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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 29, 2003 FOR MORE INFORMATION: Rania Masri: 919-419-8311 x27 email@example.com Chris Kromm: 919-419-8311 x26 firstname.lastname@example.org CONGRESS MUST INVESTIGATE WAR PROFITEERING BY HALLIBURTON AND OTHER BUSH-CONNECTED CORPORATIONS Newly-launched Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers says recent revelations of secrecy, ballooning tax-payer funded contracts underscores need for action DURHAM, N.C. – News reports yesterday that Bush-connected corporations Halliburton Co. and Bechtel are receiving billions of dollars in no-bid, insider contracts for Iraq reconstruction – including contracts previously kept from the public, and budget-busting increases on past contracts – demands immediate action by Congress to investigate and put an end to war profiteering, according to the newly-launched Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers. “It’s more clear than ever that a handful of big corporations with close ties to the Bush Administration are making hundreds of millions of dollars off the death and destruction of war, all at taxpayer expense,” says Rania Masri, a program director at the non-profit Institute for Southern Studies and co-director of the Campaign. “That’s war profiteering, and it needs to stop.” The Campaign, launched by the Institute earlier this month, has quickly galvanized veteran, peace, and other public interest groups across the country. Veterans for Peace, New York Labor Against the War, Peace Action, and other leading organizations have signed on to the campaign, as well as national progressive luminaries Noam Chomsky, Bill Fletcher, Jim Hightower, Naomi Klein, and Howard Zinn. Yesterday’s reports concerning Halliburton (Washington Post) and Bechtel (Wall Street Journal) revealed vital new information about the scope of insider deals and war profiteering, including: g The Washington Post reports that “As much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq” is being handed out to for-profit, big business contractors, led by Halliburton and Bechtel – both major contributors to and allies of the Bush Administration. a Halliburton, including its subsidiary Brown and Root, has been handed “contracts worth more than $1.7 billion … and stands to make hundreds of millions more,” mostly under contracts in which other companies were not allowed to bid. At least one contract had “not previously publicly acknowledged” by the Pentagon. (Washington Post) ) According to the Wall Street Journal, Bechtel’s Iraq contract was increased by $350 million – “more than 50%” – on top of the $680 million already given to the company in a “secret, no-bid contract.” Bechtel has former board members, former and current VPs and Presidents, the current CEO, and “friends” with seats in the President’s Export Council, the Defense Policy Board, Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, USAID, the CIA, and several other government agencies. “Ever since Halliburton received a secret, unlimited contract for logistical support operations in 2001 for the ‘war on terror,’ it’s been clear that Bush-connected corporations have had an inside track,” said Chris Kromm, director of the Institute and a coordinator with the campaign. “When Halliburton reports that the company’s profits jumped $26 million in the second quarter of 2003 while the rest of the economy is stalling, it’s also clear they’re making a killing off the business of war,” Kromm added. Campaign organizers say the recent revelations of war profiteering add urgency to demands the Campaign set our earlier this month, including: C CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS ON WAR PROFITEERING: Congress should convene hearings immediately to investigate the scope of war profiteering, modeled on hearings in the 1930s by Sen. Gerald Nye or during World War II by Sen. Harry Truman. STOP CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND “DIRTY” CONTRACTS: As part of its investigation, Congress should examine and implement measures against conflicts of interest between companies receiving contracts and Administration leaders. Contracts should also only go to companies with clean business records – unlike Halliburton, which is under SEC investigation for financial scandals, has been accused of running up $2.2 billion in over-charges for previous contracts, and has yet to explain its business dealings in Iraq during the 1990s, when the country was supposedly under sanctions. a REIGN IN PROFITEERING THROUGH AN “EXCESS PROFITS TAX”: As contractors rake in billions of dollars in profits from military contracts – such as the $490 million in taxpayer-funded profits promised to Halliburton in just one contract – the Campaign demands that Congress reinstate the “Excess Profits Tax.” Such taxes to stop undue profiting from military contracts were levied during the Civil War, both World Wars, and the Korean War. Tara Purohit, an Institute associate working on the campaign, noted that during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said “I don’t want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this disaster,” and then-Senator Harry Truman denounced war profiteering as “treason.” Earlier in the century, Sen. Robert LaFollette called war profiteers “enemies of democracy in the homeland.” “Our country has a proud history of leaders who have stood up to the war profiteers,” said Purohit. “Now it’s time for today’s leaders to stand up to the new merchants of misery and corporate war looters.” For more information about the Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers, visit www.southernstudies.org Founded in 1970 by civil rights veterans, the Institute for Southern Studies is a research, education and action center based in Durham, North Carolina. The Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers is part of the Institute’s Southern Peace Research and Education Center, designed to explore the South’s unique ties to foreign policy and the military-industrial complex. The Institute also publishes Southern Exposure, the award-winning journal of politics and culture. # end # _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk