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FRANCE/UAE: Gulf base shows shift in France’s focus
by Ben Hall and Andrew EnglandFinancial Times
May 25th, 2009
France's new naval base in Abu Dhabi, its first overseas military base in 50 years, has sparked a round of lobbying on behalf of lucrative business for French companies including Dassault, the military aircraft maker, and a consortium of Total, GdF-Suez and Areva, which is bidding to build two nuclear power stations in the UAE. Dassault is hoping to sell as many as 60 of its Rafale fighters to the UAE.

WORLD: When Chevron Hires Ex-Reporter to Investigate Pollution, Chevron Looks Good
by Brian StelterNew York Times
May 10th, 2009
When Chevron learned that “60 Minutes” was preparing a potentially damaging report about oil company contamination of the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador, it hired a former journalist to produce a mirror image of the report, from the corporation’s point of view. An Ecuadorean judge is expected to rule soon on whether Chevron owes up to $27 billion in damages.

IRAN/CHINA: Iranians and Others Outwit Net Censors
by John MarkoffNew York Times
April 30th, 2009
The Internet is no longer just an essential channel for commerce, entertainment and information. It has also become a stage for state control — and rebellion against it. Computers are becoming more crucial in global conflicts, not only in spying and military action, but also in determining what information reaches people around the globe.

US: Prison company to pay $42.5 million in beating death
by John MacCormackSan Antonio Express News
April 8th, 2009
In a searing opinion, the 13th Court of Appeals has upheld $42.5 million in punitive damages against private prison operator Wackenhut Corrections Corp., now the Geo Group,for the “horrific and gruesome death” of inmate Gregorio De La Rosa Jr. in 2001.

US: Contracting Boom Could Fizzle Out
by Dana HedgpethWashington Post
April 7th, 2009
The surge in the U.S. military contracting workforce would ebb under Defense Secretary Gates's budget proposal as the Pentagon moves to replace private workers with full-time civil servants. The move could affect companies such as CACI and SAIC. "We are right-sizing the defense acquisition workforce so we can improve our contract oversight and get a better deal for the taxpayers," said the Pentagon's director of defense procurement and acquisition policy.

US: Gates Proposes Major Changes to Military Programs, Weapons Buys
by August ColeWall Street Journal
April 6th, 2009
Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the Pentagon's top weapons priorities. The shake-up, a combination of defense contract cutbacks and policy changes, will stoke a smoldering debate in Congress, with cuts proposed for Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-22 Raptor and replacement of the president's fleet of Marine One helicopters.

IRAQ: Ex-Blackwater Workers May Return to Iraq Jobs
by Rod NordlandNew York Times
April 3rd, 2009
Late last month Blackwater Worldwide lost its billion-dollar contract to protect American diplomats in Iraq, but by next month many of its private security guards will be back on the job here. The same individuals will just be wearing new uniforms, working for Triple Canopy, the firm that won the State Department’s new contract.

US: Pentagon Weighs Cuts and Revisions of Weapons
by Christopher DrewNew York Times
April 3rd, 2009
U.S. defense executives and consultants are worried about the sweeping changes in military programs that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to announce on Monday. Weapons systems like missile defense are likely to endure deep cuts.

US/AFGHANISTAN: Unknown Afghanistan
by Pratap ChatterjeeTomDispatch.com
March 17th, 2009
Want a billion dollars in development aid? If you happen to live in Afghanistan, the two quickest ways to attract attention and so aid from the U.S. authorities are: Taliban attacks or a flourishing opium trade. For those with neither, the future could be bleak. This piece take a look at the lack of reconstruction aid in areas like Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

US: Is the Next Defense Budget a Stimulus Package? Why the Pentagon Can't Put America Back to Work
by Frida BerriganTomDispatch.com
March 12th, 2009
At the end of February, the defense industry received its own special stimulus package -- news of the dollars available for the Pentagon budget in 2010; and at nearly $700 billion (when all the bits and pieces are added in), it's almost as big as the Obama economic package and sure to be a lot less effective.

UGANDA/IRAQ: Why 10,000 Ugandans are eagerly serving in Iraq
by Max DelanyChristian Science Monitor
March 6th, 2009
Hired out to multibillion-dollar companies for hundreds of dollars a month, 10,000 Ugandans risk their lives seeking fortunes protecting US Army bases, airports, and oil firms in Iraq for as little as $600 per month. Many are looking to go to Afghanistan as the Obama administration increases contracts there.

US: 70 Youths Sue Former Judges in Detention Kickback Case
by Ian UrbinaNew York Times
February 26th, 2009
More than 70 juveniles and their families filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday against two former judges who pleaded guilty this month in a scheme that involved their taking kickbacks to put young offenders in privately run detention centers. The two privately operated centers are run by PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care.

MEXICO: U.S. Is Arms Bazaar for Mexican Cartels
by James C. McKinley, Jr.New York Times
February 25th, 2009
Phoenix-based gun dealer George Iknadosian of X-Calibur Guns will go on trial on charges he sold hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47 rifles, to smugglers, knowing they would go to a drug cartel in the western state of Sinaloa. The guns helped fuel the gang warfare in which more than 6,000 Mexicans died last year.

US: Company Gets Pentagon Contract Despite Death Inquiries
by Associated PressNew York Times
February 7th, 2009
Private military contractor KBR has been awarded a $35 million Pentagon contract involving major electrical work even though it is under criminal investigation in the electrocution deaths of at least two American soldiers in Iraq.

US: The Looming Crisis at the Pentagon
by Chalmers JohnsonTomDispatch.com
February 2nd, 2009
Like much of the rest of the world, Americans know that the U.S. automotive industry is in the grips of what may be a fatal decline. A similar crisis exists when it comes to the military-industrial complex. That crisis has its roots in the corrupt and deceitful practices that have long characterized the high command of the Armed Forces, civilian executives of the armaments industries, and Congressional opportunists and pay-to-play criminals.

US/AFGHANISTAN: Short-staffed USAID tries to keep pace
by Ken DilanianUSA Today
February 1st, 2009
Like other government functions, U.S. foreign aid and reconstruction largely has been privatized. USAID now turns to contractors to fulfill its basic mission of fighting poverty and promoting democracy. CorpWatch's 2006 "Afghanistan, Inc" documented problems with Chemonics and other contractors operating in Afghanistan.

US: Deputy SecDef could earn $500K lobbying Pentagon
by Lara JakesWashington Post
January 27th, 2009
William J. Lynn, the man nominated to be the Pentagon's second-in-command could make a half-million dollars next month with vested stock he earned as a lobbyist for military contractor Raytheon. This is despite an Obama administration order against "revolving door" lobbyists who become public officials.

IRAQ: Official History Spotlights Iraq Rebuilding Blunders
by JAMES GLANZ and T. CHRISTIAN MILLERThe New York Times
December 13th, 2008
An unpublished 513-page federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.

US: Plea by Blackwater Guard Helps Indict Others
by GINGER THOMPSON and JAMES RISENNew York Times
December 9th, 2008
On Monday, the Justice Department unsealed its case against five Blackwater private security guards, built largely around testimony from a sixth guard about the 2007 shootings that left 17 unsuspecting Iraqi civilians dead at a busy Baghdad traffic circle.

US/IRAQ: Indiana guardsmen sue defense contractor KBR
by Farah StockmanBoston Globe
December 4th, 2008
Sixteen Indiana national guardsmen filed a lawsuit yesterday against military contractor KBR. The complaint alleges that several reservists contracted respiratory system tumors and skin rashes after guarding reconstruction work at the Qarmat Ali treatment plant, strewn with the toxin chromium dichromate.

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