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Men and women who step forward to report massive fraud in the reconstruction of Iraq are being villified, demoted, fired and tortured states an article from the Associated Press posted on Forbes.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.

Donald Vance thought he was doing the right thing when he told the FBI about the illegal sale of guns, land mines and rocket launchers, all sold for cash with no receipt required.  The buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.  

So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn't know whom to trust in Iraq.

For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.

Also held was colleague Nathan Ertel, who helped Vance gather evidence documenting the sales, according to a federal lawsuit both have filed in Chicago, alleging they were illegally imprisoned and subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics "reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants."

A report issued a few weeks ago by the Government Accountability Office states the US has "lost" more than 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols.  If Donald Vance is to be believed these weapons are being sold to whoever has the cash, which brings me to my theory that the Bush Administration has no interest in ever winning their illegal war.

As long as there are well armed insurgents our troops will need to stay in Iraq and money can be handed over to American corporations at astronomical amounts.  For the corporations the war in Iraq has been a tremendous success and anyone who blows the whistle on this money making endeavor will pay the price.

Congress gave over 30 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Iraq with
8.8 billion of it missing. Why has this never been investigated?

Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse knows this only too well. As the highest-ranking civilian contracting officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she testified before a congressional committee in 2005 that she found widespread fraud in multibillion-dollar rebuilding contracts awarded to former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.

Soon after, Greenhouse was demoted. She now sits in a tiny cubicle in a different department with very little to do and no decision-making authority, at the end of an otherwise exemplary 20-year career.

People she has known for years no longer speak to her.

The message is clear, if you blow the whistle they will make your life hell.

Julie McBride testified last year that as a "morale, welfare and recreation coordinator" at Camp Fallujah, she saw KBR exaggerate costs by double- and triple-counting the number of soldiers who used recreational facilities.

She also said the company took supplies destined for a Super Bowl party for U.S. troops and instead used them to stage a celebration for themselves.

"After I voiced my concerns about what I believed to be accounting fraud, Halliburton placed me under guard and kept me in seclusion," she told the committee. "My property was searched, and I was specifically told that I was not allowed to speak to any member of the U.S. military. I remained under guard until I was flown out of the country."

Halliburton and KBR denied her testimony.

This is nothing new as its been 72 years since Smedley Butler wrote his book, War is a Racket detailing the first references to the Military Industrial Complex.

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

The mafia runs rackets and so does the United States government.  We've been taken over by a criminal faction hell bent on torturing, killing, maiming and destroying people for profit.

We will never get our democracy back until we tame corporate power and get their money out of our politicians pockets. We will never get their money away from our politicians until we elect candidates for office who refuse to take lobbyist and corporate donations.

Our people powered movement is a war.  It's a battle of the people versus corporate power and it will take years to win, maybe a lifetime. But win we must if we're ever to get our country back to the principles it was founded upon.

So, give what you can to our people powered candidates and don't ever get discouraged, this battle is long.

Update: scardanelli asks some excellent questions in the comments:

Where does the money lead? (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by: CTLiberal
There's a lot of underexplained goings-on in the article you link to.

Vance says the seller is an Iraqi-owned company. The buyers include US soldiers. Um, WTF? American soldiers buying weapons from an Iraqi-owned company, and the US gov't is protecting it?

This suggests laundering on a massive scale.

Who owns the (Iraqi) owners of Shield Group Security Co.?
What are the American soldiers doing with the weapons they buy?
Why is there no Congressional investigation into this?

We need at the very least a congressional inquiry; write or call your member of congress, (202)224-3121.  

Update II: Danger durden has written a diary urging everyone to write to Keith Olbermann at Countdown to see if he will cover this story Monday night.

Originally posted to CTLiberal on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 08:42 PM PDT.

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