Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Kickback, Brown-nose and Rooting-in-the-trough

Kickback, Brown-nose and Rooting-in-the-trough: KBR Gets New Gitmo

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Havana, Jun 22 (Prensa Latina) Flip, Flop, Flip - Rumsfeld, George W, and Cheney just can't get this Gitmo thing right. A couple of weeks ago, it was the best thing for getting the low-down on terrorism since sliced head, I mean bread.

Then along came Amnesty International and the gulag goss, Democrats and their notions of nazism, a few ex-presidents heeing and hawing about human rights, an ex-Gitmo soldier Sgt Erik Saar´s Book of Revelations (strangely ignored in the US), Senate concerns about Koran abuse - a cascading cacophony of criticism.

Even Republicans are reeling at the repercussions for the reputation of the US (isn't anybody going to tell them that if zero on the credibility meter begins at ground level, they'd better start digging fast, to accurately register their current ranking....or even just to join the other heads buried in the sand.)

I mean, Rumsfeld said at a press conference on 08 June in Norway that the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo is "professional and humane" and they are not considering closing it.

A 24 hour backflip later he said he'd rather the prisoners were detained by their own countries, and a few floppy hours later George W refused to rule out shutting the facility, saying his administration is now exploring alternatives for detaining the prisoners.

Scott McLellan leapt into the fray, flip-flopping all over the place, considering this and continuously looking at that and reviewing alternative something elses, until Cheney flummoxed Fox TV on Friday, with the announcement that there was "no plan to close" Guantanamo after all, even if Bush was still saying options were under review "on a continuous basis."

As the chorus for closure climbed to a clamour, with Clinton and cohorts calling for Guantanamo to be "closed down or cleaned up", and Bush inviting journalists on a jaunt through the jail, the Pentagon quietly announced a generous $30 million contract, part of a larger contract worth up to $500 million, to KBR, subsidiary of Cheney´s ¢ld´company Halliburton, to build ¨an improved 220-bed prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay¨.

Kellogg Brown and Root Services Inc. of Arlington, Va., or Kickback, Brown-nose and Rooting-in-the-trough as they became more popularly known after the Pentagon secretly awarded them an open-ended no-bid contract working to restore Iraq's oil industry, are to build ¨a two-story prison that includes day rooms, exercise areas, medical bays, air conditioning and a security control room, according to the Pentagon, to be completed by July 2006.¨

I guess that´s one way of describing a cage - it´s a permanent dayroom, you can swing from the bars, there´s plenty of fresh air, it´s pretty damn securely controlled, and you can bay as long as you like for medical care...and I guess Vice-President Cheney still has a few flip flops of his own to see to.

After all, as 60 minutes reported in 2003, the Pentagon, under Cheney, commissioned Brown & Root in 1992 to do a classified study on whether it was a good idea to have private contractors do more of the military's work.

As Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center For Public Integrity, said at the time, "Of course, they said it's a terrific idea, and over the next eight years, Kellogg, Brown & Root and another company got 2,700 contracts worth billions of dollars.¨

Two years later, when Cheney left the department of defense, he became CEO of Halliburton, and on flipping out of there five years later, flopped right into the Vice Presidency, where he could really look after his mates in Afghanistan and Iraq and Guantanamo...who says no-one is treated humanely down there?

But if any of you media types decide to take George W up on his offer to swing on by for a look-see, keep in mind that if you´re not for him, you´re against him, and embedded journalism just might take on a whole new meaning.after all, the new look ´Detention Camp 6´ is ¨designed to be safer for long-term detention.and will require less manpower to operate.¨

Sounds suspiciously like Bush-speak for throwing away the key, rather than any intent to release anybody, however innocent. Sounds like a facility that will not meet the most minimal requirements of due process or humane containment, let alone provide ´professional and humane´ treatment in accordance with international law.

Sounds like the entire US citizenry should pull its collective head out of the sand and say STOP. Shut The Obscenity Permanently. And not just Guantanamo, but every other US gulag wherever it may be, Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else.

That´s just the easy bit. The really hard bit is for the US, primarily the military and the current administration but also the citizenry who have allowed this situation to develop, to learn respect - for other human beings, individually and as nations - and to start behaving in accordance with internationally accepted norms.


Julie Webb-Pullman writes, edits, and revises for Prensa Latina in Havana, Cuba -

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news