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A Decade Later, Contractor Pays Out Millions for Iraq Prisoner Abuse

Photo from the Guardian UK

Robert Beckhusen – (Wired – Danger Room) – January 9, 2012 – It’s been nearly a decade since private military contractors and U.S. soldiers worked together to torture Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Now, for the first time, one of the companies involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal has been forced to pay victims for the abuse.

The $5.28 million settlement — which was disclosed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in November but “which has gone essentially unnoticed,” according to the Associated Press — involves 71 former inmates of Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons, and private security firm L-3 Services Inc., a subsidiary of Engility Holdings of Chantilly, Virginia.

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Appeals court revives Iraq contractor torture cases

  • Former Abu Ghraib prisoners can sue contractors over alleged abuse -court
  • CACI International and L-3 not entitled to early appeal
  • Cases will resume in Virginia and Maryland courts

Terry Baynes – (Reuters) – 11 May 2012 – A U.S. appeals court on Friday revived two lawsuits accusing employees of two defense contractors of conspiring to torture and abuse Iraqis detained at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and at other locations.

A 14-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, Virginia, refused to intervene and dismiss the suits against CACI International Inc and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc, sending the cases back to district courts for further proceedings.

After the military invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States hired contractors from U.S.-based CACI and L-3 to provide translators and help conduct investigations. In 2004, photographs emerged depicting the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. A number of military personnel were disciplined, but no contractors were charged.

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War’s Risks Shift to Contractors

Contractors from the United States and other countries were wounded in an attack last year in Logar Province, Afghanistan. (NYTimes)

Published: February 11, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — Even dying is being outsourced here.

This is a war where traditional military jobs, from mess hall cooks to base guards and convoy drivers, have increasingly been shifted to the private sector. Many American generals and diplomats have private contractors for their personal bodyguards. And along with the risks have come the consequences: More civilian contractors working for American companies than American soldiers died in Afghanistan last year for the first time during the war.

American employers here are under no obligation to publicly report the deaths of their employees and frequently do not. While the military announces the names of all its war dead, private companies routinely notify only family members. Most of the contractors die unheralded and uncounted — and in some cases, leave their survivors uncompensated.

“By continuing to outsource high-risk jobs that were previously performed by soldiers, the military, in effect, is privatizing the ultimate sacrifice,” said Steven L. Schooner, a law professor at George Washington University who has studied the civilian casualties issue.

Last year, at least 430 employees of American contractors were reported killed in Afghanistan: 386 working for the Defense Department, 43 for the United States Agency for International Development and one for the State Department, according to data provided by the American Embassy in Kabul and publicly available in part from the United States Department of Labor.

By comparison, 418 American soldiers died in Afghanistan last year, according to Defense Department statistics compiled by icasualties.org, an independent organization that monitors war deaths. Read the remainder of this entry »

Senate Investigates Counterfeit Parts in Military Equipment

Senator Carl Levin

Washington, DC – November 8, 2011 – A Senate Armed Services Committee investigation found over a million suspect parts in the Pentagon’s supply chain, mostly from China. Committee leaders say the counterfeit parts are a danger to U.S. troops and cost taxpayers.

Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and ranking Republican John McCain (R-AZ) gave several examples during a Monday news conference where the Defense Department had to replace faulty electronics at taxpayer expense. One was counterfeit transistors in a helicopter night vision system. In another instance a cockpit video display on an Air Force C-27J transport plane had bogus memory chips that could cause it to display the wrong information.

Testifying at a hearing today on the matter will be the head of the Missile Defense Agency, as well as officials from defense contracting companies Raytheon, L-3 Communications, and Boeing. Additional testimonies will include a government investigator and representatives of companies that distribute the potentially faulty components. (Click HERE for original article) (Click HERE for background Memo) (Click HERE for webcast of Hearing)

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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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