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War Profiteers: The Bush Baghdad Bubble

Just as the blind devotion to deregulation of the financial markets can be blamed for much of the current meltdown on Wall Street, the war profiteers have enjoyed a Baghdad Bubble as a result of the Bush administration's refusal to hold them accountable.Not far from Wall Street, a little-known company called L-3 held their annual meeting today. It was sparsely attended, according to proxy-holding activists who called me to say that the company used a technicality to keep them out.

As a contractor L-3 is a kind of conglomerate that was created by Wall Street (Lehman Brothers) execs who saw the war and burgeoning military spending as a golden opportunity. So they went on an acquisition spree, gobbling up Titan (who Lockheed stopped courting when it was revealed that they had to pay the largest fine in history for corporate bribery), the company that provided translators at Abu Ghraib.

L-3 is also the parent company of the mercenary (er -- military security) firm MPRI, which was contracted to train the Iraqi Army. MPRI also has a contract with the Justice Department to train police forces in dozens of other countries.

While the activists were left outside to converse with the limo drivers, they could have broken out the bubbly at the company's annual meeting. Especially since less than three months before, Bush issued a signing statement guaranteeing that there would be no Truman Committee to protect the taxpayers from waste, fraud and other abuses on his watch.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, L-3 is the 6th largest Iraq war profiteer.

And yet we know so little about them. At least one group is on the ball: CorpWatch published an alternative annual report (PDF) about L-3 earlier today.

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Charlie Cray

Charlie Cray is the director of the Center for Corporate Policy in Washington, DC. He helped establish Halliburton Watch, and is co-author of The People's Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy (Berrett-Koehler), and is a former associate editor of Multinational Monitor magazine.

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