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We’re Back and other news

Not-Quite-Lost Shipping Containers May Cost Feds
Lorraine Bailey – (Courthouse News) – May 17, 2013 – A fourth company will join the fight to prove that the government lied about losing 1,000 leased shipping containers so it could keep using them without paying, a federal judge ruled.

Three container companies, CAI International, Cronos Containers and Textainer Equipment Management, had leased shipping containers to TOPtainer, which in turn leased the containers to the U.S. Army for equipment shipments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Wednesday, Judge Nancy Firestone with the Court of Federal Claims joined

Capital Lease to the case because it had been Textainer’s supplier.

They claim that the government told TOPtainer that it lost 1,000 when its lease was up, and paid TOPtainer for the loss, but TOPtainer never remitted that money to its suppliers and is now defunct.

The container companies say that the government took the title to their property without paying just compensation.

Capital also “presented undisputed evidence to the court to show that 125 containers that had been owned by Capital and were now the subject of plaintiff Textainer’s claim were never ‘lost,’ but were instead sent to Okinawa, Japan and thus appeared to have been ‘taken’ outside the terms of the master lease,” Judge Firestone wrote. (Click HERE for article) (Click HERE for Judge’s Order)

Soldier Given Second Shot at Suing Gun Maker
Rose Bouboushian – (Courthouse News) – April 3, 2013 – A soldier who was injured when his M2 machine gun exploded and a shell casing pierced his leg will get a chance to hone his federal lawsuit against the gun’s manufacturer.

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Neil Gordon: Army of One … Contractor

Neil Gordon – (POGO) – January 11, 2013 – Mark Thompson posted an interesting federal contracting-related tidbit Tuesday on TIME’s national security blog, Battleland. He looked at a list of recent Department of Defense contract awards and noticed that many of them had received only one bid.

Of the 35 contracts in the list that Thompson reviewed, 20 of them, worth a combined $257 million, either solicited or received just a single bid. On many of them, including contracts awarded to big players such as Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), General Dynamics, Raytheon, and BAE Systems , the government solicited only one bid. Federal agencies are required to award contracts on the basis of full and open competition but are permitted to award non-competitive contracts in certain situations. The U.S. Army awarded 19 of the 20 contracts, which makes us wonder if the Army is perhaps taking its old “Army of One” slogan a bit too literally when it comes to contracting.

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Former employee says defense contractor retaliating for whistle-blowing

Brian Bowling – (Tribune-Review) – May 21, 2012 – A Butler County man claims in a federal lawsuit filed today that subsidiaries of London-based defense contractor BAE Systems PLC have prolonged a state lawsuit over a non-competition clause and his federal bankruptcy case to punish him for filing a whistleblower lawsuit against the contractor.

Paul Bartock of Center claims that O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Co. and its successor, BAE Systems Survivability Systems, have kept him from working for a competitor long after the two-year term of his non-competition contract expired because they know he filed a False Claims Act lawsuit in 2007. BAE Systems bought O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt in 2007, the lawsuit says.

Bartock was formerly the head of the company’s program for providing enhanced-armored Humvees to the Army, the lawsuit says.

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Gone Fishin’ and other news

We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn’t always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money. ~ NPR, Money in Politics Series

Army probes drug use by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan
Lolita C. Baldor – (The Associated Press) – WASHINGTON – April 21, 2012 –  The U.S. Army has investigated 56 soldiers in Afghanistan on suspicion of using or distributing heroin, morphine or other opiates during 2010 and 2011, newly obtained data shows. Eight soldiers died of drug overdoses during that time.

While the cases represent just a slice of possible drug use by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, they provide a sombre snapshot of the illicit trade in the war zone, including young Afghans peddling heroin, soldiers dying after mixing cocktails of opiates, troops stealing from medical bags and Afghan soldiers and police dealing drugs to their U.S. comrades.

In a country awash with poppy fields that provide up to 90 per cent of the world’s opium, the U.S. military struggles to keep an eye on its far-flung troops and monitor for substance abuse.

But U.S. Army officials say that while the presence of such readily available opium — the raw ingredient for heroin — is a concern, opiate abuse has not been a pervasive problem for troops in Afghanistan. (Click HERE for article)

Government Worker Claims Rape on the Job
Iulia Filip – (Courthouse News) – MONTGOMERY, Ala. – April 20, 2012 – The U.S. government faces federal claims that a manager in the Defense Department harassed and repeatedly raped a contract worker.

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Vanishing acts and other news

Tracking Gaddafi: The case against the Canadian accused of aiding a dictator’s son
Stewart Bell – (National Post) –  MEXICO CITY – March 24, 2012 –  When a dictatorship falls, the old regime takes flight.

And so when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi began losing his grip on Libya last year, a mixed bag of friends, allies and profiteers went to work planning exile for those close to him.

A town near Puerto Vallarta was the soft landing chosen for Saadi Gaddafi, the dictator’s hedonistic third son and head of the Libyan Special Forces. To get him there, according to Mexican officials, properties were purchased, planes were rented and passports were forged.

But if there was such a plot, it was a spectacular flop. Because instead of wading in the Pacific surf, Mr. Gaddafi ended up in Niger, a landlocked sandbox, while the Canadian, Dane and two Mexicans accused of orchestrating his escape are behind bars.

Because of Mexico’s closed legal system, few details of the case have been officially released. But documents obtained by the National Post reveal the events leading up to the arrests of Canadian Cynthia Vanier, who has denied the allegations, and her co-accused.

The paper trail identifies for the first time the international team of private security contractors that left Canada with Ms. Vanier last year in a small jet, destined for Col. Gaddafi’s collapsing capital. But it also raises doubts about the reliability of the evidence presented in court by Mexican authorities — in particular a central witness with a criminal past.

Aside from a stint negotiating for the release of hostages in Colombia, Ms. Vanier, a mediator from Mount Forest, Ont., had no apparent experience in war zones when she was hired to write a report on Libya, then five months into an armed revolt against its brutal, erratic dictator.

SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based engineering and construction company, said it contracted her “in the interest of the safety and security of our personnel and operations when we will need to go back to Libya to complete our projects.”

A chain of emails shows planning got underway on July 12, 2011. Gregory Gillispie, who runs a San Diego airplane brokerage, was asked by Loren Berenda, a former employee of U.S. security giant DynCorp, in Illinois, to find a jet to transport the Canadian and her entourage. (Click HERE for article)

Pressure Mounts for Transparency in Pfc. Manning’s Court-Martial
Adam Klasfeld – (Courthouse News) – MANHATTAN – March 22, 2012 – A lawyer from a civil libertarian group representing Wikileaks and Julian Assange urged a military judge to release records related to the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for the biggest leak in U.S. history.

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