Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights

BTL:Bush Administration's Military Expenditures and Tax Cuts Lead to...

...Unprecedented Deficit Spending ~ Interview with Max Sawicki, economist with the Economic Policy Institute, conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
While Federal Contracts to Private Companies Proliferate, Government Oversight is Weak or Nonexistent

Interview with Michael Scherer, Washington correspondent for Mother Jones magazine, conducted by Scott Harris

With the continuing investigations into the abuse of Iraqi detainees at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison, one disturbing element of the story that has surfaced is the alleged participation by private civilian contractors in the mistreatment of these prisoners. The Pentagon is spending billions of dollars to hire private companies to do the work once done by the military itself. From preparing meals for the troops, to transporting fuel and supplies, to the interrogation of prisoners, the government is outsourcing these duties to large corporations, some with very close ties to the White House.

The privatization of government functions, and the parallel down-sizing of the federal work force is not limited to the Pentagon, but in fact is widespread throughout dozens of government agencies. But as lucrative contracts are awarded to big companies like Halliburton, often without competitive bidding, oversight and monitoring of the work done has been eviscerated or placed in the hands of the contractors themselves.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Michael Scherer, Washington correspondent for Mother Jones magazine, who discusses his investigation into the government's flawed system of hiring private companies, titled: "Contracts With America."

Read Michael Scherer's article, "Contracts With America," online at May/June, 2004 Related links:

"The Private Contractor - GOP Gravy Train," by Robert Schlesinger,, May 11, 2004

"Civil Servants as the Enemy," by Michael Scherer, Mother Jones magazine, May/June 2004 Issue. Under President Nixon, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney viewed their agency's employees as adversaries.

"Who's Minding the Store?: As Defense Department contracting has proliferated, government oversight has grown weaker," Mother Jones. Source: Eagle Eye Publishers, defense contract management agency

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit: httC://
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
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(c)2004 Squeaky Wheel Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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