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How does your garden grow and other news

The Department of Defense plans to exempt records of internal law enforcement investigations from Privacy Act disclosure requirements.

The act, which governs record systems maintained by federal agencies, normally requires that individuals be allowed to view records that pertain to them unless the records were gathered for law enforcement purposes, congressional investigations or administrative purposes where the identity of the individual is not disclosed such as census records.

The exemption would allow the DoD to neither confirm nor deny the existence of such records to individuals and government agencies, when disclosure could reveal the existence of an ongoing investigation.

The public may comment on the DoD proposal until May 15. ~Travis Sanford, Courthouse News

Guard Officer Recalls Night Of Alleged Rape
Says current commander got out of car with woman near beach, returned alone
Sean P Murphy and Andrea Estes – (Boston Globe) – March 31, 2012 – A National Guard officer said he remembers the night in 1984 when a woman says she was raped by the current commander of the Massachusetts National Guard, recalling that Joseph C. Carter got out of the car with the woman near a Florida beach, but returned alone.

Carter, who was placed on administrative leave Thursday by Governor Deval Patrick while the Army investigates the rape allegations, denies the attack and insists he has no recollection of Susan Pelletier, who accused him of raping her and agreed to let her name be used.

But Charles Mouris, who in 1984 was a captain and Carter’s superior in a military police unit, clearly remembered Pelletier becoming nauseated as the trio rode together in a car after an evening of socializing at a Florida restaurant. Mouris said Carter escorted a wobbly Pelletier from the car and returned alone sometime later, saying nothing about Pelletier.

“I said to Carter, `Are we all set?’ and he said, `Yes,’ ” said Mouris in an interview at his home. Mouris said he and Carter drove away, leaving Pelletier – who had been vomiting – behind, though Mouris pointed out that the restaurant where they had been socializing was only about a quarter-mile away.

Mouris said he was never questioned about the evening again until January of this year, when an Army investigator interviewed him about the event for approximately 40 minutes. Mouris declined to say what he told the investigator about the alleged rape, but said he answered all the investigator’s questions completely. (Click HERE for article)

Kuwait’s Agility Q4 net profit rises 114 pct
(Reuters) – March 31, 2012 – Kuwait’s Agility, the logistics firm facing U.S. fraud charges, posted a 114-percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit compared with the same period in 2010, the firm said in a statement on Saturday.

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Vanishing acts and other news

Tracking Gaddafi: The case against the Canadian accused of aiding a dictator’s son
Stewart Bell – (National Post) –  MEXICO CITY – March 24, 2012 –  When a dictatorship falls, the old regime takes flight.

And so when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi began losing his grip on Libya last year, a mixed bag of friends, allies and profiteers went to work planning exile for those close to him.

A town near Puerto Vallarta was the soft landing chosen for Saadi Gaddafi, the dictator’s hedonistic third son and head of the Libyan Special Forces. To get him there, according to Mexican officials, properties were purchased, planes were rented and passports were forged.

But if there was such a plot, it was a spectacular flop. Because instead of wading in the Pacific surf, Mr. Gaddafi ended up in Niger, a landlocked sandbox, while the Canadian, Dane and two Mexicans accused of orchestrating his escape are behind bars.

Because of Mexico’s closed legal system, few details of the case have been officially released. But documents obtained by the National Post reveal the events leading up to the arrests of Canadian Cynthia Vanier, who has denied the allegations, and her co-accused.

The paper trail identifies for the first time the international team of private security contractors that left Canada with Ms. Vanier last year in a small jet, destined for Col. Gaddafi’s collapsing capital. But it also raises doubts about the reliability of the evidence presented in court by Mexican authorities — in particular a central witness with a criminal past.

Aside from a stint negotiating for the release of hostages in Colombia, Ms. Vanier, a mediator from Mount Forest, Ont., had no apparent experience in war zones when she was hired to write a report on Libya, then five months into an armed revolt against its brutal, erratic dictator.

SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based engineering and construction company, said it contracted her “in the interest of the safety and security of our personnel and operations when we will need to go back to Libya to complete our projects.”

A chain of emails shows planning got underway on July 12, 2011. Gregory Gillispie, who runs a San Diego airplane brokerage, was asked by Loren Berenda, a former employee of U.S. security giant DynCorp, in Illinois, to find a jet to transport the Canadian and her entourage. (Click HERE for article)

Pressure Mounts for Transparency in Pfc. Manning’s Court-Martial
Adam Klasfeld – (Courthouse News) – MANHATTAN – March 22, 2012 – A lawyer from a civil libertarian group representing Wikileaks and Julian Assange urged a military judge to release records related to the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for the biggest leak in U.S. history.

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No complaints here & other news

"Say anything & you'll be on the 1st thing smokin" - "Chicken or pasta" - "Aisle or Window"

 …“God will forgive you, but the bureaucracy never will.”
This is an appropriate warning for civil servants who would report contractor fraud against the military, one of our nation’s more popular corporate pastimes.  Be prepared for the Pentagon to side with the crooked contractor and fire you.  No bureaucrat can afford to have fraud discovered on his watch. It’s bad for the career.

And if you happen to work for the crook, it’s even worse.  Not only will you be fired, but you will never find another job in the industry.  If the crook is the government itself — say, one of the security agencies — you will doubtless be prosecuted. And if the crook is a corporation, you’ll likely be sued. ~ William A. Collins, The Reporter

The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read
Michael Hastings – (Rolling Stone) – February 10, 2012 – Earlier this week, the New York Times’ Scott Shane published a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military’s top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going. “How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?” Davis boldly asks in an article summarizing his views in The Armed Forces Journal.

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Your U.S. tax dollars at work supporting Iran’s nuclear program

U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy on Iran

By JO BECKER and RON NIXON

The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington’s efforts to discourage investment there, records show.

That includes nearly $15 billion paid to companies that defied American sanctions law by making large investments that helped Iran develop its vast oil and gas reserves.

For years, the United States has been pressing other nations to join its efforts to squeeze the Iranian economy, in hopes of reining in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Now, with the nuclear standoff hardening and Iran rebuffing American diplomatic outreach, the Obama administration is trying to win a tough new round of United Nations sanctions.

But a New York Times analysis of federal records, company reports and other documents shows that both the Obama and Bush administrations have sent mixed messages to the corporate world when it comes to doing business in Iran, rewarding companies whose commercial interests conflict with American security goals.

Many of those companies are enmeshed in the most vital elements of Iran’s economy. More than two-thirds of the government money went to companies doing business in Iran’s energy industry — a huge source of revenue for the Iranian government and a stronghold of the increasingly powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a primary focus of the Obama administration’s proposed sanctions because it oversees Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

Other companies are involved in auto manufacturing and distribution, another important sector of the Iranian economy with links to the Revolutionary Guards. One supplied container ship motors to IRISL, a government-owned shipping line that was subsequently blacklisted by the United States for concealing military cargo. Read the remainder of this entry »