March 27, 2008

Join the party, get while the gettin's good.


This is Efraim E. Diveroli.

His company was awarded a contract with the Pentagon worth $300 million dollars. In exchange he was to supply ammunition to Afghans fighting the Taliban and al Queda in Afghanistan. He claims to have been making $200 million a year on such government contracts.

He's 22 years old. His vice-president is a 25 year old masseuse. He's appears to party a lot and tends to get in trouble harassing girlfriends in Miami.

And just as in countless other such cases, Efraim (and the shysters behind his company) were not only given hundreds of millions of your tax dollars with next to no questions asked, but of course they were also providing near useless junk to the soldiers in the field.

Once in Afghanistan, when the ammo spilled out of their crumbling cardboard boxes, it was revealed that much of it was 42 years old, having been made in China in 1966!

And the contract was accepted and approved at the Rock Island Arsenal, and was allowed to continue despite ... well, here's a tidbit from the very interesting story in the New York Times.
But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur.

With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.

In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking.

Moreover, tens of millions of the rifle and machine-gun cartridges were manufactured in China, making their procurement a possible violation of American law. The company’s president, Efraim E. Diveroli, was also secretly recorded in a conversation that suggested corruption in his company’s purchase of more than 100 million aging rounds in Albania, according to audio files of the conversation.

This week, after repeated inquiries about AEY’s performance by The Times, the Army suspended the company from any future federal contracting, citing shipments of Chinese ammunition and claiming that Mr. Diveroli misled the Army by saying the munitions were Hungarian.

...

In January, American officers in Kabul, concerned about munitions from AEY, had contacted the Army’s Rock Island Arsenal, in Illinois, and raised the possibility of terminating the contract. And officials at the Army Sustainment Command, the contracting authority at the arsenal, after meeting with AEY in late February, said they were tightening the packaging standards for munitions shipped to the war.

And yet after that meeting, AEY sent another shipment of nearly one million cartridges to Afghanistan that the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan regarded as substandard. Lt. Col. David G. Johnson, the command spokesman, said that while there were no reports of ammunition misfiring, some of it was in such poor condition that the military had decided not to issue it. “Our honest answer is that the ammunition is of a quality that is less than desirable; the munitions do not appear to meet the standards that many of us are used to,” Colonel Johnson said. “We are not pleased with the way it was delivered.”

Several officials said the problems would have been avoided if the Army had written contracts and examined bidders more carefully.

Public records show that AEY’s contracts since 2004 have potentially been worth more than a third of a billion dollars. Mr. Diveroli set the value higher: he claimed to do $200 million in business each year.

Several military officers and government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the investigations, questioned how Mr. Diveroli, and a small group of men principally in their 20s and without extensive military or procurement experiences, landed so much vital government work.



Read the article. This is what happens when a Republican government starts handing out literally billions of dollars with little or no oversight. They threw open the doors to the treasury and said come and get it.

And the details of how the company was established as well as more background on this enterprising 22 year old makes the tale even more bizarre.

Their only idea of economic stimulus is to start a war and make the rich far more rich.

In addition to a previous case in which a few people were convicted of fraud due to their dealings and fraudulent contracts with the Arsenal, this case is likely only the very tip of an enormous iceberg of billions upon billions of those same precious tax dollars Republicans don't want to pay which has been utterly squandered and stolen by anyone plugged in and bold enough to grab it.

Yet another great reason to keep this all up for as long as we possibly can. Vote McCain!

24 Comments:

At 3/28/2008 2:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember some time ago QC Examiner, paladin, or whatever was the pseudonym du jour saying something to the effect that the "defense" department was the only competent wing of the US government.

snort snicker guffaw.

 
At 3/28/2008 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knew that one of the nerve centers for the rampant war profiteering was located right in our fair community.

I find it interesting that when authorities in Afghanistan pointed out to the Rock Island Arsenal based procurement command that these munitions were decades old and basically crap, their response was to tighten the requirements for the PACKAGING of the junk.

In other words, put them in newer boxes.

Amazing.

 
At 3/28/2008 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait for Hillary or Obama, people will never get away with frauding the US Government then.

Probably never happened under Clinton either.

 
At 3/28/2008 8:26 PM, Blogger Wes said...

Sounds like this is more of case of fraud by these hipster doofuses than anything else. If you look through all of the documents online they misrepresented the ammunition they were contracted for by placing false information in a certificate presented to the Army. The poor quality when it arrived is why it ultimately came to light.

I think I read recently that the Army is going to have a Contracting Command because of the lack of control in writing and executing contracts. The Argus said it might end up at the Arsenal.

 
At 3/29/2008 2:34 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 5:25

Yeah, you're so right. It's not worth caring about, after all, something like it may have happened at some time in the past.

I'm sorry I even brought it up.

You're right.

 
At 3/29/2008 2:44 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Wes,

Apparently there has been some sort of contracting authority at the RIA for some time.

I recall a trial being held locally where a couple guy got convicted of bribery or some sort of corruption in securing military contracts.

The fact remains that this sort of thing is widespread. This is NOT an isolated incident by any means.

And of course, don't forget that the government itself has found that they can't account for several hundred MILLION dollars that magically vanished once it got to Iraq. They have no records of where it was spent, by whom, or for what. It just vanished.

And there's been many other instances of such corruption reported, even though it's nearly impossible to unearth.

The congress hides all these billions in thousands of earmarks which are reported in code which gives no clue as to what it's for in government publications.

Some reporters spent nearly a year trying to match the earmarks with actual contracts in only their area of the northwest and uncovered many milllions of dollars in contracts for tee-shirts that melted when exposed to heat, melting to soldiers skins and making their burns worse, yet the contract was still continued and the company was then paid more to provide thousands more shirts made of flame resistent material.

Another contract spent millions of dollars on night vision scopes that fit over one eye of a soldier in the field while attached to their helmets.

The units didn't work worth a damn in the field and the commanders said so. But the government still ordered millions of dollars more of them, despite the fact that they'd already paid ANOTHER company to see if THEIR units worked any better.

The waste and corruption would curl your hair and start riots in the streets if even a fraction of the fraud and outright theft were brought to light. The profiteering on this "war" puts to shame the level of such corruption during previous conflicts.

 
At 3/29/2008 10:59 AM, Anonymous sueshedap;puhleeze said...

TID,
what you've brought to light is really disgusting. This lack of over-sight, and basically nodody in this administration really gives a damn, is criminal...

Yesterday watched Frontline's "Bush's War" as I had taped it so as to go back and watch moments carefully at my leisure. The thought occurred that Frontline or ? should do a documentary that investigates and chronicals all the war contractors and their actions parallel to the time-line followed in "Bush's War". Especially looking into Cheney and Rumsfeld's actions and connections concerning all the companies they either were CEO's of or sat on the BOD's, etc. previously before the collossal blunder in Iraq.

 
At 3/30/2008 12:48 AM, Blogger Saul said...

sueshedap:

There is a good documentary about this kind of corruption, called "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers". The website is here:
http://iraqforsale.org/
I believe you can find the whole thing on youtube, broken into a bunch of clips.

It doesn't look in to all of the things you suggest, but it's very much worth watching.

 
At 3/30/2008 1:24 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Sue,

I watched both parts of the outstanding "Frontline" documentary "Bush's War", and all I can say is that I was left with a wish that everyone in the country could see it, and especially those blow-hards on the right that continue to live with their heads in the sand over just what was going on in this entire boondogle in Iraq.

The idioticly rigid adherance to crazy right wing theories and dogma, attempting to force a form of Republican utopia on a country that they'd just destroyed and thrown into chaos, the fantastically stupid moves of Bremer in disbanding the Iraqi army and issueing an utterly stupid order to throw Bathists (Sadaam's party) out of every position they held in government.

What this meant was that even teachers were thrown out of work. The "de-Bathification" order didn't concentrate on the top leadership, where it was justified, but threw out tens of thousands of people simply because they had become Bathists, largely because they HAD TO in order to get or keep their bureuacratic jobs.

These two collossally stupid moves alone created untold tens or even hundreds of thousands of heavily armed, now broke and out of work, Iraqis into the streets.

Did this make our job harder? Consider the fact that the first roadside bomb killing our troops was set off within 72 hours of these moves.

The show details dozens and dozens of such obvious blunders. It's truly an eye opener, and as I said, it even made me think that rock-headed Republicoids would change their attitude about the entire effort if they'd only watch it.

I seriously considered BUYING a copy of the show for my extreme right blowhard pal Jim Mowen, but then realized he's in such a deep state of denial that he easily brushes off facts and would dismiss the accounts of even Bush administration figures who were there if it tended to upset his fantasy versions of what's occured in Iraq for over 5 years now.

But there is an outstanding tool at the Frontline website. It's an interactive timeline that leads you through the unfolding of the immediate aftermath of the invasion and up until the present.

It's an incredibly useful tool for anyone who cares to know what the hell they're talking about when discussing this issue, which, unfortunately, excludes those who are the loudest and most insistent in spouting delusional "facts" about it.

 
At 4/01/2008 6:13 AM, Anonymous sueshedap;puhleeze said...

To Saul...Thank-you for the site.
Before the war started I looked at Rumsfeld's own web-site. It mentioned at least half a dozen companies in which he was somehow involved. Now can't find his site, but the government site just mentions three. Hmmmmmmm...light foot- print getting lighter?

To TID....and Bremer STILL thinks it was all such a good idea....!

 
At 4/01/2008 10:43 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Sue,
That brings to mind the policy of Bush to hire specifically people who had NO EXPERIENCE or qualifications for their major jobs.

Bremmer had ZERO knowledge or experience in the mid-east, didn't understand a thing about the various factions and religious rivalries, etc. Yet he was issuing major fateful decisions which we're still paying for to this day, AND often completely on his own with no consultation with anyone, only days after his sudden arrival in Iraq.

Likewise, it reminds me of General Brady, I believe, the guy they picked to be in command of all military forces in Iraq just as things were completely disintegrating who NO ONE had heard about and who had NEVER led troops in combat in his entire career!

This of course was only after all the generals and brass, including Tommy Franks, who had directed the invasion got the hell out and quit once it became clear that the whole thing was a disaster of collossal proportions. (what patriots, eh?) and they were replaced with some obscure general who didn't know what he was doing either and had never lead a force larger than a brigade.

Then when he finally bugged out, they put in this Brady guy who was incredibly even less qualified.

If only more people could learn about what REALLY happened and how, there'd be less morons running around thinking that while it may have not gone too well, it couldn't be helped.

If you know the truth, it's crystal clear that the situation there now is the direct result of one stupid and ill-considered decision after another, and absolutely ridiculous ego wars among the gang of incompetents at the top, such as Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and others.

The only sane people at the top were all cut out of the loop, ignored, and pushed aside.

The story is stunning.

 
At 4/01/2008 7:29 PM, Blogger Cal Skinner said...

Do you know if the incompetents approving and supervising the contracts were civil service or politically appointed?

 
At 4/01/2008 11:57 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Cal,

I really don't know the answer to your question, but I'd strongly suspect that they're military, since they're soliciting and approving contracts for military supplies and services.

The Rock Island Arsenal is a military installation, though a great proportion of the workforce there are civilians.

But when someone is in charge of letting literally hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts, I'm not sure they'd put a civilian or civil service person in charge.

But that's just my assumption.

There's talk of a congressional investigation of those responsible, including calling the general in charge of this particular department to testify before congress.

 
At 4/02/2008 1:10 AM, Blogger t said...

Your point is that ... only the cleanest and the brightest should deal in arms for the government? You want the stuff you need to go kill people or you don't.

 
At 4/02/2008 3:57 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

T,
It's idiotic and corrupt thinking like yours that leads to this criminal activity in the first place.

You're saying, with a straight face I'm assuming, that it's crazy to expect fair dealings from defense contractors, and that the only way to supply our vast killing machine is to not only deal with those who blatantly steal from the American people, but to expect it and therefore not do anything about it.

Yep, you're a great American alright.

 
At 4/02/2008 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand - is it your belief that corruption/ incompetance in governemnt is new?

Or is it that you think that corruption/ incompetance in government is a Republican issue?

Let me help you out...it is ingrained in government, regardless of who is in charge of the White House or the Congress.

This is exactly why National Healthcare is a bad idea.

 
At 4/02/2008 10:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

It's my opinion that a terribly warped and unproductive view of government is ingrained in your head.

You've been fully brainwashed into thinking that government is the enemy and that it serves no purpose, that it's inherantly corrupt and inefficient, etc.

But when you examine this, you find that the only reason you believe this is because your conservative idols have told you.

You have no evidence, you have no examples that would serve to prove it. (other than constantly relying on often fabricated annecdotes and isolated instances)

Yet you simply believe it all like some witless lemming.

And not only that, you seem to be carrying this warped and flawed logic to the next level.

You think government is evil and corrupt and therefore, the best solution is to eliminate it.

This post and the countless examples of much the same proves the opposite.

It's when your solution is put into practice that we begin to see really systematic and large scale corruption and fraud, far beyond the levels which occur naturally in any large organization such as the U.S. government.

But within the government, there are more safeguards, and the profit motive alone is like putting out the welcome mat for every greedy con man on the planet.

I suggest you try to gently extract your head out of your own posterior and see if you dare step outside your rigid little ideological box you hide in.

 
At 4/03/2008 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome, thanks Dope. Let me put it to you in this manner (and go back as far as you so desire),

Please provide me the list of government agencies that run with efficiency and effectiveness.

Next, can you provide a list of issues that the Government has solved?

I am greatly anticipating your response!

 
At 4/03/2008 8:13 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You can stop rubbing your thighs now Mowen. And quit pretending you want to have anything resembling a rational discussion.

You've got a serious bug up your ass since you blame me for the fact that everyone now knows what an rigid, mindless tool you are.

I didn't make you that way, I simply pointed it out when you displayed it here for all to see.

Don't hate me for that. Hate the fact that you're unable to think for yourself or acknowledge reality. Be angry that you've continued down the path of conservative lunacy so far you now can't risk admitting you've been dead wrong all along, much less acknowledge what 3/4 of your fellow Americans and nearly all the people on the planet can plainly see.... that all your goofy ideological theories and ideas have been catastrophic failures.

You're right.

No one ever gets their Social Security checks on time and correct, there's planes crashing into each other all over the place, people routinely are poisoned by tainted food products and untested drugs,... you know, why do I even bother?

You are a lunatic, you actually think that there's not one government agency that operates efficiently, (or at least as efficiently as any private concern) and that we don't benefit from any government actions or programs.

And of course, since there's thousands of examples of government duties being handed over to for-profit corporations and companies, it should be a cinch for you to list dozens of cases where that's saved money and increased efficiency. Can't wait.

That is a person who is so deluded, so rigidly wedded to far right dogma, shows an utter refusal to acknowledge the world around them and the results of adhering to those ill-conceived theories. For 7 years, your concepts have been massively implemented.

They've been disasterous for the country and the world, not to mention the citizens of the United States.

To even being a discussion with someone that continues to make ridiculous arguments supporting such failed policies and theories is a complete waste of time, as you've shown countless times.

Do you even realize just how stupendously idiotic you sound when you ask for a list of problems government agencies have "solved"???

That's your standard? That unless government agencies have "solved" enormous problems, they're therefore unecessary?

Is that what they're there for? To completely solve major problems?

Are you saying that private for-profit businesses could solve these problems, therefore we should abolish government?

Or do you simply not want anyone or any agency even trying to minimize or prevent problems, fraud, corruption, pollution, or crime?

What the hell are you saying? That because all air and water isn't completely pristine that therefore the EPA is a failure?

Is it the EPA's job to "solve" all pollution?

That because some people are shot and murdered that the police are utter failures? Are they there to "solve" the problem of gun violence?

I could go on, but even if you're too daft to recognize the stupidity of your question, I'm sure all other readers do.

And of course, I suppose we'd be much better off with NO ONE regulating or safe-guarding anything. No government agencies whatsoever.

Well, your ideological soul-mates have systematically removed and dismantled much of the government and regulation over the past 7 years.

How's that workin' out?

Are things better or worse than they were in 2000?

It would be different if you were arguing for something that worked. But to sit there and try to argue for concepts which have utterly failed and left the country and it's citizens much worse off... well... that's you.

 
At 4/03/2008 3:41 PM, Anonymous nooncat said...

National healthcare is a bad idea because of corruption and incompetence in government? Sure. Corruption and incompetence in private insurance companies is far preferable. Isn't it, No-Win?

 
At 4/04/2008 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Social Security
Air Traffic Countrol

That is your answer for effectiveness and efficiency?

I appreciate your proving my point. MORE Government is certainly not the answer to our problems - and specifically to your post, Government has had its pockets of corruption since its inception.

 
At 4/05/2008 1:12 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And THAT's your idea of a response?

You said absolutely NOTHING. You didn't offer anything to strengthen or back up or defend your contention. NOTHING.

As always, you simply throw something back and .... I don't know... we're all supposed to just believe your point, whatever it is, simply because you say so?

What's wrong with you, besides not having a leg to stand on?

YES, Social Security and air traffic control are just two incredbily well administered and well run government functions.

Are you saying they're not? Oh of course, you don't know what you're talking about, have no evidence, but just assume everyone of us shares you lock-step assumption that any government agency or service must be terribly inefficient, wasteful, and unnecessary.

Forgive me if I don't share that view at all, and I'll tell you why.

Because it's simply NOT TRUE. It's just a right wing fantasy that's used to further their goal of replacing all government services with for-profit companies.

And you're simply functioning as a mindless tool of these elites.

Pull your head out.

If you don't have anything to offer but goofy conservative dogma, then keep it to yourself and those similarly deluded.

 
At 4/07/2008 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Dope, Lane Evans only contribution to the United States Government was that he was terrific at 'constituency services' - getting Social Security checks for poor widows when the system messed up.

Come on - even if 99% of the SS checks are sent on time - THAT is your barometer for success?

SS is a mess. It is, if not already, it will be soon, bankrupt.

How can I, WHY would I attempt to debate someone who has a premise that - Social Security is a shinig example of efficient and effective government?'

If this is your belief, then I am certainly wasting my time. In addition, I would believe that you are in a tremendous minority in this thought.

 
At 4/07/2008 3:53 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Please, I beg you. Stop and at least TRY to think before you form your arguments.

IF social security is in trouble financially, and informed people don't think it is anywhere close to the crisis that those who stand to make billions off of it's privatization have tried to convince people it is, it's not due to it's being inefficient.

The people that run Social Security and administer the program are not the reason it may need some tinkering. That's due to simple demographics.

So that argument falls flat on its face, as does your argument that because a few people had difficulties in straightening out paperwork errors or snafus in their SS benefits, the system was a mess.

Try to stick with reality and facts and don't take tiny little things and try to tell us they prove some gigantic sweeping generalization.

Your wing-nuts are absolutely in love with doing that, mainly because the interests of the most wealthy in this country depend on dupes believing things that simply aren't true.

 

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