Skip to comments.All Aboard the Latin American Drug War Gravy Train
Posted on 06/11/2011 1:56:36 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
Private companies received nearly $2 billion in Latin American drug war contracts between 2005 and 2009, according to a report released Thursday by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). That money may as well have been stuffed in garbage bags and dropped randomly from the backs of airplanes.
The two major agencies tasked with overseeing the drug war in Latin Americathe State Department and the Department of Defenselack a centralized database or system with the capacity to track counternarcotics contracts," McCaskill found. As a result, both agencies struggled to explain contracts worth millions of dollars that were awarded to unknown recipients to complete ambiguous and often sketchy projects.
In one instance, reads McCaskills report, the State Department awarded a $2.1 million no-bid contract to miscellaneous foreign contractors to purchase pickup trucks in Bolivia. According to the Department, the lack of competition was justified because the source was unique. The Department did not provide information to explain why the particular source was uniquelyqualified to provide pickup trucks.
All told, the State Departments Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) awarded more than $50 million in contracts to miscellaneous foreign contractors, and another $6.8 million for miscellaneous commodities, supplies, and/or services between 2005 and 2009. The INLs bean counters have no idea who these companies are, or what they were tasked with doing, only that, in most cases, they got paid.
When pressed for more accurate data by the Senate, INL attempted to match receipts from diplomatic posts with its Global and Regional Financial Management Systems. After several months, INL concluded that the volume of procurement actions overwhelms staff capacity in some instances because many of the acquisition steps are manual processes that are both time-consuming and error prone.
The State Departments investigation into INLs contractor accounting began in May 2010. A year later, INL still could not adequately account for counter-narcotics contract spending.
Not every dollar, however, went to anonymous contractors and ambiguous projects. A little more than 50 percent of what the U.S. spent between 2005 and 2009, or $1.6 billion, went toward aircraft-related services, maintenance, logistics, support, equipment, and training. The Army spent $75,000 on paintball supplies and $5,000 on rubber ducks, which is code for fake M-16s. And a provision in the Small Business Administrations program for disadvantaged businesses allowed three Alaska Native corporationsOlgoonik, Alutiiq, and Chugach McKinley, Inc.to receive more than $50 million worth of sole-source contracts of unlimited value without justification or approval to provide meal service, engineering and software support activity, and security guards in Bolivia and Colombia.
On the Department of Defense side, McCaskills report found instances where contract personnel were allowed to depart the contract without recovering all issued property, loss of laptop computers, and other valuable items such as GPSs. The chief (but not sole) offender in this category was the company DynCorp, which demonstrated inadequate accounting of government property.
Whether or not these contracts should cost less or be better accounted for is one question. An even bigger question is whether these contracts are necessary even in the context of the drug war. In 2007, the Army awarded a contract to a company in Bogota for tractor trailers. Upon learning that it had received the contract, Talleres Los Pitufo sent a letter to the Army demanding 50 percent of its payment up front. The Armys in-country office never responded to the letter, and it took them an entire year to figure out that Talleres Los Pitufo, in turn, never delivered the tractor trailers.
McCaskills findings led her to declare that U.S. "efforts to rein in the narcotics trade in Latin America, especially as it relates to the government's use of contractors, have largely failed." That's a strikingly realistic and honest rebuttal to President Barack Obamas claim that the U.S. and its Latin American partners are winning the war on drugs. A White House spokesperson, for instance, cited increased border seizures of drugs and firearms as proof positive that we're winning. The same official declined to mention increased violence, torture, kidnappings, sexual assaults, and open skirmishes between cartels, other cartels, and police.
There's also arguably a streak of pure utility in McCaskills stance. Her willingness to challenge U.S. counter-narcotic efforts solely on the grounds of contractor malfeasance when contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan have been accused of everything from murdering civilians to turning a blind eye to human trafficking suggests theres a decreasing appetite on Capitol Hill for drug-war adventuring.
So while theres a strong moral argument for drawing down our interdiction efforts in Latin America, theres an even simpler argument by Washington standards: "We are wasting tax dollars, McCaskill said Thursday, and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return."
and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return.”
Hello D.C. anybody awake?.
Garbage in garbage out. Just think of all the bankers legit and not who laundered all that money and their cut for doing it. Along with the cartels money too. It’s all about the money.
There has never been a drug war,it’s all a farce.A scam. Too many people are getting rich off drugs for any real effort to stop it.
Like Dingo says, that money isn’t all that hard to rack,especially in the amounts traded. Start locking up some bankers and watch what happens.Star locking up some political contributors. Start locking up people with huge account and no means of making that much money.
Start Napalming the fields and the factorys where it is processed. Stop treating these people to a nice stay in a jail where their buds are and they can ply Bassetballe get tattoo’s and lift weights.Start some Chain gangs and work the piss out of them.The roads need the work.
Probably every president is given a rehash of the same bogus claims from the same scheming bureaucrats.
How about alcohol prohibition, should we bring that back? Why are drugs bad and booze is ok? How about tabacco? That kills more folks a year than drugs do?
A lot of people who use or want to use drugs feel that way.
It’s an old argument that is a waste of time to get into, since the minds of neither view will be changed.
I have seen many drug addicts, brought many overdoses back with Narcan. Seen what happens in families and do not feel we need one more vice out there just to make drug addicts happy.
Personally I do not need alcohol, nor do I drink it, but alcohol is not near as addictive as drugs. I have some alcoholic friends, they usually go through life in a fairly normal way. Drugs become a part of your life, it takes greater and greater amounts to satisfy the needs of the addict. Life to the addict is not normal as the craving increases.
People who go through life needing a crutch are pathetic.
Drugs and alcohol are a crutch, then they become an addiction.
As I say you won’t change my mind and I won’t change yours.
Alcohol is not addictive? My friend I was a physical, spiritual and emotional slave to it for 16 years. It never cease to disgust and sadden me, the moral hypocrisy people exhibit in talking of the two, booze over drugs.
I don’t believe I said Alcohol was not addictive.
I did say it wasn’t near as addictive as drugs, and it isn’t.
If it were most of the country would be addicted.
Most people can have a drink socially and stop.
Some drink to get drunk.Addicts.
To me anyone who drinks seriously every day is an alcoholic.
Actually it isn’t what you drink, how much or what time of the day or night or when one drinks. It’s what happens when one does drink.
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