14 thoughts on “Slave labour built US embassy in Iraq behind schedule

  1. U.S. says it won’t buy embassy ‘turkey’

    A portion of the new U.S. embassy under construction is seen from across the Tigris river in Baghdad, in this May 19, 2007 file photo.The opening of a mammoth, $600 million U.S. Embassy, which had been planned for last month, has now been delayed well into next year, U.S. officials said Thursday.
    AP Photo

    By MATTHEW LEE , Associated Press Writer

    last updated: October 09, 2007 11:20:14 PM

    WASHINGTON —

    The State Department vowed Tuesday to hold contractors accountable for delays and construction problems with the massive new U.S. Embassy in Iraq, saying it would not pay for “a turkey.”

    As the U.S. government orders major repairs to correct deficiencies at the Vatican-size compound in Baghdad, the department sought to fend off mounting congressional criticism of the project and its broader operations in Iraq, including the use of private security firms to protect diplomats.

    The embassy, which will be the world’s largest diplomatic mission, had been scheduled to be completed in September, but last week officials said it was badly behind and might not open for business until well into 2008. It will also cost nearly $150 million more than its original $600 million price tag, they said.

    The delays, charges of shoddy workmanship and fraud by the main contractor have caused growing concerns in Congress, where two top Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Tom Lantos and Henry Waxman, the chairmen of the House International Relations and House Oversight and Government Reform committees, are demanding answers and a new timeline for the embassy’s opening.

    State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday he was unable to provide a revised date for the completion of the project.

    “We don’t have an answer,” he told reporters, adding that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pursuing the matter. “I can’t tell you when it will open up.”

    But McCormack insisted the repairs would be made and that the contractor in question, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co., would be required to finish the embassy for the $592 million it agreed to build it for. At the same time, he noted that changes ordered to the original design would cost an additional $144 million.

    “We’re not going to buy ourself a turkey here,” he said. “We’re going to make sure that we get what we paid for.”

    McCormack’s comments came in response to questions about the construction posed by Waxman in a 10-page letter sent to Rice on Tuesday and a similar letter sent last week to Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte by Lantos.

    Both lawmakers noted that they had been assured, in July and again in August, that the embassy was “on schedule and on budget” for September completion and that staff would begin moving in “shortly thereafter.”

    McCormack maintained that while he could not offer a new opening date, the project was now only nine days overdue and that Rice was willing to accept a reasonable delay, particularly on such a large compound.

    “She’s willing to cut everybody involved in the construction project some slack if it falls within a reasonable period of time and it falls within the normal practices of opening up a large embassy compound around the world if it’s consistent with our past practices,” he said.

    Her patience, however, is not infinite.

    “There will come a point if the embassy isn’t opened up and doesn’t meet the standards that have been required of the contractor, then you have a problem,” McCormack said. “I can’t tell you when that point is going to be.”

    In his letter, which McCormack said he had not read, Waxman details multiple failures of electrical wiring and fire sprinklers that have been pointed out by State Department building inspectors.

    An internal Sept. 4 inspection report cited by Waxman says the “entire (fire suppression) installation is unacceptable” and notes widespread deficiencies with electrical wiring.

    McCormack said he could not address the specifics outlined in the letter.

    Embassy employees have been working and living in a makeshift complex in and around a Saddam-era palace that the Iraqis have said they want back quickly.

    The temporary quarters are cramped and increasingly dangerous. Many employees live in trailers that are not fully protected from mortars fired from outside the Green Zone.

    Insurgents have gotten better at firing into the heavily guarded zone in attacks this year have killed several people. The new complex is supposed to be safer, with additional blast walls and other protection.

    McCormack also said he could not speak to allegations by Waxman that First Kuwaiti had been involved in illegal kickback schemes on a prior project for the U.S. government that should have raised concerns when the State Department hired the company for the embassy job.

    Waxman has been a persistent critic of the State Department and its operations in Iraq, including its dependence on private security contractors like Blackwater USA to protect diplomats and refusal to divulge details of corruption in the Iraqi government.

    “Increasingly, it appears that the State Department’s efforts in Iraq are in disarray,” he wrote in the letter.

    McCormack shot back when asked about that remark. “That is just a ridiculous statement,” he said.

    http://www.modbee.com/2036/story/88590.html

    Like

  2. Kenya: U.S. Firm Hiring Locals for Iraq

    The Nation (Nairobi)

    18 November 2007
    Posted to the web 18 November 2007

    Dominic Wabala
    Nairobi

    For the second time in as many months, a multinational engineering and construction firm is recruiting Kenyans for jobs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

    US-based firm KBR, formerly Kellogg Brown and Root, has placed advertisements in a local newspaper seeking people to work in “contingency operations” for US and coalition forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

    The company wants recruits with expertise in transport. supply chain management, food service, information management and network/telecommunications, logistics, sports and recreation, maintenance, business/support projects among other fields.

    Although the company admits there are significant challenges, it promises great pay, excellent benefits including paid vacations and more.

    KBR warns the prospective employees that the assignments will be dangerous.

    “It should be understood that employment may be located in a hostile environment and possibly in a combat zone. This could include the possibility of suffering harm at the hands of hostile forces or by friendly fire.

    It should be further understood that these dangers are inherent to work in a hostile environment,” the advertisement says.

    However, unlike for other international jobs where Kenyans apply through government ministries, KBR is recruiting directly with the government’s supervision.

    Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, says 98 American KBR contractors had lost their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait as of February this year.

    KBR, which is the leading contractor for the US army and the largest defence contractor in the world, provides logistical support to American and coalition forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and other parts of the world.

    The firm promises “excellent benefits and paid vacations” to those who sign up. It, however, issues disclaimer on the dangerous nature of the work and the dangers one is likely to be exposed to while working in combat zones.

    “Make a difference in the world, your career and your life. Be part of an elite team filled with pride, camaraderie and can-do attitude. Step forward and apply today at http://apply.kbrjobs.com/KEA.”

    On the website, the applicant is required give a detailed curriculum vitae, referees, and military clearance among other requirements.

    KBR is the 10th largest contractor for the US Department of Defence.

    Two Kenyans who had been recruited to work as telecommunications engineers in Kuwait and later Iraq for an Orascom telecommunications affiliated company were abducted early this year and have never been heard from since.

    Earlier four Kenyan truck drivers were abducted by Iraqi insurgents but were released after months of negotiations.

    In a September advertisement, KBR sought to recruit Kenyans with military experience.

    Another US-registered company, Sentry Security of East Africa, began a recruitment drive among former Kenya military personnel.

    But unlike KBR which is solely recruiting online, Sentry Security of East Africa which is also recruiting for workers in Iraq and Afghanistan, has a branch in Kenya.

    Some of those going to the Middle East are former servicemen who have also served also in United Nations peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and Croatia.

    Like

  3. Hi Ishmail, the present violent situation in Kenya is certainly bad. However, still not as bad as in Somalia; or in Iraq, where over a million people have been killed since Bush invaded. African workers have been falsely told they were going to work in Kuwait or other countries where is there is no war. They only found out that they were headed for Iraq once they were in the plane. That is fraud and slave labour.

    Like

  4. Transcending the Border:

    Transnational Imperatives in Singapore’s Migrant Worker Rights Movement

    Prof. Lenore Lyons (IIAS affiliated fellow)

    Director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS)

    University of Wollongong, Australia

    In the last five years, there has been an explosion of interest among civil society actors in the issues facing migrant domestic workers in Singapore. A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), informal networks, and faith-based groups have formed to address the needs and interests of this group of workers. The majority of these organizations are welfare-oriented, providing support services, training programs, and social networking opportunities. A limited number engage in advocacy and research activities. This latter group has been successful in lobbying for important changes to the ways in which female migrant workers are recruited into and deployed within the domestic labour market. To date, their activities have been mostly focused at the local level through their engagements with the Singaporean government, employment agencies and employers. This orientation, however, has recently begun to change as they seek to develop transnational networks and support regional and international campaigns.

    This paper examines the reasons behind this interest in cross-border organizing through detailed case studies of two advocacy-oriented NGOs – Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) and the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME). My analysis reveals that although a ‘transnational imperative’ has begun to shape the activities of both NGOs, their motivations for engaging beyond the border are quite different. By revealing a diversity of forms and meanings associated with the processes of ‘scaling up’, this paper contributes to the broader scholarly process of understanding the complex nature of transnational organizing and challenges previous studies which assert that transnational activism is a necessary and natural outcome of migrant worker organizing.

    Date: 3 September 2008

    Venue: Lipsius Building (room 147, 1st floor), Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden

    Time: 16.00 – 17.30 hrs

    Information: IIAS, 071-527 2227 or iias@let.leidenuniv.nl

    This is the first lecture in a Series on Global Migration Patterns, convened by Dr Melody Lu (IIAS) and Prof. Leo Lucassen (Leiden University)

    Like

  5. (Please visit also our website: http://www.migrante-europe.net)

    The Global Forum on Migration and Development and the Need to Confront the Real Issues

    Apparently, the purpose of the Forum is not so much to promote and protect the rights of migrants and overseas contract workers but to serve as a venue for dialogue between developed countries, which are concerned with the uncontrolled influx of migrants, and developing countries that are dependent on the export of labor.

    BY BENJIE OLIVEROS
    ANALYSIS
    VOL VIII, No. 31, September 7-13, 2008

    On September 14-16, 2006, a High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development was held under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. Representatives from 140 countries met and discussed the “global implications of international migration” and the “mutually beneficial interaction between migration and development”. This led to the formation of the Global Forum on Migration and Development. The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is described as a “voluntary, intergovernmental, non-binding, consultative process”.

    It identifies three objectives: 1. to address, in a transparent manner, the multidimensional aspects, opportunities and challenges related to international migration and its interlinkages with development; 2. to bring together government expertise from all regions to enhance dialogue, cooperation and partnership in the areas of migration and development and; 3. to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes at the national, regional and global levels.

    The Forum’s first meeting was held in Belgium July 9-11, 2007 focusing on human capital and labour mobility; remittances and diaspora, and institutional and policy coherence. It was organized in eight sessions: a) Highly skilled migration: balancing interests and responsibilities and tackling brain drain; b) How can circular migration and sustainable return benefit development?; c) Strategies for building diaspora/ migrant organisations’ capacity for development; d) The value of the “migration and development” nexus and migration out of choice versus migration out of necessity; e) Temporary labour migration as a contribution to development: Low skilled migration and measures to combat irregular migration; f) Measures to increase the development value of remittances: Formalisation and reduction of transfer costs and ways to enhance the micro-impact of remittances on development to the benefit of the wider community; g) Looking ahead: Developing strategies and partnerships to work on “migration and development” issues; and h) Enhancing policy coherence and strengthening coordination at global level.

    While the forum tackled a number of issues including the impact of migration on countries of origin, in terms of brain drain especially in the critical sectors of health and education and the positive contributions of remittances, and what migrants contribute to host countries in terms of supplying the need for labor and the protection of migrants’ rights, the bias seems to be on legal immigration rather than temporary labor, such as overseas contract work. This reflects the concern of developed countries about the continuous influx of migrants and overstaying tourists who seek work opportunities while remaining in the shadows to elude immigration authorities.

    Thus, concepts such as circular migration – of immigrants returning to their country of origin; and diaspora/migrants capacity building to enable them to contribute to the development of their country of origin are being introduced. Likewise the need for coherence in development strategies and policies, such as in poverty reduction, of the host country, country of origin, and diaspora/migrants associations to address the root causes of migration from the country of origin is being emphasized to stem the tide of migration flows.

    Temporary and low-skilled labor is tackled in terms of the need to ensure that it passes through legal channels, the advantages of entering into bilateral agreements in matching needs of host countries to the supply of labor from sending countries, and the responsibility of sending countries in ensuring that the stay of their citizens are temporary.

    Models of “good practices” are presented for emulation such as the efforts of Malawi to address the extreme shortage of health professionals in the country, which was brought about by the migration of doctors to developed countries; the UK Code of Practice for the Ethical Recruitment of international health professionals; bilateral agreements regarding the hiring of agricultural labor entered into by Spain with Morocco and Colombia among others; the temporary agricultural workers programs entered into between Guatemala and Canada; the “standard contracts” required by the Philippines and Sri Lanka; and the licensing and management of recruitment agencies by the Philippines, as well as its pegging of recruitment fees, one-stop processing centers, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) loan fund, which was built from the compulsory membership fee of $25 imposed on Filipinos working abroad.

    Inherent limitations

    Being a voluntary, intergovernmental body, the Forum has its inherent limitations. Participating nations would, expectedly, be diplomatic with each other and avoid controversial issues. Added to this, its consultative, non-binding nature does not give teeth to its resolutions.

    But its biggest flaw is the exclusion of the main stakeholders, the migrants themselves, in the forum.

    Thus, problematic realities of abuses, murders of migrant workers, and official cover-ups, of women falling prey to the the flesh trade, of slave-like working conditions, contract-substitution, and non-payment of wages are hardly mentioned and recognized, much less discussed for resolution.

    Apparently, the purpose of the Forum is not so much to promote and protect the rights of migrants and overseas contract workers but to serve as a venue for dialogue between developed countries, which are concerned with the uncontrolled influx of migrants, and developing countries that are dependent on the export of labor.

    According to the report of the first meeting of the Forum, “The real challenge lies in how best to structure a policy that allows for proper enforcement of immigration laws while letting immigration continue as a positive force for economic prosperity.”

    That is why the Philippines, which has so efficiently processed and profited from the export of labor, is touted as a model. In fact, the Philippines would host the second meeting of the Forum, which would be held this year.

    A week ago, ABS-CBN news came out with a story regarding the oversupply of nursing graduates. It talked about newly-installed nurses having to compete for the opportunity to work in hospitals to gain the number of years of work experience required to be able to work abroad. Worse, they work with no salaries and even have to pay the hospital to be accepted as ‘trainees.’ Others have to work as call center agents or at whatever jobs available while waiting for opportunities to work in hospitals here then abroad. These are because the US and UK, the two top destinations of nurses who desire to work abroad, have reportedly slowed down, if not temporarily stopped the hiring of foreign nurses while tens of thousands of students graduate in nursing courses every year.

    It is also only in the Philippines where doctors study to be nurses to be able to work abroad. But the most disturbing sign of desperation is seeing returning Filipino workers who have experienced abuse and traumatic situations opting to return to work abroad rather than die of hunger and poverty in the Philippines. And the Arroyo government is more than happy to oblige because it is dependent on remittances to prop up the economy. This is the reality of migrant labor that is hardly reflected in the Global Forum for Migration and Development. Bulatlat
    Source URL:
    http://www.bulatlat.com/2008/09/global-forum-migration-and-development-and-need-confront-real-issues

    Like

  6. Pingback: United States’ war contractors’ slave labour | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Slave labour in fruit picking in Florida, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Iraq, Manolo Blahniks, and conservative rants | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Filipino workers in Iraq deceived, abused – report | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: Governmental bloodbath, Iraqi people don’t give up | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: Presidential candidate Buttigieg and the Iraq war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Trump sends more US soldiers to Iraq | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. Pingback: Ugandans as Trump’s cannon fodder in Iraq | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.