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We’re Back and other news

Not-Quite-Lost Shipping Containers May Cost Feds
Lorraine Bailey – (Courthouse News) – May 17, 2013 – A fourth company will join the fight to prove that the government lied about losing 1,000 leased shipping containers so it could keep using them without paying, a federal judge ruled.

Three container companies, CAI International, Cronos Containers and Textainer Equipment Management, had leased shipping containers to TOPtainer, which in turn leased the containers to the U.S. Army for equipment shipments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Wednesday, Judge Nancy Firestone with the Court of Federal Claims joined

Capital Lease to the case because it had been Textainer’s supplier.

They claim that the government told TOPtainer that it lost 1,000 when its lease was up, and paid TOPtainer for the loss, but TOPtainer never remitted that money to its suppliers and is now defunct.

The container companies say that the government took the title to their property without paying just compensation.

Capital also “presented undisputed evidence to the court to show that 125 containers that had been owned by Capital and were now the subject of plaintiff Textainer’s claim were never ‘lost,’ but were instead sent to Okinawa, Japan and thus appeared to have been ‘taken’ outside the terms of the master lease,” Judge Firestone wrote. (Click HERE for article) (Click HERE for Judge’s Order)

Soldier Given Second Shot at Suing Gun Maker
Rose Bouboushian – (Courthouse News) – April 3, 2013 – A soldier who was injured when his M2 machine gun exploded and a shell casing pierced his leg will get a chance to hone his federal lawsuit against the gun’s manufacturer.

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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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Foiled by FOIA and other news

Many western multinational companies have been indicted for paying bribes to Nigerian government officials to secure contracts running into billions of dollars. One of the high profile cases involved former US vice president, Dick Cheney. He was head of the American oilfield services company, Halliburton when its engineering subsidiary, KBR, allegedly paid bribes totaling 180 million dollars to secure contracts worth six billion dollars. Nigerian authorities dropped corruption charges against him after Halliburton agreed to pay a 250 million dollar fine. But anti-corruption campaigners say the settlement is illegal. One of them has gone to court in an effort to make the former US vice president face trial. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos. ~Free Speech Radio News – September 23, 2011

FOIA Friday: Was the Military the Victim of a War Profiteer Fuel Supplier?
NEIL GORDON – POGO – September 23, 2011 – Last March, the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoDIG) released an audit of contracts for the delivery of fuel to U.S. troops in Iraq. Only a summary of the report’s findings has been made available to the public. Yesterday, POGO received the full report (with redactions). DoDIG’s website still promises that the report will be made publicly available “at a later date.”

The DoDIG conducted the audit in response to concerns former House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) had about the competitiveness and prices paid under fuel supply contracts awarded to the International Oil Trading Company (IOTC). In October 2008, Waxman wrote to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that IOTC “appears to have engaged in a reprehensible form of war profiteering” and may have overcharged the government as much as $180 million to deliver fuel to troops in Iraq.

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Hall of shame inducts/indicts new members & other news

Mr. Bush is gone now, but that algorithm remains ruthlessly in place. War-oriented companies like DynCorp, Washington Group International, Aegis Defense Services, URS Corporation, BAE Systems, Renco, CACI, Bechtel, General Dynamics, General Electric, and Titan, along with oil giants like ExxonMobil and Chevron, have profited to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars off these conflicts, and are poised to continue doing so well into the future. ~ William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

Troops photograph every grave at Arlington cemetery
Kimberly Hefling – (AP) – Arlington –  August 27, 2011 – Night after night this summer, troops from the Army’s historic Old Guard have left their immaculately pressed dress blues, white gloves and shiny black boots at home to slip into Arlington National Cemetery in T-shirts and flip-flops to photograph each and every grave with an iPhone.

The sometimes eerie task to photograph more than 219,000 grave markers and the fronts of more than 43,000 sets of cremated remains in the columbarium is part of the Army’s effort to account for every grave and to update and digitize the cemetery’s maps. The Old Guard works at night to escape the heat and avoid interrupting funerals.

Last year, a scandal over mismanagement at the nation’s most hallowed burial ground revealed unmarked and mismarked graves. Congress then mandated that the cemetery account for the graves of the more than 330,000 people interred in the cemetery.

The troops taking the photos are from Delta Company of the 1st Battalion of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard – the Army’s official ceremonial unit, which provides escorts to the president and helps put on military funerals.

The photos taken at night are matched with other records to find discrepancies that need to be fixed, and officials say it’s too early in the process to draw any conclusions. Military officials hope they can eventually use the photos to create an online database for the public. Four million people annually visit the cemetery. (Click HERE for article)

This Will Improve KBR’s Image
Mark Thompson – (Battleland Blogs) – August 26, 2011 – If KBR’s one-time management by the autobiographical Dick Cheney doesn’t buff the company’s reputation, this ought to do the trick: KBR is suing a woman who claimed that she was raped while working in Iraq for KBR in 2005. In the crazy world of torts and courts, Jamie Leigh Jones had sued KBR for $145 million, claiming the company let a hostile sexual climate exist in Iraq. Last month, a jury found the company not guilty of the charge.

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Pentagon persists in patronizing perps & other news

…according to newly available Defense Department data, is that more than half the Pentagon’s total budget obligations for contracting last year were spent without effective competition or with no competition at all. That comes to about $188 billion, according to numbers provided by the Pentagon.
-John Donnelly – Congressional Quarterly

Kuwait’s Agility to manage warehouse for U. S.  for 6-months more

  • Agility to manage warehouse services until Aug 31
  • Estimated revenues of $19 mln
  • Case of overcharging U. S. government ongoing
  • DUBAI - (Reuters) – February 20, 2011 - Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility will continue to provide services to a U.S. defence agency until August 2011 after winning a six-month contract extension, with estimated revenues of $19 million.

    In a statement to the bourse, Agility said the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) had extended its contract for six months, starting March 1, to provide warehouse management services to support operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

    The DLA is part of the U. S. Department of Defence and provides logistics support to military services and to several civilian agencies and foreign countries, its website says. Agility has been embroiled in a long-standing legal dispute with the U.S. government after a criminal case was filed in November 2009 when prosecutors accused it, formerly Public Warehousing Co K.S.C., of overcharging. (Click HERE for article)

    Government Controller Arrested for Embezzlement
    WASHINGTON – /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – February 18, 2011 – Michael E. Hase, 62, was arrested in Dulles, Virginia yesterday by Federal agents of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Hase was arrested on an embezzlement charge stemming from his work as a controller for USAID, announced Ike Hendershot, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations.  

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