Subject: ON THE COSTS AND GAINS OF U.S. MILITARY EXPANSION : FROM THE
CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL
2 September 2003
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The Grenoble Research
Center for the Advanced Study of American
Institutions and Social Movements has received two items which address the
historic gains and losses of American imperialism.
Item A. gives us the most recent account of causalties
since the U.S.
invasion of Iraq. We thank our research associate Professor Richard DuBoff
for sending us these new statistics.
Item B. offers an historical perspective giving more information
American corporate interests, specifically the activities of the Texas
frim, Brown and Root, Inc., the engineering division of the giant
Halliburton Corporation. We thank our research associate Professor
Elisabeth Chamorand for sending us this article, which reminds us that
B&R enjoyed Defense Depatment contracts durning the Vietnam War,
when among other things they built detention prisons in South Vietnam,
on the dreaded Island of Con Son. "For one to go to Con Son was to be
never seen again," was the Vietnam saying in the early 1970s.
Increasingly critics of American foreign policy point out the grim
repetition of history : the first time is tragedy; the second time, farce....
As usual we invite readers to comment on the materials sent out from
our research center.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
From: "Richard B. Du Boff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: "we don't do body counts..."
... but others are trying. . . .
"Counting the Bodies"
Village Voice | Mondo Washington
copyright September 2003
Counting the Bodies
by James Ridgeway
Hard to Keep Track of the Dead in Iraq
Amid increasing suspicions that the U.S. media have been underestimating
Iraqi casualties, here are the latest more or less reliable figures culled
from several sources, including the government:
Iraq Body Count (iraqbodycount.net) reported that the number of civilian
deaths in Iraq ranges from 6,113 to 7,830. Military.com reports that as of
August 28 a total of 281 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the start of
the invasion-that includes 143 since major fighting was declared "over" on
May 1. The Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
(lunaville.org/warcasualties/summary.aspx), based on tallies from Centcom,
the Defense Department, and the British Ministry of Defence, shows that, as
of August 27, 281 U.S. soldiers, 50 British soldiers, and two "other"
coalition soldiers have been reported killed. The estimated wounded? 1,212.
But by far the most interesting and quite possibly most realistic report
comes by way of Jude Wanniski, the supply-side economist and ex-Wall Street
Journal reporter who has struck up a correspondence with Mohammad
al-Obaidi, an Iraqi doctor living in Britain. Al-Obaidi coordinates the
small Iraqi Freedom Party, which favors free enterprise and is both
anti-Saddam and anti-U.S. Al-Obaidi tells the Voice that members of his
family have been tortured and killed by Saddam's secret police, and others
have been killed in American air and ground attacks. Al-Obaidi, whose
brother is a retired general now living in Iraq, says he has no ties with
any intelligence service and has nothing to do with the American stooge
Al-Obaidi told Wanniski that "hundreds of our party's cadre" spent five
weeks interviewing undertakers, hospital officials, and ordinary citizens
in all of Iraq (except for what's controlled by the Kurds) and came up with
a total figure of 37,137 civilians killed since the beginning of the
invasion, 6,103 of them in Baghdad. Those figures, according to al-Obaidi,
do not include members of unofficial militias, paramilitary groups, or
Saddam's Fedayeen units.
from Elisabeth Chamorand
"Brown & Root Services ENGINEERING OPPRESSION FOR OVER 50 YEARS"
by Douglas Valentine
CovertAction Quarterly, Number 74.
Brown & Root Services ENGINEERING OPPRESSION FOR OVER 50 YEARS
by Douglas Valentine
On July 26, 2002, the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded Brown &
Services, an engineering firm based in Houston, Texas, a $9,700,000
contract to construct a 204-unit Detention Camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Each of Brown & Root's modular steel units will measure 6 feet 8 inches
long by 8 feet wide. A bed, toilet and hand basin with running water will
be included in each cell, If all goes on schedule, work will be completed
by October 2002.
Brown & Root will add the new cells to the existing Camp Delta facility,
where the CIA and its military counterparts have been detaining and
interrogating an estimated 564 Al Qaeda and Taliban "unlawful enemy
combatants" since April 2002. It's uncertain, however, how many, cells
Brown & Root will ultimately build, as its contract is renewable over four
years, and could total a whopping $300,000,000. This renewable contract
does, however, imply that the CIA is planning to indefinitely detain many
more so-called illegal combatants, And the number of captured terrorist
suspects is certain to increase, as the eterJWJNI nal war on terror spreads
from Afghanistan to the 60 countries designated by National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice as harboring suspected terrorists.
The Pentagon claims the Brown & Root contract was "competitively
but that's a flagrant lie, considering that Brown & Root is the engineering
division of the Halliburton Company, where Dick Cheney served as chairman
and CEO right after resigning as George l's Defense Secretary, up until he
joined rampaging George Il's regime. During the years that Cheney served as
Halliburton's CEO, the company received an estimated $2.5 billion in
government contracts, and now that he's in the catbird seat, Halliburton's
coffers will only continue to grow, as the scope of U.S. military action
It is not just American money that's pouring into Brown & Root:
Ministry of Defence paid Brown & Root, its fifth largest defense
contractor, $410 million to supply large tank transporters to bolster
England's imperial escapades.
Kickbacks occur in many ways, and our presidents and their political
have always found ways to benefit from the wars they wage. Brown & Root,
for example, financed Lyndon Johnson's election to the U.S. Senate in 1948,
back in the days when political payoffs were strictly cash and carry. In
return Johnson steered numerous defense contracts in its direction,
enabling Brown & Root to pioneer Texas's ascent as America's preeminent
military-industrial welfare state. During the Vietnam War, LBJ also made
sure that Brown & Root received more than its fair share of lucrative
contracts to build roads, airports, harbors, military bases, pipelines and
barracks from one end of South Vietnam to the other. Those Vietnam
contracts helped Brown & Root expand its operations around the world, and
today it employs some 20,000 people and operates in more than 100 countries.
But there is something sinister about Brown & Root. Like its parent
company, Halliburton-which, under Cheney, sold products and services to the
Islamic Republic of Iran-Brown & Root has always been willing to skirt the
edge to make a buck. Over the years Brown & Root has formed close
reiationships with the CIA and Special Forces: Wherever they go, Brown &
Root is there, too, bui~ding facilities and providing cover for covert
operations. Brown & Root does not admit it provides cover, but several
individuals directly involved in such operations have made the assertion.1
Case in point: Brown & Root was in Macedonia in 1999, building barracks at
a military base for some 700 U.S. troops, including the 10th Special Forces
Group, for whch it seems to have a special affinity.2
Brown & Root is a non-partisan, warmongering outfit and espionage
the CIA, and after Lyndon Johnson gave way to Richard Nixon, it received a
contract to build prison detention facilities for the CIA on Con Son Island
in South Vietnam.
The "tiger cage" scandal broke in 1970 when Donald Luce, a member of
World Council of Churches and an accredited newspaper reporter, led a
congressional delegation to Con Son Prison, where the tiger cages were
located. Con Son Prison was on an island in the South China Sea, and it was
South Vietnam's largest holding cell for civilian prisoners-as many as
10,000 prisoners were held there with no legal rights, as part of the CIA's
infamous Phoenix Program, with its grotesque An Tri "administrative
Originally known as the Intelligence Coordination and
Exploitation/Screening Interrogation and Detention (ICEX/SIDE) Program,
Phoenix was a CIA-run computerized, management-by-objective driven
counterinsurgency program that required its "coordinators" to neutralize
(assassinate, imprison, or make to defect) 1,800 Vietnamese every month.
Like the "unlawful combatants" being held at Guantanamo Bay, people
arrested under the Phoenix Program were indefinitely detained until
disposed of by military tribunals or "province security committees."
As Don Luce knew, remote Con Son Prison was the worst of the Phoenix
detention facilities in South Vietnam. It was also a "re-education camp,"
and prisoners there were subjected to CIA psychological warfare operations,
from the pro-government propaganda of the Bang Song theatrical company, to
MKULTRA-type medical experiments. Most troubling of all were reports that
death row inmates, peaceniks, draft dodgers, recalcitrants who refused to
salute the South Vietnamese flag, and those who couldn't pay a big enough
bribe to the Con Son commandant, were kept in a facility known as the
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
Doug Valentine's published work includes The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix
Program, and TDY. He is currently working on The Strength of the Wolf: The
Federal Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1968. He lives with wife Alice in
Longmeadow Massachusetts. Contact the author at
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research at CEIMSA
Center for the Advanced Study of American
Institutions and Social Movements
University of Grenoble-3