Kleptocracy, Cronyism and War Profiteers – Part Eight
In the final segment of “Kleptocracy, Cronyism and War Profiteers: Too Many Hands in the Cookie Jar”, we tie up the loose ends by looking at T.S. Ellis, the federal judge who vacated the Custer Battles $10 million penalty, investigate why the U.S. government isn’t pursuing contractor fraud in Iraq while whistleblowers are, and finally wrap up the kleptocracy, cronyism and war profiteering in our political system.
It’s been a long, painful road to get to this final segment. If your hair hurts from having read this, imagine how mine feels having researched and documented this. Take heart, reader – the fat lady is on the stage and about to hit the high note, which means it’s almost over. “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last!” All that’s left to be done is to put a little bit of lipstick on the pig by tying up some loose ends.
What kind of “loose ends”? Well, let’s revisit Judge T.S. Ellis, who set aside the $10 million fraud verdict against Custer Battles based on the fact the CPA no longer exists (because the Iraqi government took power, therefore, no “victim” exists – among other bogus legal arguments). I did a little bit of research to see if I could spot any republican ties that would explain the vacated verdict; what I found was interesting: Judge T.S. Ellis is in the middle of all the best scandals inside the Beltway!!
- The government alleges that Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman conspired with a Pentagon employee to receive sensitive information from him and then give it to people not entitled to receive it — including Israeli government officials, a reporter for The Post and colleagues at AIPAC. Prosecutors have not accused them of spying, a charge the alleged facts do not comfortably support. Instead, it has moved under a related provision of law that prevents people in possession of national defense information from disclosing it to others . This also has far reaching effects in that journalists, who are passed sensitive information by a patriotic whistleblower, can be charged with a crime. In short, this ruling guarantees no damning information will ever come out to bite the government, allowing them to often operate illegally without oversight, much less accountability. Just imagine all the scandals that would’ve never seen the light of day: Watergate , Iran -Contra, CIA running drugs to support any of their clandestine operations, NSA domestic spying. Total information blackout other than what the government wants you to know – that’s terrifying.
- The evidence was seized by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents last Saturday night in a search of the office of Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana. The search set off an uproar of protest by House leaders in both parties, who said the intrusion by an executive branch agency into a Congressional office violated the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. They demanded that the Justice Department return the evidence. The F.B.I. search was conducted on the basis of a search warrant issued by a federal judge, T. S. Ellis, in Alexandria, Va.
Definitely no cronyism here.
The “good” thing about the vacated judgment against Custer Battles is not only does it protect a war profiteer, but it also sets the precedent for covering the private militaries operating in Iraq and Afghanistan . This stops whistleblowers and victims in their tracks, which means more money stays in the pockets of the entrepreneurs, and who doesn’t revel in the idea of making the Republican Party wealthy enough to trounce all challengers?
Many stories exist that show how the U.S. Government is not only covering up for the contracting thefts, but also assisting them by not seeking recovery in questionable expenses.
The [ Wall Street ] Journal article reports that, since U.S. officials in Iraq "didn’t keep extensive records, and often didn’t track whether contractors performed the work they were paid to do," there is little chance that private or government lawsuits will recover any stolen or missing money.
I’m never surprised to read how they won’t exercise their recovery options because they feel it’s not cost effective to them (official story). The real reason is if you’ve been given a bag of small, untraceable bills through the soft money contribution games, then you’re not apt to bite the hand that feeds you by requesting the pilfered funds returned. What I’m a bit surprised about is the number of whistleblowers who are filing claims on behalf of the government (and being rewarded with a modest percentage of the recovered funds) seeking to force accountability in the field.
Fifty-six of the top 100 false claims settlements were with health care corporations, while 23 were defense contractors. The federal government has the authority to prohibit corporations convicted of serious crimes from doing business with the federal government. The federal government rarely exercises this authority – although it should more often to deter an ongoing pattern of criminal fraud.
I’m dismayed that the Department of Justice has their hands tied – or claims to. Their hands are tied with thin air. They’re protecting the gravy trains by not prosecuting the fraudsters responsible for stealing from the public and adding to the debt.
Moorman notes that there are reported to be more than 50 other Iraq fraud investigations ongoing, with at least 5 of them False Claims Act cases filed under seal, but that the U.S. Government has yet to join a single case or move on its own.
"It’s puzzling," says Moorman. "There have been a number of press reports of war profiteers running wild in Iraq, yet as far as I am aware, there is no Department of Justice task force devoted to this fraud. I hope this Administration is not in denial about the fraud, but that may be the case."
I know these people make large contributions throughout the political life cycle of the politicians they’re buying off, but it’s sad to realize the money they are stealing is being added to the national debt. When all the wartime cash dries up, the bills will come due and then what? All these people will eventually run dry, back the losing politician, or make some legal mistake that will cost them everything. There will be nothing to pass down to their heirs; they will be saddled to death with the debt, too. Who are you saving when you’re going to kill your children and grand childrens’ futures, or is your present standard of living so critically important you cannot give a damn about what is left behind in your greedy wake?
They always claim excrement rolls down hill; in Washington , D.C. , it defies the laws of gravity.
- Hopeful war profiteers contribute and grease the system to slide in their guy.
- The party in power takes notice of the “political whales” and makes a habit to solicit future funds from the company in question.
- The party in power then rewards the individual/company for their loyalty with help in obtaining lucrative federal contracts.
- The installed politician pushes an agenda that will increase the required services (i.e., call on the public relations firms to whip the public up in a mass frenzy by claiming a “foreign boogey man” is hiding under their beds, resulting in increased contracts to “fight” the manufactured threat.)
- The contractor in question rakes in obscene amounts of cash with undocumented or inflated charges billed to the government.
- The contractor turns around and skims a portion off his profits to pay off the politicians as a “campaign contribution” because he can’t outright accept his kickback portion – that would be too obvious and traceable by a special prosecutor or ethics panel.
- The contractor gets caught and is brought up on fraud charges. He then turns to the politician he just paid off a second time to make the issue disappear (like in the case of Custer Battles).
- If the politician gets caught, he utilizes a number of strategies: denial, disavowal of ever meeting the person, demand the other person falls on the sword to protect the gravy train seat, entry into any substance rehabilitation program so they can claim they weren’t in command of their faculties and thereby not actually liable, sling mud and take anyone and everyone down with them at the same time, or take their chances at trial while still claiming their innocence.
Isn’t this kleptocracy, cronyism and war profiteering in its purest form? Rule by theft, cronies are paid off and then cover up the mess, and the war profiteers recycle the cash right back into the system like a water fountain.
The big loser is always going to be the American public. In some ways I feel bad for all the people who immigrate here – they are being stuck with a debt that isn’t of their doing, and at the same time, I understand why native citizens leave. Who could possibly afford this country’s debt?