Dirt Diggers Digest No. 33

April 15, 2003

Editor: Philip Mattera

1. Updated list of materials on corporate involvement in postwar Iraq

2. U.S. Archives launches new service; Iraqi archives in flames

3. EPA database on corporate environmental "best practices"

4. "Corporate Watchdogs Online"

5. BLS reinstates Mass Layoffs Statistics program


1. Updated list of materials on corporate involvement in postwar Iraq

As of this writing, the Bush Administration has not yet awarded the

key infrastructure reconstruction contract for Iraq, probably because

of controversy over the way in which a small group of companies

(including Cheney's alma mater Halliburton) were given an exclusive

right to bid. Some additional smaller contracts have been awarded.

For details, see the USAID site http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/activities.html.

CorpWatch has reported that military contractor DynCorp may be

hired to provide a private security force to help restore order in Iraq's

cities. The same article provides details on the controversial record

of that company <http://www.corpwatch.org/issues/PID.jsp?articleid=6328>.

CorpWatch has also published a background report on Halliburton--whose

no-bid contract to put out oil well fires in Iraq, it now turns out, could have

been worth up to $7 billion--by Lee Drutman and Charlie Cray of Citizen

Works <http://www.corpwatch.org/issues/PID.jsp?articleid=6288>.

Citizen Works, in turn, has published a Washington Corporate War Tour

<http://www.citizenworks.org/corp/warmongers.php> that shows the

location of the DC offices of "key players in today's military-industrial

complex." Background information is provided on each of the players.

Increasing attention is being paid to Jay Garner, the man chosen by

the Pentagon to be the civilian head of postwar Iraq. Critics have

raised questions about the propriety of having someone who is both

a former U.S. Army general and a current executive (on leave) of a

military contractor serving a key role in reshaping Iraq. For more, see

the Stop Jay Garner website at http://www.stopjaygarner.com.

An article on financial controversies surrounding L-3 Communications,

the parent company of Garner's firm SY-Coleman, appears in the

April 21 issue of Business Week.

Other recent Iraq reports include: Jim Vallette, "Rumsfeld's Old Flame"

on TomPaine.com <http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/7577>

and the Corporate Research Project's, "Postwar Iraq: A Showcase

for Privatization?" <http://www.corp-research.org/archives.htm>.


2. U.S. Archives launches new service; Iraqi archives in flames

The National Archives and Records Administration recently announced

the launch of a new service that provides online public access to some

350 databases created by the federal government. The Access to

Archival Databases <http://www.archives.gov/aad/> covers material

created by more than 20 federal agencies. Among those sources

that may be of most interest to Dirt Diggers subscribers are:

- Defense Department's database of military prime contracts (1965-1975)

- SEC Proposed Sale of Securities System records (1972-1993)

- SEC Ownership Reporting System records (1978-1998)

- BLS Major Collective Bargaining Settlements (1974-1995)

While the U.S. National Archives is making important advances in

information dissemination, the Iraqi national library and archives --

including centuries-old documents -- are now ruined, having been

set ablaze by looters while U.S. troops failed to intervene. See Robert

Fisk's account in the April 15 issue of Britain's Independent newspaper


As of this writing, the story has received almost no coverage in the

U.S. media.


3. EPA database on corporate environmental "best practices"

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with

GreenBiz.com,  released a database on environmental "best practices" by

companies. The database <http://www.greenbizleaders.com/> is meant to

provide information on the activities of companies participating in the EPA's

National Environmental Performance Track program, which, according to the

agency's website, is "designed to recognize and encourage top environmental

performers" <http://www.epa.gov/performancetrack/>. In other words, it focuses

on voluntary initiatives rather than regulatory compliance.

Last week, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman presented the first Peformance

Track Outreach awards to seven companies for "outstanding public education

efforts." Among the winners was Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and

Surveillance Systems.


4. "Corporate Watchdogs Online"

Your editor belatedly came upon an article in the January-February 2003 issue

of the magazine ONLINE entitled "Corporate Watchdogs Online." The piece,

which is not available in full-text form on the magazine's website

<www.infotoday.com/online> but is retrievable via Nexis, provides an overview

of governmental and non-governmental sources of information on corporate


ONLINE, by the way, is one of the three main publications published for

professional information retrieval specialists. The others are INFORMATION

TODAY and SEARCHER. All three are published by Information Today Inc.,

whose website <www.infotoday.com> has more details (click on Magazines).


5. BLS reinstates Mass Layoffs Statistics program

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reinstated its data collection program

on mass layoffs (ones involving more than 50 jobs from a single establishment),

which had been discontinued at the end of last year because of budget cuts.

The latest report, covering the first two months of this year and annual averages

for last year, can be found at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/mmls.nr0.htm.



Philip Mattera