US Lawmakers Invested in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
by Abid Aslam
WASHINGTON – U.S. lawmakers have a financial interest in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a review of their accounts has revealed.
Members of Congress invested nearly 196 million dollars of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon contracts to provide goods and services to U.S. armed forces, say nonpartisan watchdog groups.
Lawmakers charged with overseeing Pentagon contractors hold stock in those very firms, as do vocal critics of the war in Iraq, says the Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP).
Senator John Kerry, the Democrat from Massachusetts who staked his 2004 presidential bid in part on his opposition to the war, tops the list of investors.
His holdings in firms with Pentagon contracts of at least five million dollars stood at between 28.9 million dollars and 38.2 million dollars as of Dec. 31, 2006. Kerry sits on the Senate foreign relations panel.
Other top investors include Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican with holdings of 12.1 million – 49.1 million dollars; Rep. Robin Hayes, a North Carolina Republican (9.2 million – 37.1 million dollars); Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin (5.2 million – 7.6 million dollars); and Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat (2.7 million – 6.3 million dollars).
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the Democrat and former governor of West Virginia who chairs the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, invested some 2.0 million dollars in Pentagon contractors, CRP says.
Other panel chiefs who invested in defence firms include Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Independent who presides over the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rep. Howard Berman, the California Democrat who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
In all, 151 current members of Congress — more than one-fourth of the total — have invested between 78.7 million dollars and 195.5 million dollars in companies that received defence contracts of at least 5.0 million dollars, according to CRP.
These companies received more than 275.6 billion dollars from the government in 2006, or 755 million dollars per day, says budget watchdog group OMB Watch.
The investments yielded lawmakers 15.8 million – 62 million dollars in dividend income, capital gains, royalties, and interest from 2004 through 2006, says CRP.
Democratic Blood Money and Senator Feinstein’s War Profiteering
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California silently resigned from her post on the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) late last week as her ethical limbo with war contracts began to surface in the media, including an excellent investigative report written by Peter Byrne for Metro in January. MILCON has supervised the appropriations of billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts since the Bush wars began.
Feinstein, who served as chairperson and ranking member for the committee from 2001-2005, came under fire early last year in these pages for profiting by way of her husband Richard Blum who, until 2005, held large stakes in two defense contracting companies. Both businesses, URS and Perini, have scored lucrative contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last four years, and Blum has personally pocketed tens of millions of dollars off the deals his wife, along with her colleagues, so graciously approved.
Here’s a brief rundown of the Feinstein family’s blatant war profiteering. In April 2003, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave $500 million to Perini to provide services for Iraq’s Central Command. A month earlier in March 2003, Perini was awarded $25 million to design and construct a facility to support the Afghan National Army near Kabul. And in March 2004, Perini was awarded a hefty contract worth up to $500 million for “electrical power distribution and transmission” in southern Iraq.
But it is not just Perini that has made Feinstein and Blum wealthy. Blum also held over 111,000 shares of stock in URS Corporation, which is now one of the top defense contractors in the United States. Blum was an acting director of URS, which bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from the neocon packed Carlyle Group back in 2002.
“As part of EG&G’s sale price,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle, “Carlyle acquired a 21.74 percent stake in URS – second only to the 23.7 percent of shares controlled by Blum Capital.”
URS and Blum have since banked on the war in Iraq, attaining a $600 million contract through EG&G, which Sen. Feinstein permitted. As a result, URS has seen its stock price more than triple since the war began in March of 2003. Blum has cashed in over $2 million on this venture alone and another $100 million for his investment firm.
And it is not just the Feinstein family that has benefited from the war – so too has the Democratic Party. Since 2000, the Democrats’ Daddy Warbucks has donated over $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Committee including leading Democrats including John Kerry, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, and even Barbara Boxer.
Feinstein’s resignation from MILCON was the least the senator could do to atone for profiting off the spoils of war. But Feinstein wasn’t trying to atone, she seems to have been trying to cover her tracks instead by distancing herself from her post. If the Democratic Party had any foresight whatsoever it would return all the Blood Money donated by Blum. From there the Senate ought to hold hearings and examine Feinstein’s tenure as the chair and ranking member of MILCON and analyze every single contract she approved which benefited her husband’s respective companies.
There is absolutely no question – Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a plethora of ethics violations she needs to account for at once.
BUT DO NOT WORRY THESE WAR PROFITEERS WILL SAVE THE US ECONOMY WITH NEW WARS IN IRAN ,THE PHILIPPINES AND SOMALIA….WWIII?
It will be very good for politions and bankers and Wall Street BUT very bad for the average Joe ,it will be bad for the world and the economy.
Do you remember what happened the last time Wall Street bankers crashed the economy 1933?THEY FINANCIED THE SPREAD OF FASCISM, The Great Depression and WWII!
Well today we face a Great Depression and the fascist bussiness economic model is now in place ,what do THEY have planned next……..
GOOD OLD HILARY “WARDOG” STIRRING UP ANOTHER WAR SHE WILL NOT FIGHT IN BUT WILL MAKE MILLIONS ON(COWARD ,LIAR ,TRAITOR)
The world will not wait “indefinitely” for Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment program, Hillary Clinton said.
During a news conference in London Sunday following a meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, the U.S. Secretary of State said that the recent meeting between Iran and six world powers in Geneva was a good start but needed to be followed up with action on the part of Iran. The United States and Britain were among the world powers at the meeting.
“The international community will not wait indefinitely for evidence that Iran is prepared to live up to its international obligations,” Cinton said.
IRAN has signed the Non Poliferation Treaty (NPT) and has every right to develope civilian nuclear technology,it is AMERICA’S INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATION TO HELP THEM!!!! It is the US that is NOT prepared to live up to its international obligation ,by helping Iran develope nuclear power and prosecuting known WAR CRIMINALS and VETOING UN HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL!!
Philippines Another US Fake War in the making
MANILA – The arrival of about 3,000 US Marines in the Philippines next week for training and humanitarian missions in the wake of recent floods has some Filipino officials wary that the soldiers could be diverted to war-torn Sulu island, where Islamic extremists recently killed two US soldiers. The scheduled deployment represents five times the number of US troops currently stationed in the Philippines.
Michael Terrence Meiring is a Manila-controlled CIA-connected White House-protected explosives expert who spent the last ten years in the southern Philippines hanging out with Filipino intelligence and police brass, Muslim rebels and other `shady people’.
He equipped many of his acquaintances throughout Mindanao with explosives,spent large sums of mystery cash and traded in US Federal Reserve notes with the Abu Sayyaf Group – terrorists who regularly use the notes to buy weapons….a gang that provided the excuse for the new US-Philippine military alliance.
(”Meiring lost his left leg and suffered severe burns in various parts of his body when an explosive went off inside his room at the Evergreen Hotel here May 16. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents from the US Embassy in Manila reportedly sneaked him out of a Davao City hospital four days after the explosion and was brought to the Makati Medical Center for treatment.
Almost immediately after the blast, security tightened around Meiring.Hawthorn told The Times: “I was told by a Filipino in Davao, carrying a message from the US Embassy that Michael would never be charged with a crime in connection with the explosion. The investigation will end up at a stone wall. Michael will be protected and eventually taken back to the safety of the United States. The incident will be shortly forgotten, if you’re willing to forget it.”
Officials in Davao City will not forget. The suspicious blast took place during a wave of terror bombings across Mindanao as US and Philippine troops conducted anti-terror exercises. President Arroyo threatened to declare a state of emergency and demanded that lawmakers rush through her tough new anti-terror bill. Rush it through they did.
Now Prosecutor Bendico says the US-shielded `terrorist’ was trying to blow the hotel up.
Ethiopian Troops Pour Into Central Somalia
Ethiopian Forces Cross Border, Begin Rounding Up Somali Villagers
Locals say the Ethiopian forces were accompanied by soldiers affiliated with the self-proclaimed Somali government and the forces cut off the communication lines in the villages.
Ethiopia previously launched an invasion of Somalia in 2006 with the blessing of the US government. The invasion was an attempt to prop up the Somali government, which at the time was struggling in the face of growing support for the Islamic Courts Union.
MIGHT I SUGGEST WE LOOK AT HOW THE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WARS ARE GOING BEFORE LAUNCHING MORE WAR FOR PROFIT!!
Governments are the worst terrorist and war profiteers on the planet. Time to kick them out.
LIBERTARIAN SOCIALISM IS THE FUTURE
Power corrupts and absolute power attracts the absolutely corrupt!!