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America’s Shame: The U.S. Government’s Human Trafficking Dilemma

Joe Newman – (POGO) – May 7, 2012 – For Vinnie Tuivaga, the offer was the answer to a prayer: A job in a luxury hotel in Dubai–the so-called Las Vegas of the Persian Gulf–making five times what she was earning as a hair stylist in her native Fiji.

She jumped at the chance, even if it meant paying an upfront commission to the recruiter.

You probably know how this story is going to end. There was no high-paying job, luxury location or easy work.

Tuivaga and other Fijians ended up in Iraq where they lived in shipping containers and existed in what amounted to indentured servitude.

Journalist Sarah Stillman told Tuivaga’s story and that of tens of thousands of other foreign workers in acute detail almost a year ago in her New Yorker piece, “The Invisible Army.”

In some cases, Stillman found more severe abuses and more squalid living conditions than what Tuivaga and her fellow Fijians experienced.

But like Tuivaga, thousands of foreign nationals in the U.S. government’s invisible army ended up in Iraq and Afghanistan war zones because they fell victim to human traffickers.

Let that sink in.

This human trafficking pipeline wasn’t benefitting some shadowy war lord or oppressive regime. No, these are workers who were feeding, cleaning up after, and providing logistical support for U.S. troops—the standard-bearers of the free and democratic world. Read the remainder of this entry »

$40 Billion in Contracts Tied to Republican Security Advisers

Roxana Tiron – (Bloomberg) – December 22, 2011 – National security advisers to the Republican presidential candidates have links to defense, homeland security and energy companies that have received at least $40 billion in federal contracts since 2008.

Five of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s 41 national security and foreign policy advisers have ties to companies that last year alone received at least $7.9 billion in federal contracts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Government analyst Christopher Flavelle. Of that, $7.3 billion came from the Department of Defense.

Romney and Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker from Georgia, who are leading in the polls, have advisers who sit on the board of directors of BAE Systems, Inc., which has received at least $37 billion in U.S. government contracts since 2008, the most of all the companies with ties to Republican national security advisers.

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Sending troops home could pave way for more non-competitive defense contracting

R. Jeffrey Smith – (iWatch News) – October 22, 2011 – Out go all the U.S. troops by year’s end, President Obama said Friday about Iraq. And in go the contractors, along with some familiar contracting problems, say other government officials and independent experts.

As the United States pulls out its remaining 50,000 or so troops after a decade of conflict costing around $1 trillion, many of the soldiers’ non-fighting functions will be pursued by a force of State Department-funded government contractors expected to near 15,000.

That preliminary estimate, now being circulated by the administration among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, would represent an overwhelming share of the official remaining U.S. presence in the unsettled country. But even after wide publicity about past contracting abuses and waste, new scandals may trail behind this persistent deployment, according to a commission created by Congress to study the missteps so far.

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Senators, experts to watch for DOD contract reforms

Matthew Weigelt – (Federal Computer) – October 19, 2011 – A member of the Wartime Contracting Commission asked senators to question the depth of support that defense officials have for major reforms in contracting operations during wartime or emergency situations — what are technically called “contingency operations.”

“Policies are easy to make. Implementation is really what counts,” Dov Zakheim, a commissioner and former comptroller of the Defense Department, told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Readiness and Management Subcommittee.

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Complacency for non-compliance and other news

Several US diplomatic cables published by antisecrecy group WikiLeaks have discussed the flourishing sex tourism and flesh trade industry in the Philippines.  This, even before the ruckus caused by US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr., who claimed that 40% of all male foreign tourists who visit the country arrive just for sex. ~Jojo Malig – ABS-CBN News

The above referenced article doesn’t mention how many of these “tourists” are sporting red or blue lanyards. Perhaps the DoD, DoS and the DoJ can tell us.  Apparently they know the answer to this but they are ignoring, or condoning the behavior and the problem.  Perhaps the governments of Thailand, UAE and the Philippines should start arresting these “tourists”, then publish their names, where their from and the company they work for, in the  U.S.  Then maybe the DoD, DoS and DoJ would get off of their collective asses and enforce the laws, they have put in place!  ~Forseti

Defense Lawyer, DOJ Spar Over Cooperation Deal In FCPA Case
Mike Scarcella – (LegalTimes) – October 7, 2011 – A defense lawyer is blasting federal prosecutors in Washington for threatening to take back the government’s recommendation for a reduced prison sentence for a man charged in a foreign bribery conspiracy.

Prosecutors routinely seek to reward cooperators in criminal cases, asking federal trial judges to consider at sentencing a defendant’s substantial assistance to an ongoing investigation.

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