• We Meant Well Update: US Fails to Pay Afghan Contractors, Loses Hearts and Minds

    June 25, 2013

    Tags:
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Embassy/State, Iraq

    The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) website is always an interesting, if depressing, read. Current headlines include “$5 million spent on unused incinerators; burn pit used instead despite potential health risks” and “Poor project management by U.S. agencies hinders efforts to commercialize Afghanistan’s national power utility.” The purpose of the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, as it was in Iraq, is to win over the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. The U.S. strategy has always been clear, hold and build, the latter the most important in the long run for establishing a stable society somewhat friendly to U.S. aims.

    Reading the SIGAR site, however, it is almost as if the goal was to reproduce all of the failures of Iraq reconstruction, only on a larger, more expensive and more foolish scale. If that is the goal, the U.S. is succeeding.

    SIGAR’s most recent report is in the form of an alert letter warning State, DoD and USAID of serious problems involving failure of prime contractors to pay subcontractors in Afghanistan. SIGAR reports that evidence has come from multiple credible sources, and adds that the issue puts at risk numerous multimillion-dollar projects intended to promote stability in Afghanistan. Here are some highlights:

    — SIGAR has 52 ongoing investigations based on $62 million in claimed monies owed;

    — Losses from non-payment have the collateral effect of eroding support for U.S. and coalition forces and costing the US time and money;

    — Failure of prime contractors to pay their subcontractors has resulted in projects promoting the stability of Afghanistan being delayed or not completed;

    — Prime contractors’ failure to pay is often viewed by Afghan subcontractors as a failure on the part of the U.S. government;

    — A subcontractor threatened to set himself on fire in front of the U.S. embassy in protest of nonpayment;

    — A prime contractor told SIGAR that a subcontractor threatened to blow up a compound of U.S. contractors and government agencies over non-payment.


    In short, contractors for the U.S. government, clearly seen by the Afghans as one in the same as the U.S. government, are stiffing their Afghan partners. Whether through bureaucracy or as outright theft, and with the dullard-like lack of oversight by State, DoD and USAID, the very programs designed to win over the hearts and minds of the Afghan people are having just the opposite effect. Indeed, when people threaten to set themselves on fire in protest, you can assume things are not going well.

    BONUS: One group of Afghans is however doing well with the reconstruction: Karzai’s government. SIGAR tells us that the Afghan government has levied nearly a billion dollars in “taxes” on contractors supporting U.S. Government efforts in Afghanistan. Because the SIGAR folks are polite men and women, they do not refer to these “taxes” as what they really are, bribes, kickbacks and protection money. Better yet, SIGAR also found that State and DoD contracting officers do not fully understand Afghanistan’s tax laws and, as a result, they have improperly reimbursed contractors for taxes paid to the Afghan government (with your tax money!).



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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      They are just waiting for the US to default on its debts.

      06/25/13 10:02 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      2

      Its funny how SIGAR is out front of US news like Washington Post and NY TImes on reporting on these kind of problems. Has there been articles by any of these papers?

      About this time last year, the Washington Post published in an evening addition a feature on a AID contractor committing fraud with money meant for Iraq and Afghanistan. An American contracting company too, husband and wife owned.

      A couple of hours later, the story was pulled and I dont recall ever seeing an apology for misreporting by the Washington Post so that would seem misreporting was not the case. Could an agency have asked them to not run the story?

      Shame on two major papers like the NY Times and Washington Post, who have the laughable gall to criticize countries like Ecuador for lack of a free press — when these two papers CHOOSE to forego their right and obligation to be a free, independent, and objective newspaper. Be a model, please. Stop being the unofficial public affairs arm of official agencies. No one notices that these papers, during the Snowden affair, and other American news events, have published same-themed stories the same day and run op eds touting the same line, conveniently in sync with insert-name-of-last-few-US-administrations

      06/25/13 12:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      Close but no SIGAR: stiffing subs for work completed is SOP in the US business world.

      Speaking of “stiffing subs,” got to hand it to the Russkies for playing the Bill Clinton game of semantics that Snowden has not crossed the Russian border – technically true if he never left the Moscow transit terminal. He could stay there for a long time. Rumors Hollyweird is already planning a “Terminal” sequel with Tom Hanks.

      06/25/13 1:02 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      4

      “got to hand it to the Russkies for playing the Bill Clinton game of semantics that Snowden has not crossed the Russian border – technically true if he never left the Moscow transit terminal”

      But literally true if he never even landed in Moscow at all. I’m surprised that almost no one has considered this might be a simple case of the standard stage-magic trick of misdirection.

      06/25/13 2:10 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      5

      USA TODAY: Edward Snowden is in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. Putin said that Russia would not hand him over to the U.S., with whom it does not have an extradition agreement.

      06/25/13 3:35 PM | Comment Link

    • Andrey said...

      6

      Um, any chance that USA TODAY was misinformed? Golly, what am I thinking?! The US media always tells the truth, doesn’t it?

      06/25/13 5:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Andrey said...

      7

      By the way, about the extradition. There are two Russian citizens currently being imprisoned in the United States, Victor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, whom USG had repeatedly refused to extradite to us (even though neither did commit any crimes on US soil or against US citizens). Just saying.

      06/25/13 6:28 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      8

      Isn’t everyone here surprised that Karsai is still alive? He must be still useful to the USA but perhaps in ways he himself doesn’t fully understand.

      06/26/13 1:26 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      9

      “There are two Russian citizens currently being imprisoned in the United States, Victor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, whom USG had repeatedly refused to extradite to us (even though neither did commit any crimes on US soil or against US citizens).”

      Good point. Furthermore the slimy, vulgar gangster state of Russia continues to contaminate America and Britain with legions of sleazy Russians who run rampant getting away with myriad crimes and espionage, and the US and UK turn a blind eye.

      06/26/13 6:15 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      10

      Kyzl Orda said…

      quote:”Shame on two major papers like the NY Times and Washington Post, who have the laughable gall to criticize countries like Ecuador for lack of a free press — when these two papers CHOOSE to forego their right and obligation to be a free, independent, and objective newspaper.”unquote

      now now Kyzl..we wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea about our wunnerful press now would we?
      unh un..the people just might stop believing their least untruthful stories. They might even discover the press has been using Clappers dictionary for years..you know..the one that redefines the word…no. Unwittingly of course.

      sheezusH. Future historians will look back on this era and burst out in uncontrollable laughter while muttering..what in gods name were these fucking people doing while the USG fox ransacked the hen house. Then they’ll discover the Kardashian Bomb.

      quote:”Could an agency have asked them to not run the story? “unquote

      Could? hahahahahahahahahaha!..your hilarious.

      meanwhile, our dear Secretary of State opens his mouth and once again proves Mark Twain’s most notable axiom..live…on public radio.

      NPR QUESTION: Is Mr. Snowden a whistleblower or a traitor?

      SECRETARY KERRY: I believe that he has betrayed his country, because he took an oath. He swore that he would uphold the secrecy. He was given access to documents based on that trust and he violated that trust. And he hasn’t violated it in any way similar – nothing similar – to Daniel Ellsberg or somebody who was revealing a government that was actually lying or that had a completely distorted view of something going on. This man just took real information and put it out there because he happens to believe something that is not, in fact, justified by the facts.

      And so I think he has put counterterrorism at risk, he has put individuals at risk, and it may well be that lives will be lost in the United States because terrorists now have knowledge of something that they need to avoid, that they didn’t have knowledge of before he did this.”unquote

      Dear Secretary Kerry. I understand it’s fun to pretend your skull cavity is filled with grey matter instead of excrement, but damn.. suspending reality indefinetly is a monumental feat…even for human beings. Kudos to you.

      06/26/13 9:39 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      11

      Dear Pitchfork,

      That’s an interesting quote by Secretary Kerry, and found the oath taken by all government employees on OPM’s site, copied below, and have a question:

      http://archive.opm.gov/constitution_initiative/oath.asp

      Oath

      I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

      5 U.S.C. §3331

      Neither version had mention of upholding secrecy per se Sec. Kerry makes mention of. But would signing a contract with a private contractor supercede the government oath to support and defend the Constitution of the US? Are private contractor employees required to make the civil service oath above?

      06/26/13 11:37 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      12

      The joke among Feds has always been “We take the oath, contractors take the money.”

      06/26/13 11:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      13

      …take the money and reincorporate in the bahamas, avoiding paying USG taxes

      06/27/13 3:14 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      14

      quote” But would signing a contract with a private contractor supercede the government oath to support and defend the Constitution of the US? Are private contractor employees required to make the civil service oath above? “unquote

      Kyzl, NOTHING supersedes MISPRISON OF FELONY.

      “Misprision of felony” is still an offense under United States federal law after being codified in 1909 under 18 U.S.C. § 4:
      quote:
      “Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

      This offense, however, requires active concealment of a known felony rather than merely failing to report it.[7]

      I’ve known about this statute for years, and have asked numerous law enforcement people why this law is NEVER involked in the justice system. They have a common answer. IF, prosecutors were start charging people with this, the ENTIRE government would collapse, as anyone with one neuron between their ears knows, every single Congress member could be charged as they all know of other members criminal corruption. ALL OF THEM.

      However, this is why I always, always, know that people like Kerry et al are eternal criminals themselves, as the Misprison of Felony is simply ignored all the way up to Holder. If Bradley Mannings attorney would even THINK about bringing this up as a defense strategy..the powers that be would kill him. period. It is that powerful..and they know it. And this is also why I think Snowden’s primary responsibility is defined precisely by Misprison of Felony. He saw what he believed was criminal..and obeyed the LAW.

      Unfortunately, as anyone who understands the current penalty whistle blowers sustain if they report their complaint up the chain of command, the part of the statute that states..”conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States” is impossible to achieve without placing themselves in deeper doodoo than if they do not. And this is precisely why this current administration uses the tactics they have embarked on. Frankly, if even ONE prosecutor were to try and use Misprison of Felony against a government employed person, all hell would break loose. And they know it. Hence, it is “verboten”..or else.

      I mean..think of it. YOU and a million other people WITNESSED CLAPPER tell a bald faced lie to Congress. If YOU, or ME, do NOT go to a Judge, or other civil or military authority and disclose this criminal act..WE are guilty of Misprison of Felony. Imagine what would happen. And believe me, I know..because I DID IT. I was laughed out of a Sacramento County city hall..after being threatened with arrest if I didn’t shut my mouth.

      I rest my case.

      06/27/13 3:40 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      15

      ps..speaking of shutting your mouth or face arrest…check this bullshit out. Corruption? Look at what this Judge, prosecutor and cops tried to pull on a 14yr old who wore a legal T-shirt with the letters NRA on it, and was arrested in school…
      unbelievable, but this is what this country is coming to.. blatant criminality by the so called..ahem..Justice system.

      http://www.examiner.com/article/prosecutors-try-to-gag-8th-grader-nra-shirt-reporter-threatened-with-arrest

      These cockroaches redefine the word thug.

      06/27/13 3:52 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      16

      ps 2..Kyzl, in reply to that same question, I there is a statement at the top of the page you linked to that gives a clue to why Obama et al raise their middle finger to the Constitution..

      quote”The content available is no longer being updated and may no longer be applicable as a result of changes in law, regulation and/or administration.”

      As a result of changes in administration. perfect.

      Well, I think that about sums it up. They might as well have added this to the oath..”unless my fingers are crossed.” 🙂

      06/27/13 4:04 PM | Comment Link

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