Home Australia The Revolving Doors in Military Contracts and Allegations of Bribery

The Revolving Doors in Military Contracts and Allegations of Bribery



By Dee McLachlan

How does one even begin to understand the revolving doors in regard to government and military contracts. The public has come to accept that military contracts are synonymous with benefits and “kickbacks” for participants. 

Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense during the Presidency of the senior George Bush and oversaw Operation Desert Storm in 1991 — then went on to become Chairman and CEO of Halliburton (1995 to 2000).

I might point out that the #1 recipient of contracts for engineering and construction after the Iraq destruction in 2003 was KBR, Inc., which was spun off from its parent, Halliburton, an oilfield services provider. The amount of money in contracts given to that firm over the past decade was – take a guess — $39.5 billion.

The Australian Submarines

Now to the French submarine builder DCNS.

In January 2015, Sean Costello left his $250,000-a-year job as chief-of-staff to former Defence Minister David Johnston and started in April as Chief Executive Officer with French Government shipbuilder DCNS Australia. This was reported back in 16 May 2015 on news.com.au that Costello “has taken a high paid job with one of three foreign contenders for the $20 billion plus contract.” [now $50B]

In his Canberra position, Costello “enjoyed privileged access to top-secret information about the navy’s future submarine project.” A very strategic move by the French in offering Costello the job, but one would imagine that some questions need to be asked and answered — to ensure that proper process was followed in the $50 billion contract.

(My first question: How did the contract go from $20 billion to $50 billion over the period of a year?)

The Malaysian Connection

But now Kangaroo Court has come out with, “Bribery Allegations Against Australia’s $50 Billion Submarine Contract Winner”. They report:

“Australia has just awarded a $50 billion defence project to build Submarines and even before the ink is dry on the contract hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions of dollars have landed in the pockets of Liberal Party crony and former staffer Sean Costello. To make matters worse the French company DCNS which has won the $50 billion contract is currently under investigation by a French court for bribing Malaysian officials to win their submarine contract in 2002.

“DCNS is alleged to have bribed officials linked to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and the corruption also involves allegations of murder. [More on that below.] This is on top of other previous allegations of bribery against DCNS.”

Another suspicious element of the Australian tender is that DCNS employed former Liberal staffer Sean Costello as its CEO for the bid.” Full article here.

Murder Most Foul

This was reported in the SMH on the 30 January 2016:

“A case involving allegations of high-level bribery, blackmail, betrayal and the murder of a glamorous Mongolian socialite in Malaysia has resurfaced in France, only days after Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak was cleared of corruption charges at home.

“French prosecutors have charged a French businessman involved in Malaysia’s $US2 billion purchase of two French-Spanish built submarines with paying illegal kickbacks to a Malaysian official linked to Mr Najib… who was defence minister at the time of the purchase”

The murder in Malaysia involved a woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was involved with businessman Abdul Razak Baginda.

Ms Shaariibuu was allegedly murdered by two of Mr Najib’s bodyguards — and was then wrapped in C4 explosives and blown up.

She had reportedly demanded $US500,000 to remain silent about her knowledge of the Malaysian submarine deal.

What secrets did she take to the grave?

This is the stuff of spy novels.





  1. After the 2005 man-made disaster in New Orleans known as Hurricane Katrina, I recall seeing, in an online comment, a complaint from a local in Mississippi.

    He said he was well-equipped to help the cleanup and had his trucks loaded and his men ready to go, but all the work went to Halliburton.

    Maybe he got beat up later for ‘revealing’ that? Why not. It’s all in a day’s work for those who are running these things.

    Let’s follow through with legal information about what Sean could be charged with. Let’s follow through about the “cost overrun” which is so obviously not an ‘overrun.’

    Incidentally I think Paul Bremer — “governor of Iraq” — was involved in the contracting out of the “reconstruction of Iraq.” What a sickening phrase for Iraq, the cradle of civilization.

  2. Ive heard of win win negotiations, but the contract apparently made headlines in French newspapers all enthusiastically rejoicing the deal. If it is such a good thing for us, why are the french so happy? Maybe they’re happy for us.

    Im not sure, but I think I remember Dick Cheneys halliburtun bought into the oil company that was eventually awarded the contract to clean up the Gulf spill too..

    it is a good thing the world is in perpetual conflict, otherwise there would be mountains of bombs and bullets lying around.

  3. Don’t know if you remember Rosalind Russell’s casual line “give or take a mil” in the movie Auntie Mame. It was side-splitting — in the days when nobody had a million dollars.
    Now we can chat about the cost of a submarine: “give or take 30 bil.”

    By the way, since satellites can now see submarines, is there any point in having them?

    • Apparently the US military had technology – obsolete now – but still better than hubble, laying around doing nothing, so they gave it away to NASA.. they must have something better still now instead. I heard the public only finds out 30 years after what tech was really available at the time.


      I Keep referring back to when I was a kid, I read about satelittes then that would be able to zoom in and read the print of a newspaper someone was holding.. wonder what they could see if they were pointed at us?

      i like to zoom into the people here on bondi beach, im sure i can see freckles!

      makes me wonder what google might really be capable of.

      but really, how good is it all really, these satellite spies, when they can miss something the size of a jumbo jet..

  4. Best our government be very suspicious of French very shallow integrity……remember that the French renigued on the Mistral Ship deal with the Russians.
    Eventually settled:
    Note that the contract was under Swiss law.
    Hope our politicians have some idea as to what they are doing. the F-35 overuns and failures are not reported by our mass media stooges. If one looks behind the ‘feel good’ articles on the F-35, there is plenty there to raise concerns………….Look up the cost for a flight helmet!!
    Of course we should never forget Howard’s purchase of the US used Abrams.

      • He recorded (L-R) capital ships, Aircraft carriers, Heavy cruisers, Other cruisers, anti-aircraft ships, destroyers, submarines, TB (?) MTB and totals. (Data obtained from “Jane’s fighting ships, 1939).
        A small note in his notebook:
        The people of Britain produced more than 100,000 planes, nearly 6,000 navy vessels, 6,750,000 tons of merchant shipping and raised a force of 4.5 million fighting men.

        • I have now checked Jane’s. Looks like TB is torpedo boat and MTB is motor torpedo boat.
          When you think of it — 100,000 planes. Gorrd.
          All hail your Grandpa, and the other Grandpas of this world.

          (Why are we so thick anyway?)

  5. All these expenditures make us realise who our leaders really are (seen and unseen). It is we who are paying for the killing of innocents because of our compliance . Just the price of these subs and planes, for our military, could otherwise provide homes for half a million families (in Sydney alone, in regional OZ maybe 2 million families). But our superiors don’t want that. The paradox of debt slavery and constant wars.

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