of you overall figures (taking them at face value):

1. The $400B cost of the fight against terrorists, since 9/11/01 is about 0.5% of GDP (GDP is about 13T per year, 6 years since 9/11 = 78T, 400B/78T = 0.5%). Very low cost, considering the threat. What is your point?

2. Assuming that you mean that the war in Iraq is independent of the overall war against various terrorists (I'm not sure you mean this, but I am giving it to you), the cost of the Iraq war is about 54B per year. This is about 0.04% of GDP over the six year since 9/11. Combining items 1 and 2, we are spending about 0.54% of GDP. This figure is no where near what we spent in various other wars. What is your point?

3. We have lost about 3500 dead in Iraq. Compare that to various other American wars. While always tragic for each family who loses a loved one, this war is very low cost in terms of blood. What is your point?


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 12, 2007 at 6:35 pm

My point, which I suspect you understand very well, is that this war is totally unrelated to the 'war on terrorism' and that one of the main reasons for it is war profiteering, by characters such as George W Bush and the entire Bush family, VP Dick Cheney and many of their cohorts. They are using the blood of US troops in order to get filthy rich. They have also made us far less secure and turned the US into the most hated country in the world at an enormous cost to our global strategic interests and prestige. The war profiteering scheme though is enough to have Congress cut off all funding and force an immediate withrawal of our troops. Impeachment and criminal charges, including treason should follow.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 12, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Sean, I'm sure that Al can answer for himself. It sounds like one of the major points that he is trying to convey is that there has been a great deal of war profiteering going on during the war, especially by members of the Bush family, and that this family has very close ties with the Bin Laden family in the middle east. Also, defense contractors have "made a killing" over the past five years. There salaries have increased dramatically. I suggest rereading the article for clarification.


Posted by sarlat, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 12, 2007 at 6:54 pm

I find it very ominous that when Bin Laden was trapped in the Tora Bora caves and the CIA operative on the ground asked the Pentagon for 400 Rangers to get him, certain that the local militias would never capture Bin laden, the Pentagon refused to send any troops to that area. It was obvious to him that they wanted Bin Laden to escape. We can only speculate, but were they afraid he would be caught alive and disclose the ties of the Bush family to his? Conveniently, Musharaf 'does not allow' US troops to operate in the region he's suspected of hiding in and no one in the Bush administration even talks of capturing him. Did the Bin Laden family pressure Bush to leave him alone? It seems like the war profitering and the close Bin Laden family-Bush family connections are closely related.


Posted by Sean, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 12, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Capitalist industries make products, with the goal of making profit. During peacetime war industries are not very profitable, because there is not very much demand for their products. During war times there is a demand for their products, and they make bigger profits. America has excellent war tools, produced by war industries. That is what they are supposed to do. Why is this shocking to anybody?

The substantive question is wheter or not war industries are driving war policy. I don't see it. I also don't believe in Sasquatch, but maybe that is my problem. I just don't draw the line(s) between Osama and the rest of his family, which owns a very big construction company in the Mid East. The last I had heard, they disowned him. Some of this discussion sound like those conspiracy theories that 'prove' that there was another shooter in the JFK assasination. I think Oswald did it all by himself.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 12, 2007 at 9:28 pm

Sean, we have had a permanent wartime economy since the second world war. Perhaps you are not familiar with Eisenhower's famous speech in regards to the military industrial complex. In terms of manufacturing, harldly anything is made here anymore, as most of the manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas to countries like china and india. You seem to be avoiding the original post by Al, and the issues he raised. To dismiss these critical issues as being conspiratory is a typical response, which only serves to distract us from the topics at hand. I suggest that you do some investigations of your own. I recommend the following websites:

www.globalresearch.ca
and reading some foreign papers like the guardian.uk


Posted by Anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 12, 2007 at 9:35 pm

another useful site for sean and others is www.counterpunch.org


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2007 at 9:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 12, 2007 at 9:45 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Haddaway, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 13, 2007 at 1:51 am

Yes, it's time that we "surrender" now. Don't use the word "withdraw" or "redeploy." Use the term our enemy will use -- surrender! When you cut and run, you're surrendering. You think the casualties are high now -- just wait. It will make the 2 million slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge look like a dress rehearsal. Our surrender will also provide a safe haven for al-Qaeda. They'll finally have a state!


Posted by ABC, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 13, 2007 at 3:25 am

It will be beneficial if Al Qaeda had a state. It would be easy to attack and destroy. Right now Al Qaeda is all over Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan, etc. etc.



Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2007 at 5:36 am

The implication in the original statement is that war is an opportunity for immense profit. It is not. The opportunities for profit are vastly greater in peacetime. Wartime profits have long been subject to audit and recovery.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2007 at 9:21 am

This thread should be titled "Time to Cut and Run" or "Time to Surrender". It's time to stop continually blaming President Bush and start placing some of the blame on leaders in the Democrat party. Appeasing the hard left by continuing to make empty promises at election time should not be received by thoughtful voters as acceptable behavior.


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 13, 2007 at 9:29 am

Kate--I cannot believe that you are seriously blaming the Democrats for the fiasco in Iraq.
What should not be "received by thoughtful voters as acceptable behavior" is the continuous stream of lies emanating from the White House, the fact that our soldiers are being sent off to war ill-trained and ill-equipped (remember old Donnie Rumsfield's quote about the army you have), then being mistreated when they return wounded--the list goes on and on.


Posted by sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2007 at 9:40 am

Bush started this war and the Democratic party is to blame for it. I don't think I've heard this kind of abusrdity in a long time. The surge is a sameless and immoral scheme to save the Bush presidency using the blood of our trrops. Cut and run is the wrong chice of words. It should be: impeach,remove from office prosecute and jail Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2007 at 9:50 am

walter, exxon recently posted the largest profits of any company in the history of our time on the earth...during war. Once again, we've had a permanent war time economy since wwII. Your statements don't make sense.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2007 at 11:29 am

Exxon sells a great deal of product. By any measure except sheer bulk they were only middling successful.
Whatever success they do enjoy they can thank the greenies who have opposed all domestic oil production. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2007 at 12:32 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sean, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 1:20 pm

The original thrust of this thread was, essentially, two-fold:

1. The Iraq war is unacceptably costly in terms of blood and treasure.

2. It (the war) is driven by war profiteering, with special emphasis on the Bush family connections.

I have already argued that this war is not very costly, compared to other wars the U.S. has fought.

I see no credible evidence that the war policy is driven by the profit motive and/or war profiteer political connections. This does not mean that there are not profits for war materials/services corporations. But where is the evidence that these people are driving policy?

The palpable hatred for Bush (e.g. sarlat) , by some of the posts, does not serve your arguments. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Where's the beef?


Posted by anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2007 at 1:40 pm

clearly sean you have not done your research:
the evidence, or beef, as you choose to call it, can be located in the websites that were previously mentioned.

www.counterpunch.org
www.globalresearch.ca
www.guardian.uk

perhaps if you actually do some research, you will find the meat that you claim to be hungry for. In regards to hysteria, and claiming that people are merely anti-bush, i have not seen any evidence of that in this forum. In regards to analytical capacity, the research should do you some good. it's not about hatred. It's about ending the atrocities that are government has started, with its blatant use of aggression, and total lack of diplomacy. perhaps you are not aware of the huge deficit that are country is now burdened with. the clinton administration had brought this under control, but since the republicans have been in office, it has increased to the highest levels of all time, and thus threatens the global market in many ways. try not to be so quick to judge, and actually do some research. perhaps then you will have something to add to the forum. remember, that just because you refuse to see something doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.


Posted by sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2007 at 1:40 pm

The beef is in the original post that started this thread. There's much additional proof that one of the reasons for this war was war profiteering by the likes of the Bush family and Cheney. Those who support Bush and this war will not be influenced by it, just like flat earthers, who deny that the earth is round even when they look at satellite photos of it.


Posted by Sean, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 1:49 pm

anon,

I'm not going to do your research for you. Provide some credible evidence that war profiteers are driving the war policies. I haven't seen any yet. Be specific, don't just refer to some questionable websites. Give relevant facts and numbers. I have already shot down the notion that the (given) numbers prove the case. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2007 at 1:57 pm

sean, i have done, and will continue to do my research. I told you where you could find some beef, which you claimed to be looking for. If you refuse to look for it, and merely dismiss the sites that i suggested, than so be it. accusing sarat of hysterics and juvenille behavior is totally unacceptabe. He has made some fine contributions, and i say this not because that i agree or disagree. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sean, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 2:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anon., a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2007 at 2:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sean, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 2:15 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2007 at 5:45 pm

Marvin - What have the Democrats done to date....Vote for the war and then continue to fund it. I think what I said is accurate.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2007 at 7:38 am

How about a comparison of the profits of defense contractors and civilian product producers? If war is so profitable the stock market should show it. Which way did the market go when Iran took the latest hostages, bucky?


Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 14, 2007 at 1:03 pm

To Kate

I love your bottom line

"What have the Democrats done to date....Vote for the war and then continue to fund it."

They do so because they know extremely well that to do otherwise, regardless of their mouthings to the far left, spells suicide for the United States and the death of millions in Iraq, not to mention the return of a dictatorship and a haven for terrorists.. They just can't tell the truth out loud to their base because either their base doesn't understand that, or their base WANTS us to leave in defeat, no matter how you name it.


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