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Huffington Post Archive

Peter Van Buren – (Huffington Post) – May 14, 2012 – The New York Times reports that the State Department, in the face of massive costs and Iraqi officials who say they never wanted it in the first place, slashed and may soon dump entirely “a multibillion-dollar police training program in Iraq that was to have been the centerpiece” of post-occupation US presence in Iraq. After all of five months.

In October I reported on my blog wemeantwell.com that the State Department was on Capitol Hill in front of the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, begging a skeptical Congress for more money for police training in Iraq. “Training” was again being cited as the cure-all for America’s apparently insatiable desire to throw money away in Mesopotamia. That latest tranche of taxpayer cash sought by State was one billion dollars a year, every year for five years, to pay police instructors and cop salaries in Iraq.

The U.S. has been training Iraqi cops for years. In fact, the U.S. government has spent $7.3 billion for Iraqi police training since 2003. Ka-ching! Anybody’s hometown in need of $7.3 billion in Federal funds? Hah, you can’t have it if you’re American, it is only for Iraq!

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David Isenberg: Gun? Check. Radio? Check. Lawyer? Check!

Posted January 20, 2012 By Ms Sparky

David Isenberg – (Huffington Post) – January 20, 2012 – Some things just seem to go together: day and night, bread and butter, Romeo and Juliet, Abbott and Costello, Crosby and Hope, Batman and Robin, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Cheech and Chong, Sonny and Cher, Beavis and Butthead and sharks and suckerfish (remora) for example. In light of that last pair, another symbiotic pair is private military and security contractors and lawyers.

When historians try to calculate the various benefits that the past decade of privatized contingency operations has brought, one hopes they won’t forget to include the huge number of billable hours that various law firms representing various plaintiffs and defendants have amassed. Firms like KBR, Blackwater and DynCorp alone have doubtlessly enabled scores of lawyers to pay for their children’s education all the way up through doctorates.

For example, earlier this month the security company once known as Blackwater, now Academi, agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by six victims or their families in the Sept. 16, 2007 shootings in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, an incident that remains a lightning rod over the use of private contractors in war.

According to Charlotte, North Carolina law firm Lewis & Roberts, who represented the victims in this case, the lawsuit was the “last active civil suit stemming from the incident,” in which five Blackwater guards were accused in 14 deaths of civilians.

Also this month the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), announced that DynCorp International, a Falls Church, Va.-based private military contractor and aircraft maintenance company, will pay $155,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a sex-based harassment and retaliation lawsuit.

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David Isenberg: Now Will You Do Something?

Posted November 19, 2011 By Forseti
Najlaa CEO Bill Baisey aka Fathalla Belbaisi (photo from Facebook)

Najlaa CEO Bill Baisey aka Fathalla Belbaisi (photo from Facebook)

David Isenberg – (Huffington Post) – November 18, 2011 – Normally, I’m not one to go around saying “I told you so,” but (you knew a “but” was coming) I can’t help but point you to Document 172 (Sentencing Memo) of Case 5:09-cr-00154-VEH -PWG, United States of America v. Eddie Presley, and Eurica Pressley, defendants filed on November 13 in the U.S. District Court for Northern Alabama, Northeastern Division.

This document has to do with the now infamous Eddie Pressley fraud case. For those unfamiliar with this the bottom line is that as an Army officer assigned to the Kuwait contracting office, Pressley was responsible for soliciting and reviewing bids for contracts for goods and services for Department of Defense (“DoD”) necessary to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, arranging for contracts to be awarded to DoD contractors, and arranging for calls to be issued under blanket purchase agreements awarded to such contractors.

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Supporting our troops, Veterans Day and other news

Posted November 11, 2011 By Forseti

…While the majority of our country has moved on or ignored what is happening, or has happened in these wars, bright and brave twenty-somethings are coming home paralyzed, maimed, severely burned and scarred both emotionally and physically. How our soldiers come to terms with, and rise above, what they’ve seen over a few months, a few weeks or even a moment during their tours of duty, will define their lives. It’s easy to honor this sacrifice in a day filled with parade and salutes, but it is much harder to live with it, day in and day out, for the rest of your life… ~John Koch, Huffington Post

Falmouth soldier’s Iraq death a homicide
Sean Teehan – (Boston Herald) – FALMOUTH – November 11, 2011 – The death of Sgt. Matthew R. Gallagher has been ruled a homicide by the U.S. Army, family members said Thursday.

Gallagher was killed under mysterious circumstances while serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in the Wasit province of Iraq on June 26, a week before his 23rd birthday.

When family members were first informed of Gallagher’s death, it appeared he had been killed by enemy fire while performing a house sweep, said Cheryl Ruggiero, Gallagher’s mother. But the Department of Defense later announced the incident was not combat-related.

Thursday, just a day before a memorial is dedicated in Gallagher’s name, family members said the death was not an accident.

“His autopsy ruled (his death) a homicide,” said Ruggiero. (Click HERE for article)

Our Veterans Day Wish: Give Our Troops the Support They Deserve
Ben Freeman – (POGO) – November 11, 2011 – This, as with all, Veterans Day will be filled with politicians from both sides of the aisle declaring their unshakable support for our military veterans and all the brave servicemen and women in the U.S. military. Republicans at this Saturday’s Presidential debate and Democrats on the Sunday morning talk shows will try to convince the American public that their support for the troops is unparalleled.

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They only agree on one thing......

David IsenbergThe PMSC Observer & Huffington Post

Author, Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq (Praeger Security International)

Officially, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense is the Pentagon. But it also goes by other names. One of the more accurate, from the viewpoint of trying to understand it, is simply the “Puzzle Palace.” There is good reason for that. Hands down, without question, the U.S. Department of Defense is, from both an accountability and cost-effectiveness perspective the most dysfunctional executive branch department of them all.

From an economic viewpoint of getting good value for one’s tax dollar or, to use military argot, getting bang for the buck, the Pentagon has long under delivered and underwhelmed. When one considers the gargantuan amounts of money that are annually shoveled into the gaping monetary maw of the U.S. military one can’t help but paraphrase Winston Churchill’s famed quote on the RAF; never has so much been given to so little effect. Read the remainder of this entry »

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