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Burn-pit claimants will appeal judge’s dismissal

Patricia Kime – (Air Force Times) – June 4, 2013 – Attorneys representing former troops and family members who say they were sickened by exposure to open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan are appealing a judge’s dismissal of their cases.

Alexandria, Va., lawyer Susan Burke and attorneys from the South Carolina firm Motley & Rice filed an appeal Wednesday arguing that Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Roger Titus’s decision in February to toss out 57 consolidated lawsuits filed against KBR, Inc., was “non-justifiable.”

Titus ruled Feb. 28 that as a government contractor working in a war zone, KBR was entitled to the same legal protection and immunity as U.S. armed forces operating in combat. He also argued that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on decisions made by another branch of government.

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Leaked Memo: Afghan ‘Burn Pit’ Could Wreck Troops’ Hearts, Lungs

A bulldozer dumps a load of trash into a burn pit just 300 yards from the runway at Bagram Airfield, January 2012. An Army memo from 2011 found the burn pit is associated with "long-term" health effects on soldiers at Bagram. Photo: U.S. Army

By Spencer Ackerman  @ Wired.com

A bulldozer dumps a load of trash into a burn pit just 300 yards from the runway at Bagram Airfield, January 2012. An Army memo from 2011 found the burn pit is associated with “long-term” health effects on soldiers at Bagram.

For years, U.S. government agencies have told the public, veterans and Congress that they couldn’t draw any connections between the so-called “burn pits” disposing of trash at the military’s biggest bases and veterans’ respiratory or cardiopulmonary problems. But a 2011 Army memo obtained by Danger Room flat-out stated that the burn pit at one of Afghanistan’s largest bases poses “long-term adverse health conditions” to troops breathing the air there. Read the remainder of this entry »

Military rape victims speaks out; Class action filed

Speaking out: Several rape victims documented, including Marine Corps 1st Lt. Ariana Klay (shown center) who was raped by her senior officer and his friend, have contemplated suicide following their attacks and speak out now for awareness

Plaintiff in rape lawsuit speaks out
Class action lawsuit filed Tuesday

Updated: Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 6:34 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012, 6:33 PM EST

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Eight sailors and Marines say they were sexually assaulted while in the military, but their assailants were not brought to justice.

The victims have signed onto a class action lawsuit. It’s the second of its kind. The first, filed last year, was dismissed.

Marine Lieutenant and plaintiff Ariana Klay, of Washington, D.C., is one of eight women sharing her story.

Klay said she was raped in 2010 at Marine barracks. Read the remainder of this entry »

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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L-3 & CACI may be off the hook in Abu Ghraib torture scandal

U.S. court dismisses Iraq contractor torture cases

James Vicini – (Reuters) –  WASHINGTON  – September 21, 2011 –  A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday dismissed lawsuits claiming employees of two defense contractors conspired to torture and abuse Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and at other locations.

The court ruled for CACI International Inc, which helped conduct interrogations at Abu Ghraib, and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc, which provided translators to the U.S. military for questioning Iraqi detainees at various sites.

One lawsuit was filed by 72 Iraqis while the other was brought by four Iraqis.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, Virginia, held the claims were pre-empted by federal law and must be dismissed. It also cited a ruling in 2009 by a U.S. appeals court in Washington, D.C., in a similar lawsuit against the two companies.

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