Massive US Embassy Baghdad: Slave Labor, Secrecy

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Massive US Embassy Baghdad: Slave Labor, Secrecy

Postby Gouda » Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:59 am

As sprawling as the Vatican. 42 hectares. Shrouded in secrecy. And being built via subterfuge and abusive slave labor, all under the approving eye of the State Department and Pentagon. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> (A Kuwaiti-Lebanese elite venture) is the building contractor. <br><br><!--EZCODE IMAGE START--><img src="http://www.firstkuwaiti.com/images/first_kuwaiti_logo.gif" style="border:0;"/><!--EZCODE IMAGE END--><br><br>I especially like the pyramid symbolism. <br><br>I think this growing fact on the ground is one of the keys to understanding US long-term intentions in Iraq and the middle east - whether it will be partition, phased troop withdrawal or not - one must also consider the unreal size and scale of this project which shall be built regardless of the superficial political situation in the USA. Problem is, I am not sure what it means. <br><br>More than a few legal bodies need to start challenging the legality of this. More than a few human rights organizations need to start looking into the abuses. More than a few journalists need to start digging. What the fuck! The State Department, yeah, supposedly the "good guys" holding back this neopentacon bushco junta. Ironically, the article below portrays the Pentagon as the agency doing the most to "reign in" the practices there. Of course, we do not really believe the Pentagon has had a change of heart about human fodder. But they do have a good intelligence and PR network that can anticipate and manage leaks about this embassy, issuing perfunctory and non-threatening memos. They may have even read the <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>Chicago Tribune</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> expose, "Pipeline to Peril," on human trafficking by contractors. <br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HJ27Ak01.html">www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HJ27Ak01.html</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>A peek behind the walls of 'Fortress US'</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br>By David Phinney<br><br>WASHINGTON - Things began looking sketchier than ever to John Owen as he boarded a nondescript white jet on his way back to Iraq in March 2005 after some downtime in Kuwait City. <br><br>(...)<br><br>Now, with a highly secretive contract awarded by the US State Department, First Kuwaiti is in the midst of building the most expensive and heavily fortified embassy in the world. Scheduled to open next year, the sprawling complex near the Tigris River will equal Vatican City in size. <br><br>In his resignation letter in June, Owen told First Kuwaiti and US State Department officials that his managers physically assaulted and beat the construction workers, demonstrated little regard for worker safety and routinely breached security.<br><br>(...)<br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>And it was all happening smack in the middle of the US-controlled Green Zone</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->, he said - <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>right under the nose of the State Department </strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->that had quietly awarded the controversial embassy contract.<br><br>(...)<br><br>Despite numerous e-mails and phone calls about such allegations, neither <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>First Kuwaiti general manager Wadih al-Absi nor his lawyer, Angela Styles, the former top White House contract policy adviser</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->, has responded. After a year of requests, State Department officials involved with the project also have ignored or rejected opportunities for comment.<br><br>However, on April 4, the Pentagon issued a new contracting directive after a secret investigation that officially confirmed what many South Asian laborers had been complaining about ever since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. <br><br>(...)<br><br>While the Pentagon declines specifically to name those contractors found to be doing business in this way, it also acknowledged in an April 19 memorandum that <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>it was a widespread practice among contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan to take away workers' passports.</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>(...)<br><br>Several months before Owen quit, Rory Mayberry witnessed similar events when he flew to Kuwait from his home in Myrtle Creek, Oregon.<br><br>The gravely-voiced, easy-going US Army veteran had previously worked in Iraq for Halliburton and the private security company Danubia. Missing the action and the big paychecks US contractors draw there, Mayberry snagged a $10,000-a-month job with MSDS consulting company.<br><br>MSDS is a two-person minority-owned consulting company that assists US State Department managers in Washington with procurement programming. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Never before had the firm offered medical services or worked in Iraq, but First Kuwaiti - Owen's employer - hired MSDS on the recommendation of Jim Golden, the State Department contract official overseeing the embassy project. Within days, an agreement worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical care was signed. </strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>(...)<br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>"All the workers had their passports taken away by First Kuwaiti,"</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> Mayberry claimed, and while he knew the plane was bound for Baghdad, he's not so sure the others were aware of their destination.<br><br>(...)<br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>State Department officials supervising the project were aware of many such events, but apparently did nothing, he said. Once when 17 workers climbed the wall of the construction site to escape, a State Department official helped round them up and put them in "virtual lockdown", Owen said. </strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>(...)<br><br>Recent First Kuwaiti employees agree that the accounts of Owen and Mayberry are accurate. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>One longtime supervisor claimed that 50-60% of the laborers regularly protested that First Kuwaiti "treats them like animals"</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->, and routinely reduced their promised pay with confusing and unexplained deductions. <br><br>Another former First Kuwaiti manager, who declined to be named because of possible adverse consequences, said that <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Owen's and Mayberry's complaints only began "to scratch the surface"</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->.<br><br>But scratching the surface is the only view yet available of what may be the most lasting monument to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. As of now, only a handful of authorized State Department managers and contractors, along with First Kuwaiti workers and contractors, are officially allowed inside the project's walls. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>No journalist has ever been allowed access to the sprawling 42-hectare site</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> with towering construction cranes raising their necks along the skyline. <hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=gouda@rigorousintuition>Gouda</A> at: 10/27/06 6:40 am<br></i>
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Re: Massive US Embassy Baghdad: Slave Labor, Secrecy

Postby Gouda » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:36 am

Of course this is not the first time this embassy issue has been posted on this board. <br><br>Nomo'd posted this article from <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>The Nation</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END-->:<br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Bush's Baghdad Palace</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060703/howl">www.thenation.com/doc/20060703/howl</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://p216.ezboard.com/frigorousintuitionfrm24.showMessage?topicID=300.topic">p216.ezboard.com/frigorou...=300.topic</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>It will come as less than a surprise to learn that this project was subbed out to an outfit in Kuwait. The Tribune says that "for security reasons, the new embassy is being built entirely by imported labor. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>The contractor, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co., which was linked to human-trafficking allegations by a Chicago Tribune investigation last year</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->, has hired a workforce of 900 mostly Asian workers who live on the site." In a land where half the population is out of work the United States ought to win countless native hearts and minds with this labor policy.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> I do wonder if First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting and its Kuwaiti-Lebanese owners have any special ties to the Bush family or Carlyle Group. <br><br>And Jeff started this thread in May:<br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Giant US Embassy in Iraq to be bigger than Vatican City</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://p216.ezboard.com/frigorousintuitionfrm24.showMessage?topicID=247.topic">p216.ezboard.com/frigorou...=247.topic</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>Here is the original Chicago tribune special investigation on the human trafficking and labor abuses in Iraq:<br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Pipeline to peril | Chicago Tribune news | Special reports</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/chi-nepal-specialpackage,0,6969114.special">www.chicagotribune.com/ne...14.special</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>American tax dollars and the wartime needs of the U.S. military are fueling an illicit pipeline of cheap foreign labor, mainly impoverished Asians who often are deceived, exploited and put in harm's way in Iraq with little protection. <hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>The findings<br># To fill a need for cheap labor in Iraq, the U.S. military and its contractors have tapped an illicit human pipeline that exploits and endangers workers.<br># The U.S. and its main contractor in Iraq, KBR, leave every aspect of the hiring and deployment of foreign laborers to Middle Eastern subcontractors.<br># Some subcontractors and brokers employ the same tools of fraud and coercion condemned by the U.S. when practiced in other countries.<br># Several nations, including Nepal, have banned or restricted citizens from work in Iraq, but KBR allows people from these nations to work under its contract anyway. <hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Massive US Embassy Baghdad: Slave Labor, Secrecy

Postby Gouda » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:47 am

An earlier article in CorpWatch by David Phinney:<br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Baghdad Embassy Bonanza</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> - <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Kuwait Company’s Secret Contract & Low-Wage Labor</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13258">www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13258</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Work for what is planned to be the largest, most fortified US embassy in the world was quietly awarded last summer to a controversial Kuwait-based construction firm accused of exploiting employees and coercing low-paid laborers to work in war-torn Iraq against their will.<br><br>More than a few U.S. contractors competing for the $592-million Baghdad project express bewilderment over why the U.S. State Department gave the work to First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting (FKTC). They claim that some competing contractors possessed far stronger experience in such work and that at least one award-winning company offered to perform all but the most classified work for $60 million to $70 million less than FKTC.<br> <br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>“It's stunning what First Kuwaiti has been able to get from the State Department,” one contractor said.</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>Several other contractors that competed for the embassy contracts shared similar reactions and believe that <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>a high-level decision at the State Department was made to favor a Kuwait-based firm</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> in appreciation for Kuwait's support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.<br> <br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>“It was political,” said one contractor.</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br> <br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Mohammad I. H. Marafie, chairman and co-owner of FKTC, is a member of one of the most powerful mercantile families in Kuwait.</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>***<br><br>Meanwhile, <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>FKTC’s general manager and co-owner, Wadih al-Absi </strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->jets back and forth to the United States, dreaming of magazine covers celebrating his rise to a global player in large-scale engineering and construction.<br><br>***<br><br>The company boasted of having $35 million in assets less than three years ago. Today, the firm has racked up hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. contracts in Iraq, pushing the company well past the $1 billion mark. With 7,000 employees in Iraq, the company claims to be holding $800 million in construction and supply contracts directly with the Army for military camps, plus more than $300 million under Halliburton 's multibillion dollar contract to perform military logistics for the occupation forces in Iraq.<br><br>It's the kind of success that allows al-Absi to enjoy finely tailored suits with French cuff shirts, send his children to American universities and enjoy the fruits of being a newly-minted millionaire. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>"I love America," he says freely.</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>***<br><br>Once funding was secured last spring, the U.S. State Department quietly put the project up for competition among seven competitors – including some of the most accomplished US engineering companies. Among the bidders, Framaco, Parsons, Fluor, and the Sandi Group have established track records for building secure embassies or large-scale construction projects.<br><br>But the award went to FKTC, a company with little experience in projects on the scale envisioned for the embassy.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Massive US Embassy Baghdad: Slave Labor, Secrecy

Postby greencrow0 » Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:00 am

Well, didn't the pharohs use slave labour on the pyramids?<br><br><!--EZCODE EMOTICON START :rolleyes --><img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/eyes.gif ALT=":rolleyes"><!--EZCODE EMOTICON END--> <br><br>gc <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Prison Planet - Chris Floyd of Empire Burlesque

Postby NavnDansk » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:51 am

has excellent commentary on this with a very scary photo of armed guards protecting the building of yet another prison in Iraq - in the Green Zone.<br><br>Daily Kos has a diary on the slave labor being used to build this very sad article from asia times...I think of Prescott Bush and his profiting from the slave labor at Auswitz. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=navndansk>NavnDansk</A> at: 10/27/06 9:54 am<br></i>
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Re: Prison Planet - Chris Floyd of Empire Burlesque

Postby Gouda » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:49 pm

Thanks ND for the heads up on the Kos and Floyd features. I have not got to Kos yet, but adore the photo posted on Floyd's site. The accompanying article will go on another thread. <br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.chris-floyd.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=894&Itemid=135">Chris Floyd - Blood and Gravy II: The Jackal's Feast Goes On</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br><!--EZCODE IMAGE START--><img src="http://www.chris-floyd.com/images/fat%20mercenaries%20guarding%20prison.jpg" style="border:0;"/><!--EZCODE IMAGE END--> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Pepe Escobar

Postby Gouda » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:58 pm

How about this, Greencrow:<br><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Baghdad had been under siege by the Assyrians and later by Cyrus the Great from Persia. But it was only in 1258 that Baghdad was sacked for the first time by what was then the equivalent of Desert Storm - the Mongols riding their lightning-quick horses under the command of Hulagu, Genghis Khan's grandson. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Legend has it that he erected a pyramid of 700,000 skulls out of his victims. </strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong> 'Stability First': Newspeak for rape of Iraq </strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> <br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HJ27Ak03.html">www.atimes.com/atimes/Mid...7Ak03.html</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Massive US Embassy Baghdad: Slave Labor, Secrecy

Postby Seamus OBlimey » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:01 pm

<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Well, didn't the pharohs use slave labour on the pyramids?<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br>Only in the movie. The jury is still out on the official verdict. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Pepe Escobar

Postby DireStrike » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:03 pm

Hey! We're almost to 700,000! Woohoo, keeping pace with the warlords of yore!<br><br>But, did we leave any skulls to build a pyramid out of? Or did they all burn up in the DU and phosphorus explosions? <p></p><i></i>
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