BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Man

The Man is hard at work today, people.

1. Gas is up to $2.77 (for the CHEAP stuff) on the corner of Sunset & Fairfax.

Bastards.

2. One of W's fellow BONESMEN is gettin' 'volved in Plame-gate.

The story's in Newsweek.

Excerpts:
Aug. 15, 2005 issue - The departure this week of Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who has accepted the post of general counsel at Lockheed Martin, leaves a question mark in the probe into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Comey was the only official overseeing special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's leak investigation. With Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recused, department officials say they are still trying to resolve whom Fitzgerald will now report to.

Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum is "likely" to be named as acting deputy A.G., a DOJ official who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter tells NEWSWEEK.

But McCallum may be seen as having his own conflicts: he is an old friend of President Bush's and a member of his SKULL and BONES class at Yale.
Well, whadayaknow?
One question: how much authority Comey's successor will have over Fitzgerald. When Comey appointed Fitzgerald in 2003, the deputy granted him extraordinary powers to act however he saw fit—but noted he still had the right to revoke Fitzgerald's authority.

The questions are pertinent because lawyers close to the case believe the probe is in its final stages.
Time to crack open the ol' Skull & Bones Rulebook:

"Bonesmen will not fuck with each other. They can fuck with EVERYBODY ELSE (and should), but not each other."

3. Hal - LEE - burton!

Army Whistleblower Draws Fire

"'Whistleblower' is a nice way of saying, 'Libtard.'"

Right.
Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse is the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting ("PARC" in the alphabet soup of military acronyms) in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lest the title fool, she is responsible for awarding billions upon billions in taxpayers' money to private companies hired to resurrect war-torn
Iraq and to feed, clothe, shelter and do the laundry of American troops stationed there.

She has rained a mighty storm upon herself for standing up, before members of Congress and live on C-SPAN to proclaim things are just not right in this staggeringly profitable business.

She has asked many questions: Why is Halliburton — a giant Texas firm that holds more than 50 percent of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq — getting billions in contracts without competitive bidding? Do the durations of those contracts make sense? Have there been violations of federal laws regulating how the government can spend its money?

Halliburton denies any wrongdoing. "These false allegations have been recycled in the media ad nauseam," the company said in response to a list of e-mailed questions from The Associated Press.

Now Bunny Greenhouse may lose her job — and her reputation, which she spent a lifetime building.

*

Greenhouse has known for a long time that her days may be numbered. Her needling of contracts awarded to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) predated the war in Iraq, beginning with costs she said were spiraling "out of control" from a 2000 Bosnia contract to service U.S. troops. From 1995 to 2000, Halliburton's CEO was
Dick Cheney, who left to run for vice president. He maintains his former company has not received preferential treatment from the government.

Since then, she had questioned both the amounts and the reasons for giving KBR tremendous contracts in the buildup to invading Iraq. At first she was ignored, she said. Then she was cut out of the decision-making process.

Last October 6, she was summoned to the office of her boss. Major Gen. Robert Griffin, the Corps' deputy commander, was demoting her, he told her, taking away her Senior Executive Service status and sending her to midlevel management. Not unlike being cast out of the office of bank president into the cubicle of branch manager. Griffin declined to be interviewed by the AP.

*

In her job, Greenhouse is mandated by Congress to get the best quality at the cheapest price from the most qualified supplier. Over her objections, KBR was awarded three multibillion-dollar war-related contracts, two of them without competitive bidding.

Together, they are worth as much as $20 billion — the entire cost of the Manhattan Project, adjusted to today's dollars.

Greenhouse's most strenuous complaints were over the Restore Iraqi Oil contract, estimated at $7 billion, originally planned to handle oil field fires that might be started by
Saddam Hussein's troops. When that failed to happen, it morphed into an agreement to repair oil fields and import fuel for civilians and soldiers.

The contract was given to KBR in March 2003. In Greenhouse's view, that process violated federal regulations concerning fair and open bidding. Halliburton denies that.

A month before KBR got the contract — and three weeks before the U.S. invaded Iraq — she had demanded KBR officials be ejected from a Pentagon meeting attended by high-ranking officials from the Corps and the Defense Department. "They should not have been there," she said. "We were discussing the terms of the contract."

Later, she would tell Democratic members of Congress: "The abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have ever witnessed during the course of my professional career."

At the Corps, Greenhouse said she was told KBR was the only qualified firm.
I have a headache.

More later...

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