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Who’s sorry now and other news

Deportation likely for porn man
Dan Oakes – (Sydney Morning Herald) – March 12, 2012 – An Australian man facing up to 10 years in prison for a child pornography offence in the United States could be deported to Australia after serving any jail sentence.

US legal documents obtained by the Herald show Christopher Mark King, 55, pleaded guilty to possessing hundreds of hardcore images and videos of young children being abused.

The documents show that King’Is employer, KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root), contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the images were found on King’s work computer by IT personnel looking for viruses. (Click HERE for article)

Double sacrifice: Family loses sons in Afghanistan
Jeannie Nuss – (Associated Press) – PRESCOTT, Ark. – March 11, 2012 – When their older brother Jeremy died in Afghanistan, Ben and Beau Wise did what loyal brothers and soldiers do. They stood solemnly in uniform at his memorial, laid red roses in front of his picture, and Ben spoke bravely to a chapel full of loved ones who came to mourn.

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DoD unveils new initiatives to combat sexual assault in the military

While praising some of the new steps to combat sexual violence that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday, critics say the Pentagon isn’t going nearly far enough. ~ DoD sex assault prevention efforts fall short, critics say – Stars and Stripes

By msnbc.com staff and news services – WASHINGTON – January 18, 2012 – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday that the Pentagon is preparing new initiatives to try to curb sexual assaults in the military — a problem he believes could be six times greater than reported.

Panetta said 3,191 sex assault cases were reported in the military last year, but because so few victims come forward, he believes the real number is closer to 19,000 assaults. In 2010, 3,158 cases were reported.

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Court to Decide if Military Rape Victims Can Sue Defense Dept. (Updated)

While military service is both an honor and a duty, and carries with it substantial risk to life and limb, the risk of sexual assault and abuse is one risk that no service member should fear. But with a third of all women and possibly a quarter of the men experiencing some type of sexual abuse, or trauma, it is clear that changes have to be made.~Catholic Online

This week, a landmark hearing will decide whether 28 women and men have a case against the military for alleged inaction on rape. If not, hundreds of plaintiffs are lining up for the next one. ~The Daily Beast

Noel Brinkerhoff – (AllGov) – November 17, 2011 – A federal judge (Judge Liam O’Grady) in Virginia is expected this week to rule whether 28 current and former military personnel can sue the Department of Defense for not taking action to curb rape in the armed services.

Filed against former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld, the lawsuit contends that Pentagon leaders allowed the violation of soldiers’ constitutional rights by failing to curb sexual assaults.

The 28 plaintiffs consist of 25 women and three men, all of whom allege they were raped or sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers, and that the Defense Department failed to do anything after the attacks.

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Operation impunity & other news

House approves $649b defense budget bill
WASHINGTON – The House overwhelmingly passed a $649 billion defense spending bill yesterday that boosts the Pentagon budget by $17 billion and covers the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…

…While House Republican leaders slashed billions from all other government agencies, the Defense Department is the only one that will see a double-digit increase in its budget beginning Oct. 1. ~Donna Cassata -Associated Press

Defense cuts?
Underwhelming fiscal discipline at the Pentagon
Steve Chapman – (Chicago Tribune) – July 10, 2011 – Politicians often rail against government spending, except when it goes to the military. Conservatives believe there is no such thing as too much defense spending, and liberals don’t argue, for fear of being labeled appeasers. So when there is talk of the two parties agreeing to cut the Pentagon budget, it sounds like a monumental change.

But probably not. It’s a good thing that defense, which accounts for roughly a fifth of all federal outlays, is no longer considered immune to the need for frugality. But both supporters and opponents have a stake in portraying any trims as far more significant than they really are.

The Obama administration reportedly has decided to boost its planned defense cuts to as much as $700 billion from $400 billion over the next 12 years. That sounds like a lot — considering that the earlier, smaller figure had sparked furious objections.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned it would be “a grievous mistake” that would someday “be measured in American lives lost.” Mitt Romney, in line with most other presidential candidates, insisted “we should not reduce our commitment to national security.”

Some Republicans in Congress may be prepared to subject defense spending to the sort of scrutiny applied elsewhere. But if you think the tea party favorites will demand serious fiscal discipline, you are in for a disappointment. (Click HERE for article)

Amid raft of changes to defense leadership, Pentagon’s No. 2 plans to exit
(AP) – WASHINGTON – July 8, 2011 – In a further shake-up of defense leaders, the Pentagon’s second-ranking official said yesterday he intends to resign but has agreed to stay on until Defense Secretary Leon Panetta chooses a successor.

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Lincoln’s Law, audacity, audits & other news

Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the nation while patriotic blood is crimsoning the plains of the south and their countrymen are moldering in the dust.” — Abraham Lincoln

This past week we celebrated President’s day and because Ms. Sparky is all about uncovering corruption, I thought this would be the perfect time to remember President Lincoln and the law he enacted on March 2, 1863 to combat corruption and fraud committed by the unscrupulous, money grubbing gangsters who sold goods to the Union Army during the Civil War.

I found several sites with information on FCA and it’s history here are some highlights of what I found:

The Federal False Claims Act, also called the “Lincoln Act,” or “Lincoln’s Law” or ”Informer’s Act,” or the “Qui Tam statute,” was enacted during the American Civil War in 1863 at President Abraham Lincoln’s request.  The law was aimed at stopping dishonest suppliers to the Union military at a time when the war effort made it all but impossible for the government to investigate and prosecute the fraud itself.

During the Civil War, not unlike today, there were greedy and unscrupulous contractors who found it profitable to defraud the government at taxpayer’s expense.  The False Claims Act’s purpose was to “root out fraud against the government. . .[a]nd to encourage individuals who are aware of fraud being perpetrated against the government to bring information forward.”

Some historians claim that the False Claims Act came about because of bad mules.  During the Civil War, early day defense contractors often sold the Union Army decrepit horses and mules in ill health, faulty rifles and ammunition, and rancid rations and provisions among other things.

War profiteers were shipping boxes of sawdust instead of guns, for instance, and swindling the Union Army into purchasing the same cavalry horses several times.

“You can sell anything to the government at almost any price you’ve got the guts to ask,” boasted one profiteer who made millions unloading moth-eaten blankets to the military.

It seems things haven’t changed much in the last 148 years.

Sexual assault in the armed forces
The military needs to provide the same victim protections as civilians
Niki Tsongas – (Boston Globe) – February 27, 2011 – MORE THAN a dozen veterans who were victims of sexual assault while serving in the US military, including two from Massachusetts, recently filed suit in federal court alleging that the Pentagon did not take adequate steps to protect them. Their complaint is reflective of the deep frustration and sense of betrayal that many victims feel with our military leadership, which seems to be unwilling to forcefully confront the issue of sexual assault within the ranks and which has not provided sufficient resources, rights, and legal protections to victims. Read the remainder of this entry »