Military, Security & Surveillance
Former employees of RTI, a North Carolina company with a $167 million military contract to teach Iraqis about democracy, say the company failed in its task.
Local translators are hidden casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. military uses defense contractors to hire local residents to serve as translators for the troops. These local translators often live, sleep and eat with soldiers. And yet when they are wounded, they are often ignored by the U.S. system designed to provide them medical care and disability benefits, according to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and ProPublica.
Bulletproof vest maker David H. Brooks' reign as America's most ostentatious war profiteer does appear to be over. On July 10, the DHB Board of Directors issued a terse statement to the effect that Brooks had been put on indefinite "administrative leave" pending the outcome of unspecified investigations.
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.
Qosmos - a French technology company - is being investigated for acting as an "assisted witness" in alleged torture in Syria. The specialized crimes unit of the Paris Tribunal has agreed to study the use of Qosmos surveillance software by Bashar Al-Assad's regime, following complaints filed by two human rights NGOs.
The Pentagon has given preliminary approval to a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. for military-rocket launches, endorsing a rare monopoly that could set a precedent for defense contractors facing slower military spending, said industry and government officials.
American companies have been arriving in Iraq to pursue an expected multibillion-dollar bonanza of projects to revive the country's petroleum industry. But there are questions about the Iraqi government's capacity to police the companies. "These are for-profit concerns and they are trying to make as much money as they can," said Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch.
Agility, a Kuwait-based multi-billion dollar logistics company spawned by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, is facing criminal charges for over-billing the U.S. taxpayer on more than $8.5 billion worth of food supply contracts in the Iraq war zone. If the lawsuit is successful, the company could owe the U.S. government as much as $1 billion.
A helicopter owned by the private security firm Blackwater USA crashed Tuesday in central Baghdad, and five civilians were killed, a U.S. military official said. A senior Iraqi defense official said the aircraft was shot down over a predominantly Sunni neighborhood.