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Seeking solutions and other news

… Of course, military contracts, “makes jobs.” So do automobile wrecks, dope traffic, prostitution, abortions, frivolous lawsuits, arson, wars and, perish the thought, social programs. It just happens to be hard to appropriations for such activities if undifferentiated job creation is your objective. Military contracting is another matter; it is downright unpatriotic even to question it. ~ Dina Rasor, Truthout

United States Sues Jacintoport International for False Claims in Connection with the Delivery of Humanitarian Food Aid
(DoJ) – October 19, 2012 – The United States has filed a complaint against Jacintoport International LLC under the False Claims Act in connection with a warehousing and logistics contract for the storage and redelivery of humanitarian food aid, the Justice Department announced today. Jacintoport is a cargo handling and stevedoring firm headquartered in Houston.

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Errs on the side of corruption and other news

The final findings of the Commission on Wartime Contracting, a bipartisan coalition formed in the spirit of the legendary Truman Committee, which exposed massive waste in World War II-era defense contracting. The modern commission found that these problems persist: At least one out of every six dollars spent on defense contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than$31 billion, has been lost to fraud, waste, and abuse — and that number is climbing.~Here Is The REAL Problem With Outsourcing The Military To Contractors - Dana Liebelson

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One last fight for secret soldiers
Mark Brunswick – (Star Tribune) – Minneapolis – March 4, 2012 – In a small building on Arcade Street in St. Paul, about a dozen Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War – all trained, paid and armed to fight for the United States by the Central Intelligence Agency – gather regularly to discuss upcoming public service events or festivities where their honor guard might be needed. They dress in old military uniforms they have bought on their own and have decorated with patches of their own design.

The meetings now come with a renewed urgency.

When they die, these secret warriors of a secret American war want to buried in veterans cemeteries alongside their American comrades. But even though they now are commonly acknowledged as having fought for the United States in northern Laos, they are prohibited by law from being buried in national or state veterans cemeteries, which are reserved for American service members and honorably discharged U.S. military veterans and their families.

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Not so fast and other news

Contractor linked to mistaken deaths
After deaths of 15 Afghans in 2010, Army learned that U.S. civilian played a role using drone video feeds.
David S. Cloud – (STL Today) – WASHINGTON – December 31, 2011 – After a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed at least 15 Afghans in 2010, the Army officer investigating the accident was surprised to discover that an American civilian had played a central role: analyzing video feeds from a Predator drone keeping watch from above.

The contractor had overseen other analysts at Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field in Florida as the drone tracked suspected insurgents near a small unit of U.S. soldiers in rugged hills in central Afghanistan. Based partly on her analysis, an Army captain ordered an airstrike on a convoy that turned out to be carrying innocent men, women and children.

“What company do you work for?” Maj. Gen. Timothy McHale demanded of the contractor after he learned that she was not in the military, according to a transcript obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

“SAIC,” she answered. Her employer, SAIC Inc., is a publicly traded Virginia-based corporation with a multiyear $49 million contract to help the Air Force analyze drone video and other intelligence from Afghanistan.

America’s growing drone operations rely on hundreds of civilian contractors, including some, such as the SAIC employee, who work in the so-called kill chain before Hellfire missiles are launched, according to current and former military officers, company employees and internal government documents. (Click HERE for article)

Obama Signs Defense Authorization Bill
Sara Sorcher – (National Journal) – December 31, 2011 – President Obama signed on Saturday the defense authorization bill, formally ending weeks of heated debate in Congress and intense lobbying by the administration to strip controversial provisions requiring the transfer of some terror suspects to military custody.

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The spoils of sole sourcing & other news

The White House is making it easier for people to press the federal government to act. It is bringing that constitutional right to petition one’s government into the digital age with a webpage, “We the People,” where people can create and sign petitions seeking the government’s action on a range of issues.

An official response is guaranteed for any petition that draws enough signatures — 5,000 names within 30 days — after it is reviewed by staff and the appropriate policy experts within the Obama administration. ~ White House Creates Website for Online Petitions (AP)

 

Ex-Blackwater guards kept working in Iraq: US cable
W.G. Dunlop – (AFP) – BAGHDAD – September 4, 2011 – A leaked US diplomatic cable says that “hundreds” of former employees of Blackwater, which was barred from Iraq over a deadly 2007 shooting, later worked with other firms guarding US diplomats here.

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Your U.S. tax dollars at work supporting Iran’s nuclear program

U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy on Iran

By JO BECKER and RON NIXON

The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington’s efforts to discourage investment there, records show.

That includes nearly $15 billion paid to companies that defied American sanctions law by making large investments that helped Iran develop its vast oil and gas reserves.

For years, the United States has been pressing other nations to join its efforts to squeeze the Iranian economy, in hopes of reining in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Now, with the nuclear standoff hardening and Iran rebuffing American diplomatic outreach, the Obama administration is trying to win a tough new round of United Nations sanctions.

But a New York Times analysis of federal records, company reports and other documents shows that both the Obama and Bush administrations have sent mixed messages to the corporate world when it comes to doing business in Iran, rewarding companies whose commercial interests conflict with American security goals.

Many of those companies are enmeshed in the most vital elements of Iran’s economy. More than two-thirds of the government money went to companies doing business in Iran’s energy industry — a huge source of revenue for the Iranian government and a stronghold of the increasingly powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a primary focus of the Obama administration’s proposed sanctions because it oversees Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

Other companies are involved in auto manufacturing and distribution, another important sector of the Iranian economy with links to the Revolutionary Guards. One supplied container ship motors to IRISL, a government-owned shipping line that was subsequently blacklisted by the United States for concealing military cargo. Read the remainder of this entry »