Sunday, October 05, 2003

Bush Pioneer Profiteers

The contracts uncovered by Senator Daschle's office include $3.6m for 400 handheld radios and 200 satellite phones - averaging $6,000 per item. The White House also wants to spend $10,000 a month per student on business school tuition - double the fees for Harvard Business School.

Congress has also been asked to approve spending $100m on protecting 100 Iraqi families, costing an average of $200,000 per family member whereas the US federal witness protection programme costs $10,000 per person per year. Another $400m is being sought to build and run two new prisons in Iraq to hold a total of 4,000 inmates. This will in effect cost $50,000 a prisoner, nearly twice the cost of each high-security prison place in the US.

Dr Ian Davis, director of the British American Security Information Council, a military think-tank based in London and Washington, said: "This is the sort of outrageous 'gold-plating' normally associated with military procurement contracts. It is unlikely to encourage a sceptical international community to come to the donor table."

From the UK Independent.


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