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IGs push for greater whistleblower protections for contractors

Dr. Walter Tamosaitis, URS Corporation & Former Research & Technology Manager

Whistleblowers have saved taxpayers more than $27 billion since 1987 through the False Claims Act (FCA) award program. However, this program offers no protections to whistleblowers who witness waste, mismanagement and other illegalities, POGO Director of Public Policy Angela Canterbury will tell a Senate subcommittee today in a hearing. ~Dana Liebelson, POGO

Emily Kopp – (Federal News Radio) – December 7, 2011 – Walter Tamosaitis now works in a windowless basement office with two noisy copiers.It’s a far cry from his former job as the research and technology manager at the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant, a $13 billion Energy Department project in Washington state that, when completed, will be the biggest nuclear waste treatment plant in the world.

He is being punished for raising safety concerns about the plant’s construction, Tamosaitis told members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Reform Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight Tuesday.

“It’s a very visible example of what happens if you speak up,” he said.

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Hall of shame inducts/indicts new members & other news

Mr. Bush is gone now, but that algorithm remains ruthlessly in place. War-oriented companies like DynCorp, Washington Group International, Aegis Defense Services, URS Corporation, BAE Systems, Renco, CACI, Bechtel, General Dynamics, General Electric, and Titan, along with oil giants like ExxonMobil and Chevron, have profited to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars off these conflicts, and are poised to continue doing so well into the future. ~ William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

Troops photograph every grave at Arlington cemetery
Kimberly Hefling – (AP) – Arlington – ¬†August 27, 2011 – Night after night this summer, troops from the Army’s historic Old Guard have left their immaculately pressed dress blues, white gloves and shiny black boots at home to slip into Arlington National Cemetery in T-shirts and flip-flops to photograph each and every grave with an iPhone.

The sometimes eerie task to photograph more than 219,000 grave markers and the fronts of more than 43,000 sets of cremated remains in the columbarium is part of the Army’s effort to account for every grave and to update and digitize the cemetery’s maps. The Old Guard works at night to escape the heat and avoid interrupting funerals.

Last year, a scandal over mismanagement at the nation’s most hallowed burial ground revealed unmarked and mismarked graves. Congress then mandated that the cemetery account for the graves of the more than 330,000 people interred in the cemetery.

The troops taking the photos are from Delta Company of the 1st Battalion of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard – the Army’s official ceremonial unit, which provides escorts to the president and helps put on military funerals.

The photos taken at night are matched with other records to find discrepancies that need to be fixed, and officials say it’s too early in the process to draw any conclusions. Military officials hope they can eventually use the photos to create an online database for the public. Four million people annually visit the cemetery. (Click HERE for article)

This Will Improve KBR’s Image
Mark Thompson – (Battleland Blogs) – August 26, 2011 – If KBR’s one-time management by the autobiographical Dick Cheney doesn’t buff the company’s reputation, this ought to do the trick: KBR is suing a woman who claimed that she was raped while working in Iraq for KBR in 2005. In the crazy world of torts and courts, Jamie Leigh Jones had sued KBR for $145 million, claiming the company let a hostile sexual climate exist in Iraq. Last month, a jury found the company not guilty of the charge.

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Second company sued in SSG Ryan Maseth electrocution death

Second company sued in Shaler soldier’s electrocution
By Robin Acton
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cheryl Harris and SSG Ryan Maseth

Cheryl Harris and SSG Ryan Maseth

The parents of a Shaler, PA Green Beret electrocuted in his shower in Iraq in 2008 filed a federal lawsuit Monday against a San Francisco firm that once maintained electrical systems in his living quarters.

Douglas Maseth of Allison Park, PA and Cheryl Harris of Cranberry, PA are seeking unspecified damages of more than $75,000 in their wrongful death lawsuit against URS Corp., formerly Washington Group International.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, died on Jan. 2, 2008, when an improperly grounded electric water pump in his quarters in the Radwaniyah Palace Complex shorted out and sent an electrical current through metal pipes into his shower. Read the remainder of this entry »