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"Latino 'EcoSlaves' Clean Up After Katrina"

From Nov. 15 came this Newsmax summary of a Der Spiegel article on illegal aliens doing rebuilding in New Orleans:

Halliburton Watch: "subcontractor hires illegal immigrants for Katrina work"

The apparently "liberal" site called Halliburton Watch reports on the incident here.
Previously: "More on the illegal aliens at Belle Chasse Naval Air Station".

"Katrina Cleanup Contracts Continue for KBR"

"Defense Industry Daily", as its name implies, is the eWeek of those dependent on dear old DoD. They have a press release on the Kellogg-Brown-Root contract under which one of their subcontractors allegedly hired illegal aliens here.

More Mary Landrieu and alleged illegal aliens employed by Halliburton subcontractor

Landrieu says illegal workers hurt La.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is asking the Bush administration to send immigration enforcement officers to the Gulf Coast to investigate whether federal contractors are hiring undocumented workers to do Katrina recovery work.
"While my state experiences unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression, it is unconscionable that illegal workers would be brought into Louisiana aggravating our employment crisis and depressing earnings for our workers," Landrieu said in a statement.
Landrieu cited testimony this week by electrical workers who had been employed at the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station. The workers said they were replaced Oct. 1 by contractor BE&K of Birmingham, Ala., with workers willing to work for significantly lower wages. The displaced workers were doing electrical work on the base, some related to wiring a tent city for Hurricane Katrina relief workers.
It was unclear, Landrieu said, whether the replacement workers are here legally.
Two of the displaced workers told Democratic senators conducting a hearing Monday on hurricane relief efforts that about 75 electricians from New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles lost their jobs at Belle Chasse. The culprit, the workers said, was the Bush administration's decision to exempt hurricane relief work from a federal law requiring all government contractors to pay prevailing wages and benefits...

BE&K denies the charges, but: while the Bush administration almost completely refuses to enforce immigration laws against employers, those employers who they've pursued end up having used contractors, labor suppliers, and the like.
See also Did a Halliburton subcontractor hire illegal aliens to work on a Navy base?

Did a Halliburton subcontractor hire illegal aliens to work on a Navy base?

Bear in mind we aren't just talking about alleged illegal aliens taking jobs that should go to those Americans affected by the storm. We're also talking about them working on a U.S. Navy base, so there's that little extra kick in the teeth.
Dateline Alabama

Immigration agents detained a large number of illegal immigrants working for a Halliburton subcontractor hired to do Hurricane Katrina recovery work, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office said on Thursday.
The workers - numbering possibly more than 100 - were involved in setting up a tent city at a Navy base just outside New Orleans when they were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Wednesday, according to Landrieu's office.
Landrieu's office claimed that the alleged illegal workers were employed by BE&K. The Birmingham, Ala.-based subcontractor acknowledged that immigration officials descended on its work site, but said none of its employees were detained. Susan Wasley, a BE&K spokeswoman, said that about 136 workers from a different company on the project were detained. She would not name the other company.
She added that all BE&K's workers have valid work documents and that only about three of the 150 workers at the Navy base are green-card holders.
BE&K was awarded the work by Halliburton, which won contracts after Katrina to repair several military bases in the hard-hit Gulf Coast region, said Adam Sharp, a Landrieu spokesman.
"It is a downright shame that any contractor would use this tragedy as an opportunity to line his pockets by breaking the law and hiring a low-skilled, low-wage and undocumented work force," Landrieu said in a statement.
The Democratic senator sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Tuesday urging him to investigate allegations that the use of illegal workers was becoming "chronic" in rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region.
Immigration officials would not confirm nor deny that illegal workers were detained at the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station.
"The federal government must ensure that every company, no matter how big, follows the law and provides Gulf Coast residents with the jobs they deserve," Landrieu said.
Wasley said 75 percent of the workers at Belle Chasse were from the hurricane-hit states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.
Allegations that illegal workers might be employed at the Navy base surfaced during congressional testimony given by Louisiana electrical contractors with Knight Enterprises who said they were hired by BE&K to build a 7,500-person tent city at the base.
Al Knight, the general manager of Knight Enterprises, testified that his 75 workers were fired after they trained the low-wage, out-of-state BE&K workers. BE&K denies that allegation, Wasley said.
The tent city was built to house military personnel involved in the rebuilding. Wasley said BE&K has also worked on the base's electrical systems, air conditioning and a temporary shower facility.

Some Americans are not.
See also: "More Mary Landrieu and alleged illegal aliens employed by Halliburton subcontractor"

Auditing federal contracts difficult; no central database

From the AP report "With U.S. Katrina aid, tracing money isn't easy":

Trying to track who is getting what portion of the billions of dollars in federal Hurricane Katrina aid is enough to give any auditor a headache - and is a problem that critics say creates alarming gaps in public oversight.
The database of contracts is incomplete, information released by federal agencies is spotty and sporadic, and disclosure of many no-bid contracts is not required by law.
...Under federal election law, a click of a mouse traces every campaign donation. Yet no comprehensive public database exists for federal contracts.
...Federal law requires that agencies disclose contract awards, typically by one of two government-sponsored databases. Through loopholes, waivers of contract rules and technical glitches, information is omitted or can go unreported for months.
...The omissions since Katrina struck include a $236 million contract with Carnival Cruise Lines to provide housing for evacuees that legislators have criticized as wasteful, and open-ended contracts with Intelsat and Bechtel Corp. awarded partly because of their previous relationships with the government...
...An audit by the Government Accountability Office last month found that the primary database, known as the Federal Procurement Data System, was inaccurate and incomplete. GAO said that there were repeated delays by the Pentagon in switching to a new system that would allow the department to report its awards in real time.
Scott Amey, the general counsel of the Project on Government Oversight, said that his group compiled its own database of contractors with a history of spending waste or other misconduct, and said that some of the culprits - politically connected Fluor, Bechtel and Halliburton - were among the biggest initial winners of Katrina contracts...

Allbaugh: DHS merger hurt FEMA

The article "FEMA troubles no shock to previous chief" reports the thoughts of former head of FEMA Joe Allbaugh:

[He says:] "FEMA has been broken for quite some time..."
The FEMA that he directed did a good job responding to the 9-11 terrorist attacks four years ago, he said. But now it suffers as one of 22 agencies rolled into the new Department of Homeland Security.
"Functions have been moved out of FEMA. Budgets have been cut and used elsewhere," he said. He added that moving FEMA into Homeland Security had added a "couple of layers" of bureaucracy.

The DHS reponds that the move got rid of redundant functions.

...After years of dealing directly with Mr. Bush, the new department structure would add just "further layers" of bureaucracy between him and the president, Mr. Allbaugh said.
"It just didn't make any sense to me," he said...


His business, the Allbaugh Group, represents a pair of large engineering and construction companies - the Halliburton subsidiary KBR and the Shaw Group - that could gain from Katrina work. He said he doesn't lobby for them but rather does special projects and long-term strategic planning. It wouldn't bother him, he said, if there were lifetime lobbying bans for those who served in high government posts.
"It wouldn't hurt me - no skin off my nose or money out of my pocket," he said, "because it's not what I do."

More on Bush using Katrina to drive down wages

There's a timeline and a CNN transcript here dealing with Bush using Katrina to take the opportunity to drive down American wages.
See also this excerpt from 9/21's Lou Dobbs show.

Jesse Jackson informs us that the looting isn't over

No, not as long as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Howard Dean, and the rest of the Democrats are in charge the looting will continue. However, in "Hurricane looting not over yet", the Right Rev is concerned with the more Republican form of looting:

...Already Halliburton is on hand with a no-bid contract for reconstruction.

Actually, I think what they're doing is covered by a pre-existing contract.

...Fluor, Bechtel, the Shaw Group -- Republican-linked firms -- are lining up for contracts. Lobbyists like Joe Allbaugh, close friend of George Bush, and James Lee Witt, close friend of Bill Clinton -- both former heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- are advising their corporate clients to get teams on the scene. Normal rules of contracting and competition are being waived in the emergency. Big bucks are on the table. It is a time to be wired politically.

Actually, the Shaw Group appears to have some Democratic connections...

The ideologues are in the hunt, too. Newt Gingrich is circulating memos calling for turning the region into a massive enterprise zone, slashing corporate taxes, reducing regulations. The oil lobby is pushing for drilling in Alaska and off the shores of the United States. Right wing activist Grover Norquist calls for cutting taxes on the wealthy even more to stimulate the economy. Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flak [sic, appropriately enough it's "Flake"] suggests conservatives use the crisis to try out their favorite ideas -- vouchers for education and health care...
The Bush administration's inaction and indifference after Katrina hit abandoned the poor and added to their suffering. It would be tragic now if action by the Republican Congress and the Bush administration added to the misery...

He does have some semi-good ideas, like reviving the pseudo-socialistic Civilian Construction and Conservation Corps. The problem, of course, is that behind the good ideas flows a river of race-baiting and Democratic looting.

"Firms with Bush ties snag Katrina deals"


Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.
One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton...

See also "Halliburton taps $500 million Katrina contract; Allbaugh connection".


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