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KBR Secret Indemnity Agreement Signed By Army Chief Tainted In Enron Scandal

Army Secretary Thomas E. White signed an agreement giving legal indemnity to KBR in 2003. (AFP PHOTO by Luke Frazza)

Ryan J. Reilly – (Huffington Post) – Washington – January 24, 2013 – The Army official who signed a secret agreement that military contractor KBR claims should burden taxpayers with the bill for the company’s negligent poisoning of U.S. soldiers in Iraq resigned from the military in 2003 after a tenure marked by questions about his ties to Enron Corp.

Thomas E. White, named secretary of the Army in 2001, signed an indemnity agreement protecting KBR, the military’s largest contractor, from legal liability on March 19, 2003. KBR had asked for the agreement as part of its contract to rebuild Iraq oilfields destroyed in the U.S. invasion. White resigned a month later, on April 23, under fire for his previous role as a senior Enron executive and after clashing with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over his advocacy for a multi-billion dollar artillery system.

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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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DOJ Wants American Contractor’s Torture Suit Against Rumsfeld Dismissed

Mike Scarcella - (BLT – The Blog of LegalTimes) – March 16, 2012 – The Justice Department is urging a federal appeals court in Washington to strike down a ruling that said former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld can be held personally liable for the alleged torture of an American contractor detained in military custody in Iraq.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear the case, Doe v. Rumsfeld, on Monday morning. DOJ lawyers said in court papers that the suit impermissibly intrudes on foreign detention policy and conduct in a combat zone.

The government wants the appeals court panel to overturn a ruling from U.S. District Judge James Gwin, who said last August that the suit can proceeding in Washington’s federal trial court. Gwin rejected the government’s effort to dismiss the litigation.

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That bird won’t fly and other news

Hold that Revolving Door! Four-Star General Coming Through
Dana Liebelson – (POGO) – January 28, 2012 – The revolving door that carried former Department of Defense honcho William Lynn III to a well-paying job with an Italian defense contractor keeps on spinning – now Gen. James Cartwright, who retired as the nation’s second-highest ranking military officer in August, is following Lynn into the private sector.

Cartwright is joining the Board of Directors at Raytheon, a major U.S. defense contractor. Earlier in the week, DRS Technologies named Lynn as its chief executive officer. (Coincidently, before Lynn was tapped as deputy defense secretary, he was a top lobbyist for Raytheon.)

“General Cartwright’s deep understanding of defense and broad experience in military operations and matters of national security will be of great value to our Board,” Raytheon Chairman and CEO William H. Swanson said in a press release.

Well, Cartwright certainly has a deep understanding of defense: He’s a four-star general with 40 years of service in the Marine Corps, including four years as the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But then there’s that sticky “great value to the Board” comment. And that’s where the problem with the well-oiled revolving door that leads from the Pentagon to the defense industry rears its ugly head. (Click HERE for article)

Former United Nations Employee Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison
(DoJ) – WASHINGTON - January 27, 2012 – Jeffery K. Armstrong, 52, of South Riding, Va., was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for obtaining more than $100,000 in salary payments by fraudulently holding concurrent jobs at the United Nations (U.N.) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). He was ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release following his sentence and to pay $128,153 in restitution.

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Court to Decide if Military Rape Victims Can Sue Defense Dept. (Updated)

While military service is both an honor and a duty, and carries with it substantial risk to life and limb, the risk of sexual assault and abuse is one risk that no service member should fear. But with a third of all women and possibly a quarter of the men experiencing some type of sexual abuse, or trauma, it is clear that changes have to be made.~Catholic Online

This week, a landmark hearing will decide whether 28 women and men have a case against the military for alleged inaction on rape. If not, hundreds of plaintiffs are lining up for the next one. ~The Daily Beast

Noel Brinkerhoff – (AllGov) – November 17, 2011 – A federal judge (Judge Liam O’Grady) in Virginia is expected this week to rule whether 28 current and former military personnel can sue the Department of Defense for not taking action to curb rape in the armed services.

Filed against former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld, the lawsuit contends that Pentagon leaders allowed the violation of soldiers’ constitutional rights by failing to curb sexual assaults.

The 28 plaintiffs consist of 25 women and three men, all of whom allege they were raped or sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers, and that the Defense Department failed to do anything after the attacks.

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