Those we should really fear

What a difference between Fox News, a stupid ass propaganda machine, and Fox TV. As a “24” buff, I am holding out hope that old adage of “the last is always the best”, holds true again…….. But whereas that television show always illustrates just how easily terrorists can invade our daily lives, the terrorists are always……and the key word is always, controlled by someone within the White House. The enemy turns out to be someone representing corporate America, …our friend……How prophetic…

So in my effort to write a sequel to “24” that mirrors real life, I decided to investigate a company that has shown up on our radar screens almost as frequently as Halliburton: Bechtel. The one good thing about Bechtel is that it is based in San Francisco. ( I did that for my friends on the right…..) Otherwise it seems like it could provide a conduit for a weapon of mass destruction as demonstrated in “24” that could sufficiently to do enough damage to cement martial law and provide Americans with their own version of Fidel Castro. Fortunately ours would talk less.

Perhaps if you knew what I just learned, it would sound a little less far-fetched……

Bechtel participated in the building of Hoover Dam in the 1930s. It has also had involvement in several other high profile construction engineering projects, including the Channel Tunnel, numerous power projects, refineries, and nuclear power plants, BART, Jubail Industrial City and Kingdom Centre and Tower in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong International Airport, the Big Dig, the rebuilding of the civil infrastructure of Iraq funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the hauling and installing of more than 35,000 trailers and mobile homes for Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi.

The company, which guards its privacy religiously, and is closely allied to power, is often the target of accusations by journalists and politicians, in need of a corporation to pick on…..

As of 2001, a darker sinister side of Bechtel has arisen. Recently, the company has come under criticism for the alleged mismanagement of the Big Dig project, its financial links to the bin Laden family, and the manner in which it received Iraqi rebuilding contracts after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Politicians in the United States and in Europe have made accusations of cronyism between the George W. Bush administration and Bechtel. It seems that anywhere in the world one finds a oil, power, or water producing facility, Bechtel is there.

Just how moral and ethical is this corporation?

Recently in Bolivia Bechtel received the rights to provide water to the city Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest. Shortly thereafter, water rates in that city went up an average of about 200 percent, an action which resulted in the Cochabamba protests of 2000. Many had to withdraw their children from school and stop using doctors because of higher costs for water. Martial law was declared, and Bolivian police killed at least 6 people and injured over 170 protesters. Amidst Bolivia’s nationwide economic collapse and growing national unrest over the state of the economy, the Bolivian government withdrew the water contract. Bechtel sued the Bolivian government for breaking the contract…….

Back on the home front, in a contract that should have been broken but wasn’t, Bechtel received over 660 million to rebuild Iraq. Most of the Iraqi anger focused on the US today, is a direct result of work that was promised, but never done…..However, they took the money…..

In America at least 7 of its executives have sat in cabinet positions or on governmental blue ribbon panels. These include one secretary of defense and one secretary of state. The company is extremely close to the Saudi Arabian royal family and maintains very close ties to the Bin Laden family.

But the scariest scenario is one of which I was completely unaware until browsing around today. Bechtel is the controlling partner of the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons center in Bill Richardson’s home state of New Mexico.

It started with political dissatisfaction over the University of California’s opposition to the Iraq war, that led the Department of Energy to open its contract away from the University, to bids from other vendors in 2003. Although the university and the laboratory have had difficult relations many times since their first World War II contract, this was the first time that the university has ever had to compete for management of the laboratory. The University of California decided to create a private company with the Bechtel Corporation, Washington Group International, and the BWX Technologies to bid on the contract to operate the laboratory. The UC/Bechtel lead corporation – Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) – was pitted against a team formed by the University of Texas System partnered with Lockheed-Martin. In December 2005, the Department of Energy announced that LANS had won the next seven-year contract to manage and operate the laboratory.

So on June 1, 2006, the University of California ended its 60 years of direct involvement in operating Los Alamos National Laboratory, and management control of the laboratory was taken over by the Bechtel offshoot. Approximately 95% of the former 10,000 who were not democrats, plus UC employees at Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory were rehired by the Bechtel offshoot, LANS to continue working at the laboratory. Other than the University of California appointing three members to the eleven member board of directors that oversees LANS, the university now has virtually no responsibility or direct control.

University of California policies and regulations that used to apply to UC campuses and its two national laboratories in California (Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore) no longer apply to LANL

Just how secure is Los Alamos? Apparently from the outside it is secure. But from the inside,  a different scenario emerges. Whether at the “Big Dig” site in Boston, or the plains of Iraq, this company is not well know for its strict oversight and reputation for safety. Now, a corporation that is awarded contracts, earning billions wherever massive destruction occurs, is itself in charge of controlling a large amount of America’s uranium inventory. Soon, if it hasn’t started already, trucks are to begin transporting this fissionable material to a different secure location hidden in an undisclosed Nevada desert; how much will you bet that not all of it will reach its destination? With a price over 2 billion dollars an ounce, you think it will all make the journey intact?

I wouldn’t bet on it…..

So it appears that this administration, which is so desperately seeking to hang on, not only to its power, but to its historical place in annuals of time, now, has through it’s close friends in Bechtel, access to very means needed to create its own Reichstag fire, and using that excuse to declare martial law and seize power: this time, unfortunately killing thousands upon thousands of American citizens.

Far fetched? Perhaps….but it is not as far fetched as one would like……..

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