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Sex is major reason military commanders are fired

WASHINGTON (AP) — Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, fired from his command in Afghanistan last May and now facing a court-martial on charges of sodomy, adultery and pornography and more, is just one in a long line of commanders whose careers were ended because of possible sexual misconduct.

Sex has proved to be the downfall of presidential candidates, members of Congress, governors and other notables. It’s also among the chief reasons that senior military officers are fired.

At least 30 percent of military commanders fired over the past eight years lost their jobs because of sexually related offenses, including harassment, adultery, and improper relationships, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press.

The figures bear out growing concerns by Defense Department and military leaders over declining ethical values among U.S. forces, and they highlight the pervasiveness of a problem that came into sharp relief because of the resignation of one of the Army’s most esteemed generals, David Petraeus, and the investigation of a second general, John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

The statistics from all four military services show that adulterous affairs are more than a four-star foible. From sexual assault and harassment to pornography, drugs and drinking, ethical lapses are an escalating problem for the military’s leaders.

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The art of decadence and decay & other news

Innospec Agent Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Bribing Iraqi Officials and Paying Kickbacks Under the U.N. Oil for Food Program
(DoJ) – WASHINGTON – December 22, 2011 – A former agent for Innospec Inc., a U.S. company, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine for his participation in a conspiracy to defraud the United Nations Oil for Food Program (OFFP) and to bribe former Iraqi government officials in connection with the sale of a chemical additive used in the refining of leaded fuel, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

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Bloopers, boondoggles and other news

U.S. War Spending to Drop to “Only” $360 Million a Day
Now, it’s “really” down—to $131.6 billion—for 2012. That averages out to about $360 million a day…or $250,000 a minute. ~ Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

Boondoggle (project), term for a scheme that wastes time and money

Commentary: Army reservists helped Ugandan women escape human traffickers
Mary Sanchez – The Kansas City Star – May 8, 2011 – Word spread quickly among the desperate Ugandan women:

If you can somehow escape from the Iraqi household, go to the “Flying Man” statue. The Americans will help you.

Eventually, 17 women, many beaten and raped by their enslaving employers, made it inside the U.S. base in Baghdad in 2009.

The women were not U.S. citizens, nor hired by U.S. contractors, and the Americans had no jurisdiction beyond the walls of their base, having turned security matters over to Iraqi forces months earlier.

So, it would have been easy for the men of the 326th Area Support Group, an Army Reserve unit from Kansas City, Kan., to do nothing, to not get involved, to avoid risk of an international incident. That’s not the choice they made.

“I don’t know if I could have lived with myself,” said Lt. Col. Ted Lockwood, who organized the sanctuary where the victims of a human trafficking ring hid.

At least 150 Ugandan women, maybe more, are believed to have been lured into Iraq with the promise of jobs on an American military base. Instead, some were sold to wealthy Iraqi families for about $3,500 each. (Click HERE for article)

Watch: Osama’s Blooper Reel, Courtesy of the Navy SEALs
Spencer Ackerman (Danger Room) – May 7, 2011 – In life, Osama bin Laden carefully crafted his image as a pious, anti-American leader. In death, he surely wouldn’t appreciate the U.S. government releasing his blooper reel.

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A General consensus and other news (Updated 12/01/11)

2 Navy officers relieved of command
Sandra Jontz – (Stars and Stripes) – NAPLES, Italy – April 23, 2011 – The top two officers of the USS Ponce were relieved of command Saturday after an investigation into accusations of poor leadership, including multiple incidents of hazing as the ship sailed in the Mediterranean in support of missions in Libya, a Navy spokesman said.

Cmdr. Etta Jones, the commanding officer of the Austin-class amphibious transport dock, was relieved “due to her demonstrated poor leadership and failure to appropriately investigate, report and hold accountable sailors involved in haz ng incidents,” said Lt. Nathan Potter, a spokesman for the Navy’s 6th Fleet. “Additionally, she failed to properly handle a loaded weapon during a security alert, which endangered some of her crew.”

Her executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. Kurt Boenisch, also was relieved for failure to effectively support the command and ship’s commanding officer, Potter said. Both were relieved by Vice Adm. Harry Harris, commander of 6th Fleet.

In mid-April, the inspector general’s office of Fleet Forces Command received a complaint, which sparked the investigation led by Navy Capt. Dan Shaffer, commanding officer of Task Force 65 and Destroyer Squadron 60, based in Naples.

Potter said he could not provide more details on the complaint or the ensuing investigation that led to Saturday’s termination of Jones and Boenisch’s roles aboard the Ponce.

Jones is the eighth naval commanding officer to be relieved this year. (Click HERE for article)

UPDATE
Navy report finds preferential treatment on Ponce
Corinne Reilly – (The Virginian-Pilot) – NORFOLK – December 1, 2011 – The Navy commander who was fired in April from her position as skipper of the Norfolk-based amphibious ship Ponce gave preferential treatment to female officers and repeatedly put her crew’s safety at risk, according to an investigation report released Wednesday.

Cmdr. Etta Jones, who took command of the transport dock in October 2010, was removed while the ship was on deployment in the Mediterranean Sea. The Navy took action after a member of the crew submitted an anonymous complaint alleging that Jones also verbally abused and demeaned subordinates, failed to report incidents of hazing, and mishandled the ship, various safety procedures and a loaded weapon.

The investigation report, obtained by The Virginian-Pilot through the Freedom of Information Act, says all of those allegations were found to be true.

It says there was a widespread perception among the Ponce’s officers that Jones favored women. She gave certain female officers better watch schedules, allowed them to miss watches, failed to reprimand them for violations, invited them to her stateroom for special meetings and movie nights, allowed them to use her car while in port, and bought them gifts, the report says.

“Her preferential treatment caused the recipients to be uncomfortable and created a divide in the wardroom between those favored and those who were not,” the report says.

It says she verbally abused and degraded other officers by calling them names, sometimes in front of enlisted sailors. Male officers told investigators that Jones threatened to defecate on them or tie their testicles in knots if they failed to perform according to her standards.

On numerous occasions, the report says, Jones directed sailors to engage in unsafe ship-handling procedures that clearly went against standards. Other times, she distracted officers at critical times.

The report offers an example: “While navigating the Suez Canal at night with heavy shipping traffic, the C.O. came to the bridge and ordered the [officer of the deck] to explain why her laptop computer had been closed.” (Click HERE for article)

A savvy appointment runs afoul of savage grief
Joan Vennochi – (Boston Globe) – April 24, 2011 – President George W. Bush learned its potency from Cindy Sheehan, who launched a damaging campaign against the president after her son was killed by enemy action in Iraq. President Barack Obama could be setting himself up for a similar lesson.

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If Dyncorp wins contract it’s “dancing boys” for everyone!

Army Set to Award Mega-Contract to Train Afghan Cops

Spencer Ackerman – December 16, 2010 – NATO allies still haven’t provided all of the troops they promised to train Afghanistan’s nascent police force. When in doubt, contract it out.

Before the New Year, the Army will finally award a much-delayed $1.6 billion-with-a-b contract for a private security firm to supplement that NATO training command’s efforts to professionalize Afghan cops. That bid touched off a bureaucratic tempest between Blackwater/Xe Services and DynCorp, which held an old contract for the same job, as well as the State Department and the Army.

But not for much longer. The Army’s Contracting Command is in “the very final stages” of selecting the firm for the bid, Col. John Ferrari of the NATO training command tells Danger Room. “We’re expecting an announcement before the end of December, sometime in the next week or two.”

The contract is for “mentoring, training, and logistics services” to backstop Ferrari’s efforts, placing security contractors in embedded positions with the Afghan interior ministry and police units themselves, according to the terms of the bid. More than 80 firms have registered as “interested vendors” on the federal website announcing the contract. NATO is trying to build a 134,000-strong Afghan police force by October, and it’s short 900 trainers promised by U.S. allies.

The deal has been a bureaucratic and corporate tangle. In 2009, hoping to expedite the training of Afghan cops, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of the Afghan war effort, managed to move the contracting deal from its home at the State Department’s Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement — an agency criticized for weak oversight — into the Army. Only the Army element in control was the obscure Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office, an organization with unclear competency in police training, and it announced that only five corporations could bid on the contract, including Blackwater.

Enter DynCorp — which wasn’t one of the firms invited to bid. In December, DynCorp filed an objection to the bureaucratic switchover with the Government Accountability Office, a move that had the added benefit for the company of stopping the re-award and boxing out the competition. It also allowed Senator Carl Levin, a Blackwater critic, to register his incredulity that the Army would consider Blackwater for a contract to train Afghan cops shortly after Levin’s staff found Blackwater guards on a different contract illicitly taking weapons from the U.S. military intended for Afghan police.