Action Against Bechtel and the Corporate Invasion of Iraq

Call, fax, write and visit your representatives in Congress

U.S. Capital Switchboard: (202) 224‑3121

To send a fax to your Congressional Representative:

https://www.citizen.org/fax/background.cfm?ID=162&source=16

To send a fax to your Senator:

https://www.citizen.org/fax/background.cfm?ID=161&source=16

Demand an end to Bechtel's war profiteering.

Tell your Congressperson that*.

1. Our taxpayer dollars should be going to education, health care and other basic services rather than illegal, unnecessary and immoral wars.

2. In the aftermath of the war on Iraq, our tax dollars should be going to genuine humanitarian and reconstruction efforts:

· NOT to corporations seeking to profit from the horror and tragedy of war

· NOT to the major corporate cronies of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld

· NOT to corporations with a history of social, environmental and labor abuses

· NOT to efforts to expand U.S. markets and major U.S. corporate interests in the Middle East.

3. We, the American people, have a right to full and complete information about the content of all contracts (using American taxpayer dollars) granted by the Department of Defense, USAID and other government agencies to U.S. corporations doing business in post‑war Iraq.  Full information about Bechtel's contract is currently being denied to members of Congress and the American public.

Tell your representatives in Congress to support the following efforts:

In the House of Representatives:

George Miller (D‑CA) plans to introduce the "Rebuild Iraq Contractor Responsibility Act."  This bill would require that businesses seeking contracts in Iraq possess a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.

Carolyn Maloney (D‑NY) offered an amendment to H.R. 1837 "Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003" that requires government agencies offering Iraqi reconstruction contracts without full and open bidding practices, to publish the full details of these non‑competitive contracts.  The amendment was accepted by the House Government Reform Committee on May 8, 2003.

Henry Waxman (D‑CA) and John Dingell (D‑MI) have called for the General Accounting Office (GAO) to investigate contracts with private firms for work in Iraq.

Henry Hyde (R‑ILL) and Tom Lantos (D‑CA) in a bi‑partisan effort with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are calling for a GAO investigation into "the U.S. agencies, offices and international organizations involved in rebuilding Iraq," and "their roles in the procurement process."

In the Senate:

Barbara Boxer (D‑CA) authored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill (Warner‑Boxer Amendment #826) that requires the Department of Defense to comply with standard competitive bidding practices when awarding any contract for reconstruction in Iraq.  The amendment also requires a full report from the Bush Administration if the Halliburton contract is not ended by August 31, 2003. The amendment, co‑sponsored by Senator John Warner (R‑VA), was passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on May 22, 2003.

Joe Lieberman (D‑Conn.), Ron Wyden (D‑Ore), Susan Collins (R‑Maine), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D‑NY) and Robert Byrd (D‑WV) authored the "Sunshine in Iraqi Reconstruction" amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that requires justifying documents for any non‑competitive bidding process undertaken by the Department of Defense to award contracts for work in Iraq.  The Senate approved the amendment on May 22, 2003.  Similar legislation has been included in the House version of the Defense Authorization Bill.

Richard G. Lugar (R‑IND) and Joseph R. Biden (D‑DE) in a bi‑partisan effort with the House International Relations Committee are calling for a GAO investigation into "the U.S. agencies, offices and international organizations involved in rebuilding Iraq," and "their roles in the procurement process."

Background

Two wars and over a decade of sanctions have crippled Iraq's infrastructure.  It is imperative that the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people ‑ particularly the right to self‑determination – take precedence in the rebuilding effort.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration is putting U.S. corporate profits over humanitarian needs, awarding a $680 million 18‑month contract to the San Francisco‑based Bechtel Corporation ‑ a company with one of the worst human rights and environmental abuse records in the world, far more likely to line its own pockets than meet the needs of the Iraqi people, a company with intimate ties to the Bush Administration, and a company that helped bring us into the war in the first place and is now profiting from it.

Bechtel will be given responsibility for drinking and wastewater systems in Iraq.  A Bush Administration plan for "a broad‑based Mass Privatization Program" of state‑owned industries in Iraq may also include water ‑ raising the specter of Bechtel seizing Iraq's water to increase profits at the expense of the Iraqi people.

A few samples from Bechtel's record of putting profits over people provides ample reason for concern:

* Just over a year ago, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors canceled a contract with Bechtel for the management of the city's water systems upgrade. Bechtel was doing unnecessary and overpriced work and charged the city for tens of thousands of dollars worth of personal expenses. Many also feared that Bechtel had its eye on privatizing the city's water.

* After privatizing the water systems in Cochabamba, Bolivia, a Bechtel subsidiary made the price of water so expensive that many, particularly the poorest users, could no longer afford it. Bechtel then, at best, sat still while the Bolivian government met mass public protests with deadly force.  In the end, the people of Cochabamba prevailed and the government canceled Bechtel's contract. In response, Bechtel is suing Bolivia for $25 million in lost profits.

* In the 1980's, with the help of then Middle East envoy Donald Rumsfeld, Bechtel aggressively lobbied the Iraqi government to allow Bechtel to build an oil pipeline from Iraq to Jordan, while Hussein was simultaneously bombarding his own people and the people of Iran with chemical weapons.  Hussein called off the deal. Now Hussein is out and Bechtel is in ‑ this time, pumping water instead of oil.

For more details of Bechtel's record, sources and a list of ongoing community struggles against Bechtel, see upcoming DASW Bechtel fact sheets at www.actagainstwar.org.

The corporate take‑over of Iraq must be stopped.  The needs of the people of Iraq and the U.S. must be met.   It is time to act.  Please join us.