Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fueling War: Pentagon Still Buying Most of Its Oil and Gas from BP

by Jeremy Scahill

Last October, Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent out a memo to the heads of all federal agencies ordering them to ensure that no federal funds were awarded or obligated to the community organization ACORN. Orszag's memo was a response to bipartisan legislation known as the De-fund ACORN Act, passed after right-wing activist and wanna-be pimp James O'Keefe's propaganda film sparked mass-hysteria about the community organization.

ACORN was hardly a major US government contractor--the group had received just $53 million over the course of 15 years in federal dollars, most of it in the form of funding for low income housing initiatives. ACORN has never received any money from the Department of Defense, yet Undersecretary of Defense Shay Assad, the Pentagon's top contracting official, sent a memo to the commanders and directors of all branches of the military instructing them to cease all business with ACORN and to take "all necessary and appropriate" steps to prevent future contracts with the organization. All of this happened because ACORN was accused of some of its workers giving improper tax advice to a fake prostitute.

Contrast the Congressional response to ACORN's federal contracts with its response to BP, which does billions of dollars in business with the federal government, specifically the Pentagon. BP holds more than $2 billion in annual US defense contracts and continues to be the premiere provider of fuel to the world's largest consumer of oil and gas: the Pentagon. BP is responsible for the worst environmental crime in US history. It is responsible for the deaths of 11 oil rig workers. Attorney General Eric Holder said he is conducting both criminal and civil probes into BP's actions in the US Gulf.

And yet, there is no real, bi-partisan Congressional march to de-fund BP. The White House is reportedly considering the possibility of debarment of BP, but as of last week no formal inquiry had begun

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