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What the U.S. Government Knew About Najlaa

David Isenberg – (Huffington Post) – July 11, 2012 – A bit over a year ago a report I co-wrote, documenting human trafficking and abuse of workers by Najlaa International Catering Services, a KBR subcontractor, was published by the Project on Government Oversight.

The internal company documents I uncovered revealed, among other things, that U.S. authorities were aware of the deplorable living conditions Najlaa workers endured back in 2008. To their credit both the U.S. government and KBR both worked to pressure Najlaa to fix things once they were alerted to the problem.

But, thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union, newly released documents reveal that the U.S. government and KBR were even more aware of the problem than previously known.

In July 2011 the ACLU filed a lawsuit demanding that the government release documents relating to the trafficking and the abusive treatment of foreign workers on U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case sought documents from the Departments of State and Defense that detail audits and complaints about military contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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A taxing situation and other news

Pentagon defends millions to contractor despite unpaid taxes
Tom Vanden Brook – (USA Today) – WASHINGTON – April 15, 2012 –  The tax problems of the military’s top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan would not have prevented the Pentagon from awarding it multimillion-dollar contracts, a top official said in a letter to U.S. senators.

The owners of Leonie Industries, the contractor, owed at least $4 million in federal taxes when the contracts were awarded. Because the owners had entered into agreements to pay the overdue taxes with the Internal Revenue Service, they were not required to tell the Pentagon about their tax debt, acting Undersecretary of Defense Frank Kendall wrote in a letter to Sen. Tom Carper.

Carper, D-Del., said he wants the IRS and Pentagon to work more closely to ensure that contractors with large tax debts receive more scrutiny. (Click HERE for article)

Confusion over S3.2bn fraud penalty fund
Olawale Rasheed, Abuja Monday – (Nigerian Tribune) – April 16, 2012 – Nigeria and the United States of America are now locked in a struggle over an accumulated $3.2 billion penalty paid by American companies who were convicted of bribing Nigerian officials in order to secure juicy contracts.

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