News Release

Military Contractors in Iraq: Privatizing Unaccountability and Torture?


Program director for CorpWatch, Chatterjee is the author of the recent articles “Controversial Commando Wins Iraq Contract” and “Private Contractors and Torture at Abu Ghraib, Iraq.” He said today: “Occupation authorities in Iraq have awarded a $293 million contract effectively creating the world’s largest private army to a company headed by Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer … who has been investigated for illegally smuggling arms and planning military offensives to support mining, oil, and gas operations around the world.”
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Madsen, a former communications security specialist for the National Security Agency, is an investigative journalist and co-author of the recent article “Torture, Incorporated: Oliver North Joins the Party.” He said today: “Some of the firms involved in the Bush administration’s ‘TortureGate’ include an odd assortment of telecommunications companies and executive placement firms… One private paramilitary organization that placed an ad for interrogators to be employed in Iraq lists none other than Oliver North among its ‘Industry Associates.'”
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Shorrock is the author of the recent article “CACI and Its Friends.” He said today: “In his now-famous report on Abu Ghraib prison, Major General Antonio Taguba identified Steve Stefanowicz, a civilian interrogator employed by CACI International, as having ‘allowed and/or instructed’ MPs to abuse and humiliate Iraqi prisoners and as giving orders that he knew ‘equated to physical abuse.’… CACI, which has 27 interrogators working under Army command in Iraq, has taken a defiant stance on Taguba’s allegations. … Last year, CACI earned $507 million in IT revenues from the government, making it the country’s seventeenth-largest federal IT contractor — behind the multibillion-dollar leaders Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman but ahead of prominent contractors like Halliburton, Bechtel and AT&T. Sixty-five percent of its revenues came from the Defense Department. … CACI has friends in high places, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage — a CACI director and consultant from 1999 to 2001, when he joined the Bush administration. … When he was elected a CACI director in 1999, Armitage was a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board and president of Armitage Associates, a consulting firm with a long list of powerful clients that included Boeing, Unocal, Texaco, Goldman Sachs and the Brown & Root subsidiary of Halliburton.”
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Hijazi is an organizer with the Virginia Anti-War Coalition. She said today: “CACI has offices and contracts throughout Virginia: it’s headquartered in Arlington (where CACI employees were confronted by protestors earlier this month). We are planning a series of community education events, and we plan to confront locally based war-profiteer and mercenary corporations like CACI. On July 3, we will hold an anti-war march in Richmond, where CACI has offices

Key Background:
On June 14, 2004, the Washington Post reported that the U.S. government asked that foreign contractors remain immune from Iraqi law, just as U.S. military forces are, even after the June 30 transfer of formal sovereignty. The Post reported: “If accepted by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, it would put the highly visible U.S. foreign contractors into a special legal category, not subject to military justice and beyond the reach of Iraq’s justice system. … Two U.S. contract employees at Abu Ghraib prison who were accused in a Pentagon report of participating in illegal abuse of Iraqi prisoners … have not been charged with any crimes in Iraq or the United States. … Estimates of the total number of foreigners working here — from Americans to South Africans to Chileans — have ranged from 20,000 to 30,000.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (541) 484-9167