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First Iran exiles leave Ashraf camp in Iraq
About 400 Iranian exiles have been transferred from their long-held camp in north-western Iraq.
They are members of the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) , based at Camp Ashraf since the 1980s.
It is the first step of a process that aims to see the entire 3,400-strong community expelled from Iraq.
But members of this advance party are complaining bitterly that their treatment has fallen far short of that promised by the UN and US.
The exiles, who are opposed to Iran’s Shia clerical rulers, were welcomed by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein but have fallen out of favour with Iraq’s new Shia-dominated leadership.
Relations with the Iraqi government deteriorated still further last April, when an Iraqi army raid on the camp left 34 residents dead, according to the UN.
At first, they refused to countenance leaving Camp Ashraf, but the UN has been trying to broker a compromise. In December the group’s Paris-based head Maryam Rajavi agreed that a first contingent of 400 would move in what she called a “goodwill gesture”.
The Iraqi government has extended a deadline for the camp to be shut down to the end of April.
On Saturday, the first group arrived at Camp Liberty near Baghdad, but complained that they had been searched for almost an entire day before they were allowed to leave Ashraf, and had been searched again on arrival at Camp Liberty. (Click HERE for article)
Ex-soldier gets 15 years for sexual abuse of minor in 1990s
Army investigated in 1996, but no charges were filed
Casey Grove – (Anchorage Daily News) – February 17th, 2012 – An Anchorage man who admitted to sexually abusing a girl in the 1990s while stationed in the Lower 48 and Germany was sentenced Wednesday to serve 15 years in federal prison.
War profiteering has never been so profitable for the wrongdoer and so dangerous for our troops and the taxpayer. Please sign my petition (SIGN HERE)
More than 200 soldiers are suing KBR for knowingly exposing them to toxic chemicals in Iraq, whose effects started with nose bleeds and could end with cancer. KBR says that didn’t happen. But even if it did, the company isn’t responsible. Taxpayers are.
Craig Malisow – (Houston Press) – February 15, 2012
Basra, Iraq: July, 2003
Oregon National Guardsman Larry Roberta says he went to Iraq fit, and came back barely able to breathe.
Larry Roberta, a specialist in the Oregon National Guard, sat on a stack of sacks brimming with one of the most carcinogenic chemicals known to man and chomped on his chicken patty.
Unsuccessful in his mission to swap his rations with any of the British soldiers, who were stocked with heavenly corned beef hash and chocolate pudding, he braved the mystery meat’s gooey coating while keeping an eye on the contractors’ trailer a few yards away. While the Kellogg Brown & Root guys ate inside the trailer, Roberta could’ve taken lunch in one of the vehicles, but he figured vehicles were prime targets for any insurgents or Saddam loyalists who might be scouring the area. Better to suffer the hundred-plus-degree heat.
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.
“When I served four years in the military, it wasn’t so that Bechtel, KBR, Halliburton and all the other corporations could make money and buy politicians to further drag out the war and create policies that support all that,” Bodell said. “I fought for the Constitution, for representation and for freedom of the American people.” ~ Kole Bodell, Salt Lake City, UT
Ex-officer indicted for coercing soldiers
(Windsor Star) – January 21, 2012 – A former Danish officer has been indicted for threatening to send troops under his command to the Afghan front line if they refuse to pay a fine for certain errors, website Politiken said Friday.
The 33-year-old, in charge of a royal guard unit in Afghanistan, “put pressure on a number of soldiers in Afghanistan daily to contribute to a system of illegal financial penalties,” said the website.
(Bloomberg News) – Halliburton Co. (HAL), won’t face a jury on claims they sent unarmed civilian convoy drivers into an Iraqi battle zone in 2004, knowing the workers would be injured or killed, an appeals court ruled.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans today ruled the drivers’ claims were blocked by the Defense Base Act, a U.S. law that shields military contractors from lawsuits. The drivers were attacked and injured because of their role in support operations for the U.S. Army, which is covered under that statute, the judges said.
“Coverage of an injury under the DBA precludes an employee from recovering from his employer,” even if the worker claims the company was “substantially certain” the injuries would occur, U.S. Circuit Judge Priscilla R. Owen said in a 30-page ruling by the panel.