Stories written by Pratap Chatterjee
Pratap Chatterjee is an investigative journalist who has written extensively about U.S. defence contractors employed in the “war on terror”. He has written two books on the subject: ‘Iraq, Inc’ (2004) and ‘Halliburton's Army’ (2009). Pratap is managing editor of CorpWatch and formerly a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Centre for American Progress.

Pentagon Faces Battle in Effort to Reverse Military Contracting

Pentagon chief Robert Gates has called for a cutback of 15 billion dollars in wasteful military spending on contractors as well as government bureaucracy, or risk not being able to pay for its current force.

DISARMAMENT: Hollywood Documentary Calls for Zero Nuclear Weapons

Hollywood and Silicon Valley leaders have teamed up with Middle Eastern royalty and high-level U.S. diplomats to send a message to heads of state who are gathering here in Washington next week: the world needs to reduce its nuclear arsenal to zero as soon as possible.

POLITICS: The Pentagon’s Propaganda Networks – Part 2

Propaganda networks that conduct "psychological warfare" for the Pentagon have been in vogue for a long time. Mike Furlong, a senior Pentagon official who is now being investigated for running a covert network of contractors to supply information for drone strikes and assassinations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, had a long history of working in this field.

Mike Furlong Credit: Pentagon file photo

POLITICS: Afghanistan Spy Contract Goes Sour for Pentagon – Part 1

Mike Furlong, a top Pentagon official, is alleged to have run a covert network of contractors to supply information for drone strikes and assassinations in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the U.S. government.

DynCorp mentor watches Afghan National Police practice riot control tactics at the Kabul Central Training Centre. Credit: Ronald Nobu Sakamoto

U.S.: DynCorp Oversight in Afghanistan Faulted

Afghan police are widely considered corrupt, unable to shoot straight, and die at twice the rate of Afghan soldiers and NATO troops. After seven billion dollars spent on training and salaries in the last eight years, several U.S. government investigations are asking why.

Children in West Kabul.  Credit: Stuart Webb/Channel Four News

AFGHANISTAN: Iraq Lessons Ignored at Kabul Power Plant

A diesel-fueled power plant, nearing completion just outside Kabul, demonstrates that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its contractors have failed to learn lessons from identical mistakes in Iraq, despite clearly signposted advice from oversight agencies.

IRAQ: Allegations of Fraud Scheme at Agility of Kuwait – Part 2

The Sultan family of Kuwait runs a variety of businesses alleged to be at the heart of a scheme to overcharge the U.S. military by as much as a billion dollars over the last seven years. The company is currently scheduled to face criminal arraignment on Feb. 8 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sultan Center and PWC trucks.  Credit: Pratap Chatterjee/IPS

IRAQ: Agility Attempts to Vault Fraud Charges – Part 1

Agility, a Kuwait-based multi-billion-dollar logistics company spawned by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, is scheduled be arraigned on Feb. 8 on criminal charges of overbilling U.S. taxpayers for food supply contracts in the Iraq war zone that were worth more than 8.5 billion dollars.

AFGHANISTAN: Black & Veatch’s White Elephant in Kabul

In a secluded valley a few miles from Kabul's international airport, Caterpillar turbines custom-built in Germany and giant transformers flown in from Mexico hum away at a brand-new power plant.

CORRUPTION: Paying Off Afghanistan’s Warlords

Every morning, dozens of trucks laden with diesel from Turkmenistan lumber out of the northern Afghan border town of Hairaton on a two-day trek across the Hindu Kush down to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

AFGHANISTAN-US: Military Translators Risk Low Pay, Death

Murtaza "Jimmy" Farukhi was killed while on patrol with the U.S. Marine Corps on Sep. 9, 2008, at the age of 23. He was not a soldier, but a local translator employed by Columbus, Ohio-based Mission Essential Personnel (MEP).

AFGHANISTAN-US: Mission Essential, Translators Expendable

Basir "Steve" Ahmed was returning from a bomb-clearing mission in Khogyani district in northeastern Afghanistan when a suicide bomber blew up an explosive-filled vehicle nearby. The blast flipped the military armoured truck Ahmed was riding in three or four times, and filled it with smoke. The Afghan translator had been accompanying the 927th Engineer Company near the Pakistan border on that October day in 2008 that would forever change his life.

U.S.: Congress Reviews Military Contracts, Kabul Embassy Scandal

Private security guards abandoning their posts at the U.S. embassy in Kabul for up to three and a half hours.

BOOKS-US: Cloak-and-Dagger, Inc.

When Barack Obama visits the Virginia headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in the not-too-distant future, he might want to scan the room to see how many of them sport green badges, the telltale sign that they are contractors and not federal employees.

IRAQ: Awash in "Missing" Weapons

Clandestine gun suppliers, funded by the U.S. and Iraqi governments, have flooded Iraq with a million weapons since 2003, charges a new Amnesty International investigation.

HEALTH-IRAQ: A Long List of Pricy Failures

Today, almost four years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's healthcare system is still a shambles.
While most hospitals lack basic supplies, dozens of incomplete clinics and warehoused high-technology equipment remain as a testament to the U.S. experiment in Iraq.

HEALTH-IRAQ: A Long List of Pricy Failures

Today, almost four years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's healthcare system is still a shambles.

IRAQ: U.S. “Cure” for Health Sector Worse than the Disease?

While some critics of the stumbling rehabilitation of Iraq's health care system focused on the failure to deliver basic infrastructure and supplies, others questioned the whole U.S. approach.

HEALTH-IRAQ: What They Asked For, They Did Not Get

The convoy of flatbed trucks picked up its cargo at Baghdad International Airport last spring and sped northwest, stacked high with crates of expensive medical equipment. From bilirubin metres and hematology analysers to infant incubators and dental appliances, the equipment had been ordered to help Iraq shore up a disintegrating health care system.

POLITICS-IRAQ: Civilian Translators Thrust Into Combat Roles

Goran Habbeb had just left his house to get into his car with his brother and his seven-year-old daughter, Soleen, when the armed men opened fire. Taken by surprise because the men were dressed in police uniforms, he just managed to get the white Toyota Previa van into motion and escape.

IRAQ: Gas Pumps Buried in Mountain of Unpaid Debts

Contract mismanagement and possible corruption in the Iraqi government are fueling a crisis over international gasoline delivery into Iraq.

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