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“We can’t do anything about it until we get the call.” How about you pick up the phone!

Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the nation while patriotic blood is crimsoning the plains of the south and their countrymen are moldering in the dust. ~Abraham Lincoln

In the last few weeks the DoD and other government entities have issued press releases requesting our help in identifying criminal acts committed hither and yon. They are asking for support in their new found “investigative momentum” against fraud in combat zones.

Not only did many critics consider the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction late to the game — opening its office seven years into the war — but already in its short life its first chief has resigned, the man who replaced him also quit, and Congress has blasted the agency for not living up to its mission.

I have heard from many readers that Afghanistan is crawling with fraud, waste and abuse.  Many have commented on the fact that the “good old boys” from Iraq simply switched out their  lanyards for a new color and are carrying on, business as usual.

Trent’s office is similar to its predecessor in America’s other war — the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, for which Trent has also worked. But while that office faced its own challenges, including a Republican-led effort to shut it down in 2006, the agency eventually came into its own and has been widely praised by lawmakers.

According to its own figures, the Iraq office has returned more than $154 million to taxpayers from seizures and other actions over the last seven years, and its investigations have lead to 57 convictions, many of them of military personnel, on charges including bribery, fraud, and money laundering. ~Director: Agency to get aggressive with fraud, waste in Afghanistan – Stars and Stripes

Here’s my problem with the statement above, first of all $157 million is merely a drop in the bucket.  According to reports, and there have been plenty, tens of BILLIONS have been misappropriated and wasted.  To date only a few small fry’s have seen the inside of a courtroom. 

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How private firms have cashed in on the climate of fear since 9/11

The past ten years have seen the growth of a national security industrial complex that melds government and business

Paul Harris  in New York – (Guardian UK) – September 5, 2011 – Charles Smith always enjoyed visiting US troops aboard. Though a civilian, he had worked for the army for decades, helping to run logistical operations from the Rock Island arsenal near Davenport, Iowa.
He helped keep troops supplied, and on trips to Iraq made a point of sitting down with soldiers in mess halls. “I would always ask them: what are we doing for you?” Smith told the Guardian.

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How the DoD Allows Contractors to Grade Themselves and Write Their Own Contract Terms, Part II

Charles M. Smith – (Truthout | Solutions) – July 27, 2011 – In response to the high readership of last week’s column, I asked Charles Smith to go more in depth on the problem of conflict of interest in Department of Defense (DoD) contracting. He found that the DoD has actually loosened the rules and regulations concerning these destructive conflicts of interest. Smith knows this problem intimately. He is a retired Army civilian employee hero, who went up against the Iraq contractor KBR on behalf of the troops and the taxpayers and was demoted. Smith was chief of the Field Support Contracting Division of the Army Field Support Command in Rock Island Arsenal, and one of his main jobs was to oversee the enormous Army contract with KBR during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In 2004, he became concerned when the auditors of the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) told him that KBR could not justify more than a billion dollars in spending because of their chaotic documentation. He backed the auditors and would not sign off on payments and bonuses to KBR until they provided documented proof of their costs. He also backed DCAA and told KBR that he would legally be withholding 15 percent of all payments to KBR until their auditing systems caught up to their spending.

KBR, with their enormous influence and ability to stop their work on the Iraq and Afghanistan bases, pushed back. Smith was replaced and shuttled off to look at future contracts, while his replacement approved and paid KBR the money without major changes in the billings. That contract, known as LOGCAP III, has now provided KBR with over $40 billion for slinging hash, doing laundry, driving trucks and building barracks in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the full picture of what can happen when a contractor “owns” the service they are working for, i.e. the US Army, see a New York Times profile [4] outlining how Smith, with all his experience, could not get away with doing the right thing for the troops and taxpayers.

-Dina Rasor, Solutions editor

In last week’s Solutions column [5], Dina Rasor focused on the findings of a DoD Inspector General (IG) report [6] that described Organizational Conflicts of Interest (OCI) along with contractor performance of inherently governmental functions in the management of the MRAP logistics program. This report caught my eye, as it was similar to a DoD IG report [7] on the Iraq and Afghanistan ill-conceived

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Bunnatine Greenhouse settles whistleblower suit after she was injured by boobytrap

(The Bunnatine Greenhouse segment is after the Noraway attacks. I couldn’t figure out how to separate them or fast forward. It’s well worth your patience.)

EXCLUSIVE: Fired Army Whistleblower Receives $970K for Exposing Halliburton No-Bid Contract in Iraq
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A few hundred million (tax dollars) amongst friends & other news

It’s a truth as old as Creation. Light is an element of goodness, darkness a crony of corruption.

As Sunshine Week draws to a close, this foundational block of wisdom should be shouted from the rooftops, whispered in hearing rooms, but more importantly, carried out in their day-to-day operation of government.  — Daily World 

by Matt Wuerker, Politico

Pentagon Hires Contractors to Regulate Contractors
Noel Brinkerhoff – (AllGov) – March 18, 2011 – Instead of keeping watch itself, the Department of Defense today relies on contractors to monitor the work of other contractors, a risk strategy that became cemented during the Iraq War thanks to a politically-connected—and powerful—company with ties to the Bush White House.
In late 2004, the U.S. Army command overseeing logistical support for troops in Iraq had a serious problem on its hands. Army officials had hired KBR, then a subsidiary of Halliburton, which Vice President Dick Cheney had helped lead, to supply soldiers with food and other supplies. But at least $1 billion in billing by KBR was questioned by the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Audit Agency, resulting in the Army deciding to withhold 15% of its payments to KBR.

Company officials fought the withholding and pressured both the Defense Department and Congress to release the money it claimed it was owed. So the Army removed those who had raised alarms over the billing and hired another company, consulting firm RCI, to conduct its own audit of KBR costs. The result? RCI didn’t find any problem with KBR’s billing and the contractor got most of its money. (Click HERE for article)

South Florida oilman’s company overbilled Pentagon by up to $204 million, audit says
Megan O’Matz – (Sun Sentinel) – March 18, 2011 – South Florida oilman Harry Sargeant’s company overcharged the Pentagon by up to $204 million for fuel used by U.S. troops in Iraq, a federal audit has found.

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