Thursday, February 17, 2005

Let's Play Jeopardy!

I'll take "American Trivia" for 100 million dollars.

The card is removed from the $100,000,000 slot revealing: Custer Battles

John Q. Public what is your answer, remember to phrase it in the form of a question.

What is Custers' Last Stand, The Battle at Little Big Horn?

buzzzzzzz! I'm sorry that's not the answer we're looking for. Jane Doe, do you have a response?

Which US company was awarded over 100 million dollars in contracts to provide security and other services to the Army in Iraq after having been in business for less than a year?

You are correct!!! Congratulations, your tax money has been given to Custer Battles and others to provide services to facilitate the spread of democracy. Let's check in and see how they're doing:

U.S. contractors in Iraq allege abuses

There are new allegations that heavily armed private security contractors in Iraq are brutalizing Iraqi civilians. In an exclusive interview, four former security contractors told NBC News that they watched as innocent Iraqi civilians were fired upon, and one crushed by a truck. The contractors worked for an American company paid by U.S. taxpayers. The Army is looking into the allegations.
They worked for an American company named Custer Battles, hired by the Pentagon to conduct dangerous missions guarding supply convoys. They were so upset by what they saw, three quit after only one or two missions.

"What we saw, I know the American population wouldn't stand for," says Craun.

Off to a rocky start I see. Let's have another go at it, shall we?

USA: Custer Battles Fights Federal Inquiry

The company seeking to build a security training school outside Carthage is under federal investigation.

Acting on a complaint from the U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon suspended Custer Battles from bidding on government contracts Sept. 30.

A report in The New York Times cited a memorandum filed in connection with a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleges a pattern of fraudulent billing practices.

Documents unsealed by the Justice Department say two former managers of Custer Battles, William Baldwin and Robert Isaakson, brought a civil suit under the federal whistle-blower act charging the company with fraud.

The Pentagon has held up a final $10 million in payments on a $21 million contract pending results of the investigation.

Wow, that doesn't look good either. Hmmmm, how about giving them another shot, just for fun. Let's hear from the guys who've contracted for Custer Battles in Iraq:

Job seekers beware of Custer Battles LLC Security

Kevwhite - Just a warning to anyone considering a contract with Custer Battles LLC, of Fairfax,VA, the company currently awarded the contract to provide security at Baghdad International Airport. I was with them for the first month. The company repeatedly demonstrated signs of serious cash flow problems that effected their ability meet payrolls, both within country and also for all the Americans expecting direct deposits back home. We were all shorted on our first pay, at the end of July, and the promise to make up the difference by Aug 5 was not met. ...

t - reference custer battles,please stay clear,they are dangerous,i have just left them,they left us without body armour,ammo and weapons,we had to buy all our own equipment and scrounge it from other good companies and the military,then we were told to arrange our own transport home on leave,it was unbelievable,when these points were brought up we were ignored at all levels,from washinton to bagdad. ...

Ok, that's not a stunning endorsement either. Well crap, I guess I'll have to rely on this bit for reassurance:

After an interview with Custer in January 2004, agents from the Pentagon inspector general's office wrote, "Battles is very active in the Republican Party and speaks to individuals he knows at the White House almost daily, according to Custer."

But don't worry about your money, it's been delivered to Custer Battles - in a bag.