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[casi] NEWS: New Reports of War Profiteers Demand Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  August 29, 2003                                
Rania Masri: 919-419-8311 x27  
Chris Kromm: 919-419-8311 x26
Newly-launched Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers says recent revelations
of secrecy, ballooning tax-payer funded contracts underscores need for
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
“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
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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
# end #

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