Privatization & Procurement
This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan. Fariba Nawa, an Afghan-American who returned to her native country to examine the progress of reconstruction, uncovers some examples of where the money has (and hasn't) gone, how the system of international aid works (and doesn't), and what it is really like in the villages and cities where outsiders are rebuilding the war-torn countryside. Click here to download the complete report. An HTML text version of the report is also available. Listen, watch or read an interview with Fariba Nawa on Democracy Now! about reconstruction, security, and life in Afghanistan five years after the invasion.
Overhead costs have consumed more than half the budget of some reconstruction projects in Iraq, according to a government estimate released yesterday, leaving far less money than expected to provide the oil, water and electricity needed to improve the lives of Iraqis.
International financial consortia have already squeezed local shareholders out of banks in El Salvador, and now they are expected to sideline the state, all of which will contribute to widening the gap between rich and poor.
Former managers working for Custer Battles, a high-profile private security company in Iraq, are accusing the firm of using companies in the Cayman Islands and other "tax haven" countries to fraudulently overcharge on government contracts by tens of millions of dollars.
On the first floor of a tan building inside Baghdad's Green Zone, the full scope of Iraq's daily carnage is condensed into a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation. The intelligence was compiled not by the U.S. military, but by a British security firm, Aegis Defence Services Ltd. The Reconstruction Operations Center is the most visible example of how intelligence collection is now among the responsibilities handled by a network of private security companies that work in the shadows of the U.S. military.