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Boots on the ground and other news

…Kirby Dick’s The Invisible War, an indictment of the rape “epidemic” within the U.S. military, has brought swift action from the Pentagon…

…Dick’s film, filled with heartbreaking accounts of sexual assaults against both female and male soldiers, often at the hands of their military superiors, gets its international premiere Friday at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, plus two more screenings during the festival that runs to May 6… ~Peter Howell, Toronto.com

Virginia Beach company in legal battle over boots
Robert McCabe – (The Virginian-Pilot) – April 29, 2012 – It’s a tale with the makings of a guerrilla mockumentary, but the players aren’t fooling around.

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Vanishing acts and other news

Tracking Gaddafi: The case against the Canadian accused of aiding a dictator’s son
Stewart Bell – (National Post) –  MEXICO CITY – March 24, 2012 –  When a dictatorship falls, the old regime takes flight.

And so when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi began losing his grip on Libya last year, a mixed bag of friends, allies and profiteers went to work planning exile for those close to him.

A town near Puerto Vallarta was the soft landing chosen for Saadi Gaddafi, the dictator’s hedonistic third son and head of the Libyan Special Forces. To get him there, according to Mexican officials, properties were purchased, planes were rented and passports were forged.

But if there was such a plot, it was a spectacular flop. Because instead of wading in the Pacific surf, Mr. Gaddafi ended up in Niger, a landlocked sandbox, while the Canadian, Dane and two Mexicans accused of orchestrating his escape are behind bars.

Because of Mexico’s closed legal system, few details of the case have been officially released. But documents obtained by the National Post reveal the events leading up to the arrests of Canadian Cynthia Vanier, who has denied the allegations, and her co-accused.

The paper trail identifies for the first time the international team of private security contractors that left Canada with Ms. Vanier last year in a small jet, destined for Col. Gaddafi’s collapsing capital. But it also raises doubts about the reliability of the evidence presented in court by Mexican authorities — in particular a central witness with a criminal past.

Aside from a stint negotiating for the release of hostages in Colombia, Ms. Vanier, a mediator from Mount Forest, Ont., had no apparent experience in war zones when she was hired to write a report on Libya, then five months into an armed revolt against its brutal, erratic dictator.

SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based engineering and construction company, said it contracted her “in the interest of the safety and security of our personnel and operations when we will need to go back to Libya to complete our projects.”

A chain of emails shows planning got underway on July 12, 2011. Gregory Gillispie, who runs a San Diego airplane brokerage, was asked by Loren Berenda, a former employee of U.S. security giant DynCorp, in Illinois, to find a jet to transport the Canadian and her entourage. (Click HERE for article)

Pressure Mounts for Transparency in Pfc. Manning’s Court-Martial
Adam Klasfeld – (Courthouse News) – MANHATTAN – March 22, 2012 – A lawyer from a civil libertarian group representing Wikileaks and Julian Assange urged a military judge to release records related to the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for the biggest leak in U.S. history.

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Witness Ties Bradley Manning to Wikileaks in Military Hearing

Photo - Guardian UK

Adam Klasfeld – (Courthouse News) – FORT MEADE, Md. – December 21, 2011 – Witness testimony concluded this morning (Wednesday) in a hearing to determine whether Pfc. Bradley Manning will face court-martial for allegedly sharing classified data with Wikileaks, charges supported by a convicted hacker who testified for the government.
     
Adrian Lamo, 30, told the court Tuesday that Manning confessed to leaking hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents in an encrypted chat under the handle Bradass87.
     
Though defense counsel called them “alleged chats,” Lamo said the handle Bradass87 appeared on his Facebook page with his photographs and biographical information.
     
By sharing the chat logs with law enforcement and Wired Magazine, Lamo sparked an investigation that led to Manning’s arrest in May 2010 for allegedly “aiding the enemy,” stealing records and other charges. Manning spent several months in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig at Quantico, Va., before being moved to a medium-security facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
     
Lamo told The Guardian that the decision to inform was “thrust” upon him, but the hacker sang a different tune at court on Tuesday.
     
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All I want for Christmas is a new IG & other news

Pentagon Inspector General Gordon Heddell to Step Down on Christmas Eve
Nick Schwellenbach – (POGO) – November 26, 2011 – POGO got word this morning that Department of Defense Inspector General (DoDIG) Gordon Heddell announced earlier this week that he will step down as IG on December 24, Christmas Eve. Heddell’s email announcing his upcoming resignation is posted below.

Heddell has had a challenging task. To say that the DoD is a bastion of questionable spending and is rife with secrecy would be understatements. But that would only begin to describe the oversight difficulties. It is essentially the only government department that is unauditable. Different whistleblower laws with different standards apply to civilians versus military personnel versus contractor personnel. The chaos of war makes fact-finding more difficult and more expensive to conduct. Plus, Heddell inherited an office that has been described by many insiders who’ve talked to me and others as a backbiting place. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) is a bit of a colossus too: more than 1600 people worked in the OIG as of March of this year. (Click HERE for article)

Birmingham law firms praised for inspiring Bosnian sex-trade exposé The Whistleblower
By Graeme Brown – (Birmingham Post) – November 25, 2011 – Two West Midlands lawyers whose fight to expose a United Nations cover-up of the Bosnian sex trade was turned into a film have said it highlights the importance of pro-bono work which goes on in the region.

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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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