Privatization & Procurement

This week, almost a decade after the U.S. "War on Terror" began, the Commission on Wartime Contracting held two days of hearings into the role of private contractors in conducting and supporting war. The Congressional witness table included Aegis, DynCorp and Triple Canopy. Curiously, Blackwater was not called; and the CEO of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions failed to appear.
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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.
Five major military contractors are competing to design a system to tackle up to two million undocumented immigrants a year in the United States. Boeing, Ericsson, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are working on proposals that focus on high technology rather than high fences, but ignoring some of the fundamental problems of immigration. Listen to an interview with author, Joseph Richey.
Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States. The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives.
A policy statement by the National Education Association, an organization of 2.4 million educators and public school and university employees throughout the United States. The NEA has compiled extensive research on corporate school management.
In Canada's British Columbia, ExxonMobil, Talisman, Shell, and other energy giants are racing to tap the region's "sour gas". But the potential toxicity of the gas is being ignored.
At the annual meeting of the National Association of Broadcasters, Clear Channel kept a low profile. Yet its impact on media diversity is anything but casual -- it owns roughly one in every ten radio stations in the United States. Listen online here via FSRN!
Some 325,000 Indian state telecom workers began an indefinite strike Wednesday, to push for guarantees against layoffs and pension losses when their department becomes a corporation next month.
Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank, is being sued in London for selling Libya "worthless" derivatives trades in 2008 that the country's financial managers did not understand. Libya says it lost approximately $1.2 billion on the deals, while Goldman made $350 million.