The naked truth about transparency and other news…
If transparency—including public access to past performance information—were added to the process, maybe the government would be deterred from awarding taxpayer dollars to risky contractors and the contractors would improve their performance. But then again, maybe these contractors are too big too fail. – Scott Amey, General Counsel Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
In brig, WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning ordered to sleep without clothing
Ellen Nakashima – (Washington Post) – March 6, 2011 – Military jailers are forcing Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old soldier accused of passing classified documents to WikiLeaks.org, to strip naked in his cell at night and sleep without clothing, a requirement his attorney says was imposed after Manning made a “sarcastic quip” about his confinement.
For most of the past eight months, Manning has been required to sleep wearing only boxer shorts, because of his status as a detainee under “prevention of injury watch,” said 1st Lt. Brian Villiard, a spokesman for the military detention facility, or “brig,” in Quantico. Beginning Wednesday night, the facility commander ordered that Manning turn over his boxers, too.
“The intention is not to cause any sort of humiliation or embarrassment,” Villiard said. “The intention is to ensure the safety and security of the detainee and make sure he is able to stand trial.”
Villiard said he could not explain how Manning might harm himself if he were allowed to keep his underwear, citing rules to protect detainees’ privacy. All he could say was that “circumstances warranted” the measure, which was ordered by the brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Denise Barnes. The requirement will remain in effect until a review next week, he said.
Lawmakers criticize military funeral protesters
Ben Terris – (National Journal) – March 4, 2011 – Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who won a Supreme Court ruling this week supporting their right to protest military funerals, are misusing their right to free speech, say Senate Armed Services Committee members Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Mark Begich, Alaska.
Julie Hasquet, a spokeswoman for Begich, told National Journal that while the senator “supports the First Amendment” he also believes “the protestors from Westboro Baptist Church are abusing their right to free speech and intentionally causing unnecessary distress for military families who have suffered incredible loss.”
Manchin, who just returned from a trip to Afghanistan, agrees that the WBC protests are out of line, calling them “deplorable and despicable.”
“He wishes that these people could see the bravery and patriotism of our service members in war zones – he’s sure they would change their minds about these protests,” said spokeswoman Emily Bittner. (Click HERE for article)
Vet links burn pits to health crisis
N.M. airman served two tours in Iraq
Deanna Sauceda – ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – March 4, 2011 – Master Sgt. Jessey Baca now serves with the New Mexico Air National Guard and has for 34 years, but he is in a battle for his life.
He is among a growing number of military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now suffering from mysterious health problems. Personnel returning to the states after their tours of duty often called the ailment “Iraq crud.”
Many believe the massive burn pits are to blame.
Burn pits are used by the military to get rid of refuse. Huge trash heaps are set on fire, and everything from kitchen garbage to medical waste to spent chemicals and plastic water bottles is thrown in. The piles are doused with spent jet fuel and ignited.
Baca said the pits must be within the fence line for safety purposes, and as a result troops all live under the thick smoke and ash, day in and day out.
Baca served twice in Balad, Iraq , in sight of one of the largest burn pits in Iraq. Soon after returning from his first deployment, Baca noticed changes in his health.
“I’ve been treated by several doctors here in Albuquerque, and I always get the famous inconclusive,” he said. “And I say, ‘What do you mean? I have fevers, I’m freezing to death, I’m weak, I go out to do my daily activities and I’m struggling! Something is wrong here!'” (Click HERE for article)
KBR’s Foreign Contractors at Guantanamo Spared Controversial Anti-Malarial Drug Given to Detainees
Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold – (TruthOut) – March 3, 2011 – The Defense Department has claimed it took the unprecedented step of forcing all “war on terror” detainees sent to Guantanamo in 2002 to take a high dosage of a controversial anti-malarial drug known to have severe side effects because the government was concerned the disease could be reintroduced into Cuba by detainees arriving from malaria-endemic countries Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But hundreds of contractors who were hired by Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), at the time a subsidiary of Halliburton, the oil services firm formerly headed by Dick Cheney, from malaria-endemic countries such as the Philippines and India and tasked with building Guantanamo’s Camp Delta facility in early 2002 did not receive the same type of medical treatment, calling into question the government’s rationale of mass presumptive treatment of detainees with the drug mefloquine, a Truthout investigation has found.