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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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Lloyds owns stake in US firm accused over CIA torture flights

Computer Sciences Corporation, according to Reprieve, organised a flight that took Khaled ­al-Masri, a German mistakenly imprisoned by the CIA, from a secret detention centre in Afghanistan to Albania in 2004. Photograph: Thomas Kienzle/AP

Banking group, which has £8.5m slice of CSC, is under pressure along with other City investors from human rights charity
Rupert Neate – (Guardian UK) – May 6, 2012 – Lloyds Banking Group has become embroiled in a row over its investment in a company accused of involvement in the rendition of terror suspects on behalf of the CIA.

Lloyds, which is just under 40% owned by the taxpayer, is one of a number of leading City institutions under fire for investing in US giant Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which is accused of helping to organise covert US government flights of terror suspects to Guantánamo Bay and other clandestine “black sites” around the world.

Reprieve, the legal human rights charity run by the British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, alleges that during the flights, suspects – some of whom were later proved innocent – were “stripped, dressed in a diaper and tracksuit, goggles and earphones, and had their hands and feet shackled”. Once delivered to the clandestine locations, they were subjected to beatings and sleep deprivation and forced into stress positions, a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

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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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Charging forward and other news

Michael Riddle once served as a senior employment manager for Dyncorp International, Incorporated (“Dyncorp”). He alleges that Dyncorp contracted to create a database for the United States government, but took no meaningful steps toward fulfilling its obligations. He further alleges that when he protested Dyncorp’s inaction on the database project, he was marginalized at work and eventually terminated, on September 21, 2009.

The judgment of the district court is REVERSED and the case is REMANDED for further proceedings. ~ January 5, 2012 – RIDDLE v. DYNCORP INTERNATIONAL INCORPORATED (Case No. 11-10155)

Defense firm cuts 200 jobs locally
Thomas Gnau - (Dayton Daily News) – January 7, 2012 — Computer Sciences Corp. said Friday it will remove more than 200 employees and contractors from their jobs with a government computer modernization project.

Heather Williams, a spokeswoman for Falls Church, Va.-based CSC, said she could not say how many of those people will be reassigned or laid off.

“I think that’s possible for anybody,” Williams said.

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