Saturday, March 20, 2010

Landau: The Elephant in America's Living Room, Anti-Elephant Demos Today

From: ZCommunications:

Defense Elephant in America's Living Room

By Saul Landau
Landau's ZSpace: March 1, 2010

History quiz: Name the greatest robbery committed in the last 100 years.

A: Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme
B: Nazi theft of art treasures from conquered nations
C. Diamonds stolen from Africa by Belgians
D. The Pentagon budget.

This is not a tricky multiple choice question where all the answers could be
correct. Only one stands out as the criminal conspiracy of the century, an
ongoing fraud perpetrated by tens of thousands of beneficiaries.

Did you get it? Yes, the most fraudulent corrupt scheme ever foisted on
humankind is the Pentagon budget. Since 2001, under the guise of defending
the country - which the Defense Department has never done - the DOD has
scammed from US taxpayers $5.1 trillion. Since its inception, it has never
passed an audit and thus not accounted for the money that pours into its

Assume an auditor confronts the following entry item under "CONTRACTS

"Rolls-Royce Engine Services, Oakland, Calif. (N00019-09-D-0013);
StandardAero (San Antonio), Inc., San Antonio, Texas (N00019-09-D-0014); and
Wood Group Turbopower, LLC, Miami Lakes, Fla. (N00019-09-D-0012) are each
being awarded modifications to previously awarded firm-fixed-price,
indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts to exercise options for
depot-level repair for the T56 Series III engine. The award for Rolls-Royce
Engine Services is $34,465,472; for StandardAero, Inc., $41,193,248; and for
Wood Group Turbopower, LLC, $44,600,663. Depot-level repair of the T56
Series III engine modules is required to support fielded P-3 and derivative
aircraft, as well as T56 powered C-130 and C-2 aircraft. The three major
modules of the engine to be maintained and repaired under these options will
be a maximum annual quantity of 160 power sections, 180 reduction gear
assemblies, and 140 torquemeters. Depot-level repair of T56 Series III
engine modules is required to support fielded P-3 and derivative aircraft,
as well as T56-powered C-130 and C-2 aircraft…Efforts under these options
are expected to be completed in February 2011. Contract funds will not
expire at the end of the current fiscal year."

You still awake? Shocked at $120 million for engine repair, maintenance and

The February 11 New York Times said former Blackwater employees were suing
the company for routinely billing for non-existent expenses, using bogus
receipts. Halliburton over-billed by billions!

Now you can imagine why it costs $1 million a year to keep one soldier in
Iraq or Afghanistan? (Estimate from Center for Strategic and Budgetary

A private's salary is only, $35,000. But allocate gourmet food budgets
(about $100 a day) and first class air fare both ways, lodging at the
Baghdad Ritz, outfitting and supplying with weapons bought at a military
supply store on Rodeo Drive and Britney Spears acting as the DOD purchasing

Pentagon contracts are mostly "cost overruns," meaning no control over
spending. And it's public.

On January 6, 2010 Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United
States, explained: "For more than a decade, DOD has dominated GAO's list of
federal programs and operations at high-risk and vulnerable to fraud, waste,
abuse, and mismanagement. In fact, all the DOD programs on GAO's High-Risk
List relate to business operations, including systems and processes related
to management of contracts, finances, the supply chain, and support
infrastructure, in addition to weapon systems acquisition. inefficiencies
and other long-standing weaknesses in these areas lead to challenges in
supporting the warfighter, billions of dollars being wasted annually, and
missed opportunities to free up resources for higher priority needs." (Talk
at National Defense University, Washington, DC,

Dodaro said "DOD needed more reliable financial information" to reform its
practices. "While DOD represents a big share of the federal budget,
it…cannot accurately account for its spending or assets … [and] cannot pass
the test of an independent audit. Without accurate financial information,
DOD is severely hampered in its ability to make sound budgetary and
programmatic decisions, monitor trends, make adjustments to improve
performance, and reduce operating costs or maximize the use of resources."

The Pentagon also paid hundreds of dollars for a toilet seat and
screwdriver. Dorado attributes this flaw to the Pentagon's overspending
habit, not from "mistakes, lack of expertise, or unforeseeable events.
Rather, it is the outgrowth of a system in which key processes and
incentives are better at saying "yes" than "no" to programs that fail to
measure up. The challenge, Dorado insists, is to change the dynamics of this

Should the Pentagon apply Nancy Reagan's "Just say no" approach to drug use
to their expensive and unneeded weapons systems and save several hundred
billion dollars a year? Would anyone campaign on this platform? Not if they
know the military system means that almost every congressional district
contains a base or a jobs-heavy project linked to the "Defense Budget." No
one in authority cites the Office of Government Ethics rule: "Employees
shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate
authorities." (57 FR 35042, Aug. 7, 1992)

President Obama's Defense (with other military allocations) is almost $1.5
trillion budget, the highest in world history. Try to think of how to spend
$4,100 per second!

End part 1

Landau is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose A BUSH AND BOTOX
WORLD was published by Counterpunch. Valdes is Professor Emeritus,
University of New Mexico

From: Z Net - The Spirit Of Resistance Lives


Big Anti-War Protest March & Rally in Hollywood!

U.S. Out of Afghanistan & Iraq Now!

Gather at Hollywood & Vine

Regional Protest Coordinated with
National March on Washington

Bring the Troops Home Now!

End Colonial Occupation from Iraq to Palestine, Afghanistan, Haiti

Money for Healthcare, Jobs & Education!

March 20th is the Seventh Anniversary of the Criminal War of Aggression
against Iraq, launched by Bush & Cheney and now continued by Obama,
Biden & the Government of the United States.

One Million or More Iraqis Have Died!

People from all over the country are organizing to converge on Washington,
D.C., to demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and
NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq. On Saturday, March 20, 2010, there
will be a mass National March & Rally in D.C. with joint actions in Los
Angeles and San Francisco. We will march together to say "No Colonial-type
Wars and Occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine!" We will march
together to say "Reparations for the people of Haiti!" Instead of war and
occupation, we will demand funds so that every person can have a job, free
and universal health care, decent schools, and affordable housing.

March 20 is the seventh anniversary of the criminal war of aggression
launched by Bush and Cheney against Iraq. One million or more Iraqis have
died. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have lost their lives or been maimed,
and continue to suffer a whole host of enduring problems from this terrible

This is the time for united action. The slogans on banners may differ, but
all those who carry them should be marching shoulder to shoulder.

Download March 20 flyers and posters:

The initiators and endorsers of the March 20 National March on Washington
the ANSWER Coalition; Muslim American Society Freedom; National
Council of Arab Americans; Cynthia McKinney; Malik Rahim, co-founder of
Common Ground Collective; Ramsey Clark; Cindy Sheehan; Medea Benjamin,
co-founder of CODEPINK; Deborah Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait;

Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace; Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to
Return Coalition; Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National Lawyers
Guild; Ron Kovic, author of "Born on the 4th of July"; Juan Jose Gutierrez,
Director, Latino Movement USA; Col. Ann Wright (ret.); March Forward!;
Partnership for Civil Justice; Palestinian American Women Association;

Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines; Alliance for
Global Justice; Claudia de la Cruz, Pastor, Iglesia San Romero de Las
Americas-UCC; Phil Portluck, Social Justice Ministry, Covenant Baptist
Church, D.C.; Blase & Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas; Coalition for
Peace and Democracy in Honduras; Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico;

Frente Unido de los Pueblos Americanos; Free Palestine Alliance;
GABRIELA Network; Justice for Filipino American Veterans; KmB Youth;
Students Fight Back; Jim Lafferty, Executive Director, National Lawyers
Guild - LA Chapter; LEF Foundation; National Coalition to Free the Angola 3;
Community Futures Collective; Advocates for Indigenous California Language
Survival; Companeros del Barrio; for Full and Unconditional Amnesty; Michael
Berg; Action Center for Justice - Charlotte, NC; Bay Area United Against

Casa las Américas; Community Organizing Center, Columbus, Ohio; CT-SAW
(Connecticut Students Against the War); Delaware Valley Veterans for
America; Hawai'i Solidarity Committee; Malcolm X Center for
Self-Determination; Texans for Peace; Addicted To War, and many more.

For more information contact:

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism> 213-251-1025
137 N. Virgil Avenue, #201
Los Angeles, CA 90004

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