The 25 Most Vicious Iraq War Profiteers
CACI was called upon by the U.S. government to provide 36 interrogators to Iraq, 10 of which were assigned to Abu Grhraib. While all the details have not yet come to light, it looks like CACI profited from Iraq in the worst possible way. One website notes that a leaked Army investigation implicated CACI employee Stephen Stefanowicz in the abuse of prisoners.” Furthermore, the allegations have led the Center for Constitutional Rights to agitate for trying CACI and its affiliates in U.S. courts.
Susan Burke, an attorney working on the case on CCR’s behalf, was quoted as saying “We believe that CACI and Titan engaged in a conspiracy to torture and abuse detainees, and did so to make more money.”
Bechtel is yet another Iraq contractor who seems to have benefited from close ties to the Bush Admistration. How else would a company recommended by the man who oversaw the Big Dig disaster possibly be awarded a $2.4 billion, no-bid reconstruction contract for Iraq’s infrastructure? Journalists and competitors are scratching their heads at why the Bush Administration trusted the choice of USAID chief Andrew Natsios after his woefully ineffective tenure at the head of the Massachussetts Turnpike Authority. While in that capacity, the Big Dig’s operating costs ballooned from an initial $2.6 billion to $14.6 billion, and the job still took years to complete!
In line with Natsios’ track record of recommendations, this one turned out to be a flop. Bechtel proceeded to lose its contract for the Basra Children’s Hospital Project after falling a year and a half behind schedule and $70-$90 million over budget.
23. Custer Battles
Custer Battles has the dubious distinction of being the first Iraq war contractor to be found guilty of fraud. In March 2006, a jury ordered Custer to pay damages in excess of $10 million for 37 counts of fraud, including what the judge called “false and fraudulently inflated invoices.” While Custer wriggled out of serious penalties on a technicality (the Coalition Provisional Authority is not part of the U.S. Government and therefore crimes against it cannot be tried under U.S. law), the whole ordeal has muddied the company’s reputation greatly, possibly beyond repair. It also seems to have opened the floodgates for similar cases of contractor fraud. As of fall 2006, a backlog of 70 fraud cases were pending against Iraq contractors doing all manner of work.
During the trial, a retired Army general testified that the inflated invoice scandal stood out to him as “probably the worst I’ve ever seen in my 30 years in the Army.”
24. Nour USA
Of all the companies on this list, Nour USA might be the only one who actually did not exist until the Iraq war got underway. Since its opportunistic opening, the company has recieved $400 million in Iraq-related contracts, including a gigantic $80 million deal to secure the nation’s oil pipelines. Some critics allege the contract was pushed through by Ahmed Chalabi (whom one website calls “Iraq’s No. 1 Opportunist.”) While Chalabi has denied this allegation, several other bidders on the pipeline contract point out how awfully strange it is for a company with no prior experience to be awarded such a large contract.
Of course, it probably didn’t hurt Nour to have William Cohen (former Defense Secretary under Bill Clinton) on board as a company consultant, but that’s another story.
25. General Dynamics
According to a Washington Post report in July of 2006, General Dynamics is one of the big-name defense contractors that has gotten the biggest monetary boost from the Iraq war. The key to General’s war profiteering strategy has been a broad focus on virtually everything the government needs to wage war, including tank shells, bullets for small arms, and even Stryker vehicles, which were first put to use during the initial 2003 invasion to remove Saddam.
All of this has lifted the company to tripled profitability since 9/11, and critics are speculating that ties to top Defense Agencies helped grease the wheels. According to the Project on Government Oversight, Genearl Dynamics formally announced that it was hiring a former top aide to the Army Chief of Staff in November 1999 – conveniently, just a month after the aid announced a grand new vision to introduce wheeled, light armored vehicles like the Stryker into regular use.