A taxing situation and other news
They are a varied bunch. Eileen Foster helped expose systemic fraud at America’s largest mortgage provider Countywide Financial. Lt Col Daniel Davis spoke out against the top brass’s portrayal of US military actions in Afghanistan while he was still a serving soldier. Author Ali Soufan wrote The Black Banners, a history of Al-Qaida. The two makers of Semper Fi – a documentary about a Marine’s investigation into the death of his daughter – gets a Ridenhour for film and Congressman John Lewis – a hero of the Civil Rights struggle – gets a courage award.
All spoke out even when the forces arrayed against them were large, powerful, or questioned their motives and patriotism. That should be something that the Barack Obama administration would celebrate. After all, this is a White House that once vowed to protect whistleblowers when it drew up its transition agenda. “Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled,” the document said as Obama prepared to take power.
But that was then. This is now.
Over the past three and a half years the Obama White House has instead shown a ferocious hostility to many whistleblowers and earned itself the ire of progressive columnists like Salon’s Glenn Greenwald and whistleblower defence groups like the Project on Government Oversight and the Government Accountability Project. (Click HERE for article)
Broke Afghans Will Cut Their Military — And Obama’s War Plan
Spencer Ackerman – (Danger Room) – April 11, 2012 – First the U.S. and its allies super-sized Afghanistan’s Army and police to fight the Taliban. Then they decided that those Afghan troops were their exit strategy. Now they’ve got sticker shock for how much the huge Afghan security sector will cost after they turn over combat duties in 2014 — so the Afghans announced that they’ll cut their own forces, even while they’ll be the only ones fighting the insurgency.
This is nothing short of removing a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s entire Afghanistan strategy. It’s an unforced error, costing over $10 billion, and completely foreseeable. In fact, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld foresaw it.
Here’s the problem. Afghanistan is an economic ward of the international community: the World Bank estimated that before the explosion in U.S. financing during the surge, fully 47 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP came from foreign aid. The annual price tag for the Afghan National Army and Police, according to a former top officer in charge of training them, is $6 billion. You foot most of that bill.
That’s for 352,000 soldiers and cops — an “end-strength” that U.S. military officials have laboriously worked to reach. They will reach it, the Pentagon expects, by the summer. And soon afterward, the Afghans will start… downsizing. According to Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan defense minister who’s visiting Washington, as a “conceptual model for planning purposes,” the Afghans will cut the force to 230,000 soldiers and cops after 2014. One-third of the Afghan forces — many of whom can’t read and kill Americans — will be gone. (Click HERE for article)
U.K. Court Grants Access To Tesler, Chodan Files
(FCPA Blog) – April 10, 2012 – A newspaper in Britain won the right last week to see documents filed in the U.K. extradition hearings of Jeffrey Tesler and Wojciech Chodan.
The Guardian called the judgment by a three-justice panel a ‘groundbreaking case that strengthens the media’s right to see documents used in criminal cases.’