Friday, March 28, 2008

Tacky War on Terror

Munitions merchants are not what they used to be. A century ago, in "Major Barbara," George Bernard Shaw gave us Andrew Undershaft, an intellectual who philosophized about war and poverty. Today we have 22-year-old Efraim Diveroli, who peddles useless used weaponry and keeps getting arrested for domestic violence.

After "repeated inquiries" by the New York Times, the Army this week finally suspended his company, AEY inc., from future federal contracts, after learning Diveroli had sold them Chinese ammunition that he claimed to be Hungarian.

The company, which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach with a licensed masseur as Vice President, had supplied $300 million of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces, much of which turned out to be more than 40 years old from stockpiles of the former Communist bloc, including some that the State Department and NATO had determined to be obsolete and spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.

Diveroli's convoluted business dealings include allegations of bribery in Albania (where some of munitions blew up this month, killing 22 people and destroying hundreds of homes), a dummy company in Cyprus and illegal arms trafficking in the Czech Republic, all of which led to arming US allies fighting the Taliban with useless and dangerous weapons.

It's comforting to know that the war on terror is being run by the people who certified Diveroli as a reliable arms contractor.

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