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War & Disaster Profiteering

KBR and Halliburton Can Be Sued For Iraq Toxic Burn Pits, Court Rules
Fatima Hansia
April 15th, 2014

KBR and Halliburton – two major U.S. military contractors – can be sued for the health impacts of trash incineration on U.S. soldiers who served in the war in Iraq, according to a new court decision that allows a series of 57 lawsuits against the companies to go forward.

A soldier pushes the bulldozer into the flames of the burn pit. Photo: Sgt. Abel Trevino. Used under Creative Commons license.

Construction

Caterpillar Uses Swiss Subsidiary to Avoid Billions in Taxes
Rozali Telbis
April 15th, 2014

Caterpillar - one of the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment - used a subsidiary in Switzerland to avoid paying $2.4 billion in taxes over a period of 13 years, according to a new U.S. Senate report titled ‘Caterpillar’s Offshore Tax Strategy.’

Caterpillar equipment. Photo: Kelly Michals. Used under Creative Commons license.
War & Disaster Profiteering

Failed Cuban “Twitter” Project Designed By U.S. Government Contractors
Pratap Chatterjee
April 8th, 2014

ZunZuneo - a now defunct social media platform similar to Twitter – was designed to undermine the Cuban government by two private contractors: Creative Associates International from Washington DC and Mobile Accord, a Denver based company. Funding was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Cuban woman listens to digistal device. Photo by <rs>> snaps. Used under Creative Commons license.
Pharmaceuticals

Big Pharma Abandons New Tuberculosis Drug Research
Fatima Hansia
April 1st, 2014

Three major pharmaceutical companies - AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer - have recently delayed or canceled clinical trials for testing tuberculosis (TB) drugs in India and South Africa. Activists say this is symbolic of a trend by Big Pharma to abandon research into diseases that affect poor people.

Tuberculosis microbe. Photo: Sanofi Pasteur. Used under Creative Commons license.
Natural Resources

Anglo American Workers Strike Against Contract Labor Conditions in Chile
Pratap Chatterjee
March 25th, 2014

Some 4,000 contract workers at Los Bronces copper mine in Chile went on strike against Anglo American, a UK-based mining multinational from South Africa. The strike is the latest in a series of protests against the Chilean copper industry, the world’s largest producers of the metal.

Copper mining in Chile. Photo: Rodrigo Arancibia Zamora. Used under Creative Commons license.
Labor

Fast Food Workers File Lawsuit Against McDonald’s for Alleged Wage Theft
Fatima Hansia
March 21st, 2014

Over 25,000 low-wage employees working at McDonald’s franchises in California, Michigan and New York are being systematically cheated of their wages, say attorneys who filed seven simultaneous lawsuits last week against McDonald’s and its franchisees for violations of labor law.

Protest outside McDonald's. Photo: Steve Rhodes. Used under Creative Commons license.
Tourism & Real Estate

Cambodian Villagers Land Bulldozed for UDG Casino Complex
Pratap Chatterjee
March 14th, 2014

Villagers in Koh Kong, Cambodia, say that their lands have been bulldozed by employees of the Union Development Group, a Chinese company, which is building a massive casino on a 45,000-hectare-land concession inside Botum Sakor National Park.

Protest against UDG in Koh Kong. Photo: Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
Privatization

Serco Paid Millions Over Budget for West Australia Hospital with No Patients
Fatima Hansia
March 11th, 2014

Some 230 staff are being paid to work at the new Fiona Stanley Hospital in West Australia, even though it will not open to patients till March 2015. The project has been labeled a “privatization disaster” and Serco, the contractor, has come under fire for the soaring costs.

Fiona Stanley Hospital. Photo: Ref54. Used under Creative Commons license.
War & Disaster Profiteering

Hacking Team Spy Software Identified on U.S. Servers
Pratap Chatterjee
March 7th, 2014

Two U.S. companies – Linode of New Jersey and Rackspace of Texas – have been hosting surveillance software designed by Hacking Team of Italy, according to a new report. The software was allegedly been used by governments in Ethiopia, Morocco, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to track dissidents.

Cartoon by Khalil Bendib