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Burn-pit claimants will appeal judge’s dismissal

Patricia Kime – (Air Force Times) – June 4, 2013 – Attorneys representing former troops and family members who say they were sickened by exposure to open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan are appealing a judge’s dismissal of their cases.

Alexandria, Va., lawyer Susan Burke and attorneys from the South Carolina firm Motley & Rice filed an appeal Wednesday arguing that Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Roger Titus’s decision in February to toss out 57 consolidated lawsuits filed against KBR, Inc., was “non-justifiable.”

Titus ruled Feb. 28 that as a government contractor working in a war zone, KBR was entitled to the same legal protection and immunity as U.S. armed forces operating in combat. He also argued that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on decisions made by another branch of government.

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NATO soldiers, civilian contractor killed E. Afghanistan

(Global Times) – June 2, 2013 – Two soldiers and a civilian contractor of the NATO-led coalition forces were killed Saturday in two separate incidents in eastern Afghanistan.

“One International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member and one ISAF Civilian was killed during a direct fire attack in eastern Afghanistan today,” said the NATO-led ISAF in a press statement.

Another coalition service member was killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack.

However, it did not reveal the nationalities of the victims under the ISAF policy.

The Taliban insurgent group, which has been waging an insurgency of more than one decade, launched in late April an annual rebel offensive against Afghan and about 100,000 NATO-led forces stationed in the country.

The latest casualties bring the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 70 this year. (Click HERE for original article)

We Served Too: Remembering Civilian Sacrifices Made on Behalf of Country and Honoring Those Who Serve Alongside the Military in Conflict Zones

Anne Speckhard – (Huffington Post) – May 28, 2013 – This Memorial Day all Americans send a heartfelt salute to all those warriors who fought and died so gallantly in recent and far off wars in behalf of our freedoms and safety.  On behalf of those who died, we can never thank them or their families enough for the ultimate sacrifice they made for our country. Alongside that salute we now also need to begin to honor the oft forgotten civilians who also serve in war and high threat security environments alongside the military, supporting their efforts and working in concert with them — especially all those civilians who served in the two recent U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — as many civilian workers have also lost their lives while serving our country.

While we don’t often remember the sacrifices of civilian workers in conflict zones, or have a holiday to commemorate their service, we do need to honor that they too serve their country.

A little known fact is that in September 2007 there were more contractors in Iraq than combat troops.  According to a 2013 report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) reports that, “In September 2007, the United States had more than 170,000 combat personnel in Iraq as part of the counterinsurgency operation, with more than 171,000 contractors supporting the mission.”  These contractors are credited in the report for supporting “the counterinsurgency mission in unstable, yet strategically significant, areas such as Baghdad, Anbar, and Babylon provinces.”

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Bagram Contractor Owes $2.9M in Mercenary Suit

(Courthouse News) – KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –  January 22, 2013 – A defense contractor accused of sending mercenaries to loot equipment for Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan owes $2.9 million, a jury ruled.      MAKS General Trading & Contracting Co., a Kuwait company, won the verdict after a three-week trial against Tenessee-based EODT Technology.

The federal complaint alleged that EODT hired MAKS as a subcontractor in 2009 to provide security and build temporary homes for U.S. troops in a construction compound in Kabul.

MAKS said it was halfway through its job when EODT “deployed a team of paramilitaries equipped with assault weapons” to steal 90 homes in a “military-styled invasion.”

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U.S. paid to maintain inoperable Afghan police vehicles, audit finds

(Video from Automotive Management Services Website)

Wasteful spending on Afghanistan’s security has continued to plague the U.S. government, with the latest revelation of nearly $7 million spent to maintain police vehicles that either were destroyed or inoperable. ~Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov

Ernesto Londoño – (The Washington Post) – January 17, 2013 – The U.S. government paid $6.8 million for maintenance of more than 7,000 Afghan police vehicles that had been destroyed or were out of commission, according to an inspector general report released Thursday.

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