Privatization & Procurement

Amid all the polemics over the use of private military and security contractors by the U.S. government there are two words one rarely sees, but they lie at the very heart of the debate: "inherently governmental."
Water rights groups say transnational corporations are increasingly sinking their teeth into Latin America's water services, but studies by the United Nations and other experts point to the contrary: these companies are backing off, and may not come back any time soon.
U.S. Air Force officials has begun to hire private companies to fly drone aircraft operating over Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The unprecedented move is in response to demands from the Obama administration to dramatically expand the drone war just as the Pentagon faces a critical shortage of military pilots.
Anti-privatisation protestors are expected to descend on the streets of Johannesburg this month as they demand a reversal of the sale of their municipal water supply to French multinational Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux.
Some residents of Soweto, a township outside Johannesburg, have expressed anger at being sent bills by Eskom even though they either do not have electricity or their supply has long been cut off. Here's what they say.
What role did senior executives of the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank play in the collapse of Cyprus banking? Billions of euros - mostly invested by Russians and Ukranians attempting to dodge taxes - have been gambled away in the last few years.
Making a big splash in recent weeks, Science Applications International Corp. bought two companies, adding new capabilities in cybersecurity, energy and disaster recovery - areas in which government spending is expected to grow.
America's big builders invaded Iraq three years ago, hard on the heels of U.S. troops and tanks. Now the reconstruction billions are drying up so they're pulling out, leaving both completed and unfinished projects in the hands of an Iraqi government unprepared to manage either.
Even within the troubled Alabama penal system, this state compound near Huntsville was notorious for cruel punishment and medical neglect. In one drafty, rat-infested warehouse once reserved for chain gangs, the state quarantined its male prisoners with H.I.V. and AIDS, until the extraordinary death toll - 36 inmates from 1999 to 2002 - moved inmates to sue and the government to promise change.
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.