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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.

CHILE: Chilean Town Withers in Free Market for Water
by Alexei BarrionuevoNew York Times
March 15th, 2009
Nowhere is the system for buying and selling water more permissive than in Chile, where water rights are private property, not a public resource, and can be traded like commodities with little government oversight or safeguards for the environment. The small town of Quillaga is being swallowed up in the country’s intensifying water wars.

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: Food Problems Elude Private Inspectors
by Michael Moss and Andrew MartinNew York Times
March 5th, 2009
When food industry giants like Kellogg want to ensure that American consumers are being protected from contaminated products, they rely on private inspectors. With government inspectors overwhelmed by the task of guarding the nation’s food supply, the job of monitoring food plants has in large part fallen to an army of private auditors, and problems are rife.

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.

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/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: 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.

CANADA/IRAQ: Drill, Garner, Drill
by Anthony FentonMother Jones
November 24th, 2008
In the history of the Iraq War, one name is perhaps synonymous with the collapse of the Bush administration's hopes for a post-Saddam world: Retired Lt. General Jay M. Garner, who served as the first post-war administrator. This year, he and a small group of former US military leaders, officials, and lobbyists have quietly used their Kurdistan connections to help Canadian companies access some of the region's richest oil fields.

US: Bank of New York Mellon Will Oversee Bailout Fund
by Eric DashNew York Times
October 15th, 2008
The Bank of New York Mellon was named the master custodian firm overseeing the Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout fund. It will hold and track the distressed assets that the government will buy as well as run and report on the auctions used to buy the assets. Government officials called it the “prime contractor of the purchase program.”

IRAQ: Iraq Case Sheds Light On Secret Contractors
by Siobhan Gorman and August ColeWall Street Journal
July 17th, 2008
Court documents and interviews with whistleblowers shed light on persistent problems in the operations of private military and security company MVM, Inc., a top provider of secret security to U.S. intelligence agencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

US: Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir
by James RisenNew York Times
June 17th, 2008
Charles M. Smith, the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war, says he was ousted for refusing to approve payment for more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR. The Pentagon has recently awarded KBR part of a 10-year, $150 billion contract in Iraq.

US: Washington Blocks Exports of Munitions Firm Suspected of Fraud
by C. J. CHIVERSNew York Times
April 4th, 2008
The U.S. State Department on Thursday suspended the international export activities of AEY Inc., a Miami Beach arms-dealing company led by a 22-year-old man whose munitions procurements for the Pentagon are under criminal investigation.

UGANDA: Privatization of Seeds Moving Apace
by Aileen KwaIPS
February 21st, 2008
The Ugandan parliament will soon have a hearing on the draft Plant Variety Protection Bill, approved by the cabinet early last year. According to an inside government source, seeds companies including Monsanto have been lobbying for such intellectual property protection.

AFGHANISTAN: Copper project tests Afghanistan’s resources
by Jon BooneFinancial Times
January 8th, 2008
The debris left over from previous attempts to extract some of Afghanistan’s colossal mineral wealth can be found just 35km south-east of Kabul. But in five years, the landscape in the Aynak exploration area may be changed into one of the world’s largest opencast mines, thanks to a $3bn (£1.5bn) investment by the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC).

US: Life Was Lost in Maelstrom of Suspicion
by Ginger Thompson and Eric SchmittNew York Times
December 4th, 2007
The suicide of a top Air Force procurement officer casts a cloud of suspicion, threatening to plunge a service still struggling to emerge from one of its worst scandals into another quagmire.

US: Intel official: Say goodbye to privacy
by Pamela Hess Associated Press
November 11th, 2007
Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people's private communications and financial information.

US: Billions over Baghdad; The Spoils of War
by Donald L. Barlett and James B. SteeleVanity Fair
October 1st, 2007
Between April 2003 and June 2004, $12 billion in U.S. currency--much of it belonging to the Iraqi people--was shipped from the Federal Reserve to Baghdad, where it was dispensed by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Incredibly, at least $9 billion has gone missing, unaccounted for, in a frenzy of mismanagement and greed.

US: State Dept. Tallies 56 Shootings Involving Blackwater on Diplomatic Guard Duty
by James RisenNY Times
September 28th, 2007
The State Department said Thursday that Blackwater USA security personnel had been involved in 56 shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq so far this year.

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