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Seeking solutions and other news

… Of course, military contracts, “makes jobs.” So do automobile wrecks, dope traffic, prostitution, abortions, frivolous lawsuits, arson, wars and, perish the thought, social programs. It just happens to be hard to appropriations for such activities if undifferentiated job creation is your objective. Military contracting is another matter; it is downright unpatriotic even to question it. ~ Dina Rasor, Truthout

United States Sues Jacintoport International for False Claims in Connection with the Delivery of Humanitarian Food Aid
(DoJ) – October 19, 2012 – The United States has filed a complaint against Jacintoport International LLC under the False Claims Act in connection with a warehousing and logistics contract for the storage and redelivery of humanitarian food aid, the Justice Department announced today. Jacintoport is a cargo handling and stevedoring firm headquartered in Houston.

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Windfalls of war: KBR, the government’s concierge

KBR’s umbrella contract to provide everything from showers to rebuilding airfields tops $37 billion. “It’s like a gigantic monopoly,” says one critic.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talks with troops in Iraq. KBR has been paid $37 billion to build infrastructure like this dining hall. Jim Watson/AP

After a decade of war, KBR’s umbrella contract tops $37 billion

Sharon Weinberger – (The Center for Public Integrity – iWatch News) – August 30, 2011 – The rush to war in the months following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 created an urgency in the Pentagon, not just for military operations but also for contracting.

When U.S. forces moved into Afghanistan in 2001, there was little, if any, infrastructure to support and house U.S. troops. The military needed someone to do everything from housing troops to rebuilding airfields. The solution was a contract called the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP, a type of umbrella contract the Army had been using to support is military bases overseas. In late 2001, the Army, after a competition, awarded LOGCAP III to KBR. The Houston-based firm [3], once a subsidiary of Halliburton, began providing everything from showers to dining halls.

Even beyond single-source contracts, the Pentagon has other types of contracts it can use to quickly award work without having to compete specific jobs. They include umbrella-type contracts, like LOGCAP, that allow the government to buy unspecified goods and services over long periods of time. “It’s the government’s way of saying ‘We don’t know what we want, and we don’t know how much it costs,’” said Laura Peterson, a senior policy analyst with Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group. “Instead they say, ‘we’ll put you on retainer and tell you later what we want and when we want it, and you just bill us.’ You become the government’s concierge, and it’s like a gigantic monopoly.”

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Suspected electrical fire in Afghanistan kills three U.S. Marines and injures two others

SSG Ryan Maseth was electrocuted in his shower in Baghdad and died January 2, 2008

A recent fire that occurred on July 31, 2011 at Camp Lawton, Herat Province, Afghanistan killing three Marines, a K-9 and injuring two others is suspected of being caused by improperly installed electrical systems. The building where these Marines died had been recently constructed and was still under a 1-year warranty by the Afghan contractor who built it. My understanding is the investigation is still ongoing by the Defense Department and Task Force POWER. Task Force POWER, manned by TENG & Associates, is the Afghanistan version of Task Force SAFE in Iraq. These task forces were implemented by the DoD to ensure proper electrical installations in Iraq and Afghanistan after the tragic death of SSG Ryan Maseth, who was electrocuted and died in his shower in Baghdad on January 2, 2008. Is death was caused by an improperly installed electrical water pump in his building.

The issue of shoddy electrical work in Iraq and Afghanistan has been an ongoing problem. There have been several electrocution deaths of soldiers and civilians, 100’s of electrical fires killing and injuring soldiers, civilians and damaging property. The issue of shoddy electrical work has been so pervasive, the U.S. Congress has attempted to address this issue at several hearings held by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

In a recent article in the Marine Corp Times, they reported:

Three Marine Corps special operators died Sunday along with a military dog after their living quarters caught fire in western Afghanistan.

The U.S. Marines who died in this tragedy were: Read the remainder of this entry »