11 thoughts on “DynCorp mercenaries profit from Afghanistan escalation

  1. December 01, 2009 7:52 PM

    Afghanistan decision met with anxiety from military families

    By JESSICA TERRELL and BRITTANY LEVINE

    THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

    LONG BEACH – Clustered close on a couch with other members of Military Families Speak Out, Huntington Beach resident Marjorie Niland clutched a friend’s arm while the president explained his strategy on Afghanistan.

    The decision to send more troops to war was disheartening to many of the activists who gathered in Long Beach Tuesday night to watch President Barack Obama’s announcement, but for Niland it was personal – her grandson, a Marine, has been stationed in Afghanistan since January.

    Pat Alviso of Long Beach, left, reacts when President Obama announces 30,000 troops will be sent to Afghanistan. Both Alviso and Marjorie Niland of Huntington Beach were disappointed with President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan.

    “I am afraid for him,” she said. “This has been going on for almost nine years and it seems never-ending … why are we sending our young people to die?”

    Phones are expected to be ringing off the hook for military family readiness officers Wednesday morning, as families wonder if Obama’s plan to send at least 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in the next six months will affect them, said Bill Durdin, a former Marine who now works as a family readiness officer.

    “Is this me? Is this my husband? Those are the kinds of questions we’re going to get,” Durdin said.

    The uncertainty is what bothers Erica Breuer, who’s only seen her husband six months out of the 20 that he’s been enlisted.

    “In the military, you never know what’s going on,” the 24-year-old nanny said.

    Her husband just recently returned from Afghanistan, but she said she knows it’s possible that he may be sent again.

    Breuer said she’s concerned about his mental health—he often wakes up from nightmares—and hopes he’s home long enough to relax.

    “We know he’s going to get deployed again,” she said. “It’s just how soon.”

    The speech was greeted with calls for a one-term presidency by several Orange County residents, who gathered in Long Beach to watch the president’s speech and attend a protest rally against the war.

    “He’s very good with his words,” said Bernie Reina, a former Marine from Orange who served in Iraq. “He’s continuing Bush’s policies, but he’s a better salesman.”

    As of Dec. 1, 924 U.S. Military service members had been killed in action in or around Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Another 4,606 were wounded in action, according to the Department of Defense.

    The number of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan has been steadily on the rise for the last three years, with 2009 being the most deadly for the U.S. military since the war began in 2001.

    The troop surge in Iraq did make a difference, Reina said, but added that the best way to keep America safe is to withdraw U.S. military stationed around the world and place them on the border.

    Obama’s assertion that Afghanistan was not another Vietnam was greeting with laughter and jeers from the Long Beach crowd.

    “I can’t be comforted about this war at all,” Linda Valdez of Huntington Beach said.

    Valdez said she appreciates that Obama is trying to stick to a timeline for withdrawal, but added that she is waiting to see what actually happens.

    “We are more concerned about our family members than we are about an illegal war,” Ed Garza, Orange County coordinator for the group, said.

    After the announcement, members of Military Families Speak Out handed out candles to light in honor of those serving overseas. The organization is calling for people who support withdrawal of the troops to leave a lit candle on their porch every night until all service members are home.

    Garza said he anticipates buying many more candles before he can let the flame outside of his home finally go out.

    The Orange County Peace Coalition is planning an “emergency protest” Wednesday night from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Huntington Beach Pier. Code Pink OC is organizing a peace vigil from 5:30 to 7 p.m. tonight near the traffic circle in Old Towne Orange.

    http://www.ocregister.com/news/afghanistan-221986-military-beach.html

  2. We support President Obama, but we cannot support the escalation of George Bush’s war in Afghanistan. Congress, not the President, decides how our tax dollars are spent.

    After 8 years, nearly 5,300 U.S. lives, and $3 trillion, it’s time to bring our troops safely home from Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Tell Congress to vote against any funds for these wars, except to bring our troops safely home.
    http://www.democrats.com/jobs-not-wars

    We have urgent priorities here at home, especially jobs, healthcare, education, and global warming. We must also reduce taxes for working families and our $12 trillion national debt.

    Washington isn’t listening to the American people. We must change Washington by electing a new generation of candidates on a simple platform: Jobs Not Wars.

    Help us get started with small contributions to three great candidates:
    http://www.actblue.com/page/democratscom

    Thanks to your generosity, we’ve already raised over $22,000 for three outstanding Jobs Not Wars candidates:

    * CA36 (Los Angeles): Marcy Winograd is re-challenging BlueDog Jane Harman. Marcy is a dynamic leader of the peace and justice movement. In 2006, Marcy got 38% on a shoestring. This time, she already has great TV ads.

    * GA12 (Savannah/Augusta): Regina Thomas is re-challenging BlueDog John Barrow. Barrow won in 2008 by promising to support Barack Obama, who made powerful radio ads for Barrow. But Barrow betrayed Obama in Congress and Georgia voters are flocking to Regina’s campaign.

    * NY-Senate: When Hillary Clinton left the Senate, Gov. Paterson chose little-known Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, a centrist from upstate NY, to replace her. Jonathan Tasini is a brilliant leader who has devoted his life to progressive causes and would truly change the Senate.

    Please support Marcy, Regina, and Jonathan here:
    http://www.actblue.com/page/democratscom

    On Tuesday, Massachusetts voters have a fantastic opportunity to elect a Jobs Not Wars candidate to replace Senator Ted Kennedy. His name is Mike Capuano, and he has a perfect voting record against funding Bush’s wars. His powerful TV commercial against the escalation in Afghanistan gives him a real shot at winning. Progressive Democrats of America is running a virtual phonebank to call Massachusetts voters. Please volunteer if you can.

    We’d also like to support primary challengers against every BlueDog in the House and Senate. If you can recommend a good candidate to beat a BlueDog, please tell us now by posting a comment. Time is running short!
    http://democrats.com/lets-beat-the-bluedogs

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik

  3. [Chicago Labor Against the War (CLAW) has submitted the following resolution to a U.S. Labor Against the War conference this weekend. New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) shares the views it expresses.]

    CLAW Resolution for Immediate and Unconditional Ending of Afghanistan War

    WHEREAS the US occupation of and war in Afghanistan is opposed by the majority of people in the U.S. who, at home, face widespread economic attacks on their living standards as many states, such as California, face bankruptcies and massive public sector layoffs and cutbacks while at the same time billions upon billions of tax dollars are poured into the bottomless pit of paying for wars for private profit in the Mideast; and

    WHEREAS the US war in Afghanistan is nothing more than a business opportunity for certain corporations, as is the US war in Iraq, where Zalmay Khalilzad, former US ambassador to Baghdad and also former US ambassador to the UN, has now set up an office in Erbil, Kurdistan to advise companies seeking business in Iraq, and retired general Jay Garner, the de facto US governor in Iraq during the invasion, is an advisor to a Canadian oil company that owns 37 percent of a Kurdistan oil block, all of which reveal the real relationships within and objective of the government-military-business confederacy dictating our involvement in the Mideast; and

    WHEREAS the Afghanistan government of Hamid Karzai, who undisputedly stole in broad daylight the recent election, is a den of corruption and gangsterism, which is supported by the US Government because Karzai is willing to go along with Washington’s campaign of killing and plundering that nation’s wealth; and

    WHEREAS President Obama has made clear for many years and also during his campaign for president in 2008 that he was and is unambiguously and steadfastly in favor of pursuing and expanding the US war and occupation in Afghanistan, despite and in the face of his base of support which arose out of the movement against the war in Iraq; and

    WHEREAS important national organizations, including USLAW, which had opposed the Iraq war, immediately following the 2006 election victory of the Democratic Party in Congress, which was generally considered as a national referendum against the war, indicated, implied or subtly telegraphed to the newly elected Congress that they would accept a gradual, or stepped-down, ‘exit strategy’ approach, which did embolden that Congress to remain in Iraq and continue to fund that war; and

    WHEREAS the U.S. antiwar movement needs to articulate as clearly as possible the need for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq in order to oppose plans for an open-ended occupation of 50,000 troops, and revitalize the movement that put millions on the street worldwide on February 15, 2003, and oppose a similar drive by the U.S. and NATO for a similar permanent occupation of Afghanistan; therefore be it

    RESOLVED that USLAW calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the US military and NATO forces from Afghanistan; and

    RESOLVED that the USLAW calls upon the organizations of the antiwar movement to also demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the US military and NATO forces from Afghanistan.

    -submitted to USLAW 3rd National Assembly by Chicago Labor Against the War, Nov. 15, 2009

  4. Private-equity firm makes bid for DynCorp

    Posted Monday, Apr. 12, 2010

    FALLS CHURCH, Va. — DynCorp International, which has helped train the national police in Afghanistan, said Monday that it is being bought out by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for $1 billion.

    The deal includes debt, pushing its total value to $1.5 billion.

    A recent decision to shift control of the training program in Afghanistan from the State Department to the military may bring DynCorp’s role to a close. It has held the contract since 2003. The company is challenging the decision.

    DynCorp has about 800 full- and part-time employees at facilities at Alliance Airport. The company’s maintenance service for military and other government aircraft is based there, as well as other divisions, including the branch that recruits police trainers and security guards for work in foreign nations.

    Under the deal announced Monday, DynCorp (ticker: DCP) shareholders would get $17.55 cash for each share, a premium of 49 percent from Friday’s closing price of $11.75.

    DynCorp has 28 days to seek competing bids.

    The private-equity market has begun to thaw, and other firms may seek entry into the defense market through an established player.

    Shares of DynCorp International soared $5.66, or 48.2 percent, to close at $17.41 Monday.

    As part of the agreement, DynCorp’s biggest shareholder, Veritas Capital Fund Management, agreed to vote its 34.9 percent ownership in favor of the sale.

    DynCorp provides services ranging from aviation support in Iraq to helping flood victims in the U.S. It has contracts in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

    The possible drug-related deaths in Afghanistan of two contractors have raised concerns about how well the company selects and manages employees assigned to the police training contract, which is considered key as the U.S. looks to hand over more of the security role to the Afghans.

    The company reported profit of $61.6 million, or $1.09 per share, for the first three quarters of its fiscal year on revenue of $2.5 billion.

    “I believe that under this partnership with Cerberus, DynCorp International will be able to build on our extensive heritage and successful performance to continue to achieve our growth objectives,” CEO William L. Ballhaus said.

    On its Web site, the company said it has recruited, trained and deployed more than 6,000 civilian peacekeepers and police trainers to 11 countries, including Haiti, Bosnia and Iraq, for the State Department. It also provides support to protect diplomats in high-threat counties and support services for drug interdiction efforts in South America.

    The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

    http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/04/12/2109024/private-equity-firm-makes-bid.html#ixzz0l03yzRkL

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