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October 13, 2005

$615/mo. to work in Iraq

-- by Thomas Leavitt

[Imperial Rome had nothing on America under Bush. -Thomas]

TCNs frequently sleep in crowded trailers and wait outside in line in 100 degree plus heat to eat "slop." Many are said to lack adequate medical care and put in hard labor seven days a week, 10 hours or more a day, for little or no overtime pay. Few receive proper workplace safety equipment or adequate protection from incoming mortars and rockets.

Blood, Sweat & Tears:
Asia's Poor Build U.S. Bases in Iraq

by David Phinney, Special to CorpWatch
October 3rd, 2005

[...]

Called "third country nationals" (TCN) in contractor's parlance, they hail
largely from impoverished Asian countries such as the Philippines, India,
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan, as well as from Turkey and
countries in the Middle East. Once in Iraq, TCNs earn monthly salaries
between $200 to $1,000 as truck drivers, construction workers, carpenters,
warehousemen, laundry workers, cooks, accountants, beauticians, and similar
blue-collar jobs.

Invisible Army of Cheap Labor

Tens of thousands of such TNC laborers have helped set new records for the
largest civilian workforce ever hired in support of a U.S. war. They are
employed through complex layers of companies working in Iraq. At the top of
the pyramid-shaped system is the U.S. government which assigned over $24
billion in contracts over the last two years. Just below that layer are the
prime contractors like Halliburton and Bechtel. Below them are dozens of
smaller subcontracting companies-- largely based in the Middle
East --including PPI, First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting and Alargan
Trading of Kuwait, Gulf Catering, Saudi Trading & Construction Company of
Saudi Arabia. Such companies, which recruit and employ the bulk of the
foreign workers in Iraq, have experienced explosive growth since the
invasion of Iraq by providing labor and services to the more high-profile
prime contractors.

This layered system not only cuts costs for the prime contractors, but also
creates an untraceable trail of contracts that clouds the liability of
companies and hinders comprehensive oversight by U.S. contract auditors. In
April, the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of the
U.S. Congress concluded that it is impossible to accurately estimate the
total number of U.S. or foreign nationals working in Iraq.

[read more at the link above]

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at October 13, 2005 5:28 PM

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Comments

This is news to me.

Posted by: Bribes [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 14, 2005 8:36 AM

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