October 1, 2007

Hearings give glimpse into bloody, unaccountable, massively profitable world of Blackwater, Halliburton war profiteers

From the report on Blackwater delivered to the House Government Oversight Committee:
The security services provided by Blackwater would typically be performed by an Army Sergeant, whose salary, housing, and subsistence pay range from approximately $140 to $190 per day, depending on rank and years of service. On an annual basis, the salary, housing, and subsistence pay of an Army Sergeant ranges from $51,100 to $69,350 per year. The amount the government pays Blackwater for these same services is approximately six to nine times greater.
Any of the bright lights who have tried to justify these killing for profit outfits care to take a shot at defending that?

The Washington Post's Walter Pincus takes a closer look at the terms revealed during a House Oversight Committee investigation, of just one particular Blackwater contract and the complex web of subsidiaries surrounding it and provides a comparison of the costs to that of even General Petraeus.

Such a deal at only six to nine times the price. (out of YOUR pocket)

According to data provided to the House panel, the average per-day pay to personnel Blackwater hired was $600. According to the schedule of rates, supplies and services attached to the contract, Blackwater charged Regency $1,075 a day for senior managers, $945 a day for middle managers and $815 a day for operators.

According to data provided to the House panel, Regency charged ESS an average of $1,100 a day for the same people. How the Blackwater and Regency security charges were passed on by ESS to Halliburton's KBR cannot easily be determined since the catering company was paid on a per-meal basis, with security being a percentage of that charge.

Halliburton's KBR blended its security costs into the blanket costs passed on to the Defense Department.

How much more these costs are compared with the pay of U.S. troops is easier to determine.

An unmarried sergeant given Iraq pay and relief from U.S. taxes makes about $83 to $85 a day, given time in service. A married sergeant with children makes about double that, $170 a day.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Baghdad overseeing more than 160,000 U.S. troops, makes roughly $180,000 a year, or about $493 a day. That comes out to less than half the fee charged by Blackwater for its senior manager of a 34-man security team.


A report issued to the committee revealed recklessness from taxpayer funded mercenary companies, including the fact that they usually fired first, were often drunk, and killed people indescriminately.
Guards working in Iraq for Blackwater USA have shot innocent Iraqi civilians and have sought to cover up the incidents, sometimes with the help of the State Department, a report to a Congressional committee said today.

The report, based largely on internal Blackwater e-mail messages and State Department documents, depicts the security contractor as being staffed with reckless, shoot-first guards who were not always sober and did not always stop to see who or what was hit by their bullets.

In one incident, the State Department and Blackwater agreed to pay $15,000 to the family of a man killed by “a drunken Blackwater contractor,” the report said. As a State Department official wrote, “We would like to help them resolve this so we can continue with our protective mission.”

The committee is to hold what will likely be a blockbuster hearing on Blackwater tomorrow (Tues) with witnesses to include the reclusive young far-right owner of Blackwater, Eric Prince.

An overview of the report noting some of the Blackwater and State Department attrocities can be read HERE.

It's far overdue for these sorts of operations to be revealed and hopefully discontinued. The fact that this multi-billion dollar industry was set up, put in place, and grown to the point where they almost outnumber our actual military, and all under the radar of 99% of Americans who pay for it, is an outrage.


At 10/02/2007 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you so against our boys doing a job that no one else wants to do. This group can do the job without the guidlines that the conventional military needs to follow. If it were up to you we would all be speaking Arabic.

At 10/02/2007 10:56 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon above,
You've really got no use for reality or facts, do you.

Yeah, those A-Rabs would be running this entire country if it were up to the likes of me. What an absolutely daft thing to say.

And your weird view on this matter makes ya wonder how we ever managed to win nearly all the wars we've ever been in WITHOUT sub-contracting our military to politically connected gun for hire corporations, which in turn hire ex-military types for 9 times what they got paid while in uniform.

Come to think of it, we won all the wars until corporations started trying to make war into a profit-making industry.

And this "war" is the worst mess in history. Guess your precious Rambo for dough types are really helping.

No wonder Bush refuses to do ANYTHING which would serve to at least try to bring this situation to a point where we could be less involved. The corporations want the situation to go on forever.

They've driven the economy into the tank, off-shored our manufacturing base, so I guess the only thing left to do is to make our entire economy dependent on endless war.

Sounds just great.

At 10/03/2007 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You bitch that we have soldiers there.

Then you bitch when we do something to have less soldiers there.

Ok, we get it already - you want out of Iraq. Unfortunately, even the Dem POTUS candidates know that we cannot be fully out of Iraq for YEARS. The Dem's ran on getting us out - and they know that they cannot get this accomplished.

We know where you stand - can you post about something else!?

Immigration Reform
Economic issues in the area


At 10/03/2007 8:25 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 7:39

You're so wrong on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin.

First of all, I don't know that any so-called "liberal" would bitch if we got rid of these freaking theives who profit on death and war at the expense of you, the taxpayer. (where's the right wing freakout about paying taxes and "government waste", huh? Guess you're just fine with throwing away billions as long as it's going towards killing people that your dullard saint Bush instructs you to hate. You don't have the faintest concern that you don't know anything about these people, nor is your concience bothered by the fact that there are REAL blood and guts and brains being splattered all over the place over there, and most of them are completely innocent citizens.

And apparently you're also so thick that you insist on thinking there's some sort of "victory" possible in this ill-conceived mess you cheer-led for years despite overwhelming evidence and testimony by everyone involved other than the chicken-hawks in the administration who want to keep the gravy train running for their pals.
Why do you support them? Are you profiting from the occupation too?
Or are you mortgaging your children's future to pay for it all with no concern at all?

But the point is that your characterization of my position, and that of most Democrats, is utterly distorted and a lie.

Dems want soldiers doing what soldiers do, not paying some politically connected guy billions of dollars to in essense establish a palace guard, ala Sadaam and other dictators.

Why you can't see the danger in this, not to mention the sheer waste, is unbelievable to me.

These mercenaries have played an enormous part in ESCALLATING and prolonging the violence against our troops. Why do you hate the troops?

You actually WANT these rougue forces over there inflaming the citizenry and inspiring even more vicious attacks on our military?

Don't you think the military knows better how to handle these things than a bunch of washed up killers for hire?

You see nothing odd about the head of Blackwater, by all accounts a rabid born-again fundementalist, who's making billions by killing muslims? A guy devoted to Christ who makes it his profession to arm and train people to kill for profit? Think there's some sort of twisted holy war going on for this guy?

And you SUPPORT and DEFEND this being done in our names?

No Dem or "liberal" has a problem with having soldiers in Iraq providing security. So dump that stupid argument that they don't.

And yeah, it's sadly true that the Dems don't have enough of a majority to be effective in shifting strategies and tactics in Iraq and beginning an orderly withdrawal.

That will likely change soon enough.

And you're dead wrong when you assert that the Dem presidential candidates know we can't be out of Iraq for years.

You completly misrepresent what they said, (surprise, surprise).

They simply said that they couldn't say, at this moment, that we'd be out of Iraq years from now. How could anyone promise that and be responsible or honest?

If they did, you'd be howling about that too, and you know it.

And of course you're trying to distort the entire argument like usual by suggesting that Dems or liberals somehow are demanding, or even think that it's possible, for us to bring out every single American from within Iraq.

That's a gross distortion of what they've called for, and you ought to be smart enough to realize it.

Of course there will be a presense there for likely decades. But we can not continue to sustain our military presense as Bush has much longer. Even the generals acknowledge this, and Bush's phoney-ass draw down of troops was going to happen regardless, because he's stretched our military to the breaking point and in some cases beyond.

And it comes as no surprise that you're whining about not wanting to hear about Iraq. If I were a Republican, I would want to try to ignore it too.

But if it gets you hot talking about taxes, healthcare, immigration reform, economic issues in the area, and other enormous and complex issues,
then be my guest.

Send along your well-researched and documented post and I'll put it up.

Heck, why not write one that thoroughly covers ALL of those topics you want me to cover.

If I can somehow be expected to do it, surely it should be a cinch for you.

But in case you haven't noticed, I'm really not paid to spend days and weeks delving into thorny policy issues like that. (by the way, I must have missed your donation.)

And believe it or not, I'm not such a policy wonk that I actually would enjoy doing so.

Frankly, while the issues you mention are all very important, I find discussing tax issues to be an exercise in futility, as it quickly descends into such arcane theory that it numbs the mind, and it always ends with people throwing dubious figures at each other, which is utterly pointless.

Health care? Have at it. Another area where you'd have to have studied the topic for years to discuss with any authority. Beyond that all you get is, "everyone should have government health care", and "No, they shouldn't." That alone could sum up a thousand comments on that subject.

dull, and they'e never gotten any real response from readers either when I've discussed them in the past.

Immigration reform? Out of the tens of millions of words written and spoken on this topic, MAYBE 1/2 of 1% of them were rational or in any way reasonable. The topic is toxic and insoluble, most especially on this blog.

Again, I can save a lot of time by summing up what it would amount to: "We should keep things the way they are." and "No we shouldn't.", and their correlary's, "Immigrants strengthen our nation and should be welcomed." and "I hate people who don't look like me. This country belongs to white people and we should kick everyone else out because I blame them for every bad effect that the Republican enabled corporate economy has done to me and society."

Economic issues in our area?

That's always a hot topic.

First of all, I'm not a member of the chamber. I don't attend any Rotary Club meetings, I'm not a part of any economic development group, I'm not a member of any local government, and I'm not the president or CEO of any large local company.

I don't know anything about any possible economic issue in this area, other than despite all the tail chasing these groups have done, and all the money they've spent on conferences and consultants and the like, there's been little to show for it.

I find it hard to get really giddy about some corporate high rise downtown, or some plans for high-end boutiques and condos. Sorry.

Likewise, it disgusts me so much to hear, in association with every single economic development plan, the HUGE almost groteque blackmail terms these companies extort from every level of government from the state on down, that I can't stand to even talk about it.
I fail to see the benefit of paying through the nose to attract businesses who's REAL economic benefit to the area will likely never approach what the tax payers have given them, of if they do, it's barely noticable.

So hope that answers your question.

Now sit down and tackle all those issues you think I should cover.

I'll be waiting for your e-mail with the results.

At 10/04/2007 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope, I can't stand to read your little blips, why would you think that I'd waste my time reading 43 paragraphs of you ranting?

If you cannot be concise in your thoughts presentation...please do not think that your long-windedness conceals your sloppy thought process.

At 10/04/2007 12:55 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 7:41

If your ADD prevents you from comprehending anything longer than a bumper sticker, then I suggest you stick to reading USA Today or the crawl on cable news.

Your stupidity is revealed by the fact you criticize my "thoughts presentation" as sloppy, only after revealing that you don't read them.


Your severe problem with reading comprehension must obviously prevent you from reading anything over a few paragraphs, which would suggest you're utterly uninformed and ignorant on most things.

I'm sure that if my "long winded" opinions were more in line with yours, you'd have no problem whatsoever in comprehending their meaning.

Being willfully ignorant isn't something I'd think you'd be so eager to admit.


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