Monday, June 28, 2004

Right when everyone is sitting back, basking in the glory of UNSC's
'historic agreement' on transfer of "sovereignty" in Iraq, Naomi Klein
writing in the Guardian, brings us a timely reminder of the real

The multibillion robbery the US calls reconstruction

Naomi Klein

Saturday June 26, 2004

The Guardian

Good news out of Baghdad: the Program Management Office, which oversees
the $18.4bn in US reconstruction funds, has finally set a goal it can
meet. Sure, electricity is below pre-war levels, the streets are rivers of
sewage and more Iraqis have been fired than hired. But now the PMO has
contracted the British mercenary firm Aegis to protect its employees from
"assassination, kidnapping, injury and" - get this - "embarrassment". I
don't know if Aegis will succeed in protecting PMO employees from violent
attack, but embarrassment? I'd say mission already accomplished. The
people in charge of rebuilding Iraq can't be embarrassed, because,
clearly, they have no shame.

In the run-up to the June 30 underhand (sorry, I can't bring myself to
call it a "handover"), US occupation powers have been unabashed in their
efforts to steal money that is supposed to aid a war-ravaged people. The
state department has taken $184m earmarked for drinking water projects and
moved it to the budget for the lavish new US embassy in Saddam Hussein's
former palace. Short of $1bn for the embassy, Richard Armitage, the deputy
secretary of state, said he might have to "rob from Peter in my fiefdom to
pay Paul". In fact, he is robbing Iraq's people, who, according to a
recent study by the consumer group Public Citizen, are facing "massive
outbreaks of cholera, diarrhoea, nausea and kidney stones" from drinking
contaminated water.

If the occupation chief Paul Bremer and his staff were capable of
embarrassment, they might be a little sheepish about having spent only
$3.2bn of the $18.4bn Congress allotted - the reason the reconstruction is
so disastrously behind schedule. At first, Bremer said the money would be
spent by the time Iraq was sovereign, but apparently someone had a better
idea: parcel it out over five years so Ambassador John Negroponte can use
it as leverage. With $15bn outstanding, how likely are Iraq's politicians
to refuse US demands for military bases and economic "reforms"?

Unwilling to let go of their own money, the shameless ones have had no
qualms about dipping into funds belonging to Iraqis. After losing the
fight to keep control of Iraq's oil money after the underhand, occupation
authorities grabbed $2.5bn of those revenues and are now spending the
money on projects that are supposedly already covered by American tax

But then, if financial scandals made you blush, the entire reconstruction
of Iraq would be pretty mortifying. From the start, its architects
rejected the idea that it should be a New Deal-style public works project
for Iraqis to reclaim their country. Instead, it was treated as an
ideological experiment in privatisation. The dream was for multinational
firms, mostly from the US, to swoop in and dazzle the Iraqis with their
speed and efficiency.

Iraqis saw something else: desperately needed jobs going to Americans,
Europeans and south Asians; roads crowded with trucks shipping in supplies
produced in foreign plants, while Iraqi factories were not even supplied
with emergency generators. As a result, the reconstruction was seen not as
a recovery from war but as an extension of the occupation, a foreign
invasion of a different sort. And so, as the resistance grew, the
reconstruction itself became a prime target.

The contractors have responded by behaving even more like an invading
army, building elaborate fortresses in the green zone - the walled-in city
within a city that houses the occupation authority in Baghdad - and
surrounding themselves with mercenaries. And being hated is expensive.
According to the latest estimates, security costs are eating up 25% of
reconstruction contracts - money not being spent on hospitals,
water-treatment plants or telephone exchanges.

Meanwhile, insurance brokers selling sudden-death policies to contractors
in Iraq have doubled their premiums, with insurance costs reaching 30% of
payroll. That means many companies are spending half their budgets arming
and insuring themselves against the people they are supposedly in Iraq to
help. And, according to Charles Adwan of Transparency International,
quoted on US National Public Radio's Marketplace programme, "at least 20%
of US spending in Iraq is lost to corruption". How much is actually left
over for reconstruction? Don't do the maths.

Rather than models of speed and efficiency, the contractors look more like
overcharging, underperforming, lumbering beasts, barely able to move for
fear of the hatred they have helped generate. The problem goes well beyond
the latest reports of Halliburton drivers abandoning $85,000 trucks on the
road because they don't carry spare tyres. Private contractors are also
accused of playing leadership roles in the torture of prisoners at Abu
Ghraib. A landmark class-action lawsuit filed by the Centre for
Constitutional Rights alleges that Titan Corporation and CACI
International conspired to "humiliate, torture and abuse persons" in order
to increase demand for their "interrogation services".

And then there's Aegis, the company being paid $293m to save the PMO from
embarrassment. It turns out that Aegis's CEO, Tim Spicer, has a bit of an
embarrassing past himself. In the 90s, he helped to put down rebels and
stage a military coup in Papua New Guinea, as well as hatching a plan to
break an arms embargo in Sierra Leone.

If Iraq's occupiers were capable of feeling shame, they might have
responded by imposing tough new regulations. Instead, Senate Republicans
have just defeated an attempt to bar private contractors from
interrogating prisoners and also voted down a proposal to impose stiffer
penalties on contractors who overcharge. Meanwhile, the White House is
also trying to get immunity from prosecution for US contractors in Iraq
and has requested the exemption from the new prime minister, Iyad Allawi.

It seems likely that Allawi will agree, since he is, after all, a kind of
US contractor himself. A former CIA spy, he is already threatening to
declare martial law, while his defence minister says of resistance
fighters: "We will cut off their hands, and we will behead them." In a
final feat of outsourcing, Iraqi governance has been subcontracted to even
more brutal surrogates. Is this embarrassing, after an invasion to
overthrow a dictatorship? Not at all; this is what the occupiers call
"sovereignty". The Aegis guys can relax - embarrassment is not going to be
an issue.

A version of this article first appeared in the Nation
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a smash hit and may even cost George Junior the presidency! Micheal Moore thanks the people who oppose his criticism such as the Disney Studios who wouldn 't distribute the film because it's "politically sensitive"; a group of conservatives that tried everything in their power to hide the film for citizen's eyes and the people who gave the fim an "R"-rating. Thanks to them Fahrenheit 9/11 is the first documentary ever in American film-history to take the number one spot in most seen film in its opening-weekend. Thank you, criticasters! Overhere we won't be able to see it before the 22th.

Had a great weekend with my kids, a barbecue with the Rocky Horror Cast and watching football/soccer. And Holland won! So they made it to the semi-finals and will meet the organising team of Portugal.

And as a final word for today: please be careful whom you mess with 'cause some idiot tried to mess with me yesterday and got himself arrested in the proces.

Friday, June 18, 2004

It gets weirder and weirder. Is someone out there collecting e-mail


email guestbook for gains in world

email guestbook of world terrorists

From january first 2005 on The Netherlands will officially have become

a police state:
Police may already search you if they find a "probabal cause".
The secretary of justice refuses to elaborate on the term.
You will need to be able to show an id on demand. Mind you: you are not

obliged to carry one but if you can't show one on demand
you may be fined a maximum of 2250 euro's of face a two week jail

sentence. All this for no reason at all. Basically they can now pick up and deport all homeless people and harass every single law abiding citizen.
I don't think this government measure will prevent terrorists from blowing up the Amsterdam WTC for instance. Carrying legal documents didn't keep the 9/11 terrorists from executing their terrible plan, did it? As a matter of fact: if they didn't have valid passports they would have been stopped before they entered their respective planes...

And will a child molester not perform his (or her!) deed when obligated to carry an id?

I don't think so. Do you?

"Knowing someone's name gives the people a sense of security",
so the government claims.

Well, the guy flying a plane into your kids school tomorrow is called John Wayne. Will you now sleep better tonight?

After a very nice weekend with both my legal children I watched the football-match Holland-Germany on monday together with my son as part of his upbringing. I must be doing something wrong 'cause he said:"Dad, I don't care who wins because I am happy when Holland wins and my best friend is German so he will be happy when Germany wins and then I will be happy for him..."

My knee is getting better on a daily basis and I got the green light for doing my Pilates Groundcontrol exercises again.

Friday, June 11, 2004

I just don't understand these searches:

2004 email contacts of Zutphen

guestbook of tea in iran

Can someone explain them to me, please?

The trailer of Michael Moore's new film "fahrenheit 911" has just been released on the internet. I for one would not be surprised if the things hes says and writes will lead up to a small "accident"resolving in mr. Moore's untimely demise...

The UN-resolution concerning Iraq states there will come an end to the occupation of the country. What occupation? The country is not occupied, is it? Or have we been lied to all this time? Something I can't really imagine. Why would any government lie to its subjects?
It's totally unheard of!

After three weeks last monday I started working again. The only real difficulty were the stairs but otherwise it went just fine. Fysiotherapy is really working and I know that within a few weeks I can use my leg's full potential once more.

Friday, June 04, 2004

For "personal reasons" George Tenet and James Pavitt (successor to Jack Downing) stepped down.
They no longer form the top of one of the worlds well known agencies: the CIA. There resignation has nothing to do with the coming of a report from the Senate intelligence committee which states that the CIA, and in particular above mentioned gentlemen, have blundered and even lied concerning the 9/11 attacks ("there is no reason to fear a terrorist attack")and the Iraqi conflict ("We have proof Saddam owns weapons of mass destruction").

In a few weeks Dutch Power will be given to the jackals of the free market. For our energy we will be depending on people whose sole purpose in life is to make more money than anybody else. Great.
Remember California where above scenario lead to massive power failure? That's what awaits us...

This coming monday I will be going back to work and really looking forward to it. Except for those stairs that is...The fysiotherapist
yesterday told me that apparently I've been using the wrong muscles to walk. Because of a moped-accident at age seventeen after which I basically used some back-muscles to avoid the pain in my leg. Today she wil give me some exercises that should help me to walk properly again.