Archive for June, 2009


BAE Systems- Part 3

 

Link to original:  http://www.examiner.com/x-4384-Hampton-Roads-Womens-Business-Examiner~y2009m6d14-BAE-Systems-Part-III

 

 

BAE announced the sale of its German naval systems subsidiary, Atlas Elektronik to ThyssenKrupp and EADS. It was a complicated sale as there was a requirement of the German government to approve any sale. It was described by the Financial Times as a “cut price” sale because the French company Thales bid 300 million pounds but was blocked from purchasing Atlas on national security grounds. BAE then announced the sale of BAE Systems Aerostructures to Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. on January 31, 2006. BAE stated as early as 2002 that it wished to dispose of what it did not consider a “core business”.

 

Saudi Arabia signed a contract for 6 billion to 10 billion pounds for 72 Eurofighter Typhoons to be delivered by BAE on August 18, 2006. BAE was awarded a 2.5 billion pound contract for the upgrade of 80 Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado IDS’s on September 10, 2006. In the 2005 annual report BAE’s goal was to increase technology transfer between the United Kingdom and the United States. The focus of this effort was The F-35 (JSF) program. Minister for Defense Procurement, Lord Drayson suggested that the UK would withdraw from the project without the transfer of technology that would allow the UK to operate and maintain F-35s independently. Lord Drayson signed an agreement on December 12, 2006 that allows “an unbroken British chain of command” for the operation of the aircraft. BAE received a 947 million pound contract to provide guaranteed availability of Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornados.

 

BAE announced that its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. was going to purchase Armor Holdings for 2.3 billion pounds (US 4.5 billion dollars) on May 7, 2007. Armor Holdings was a manufacturer of tactical wheeled vehicles. They also provided vehicle and individual armor systems and survivability technologies. The completion of the merger was announced on July 31, 2007. BAE (and British Aerospace previously) was a technology partner to the McLaren Formula One team from 1996 to December 2007. This partnership focused on McLaren’s F1 car’s aerodynamics, eventually moving to carbon fibre techniques, wireless systems and fuel management. BAE’s interest in the partnership was to learn about high speed build and operations processes of McLaren.

 

BAE announced the purchase of Tenix Defense, a major Australian defense contractor on January 18, 2008. This purchase was completed on June 27, 2008 for 373 million pounds making BAE Systems Australia that country’s largest defense contractor. BAE expanded its IT business with the 531 million pound purchase of Detica Group in July of 2008.

 

BAE Systems inherited British Aerospace’s share of Airbus Industries, this consisted of two factories at Broughton and Filton. These facilities manufactured wings for the Airbus family of aircraft. In 2001 Airbus was incorporated as Airbus SAS, a joint stock company. In return for a 20% share in the new company BAE transferred ownership of its Airbus plants to the new company. As early as 2000 it was rumored that BAE wished to sell its 20% share of Airbus. It was consistently denied by the company. On April 6, 2006, BBC News reported that it was going to sell its stake. At the time it was valued at 2.4 billion pounds. Due to the slow pace of informal negotiations, BAE exercised its put option which saw investment bank Rothschild appointed to give an independent valuation. Six days after this Airbus announced delays to the A380 with significant effects on the value of Airbus shares. Rothschild valued BA’s share at 1.87 billion pounds, on June 2, 2006, well below BA’s analysts’ and even EADS’ expectations. The BAE board recommended that the company proceed with the sale. On October 4, 2006, shareholders voted in favor and the sale was completed on October 13, 2006. This saw the end of UK owned involvement in civil airliner production. Airbus UK continues to be the Airbus “Center of Excellence” for wing production. They employ approximately 140,000 directly and indirectly, but it is entirely owned by EADS.

 

BAE plays important roles in military aircraft production. The company’s Typhoon, Tornado and Harrier fighter-bombers are all front line aircraft of the RAF. BAE is a major partner in the F-35 Lightning II program. Its Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft has been widely exported. In July of 2006, the British government declassified the HERTI (High Endurance Rapid Technology Insertion), an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which can navigate autonomously. BAE Systems’ interests in commercial aviation are vested in BAE Systems Regional Aircraft. This unit no longer produces aircraft, however it continues to lease and support its products, the Bae 146/Avro RJ family, Bae ATP, Jetstream and Bae 748.

 

BAE Systems Land Systems manufactures the British Army’s Challenger II, Warrior Tracked Armored Vehicle, M777 howitzer, Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle and L85 Assault Rifle. BAE Systems Land and Armaments manufactures the M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicle family, the US Navy Advanced Gun System (AGS), the M113 armored personnel carrier (APC) and the M109 Paladin.

 

Major naval projects include the Astute class nuclear submarine and, through BVT Surface Fleet, the Type 45 air defense destroyer and the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier.   Areas of business for BAE Systems includes their “home markets” of Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

BAE Systems is the predominant supplier to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense. They are the only company to receive more than 1 billion pounds from the Ministry of Defense in 2004 and 2005. The Oxford Economic Forecasting states that in 2002 BAE’s United Kingdom businesses employed 111,578 people, they achieved export sales of 3 billion pounds and paid 2.6 billion pounds in taxes. These figures to not include the contribution of Airbus UK.

 

BAE Systems Inc. now sells more to the United States Department of Defense than the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense. The company has been allowed to buy important defense contractors in the United States, however its status as a United Kingdom company requires that its United States subsidiaries are governed by American executives under Special Security Arrangements. The attraction of MES to British Aerospace was largely its ownership of Tracor, a major American defense contractor. Since its creation the company has steadily increased its investment in and revenues from the United States. BAE’s purchase of Lockheed Martin Aerospace Electronic Systems in November of 2000 was described by John Hamre (CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Deputy Secretary of Defense) as “precedent setting” considering the advanced and classified nature of many of the company’s product. The possibility of mergers between BAE and major North American defense contractors has long been reported and they include Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

 

BAE Systems Australia is the largest defense contractor in that country. It has more than doubled in size with the acquisition of Tenix Defense. The Al Yamamah agreements between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia require “the provision of a complete defense package for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, BAE employes 4600 people in Saudi Arabia. BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa, 75% owned by BAE, is the largest military vehicle manufacturer in South Africa. They are currently taking part in the United States MRAP program. Apart from its share of Saab, BAE’s interests in Sweden are a result of the purchases of Alvis Vickers and UDI, which owned Hagglunds and Bofors respectively. The companies are now a part of BAE Systems AB and have a combined workforce of approximately 1750.

 

BAE Systems’ headquarters is in the Farnborough Aerospace Center business park, with senior managers based at the registered office in Carlton Gardens, London. BAE Systems divides its business into five groups, Electronics, Intelligence and Support, Land and Armaments, Programs and Support, International Businesses, and HQ and Other Businesses.  In 2008 their net profit was 1, 768 million pounds with earnings per share at 49.6.

 

BAE has been criticized over two frigates sold to Romania. The terms of the sale have been a matter of controversy. Like many arms manufacturers, BAE has received criticism from various human rights and anti-arms trade organizations due to the human rights records of governments to which it has sold equipment. These include Indonesia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Zimbabwe. BAE’s United States subsidiary makes several subsystems for F-16s, 236 of which have been supplied to the Israel Defense Forces.

 

BAE hired a private security contractor to obtain information about individuals working at the Campaign Against Arms Trade and their activities. This happened in September of 2003 and it was reported by The Sunday Times. In February of 2007, it again obtained private confidential information from CAAT.

 

BAE has been subject to allegations of corruption. The Solicitor General, Mike O’Brien announced that BAE contracts in six countries were being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for “suspected international corruption”; Chile, the Czech Republic, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Tanzania. This took place on February 7, 2007. In September 2005 The Guardian reported that banking records showed that BAE paid 1 million pounds to Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator. The Guardian has also reported that “clandestine arms deals” have been under investigation in Chile and the UK since 2003 and that British Aerospace and BAE made a number of payments to Pinochet advisers.

 

The SFO’s Czech Republic investigation is relative to allegations of bribery as a part of the deal to lease BAE/Saab Gripen fighters to that country. BAE has also been criticized for its role in disposing of surplus Royal Navy warships. HMS Sheffield was sold to the Chilean Navy in 2003 for 27 million pounds, however, the profit from the sale was 3 million pounds after contracts worth 24 million pounds were placed with BAE for upgrades and refurbishment of the ship. BAE allegedly paid “secret offshore commissions” of over 7 million pounds to secure the sale of HMS London and HMS Coventry to the Romanian Navy. BAE received a contract for 116 million pounds for refurbishment of these ships. In 2007 BBC News highlighted concerns of arms campaigners regarding arms sales to South Africa. This was in relation to a 2.3 billion pound deal which saw BAE supply Hawk trainers and Gripen fighters. The Tanzania allegation relates to the sale of a radar system to that country in 2002. The deal was criticized by then Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, opposition of Mps and the World Bank.   In response to allegations of bribery and corruption, BAE Systems 2006 Corporate Responsibility report states “We continue to reject these allegations. We take our obligations under law very seriously and will continue to comply with all legal requirements worldwide.”

 

Another area of criticism is their indirect production of nuclear weapons. Through its 37.5% share of MBDA it is involved with the production and support of the ASMP missile, an air launched nuclear missile which forms part of the French nuclear deterrent. BAE is also the United Kingdom’s only nuclear submarine manufacturer and produces a key element of the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons capability. BAE was excluded from the portfolio of the government pension fund of Norway in 2006 because of this involvement.

 

On of 24 Panavia Tornado ADVs delivered to the Royal Saudi Air Force as a part of the Al Yamamah arms sale was subject to allegations of bribery in relation to its business in Saudi Arabia. The United Kingdom’s National Audit Office (NAO) investigated the Al Yamamah contracts and has so far not published its findings. This is the only NAO report to ever be withheld and the Ministry of Defense states that the reports is sensitive. Disclosure would harm international relations and the United Kingdom’s commercial interests. The company was accused of maintaining a 60 million pound Saudi slush fund and was the subject of an investigation by the SFO. On December 14, 2006 it was announced that the SFO was discontinuing its investigation into BAE. It was stated that the wider public interest to safeguard national and international security outweighed any potential benefits for further investigation. The termination of the investigation has been controversial. In June of 2007, BBC’s Panorama alleged BAE paid hundreds of million of pounds to the ex-Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan in return for his role in the Al Yamamah deals. In June of 2007, the United States Department of Justice began a formal investigation into BAE’s compliance with anti-corruption laws. It had been confirmed that CEO Mike Turner and non-executive director Nigel Rudd had been detained for about 20 minutes at two United States airports and that Department of Justice had issued a number of additional subpoenas in the United States to employees of BAE Systems PLC and BAE Systems Inc. as a part of its ongoing investigation. According to the times this is unusual behavior on the part of the DOJ because BAE is co-operating fully with the investigation.

 

On April 10, 2008 the High Court ruled that the SFO acted unlawfully by dropping its investigation. The ruling was one of the most strongly worded judicial attacks on a government action according to The Times. The ruling condemned how ministers buckled to threats that Saudi cooperation in the fight against terror would end unless the investigation was dropped. On April 24 the SFO was granted leave to appeal to the House of Lords against the ruling. There was a two day hearing before the Lords on July 7, and 8, 2008. On July 30, 2008 the House of Lords overturned the High Court ruling, stating that the decision to discontinue the investigation was lawful. In June of 2007, Lord Woolf was selected to lead what the BBC described as an independent review and ethics committee to look into how the defense giant conducts its arms deals. The report Ethical business conduct in BAE Systems PLC The Way Forward, made 23 recommendations. The report stated that in the past BAE did not pay sufficient attention to ethical standards in the way it conducted its business, it is an embarrassing admission.

   

For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_SYSTEMS

Author: Sandra Miller

Sandra Miller is an Examiner from Norfolk. You can see Sandra’s articles on Sandra’s Home Page.

From Project On Government Oversight          

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Danielle Brian , Executive Director, 202-347-1122 or Dr. Ned Feder, POGO Staff Scientist, 202-347-1122

POGO Calls for IG Investigation by FDA Commissioner Hamburg: Cozy Relationship with Manufacturers Blamed for Oversight Failures

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) sent a letter to Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration on June 6, 2009, requesting she call for an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General. 

The issue is a specific instance of regulatory failure in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) at the FDA: the case of AM2PAT, Inc., a small company that manufactured and sold syringes. In December 2007, some of the syringes were found to have been contaminated by bacteria that caused deaths and serious illnesses. Two years later, two officials of AM2PAT were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to crimes related to these events. At least four patients died and hundreds were harmed. Some suffered permanent, severe brain damage.

While senior officials of AM2PAT were clearly responsible for this tragedy, the FDA bears much of the blame for allowing it to happen.

“The role of the FDA in this case as a possible enabler of wrongdoing has not been publicly acknowledged either by the FDA or the Inspector General.   Accordingly, we ask that you request an investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. Such an investigation is long overdue,” said Danielle Brian , Executive Director in POGO’s letter.

As shown by its own records, the FDA had known for a long time about safety problems at AM2PAT. Repeatedly, for at least two years before it finally took decisive action, the FDA was given ample warning that AM2PAT was failing to ensure the safety of the company’s syringes. Months before the outbreak, a whistleblower working at the AM2PAT plant sent the FDA an email identifying herself and warning explicitly about unsuitable conditions in the plant.

In the letter to the Commissioner, POGO maintains that part of the reason for this failure is a culture within the FDA that habitually maintains a relationship with manufacturers that is too collegial and too tolerant. Too often, there is reluctance by the FDA to take corrective action stronger than a Warning Letter, even when stronger action is clearly indicated.  POGO acknowledges these failures also stem from the grossly inadequate resources available to the FDA for inspection and enforcement.

A thorough IG investigation of the AM2PAT failures will enable the IG to make recommend policy changes and reforms to the Secretary of HHS and the Congress necessary to ensure the public’s safety is protected against criminal misconduct and lax oversight by the FDA.  

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 


Supreme Court Restricts Right To Appeal Under The False Claims Act

Washington, D.C. June 8, 2009. Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision which “chipped away” at the rights of whistleblowers to use the most important anti-fraud law in the United States, the False Claims Act.   The False Claims Act permits whistleblowers to file claims on behalf of the United States, and force corrupt government contractors to pay back to the government monies improperly obtained from taxpayers.  

The ruling was written by Justice Clarence Thomas in the case of U.S. ex rel. Eisenstein v. City of New York.  The Court applied a 30 day limitations for an appeal of a False Claims Act ruling when the Government declined to intervene in the case.   Generally a 60 day limitations period applies to cases in which the United States is a party, but Justice Thomas decided that if the Government does not formally intervene in the case it should be treated essentially like any other private party claim.  

The Eisenstein appeal was filed within 54 days of the lower court ruling and the harsh result of Justice Thomas’ holding is to dismiss the anti-fraud claim as being untimely.  
 
 The following statement was issued by Stephen Kohn, the President of the
 National Whistleblowers Center:
 
 “The Supreme Court in Eisenstein has once again chipped away at the ability of whistleblowers to challenge corrupt contracting practices under the False Claims Act.  The ruling demonstrates a fundamental misconception of the purposes behind the False Claims Act, the most important anti-fraud law in the United States.  The Court ruled that FCA cases pursued by whistleblowers are similar to private lawsuits.  This is wrong.  Whistleblowers under the FCA have a powerful right to file cases on behalf of the United States, and the vast majority of any recovery in these cases is paid to the U.S. Treasury — not the whistleblower.  Taxpayers are the main beneficiaries of these cases — the rules concerning filing deadlines should reflect the intent of the law, and should also reflect the fact that the United States, recovers no less then 70% of all monies obtained in an FCA case.  In today’s environment, the Supreme Court should be strengthening anti-fraud laws, not continuously chipping away at the ability of whistleblowers to present their cases.”

***

From Ms. Sparky:

 

Yes, you read that right. KBR has filed suit against The United States of America (the taxpayer). Apparently they got audited over the Tamimi charges for the Camp Anaconda dining facilities (DFAC) and payment was withheld in the amount of $41 million. I have a feeling this is just the first of the KBR lawsuits against the US Government. I suspect every time they get caught violating the contact and funds are withheld, they will sue.If you are on a non KBR computer (they still have me blocked for the most part) and have access to Ms Sparky click HERE to read all about it. I have also downloaded and linked to the complaint filed. If not keep and eye out on the news. I have forwarded the docs to EVERYONE!!

Yes, KBR is terminating people. Tensions seem to be running high and tempers are flaring in some camps. Please keep in mind if you assault someone the Iraqi’s take over. So don’t try to take revenge out on your manager. If you want revenge, come home and tell your story to Congress or the countless investigators investigating KBR. Don’t be stupid!! Email me and let me know how terminations are going at your camp. Don’t think for a minute that it won’t be you. Get your stuff packed. They are giving some people only ONE days notice. And, my personal opinion on turning in your CAC card while you are stuck in country is…..I wouldn’t. That is basically your passport/visa for the military bases. That gives you permission to be there, to eat at the DFAC’s and go to the PX.

Click HERE for a link to the Senate DPC site to view the entire hearing video, read the statements and view some very interesting supporting documents. The Senate DPC staff did a great job on this hearing!

Do you know who these people are from Camp Harper/Camp Adder? Person on the left is possibly a plumber, center is security, right is security. 

I know KBR is going to put on the pressure with threats and intimidation. That is their MO. Just be smart!

If you have questions you can email me by replying to this Update.

Be safe!!


Ms Sparky
(aka Debbie Crawford)

Dear MISC Members,
 
June 11th, TOMORROW, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee will hold a hearing on S. 372, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009.
 
Time: 2:30pm
 
Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 342
 
The hearing will consist of the following 5 witnesses–3 of which are whistleblower advocates
 
 
Danielle Brian, POGO
Bill Branford, Senior Executive Association
Rajesh De, Dept. of Justice
Tom Devine, GAP
Robert Vaughn, Professor at AU School of Law
 
 
Please come and support our members as they help build a written record, at the request of Senator Collins (R-ME), to demonstrate why the WPEA of 2009 must include access to jury trials and coverage of all federal employees to be a credible whistleblower law in practice. If you cannot attend in person, live coverage should be available at the following link; http://hsgac. senate.gov/ public/index. cfm?Fuseaction= Hearings. Detail&HearingID=f657db46- 9461-43ba- 99de-2ac25593c89 9 .
 
The Congressional Quarterly wrote the following on the upcoming hearing;
 
Beefed-up protections for federal whistle-blowers, a top priority for many watchdog groups, will be considered Thursday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee. Whistle-blower advocates favor the House’s version of the bill, which specifically insulates national security whistle-blowers and mandates jury trials for cases tangled in the bureaucratic queue, over legislation introduced by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ranking member Susan Collins and Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Rajesh De of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel will make a repeat appearance on Capitol Hill to present the viewpoint of the administration. But some outside groups privately grumble that the president has yet to make good on a campaign promise to construct the tallest of fences between federal whistle-blowers and their superiors.
 
 

Shanna Devine
Legislative Campaign Coordinator
Government Accountability Project

<?xml:namespace prefix = ns0 ns = “urn:schemas- microsoft- com:office: smarttags” /><?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas- microsoft- com:office: smarttags” />1612 K St NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 457-0034  ext. 132 (voice)

(202) 457-0059 (fax)
Email: shannad@whistleblow er.org
Website: www.whistleblower. org <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas- microsoft- com:office: office” />

Rewarding Failure:
Contractor Bonuses for Faulty Work in Iraq

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
628 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senator Robert Casey, Senator Byron Dorgan, Senator Kay Hagan, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Senator Mark Udall, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse attending.

 

Opening Statement

Senator Byron L. Dorgan
Chairman, Senate Democratic Policy Committee

Witness Statements

Jim Childs
Master Electrician, former Subject Matter Expert for Task Force SAFE

Eric Peters
Former KBR Master Electrician

Charles Smith
Former Chief of HQ, Army Field Support Command
Field Support Contracting Division

Additional Materials

2007 DCMA Memo on Electrical Hazards Created by KBR

2008 DCMA Letter to KBR on Corrective Action Report

KBR Level III Corrective Action Request

KBR Level III Corrective Action Request (without attachments)

Additional Areas Cited for Poor Performance Under Task Order 139

Electrical Hazards Assessment — Iraq

KBR Electrical Fire Report

KBR Fire Inspection Report

KBR DCMA Citations for Poor Performance in a Variety of Jobs and Multiple Areas (Excel spreadsheet)

 ***********************************************************************

 

Senate Whistleblower Hearing Today!

Take Action!

 
 
Dear Action Alert Member,

The Senate is holding a hearing on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act today.  The public hearing will be held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 342 at 2:30 PM.  Please attend if you are in the DC area or you can watch live online by clicking here.

Now is the time to make your voice heard!  If you have not sent an email to Congress send it nowCall Senators Daniel Akaka (202) 224-6361 and Susan Collins (202) 224-2523, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and tell them that all federal employees, including those who report misconduct in national security and defense, must have whistleblower protection with full court access.

During the campaign, President Obama pledged to support effective legislation that would protect all federal employees with a guaranteed right to federal court access.  Please urge the Senate to back up this promise.

Today is the day to send an action alert.  Today it is imperative to pass this alert on to a friend or co-worker so the Senate can hear form the public while they are debating the scope of the law.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Stephen M. Kohn
President
National Whistleblowers Center

P.S. Once again, please pass this alert on to a friend or co-worker.  Thank you!

 

From: Stephen Buckley <sbuckley@igc. org>
Subject: See WBer idea posted on the WhiteHouse.gov website

Dear Community of Whistleblowers,

I thought you might like to vote “thumbs-up” at the WhiteHouse.gov website for my “Safe Whistleblowing” idea (although I do not call it that).  Feel free to vote for the other ones, too.

Here’s the message (below) that I’m sending out for general distribution.

vr,
Stephen Buckley
http://www.UStransp arency.com
Whistleblower – U.S. Dept. of Energy

———— ——— ——— ——

Dear All,

I humbly ask that you review and vote on my four ideas that I posted on the White House’s brainstorming session on “open government”.  (Note: The website – and voting – will close sometime this Thursday.)

The idea descriptions (below) are the short versions.

And, if you DO like any of them, please forward this email, with an endorsement, as you see fit.

 

1. MyGov.gov” –> Customized to What Affects YOU

The government should be trying to engage YOU (not vice-versa). For example, an email-notice can reach out and engage you, but an obscure website does not. “MyGov.gov” would let you fill out a profile, so that you will get email-notices ONLY about those things that affect YOU. (This is how USAjobs.gov already works.)

Give that idea a “thumbs-up” here:
http://opengov. ideascale. com/akira/ dtd/2929- 4049

============ ========= ========= ========= ====

2. Make It Safe for Govt. Workers to Innovate to Save Money

I’m a former federal employee who worked at five different agencies, and I know from experience that the only way for to make it safe for government workers to talk about saving money with innovative ideas (or simply pointing out waste) is to have an online system that allows them to raise the idea BUT hides their true identity. (FYI: The existing Inspector-General system does NOT do this.)

Give that idea a “thumbs-up” here:
http://opengov. ideascale. com/akira/ dtd/2481- 4049

============ ========= ========= ========= ===

3. Give Citizens a Simple Checklist for Rating “Public Engagement

Citizens should have a simple checklist that they can take when they attend a public meeting so that they can rate how “open” the meeting was (i.e., with respect to Transparency, Participation, and Collaboration) .

This simple checklist could be the standard tool for citizens to provide feedback to government agencies about the quality of their public engagement activities. In fact, the requirement for federal department and agencies to “solicit public feedback” about their public engagement is mentioned three (3) times in President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparent and Open Government. (BTW: The League of Women Voters has something similar to this.)

Give that idea a “thumbs-up” here:
http://opengov. ideascale. com/akira/ dtd/2789- 4049

============ ========= ========= ========= ===

4. Let’s Be Clear on the Terminology about “Public Engagement”

We need to better define the terms that we are using in order to have a better discussion about how we achieve Open Government. For example: If a “town-hall meeting” can be a political speech followed by couple questions, then does that qualify as “public engagement” (or is it just a photo-op)?

If we all have different ideas about what is (and is not) “public engagement” or “transparency” or (insert buzzword here), then we will have a very hard time reaching consensus about how to go forward. (This, of course, is one lesson from “The Tower of Babel“).

Give that idea a “thumbs-up” here:
http://opengov. ideascale. com/akira/ dtd/2693- 4049

============ ========= ========= ========= ===

Thank you for taking the time to give this your consideration.

sincerely,

Stephen Buckley
Chatham, Mass.
H/O: 508-945-0518
http://www.UStransp arency.com

P.S.  The language above is taken from my blog.   The direct web-address to that specific posting is:
http://tinyurl. com/p4yueq

List of U.S. Nuclear Sites Inadvertently Posted Online

Link to original:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/03/AR2009060300028_pf.html

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A U.S. document containing sensitive details about hundreds of civilian nuclear sites across the country was posted online Monday, an apparently inadvertent security breach that had federal officials scrambling yesterday to remedy the mistake.

The document, a draft declaration of U.S. nuclear facilities to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, contained descriptions of sensitive civilian sites, including the locations of facilities that store enriched uranium and other materials used in nuclear weapons. It was available for about a day on a Government Printing Office Web site before inquiries by news organizations prompted its hasty removal.

Nuclear experts said it was theoretically possible that the document could benefit terrorists contemplating an attack on one of the facilities. Still, because the information was unclassified and most of it is publicly available through other sources, the release generally was deemed more embarrassing than harmful.

“It is probably not that dangerous, but it is a violation of the law,” said David Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector and president the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonprofit research group in Washington. “You don’t want this information out there, any more than you would want a thief to know the location of a vault in your house.”

The 267-page draft document was intended as a formal declaration to the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of U.S. obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Obama administration submitted the document last month to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for technical review.

In a cover letter to Congress that accompanies the document and is posted on the White House’s Web site, President Obama states that measures had been taken to “ensure that information of direct national security significance will not be compromised at any such site, location, facility, or activity” as a result of IAEA oversight of U.S. facilities.

The document does not contain information about the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, but it does divulge restricted information such as interior design features of nuclear facilities where fissile materials are stored.

The online appearance of the document was first reported on the blog Secrecy News, written by Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. He noted that much of the draft’s contents were designated “sensitive but unclassified.”

 

 

From The Last Inspector.com

 

Link to original:  http://eastmans.web.aplus.net/pblog/index.php

 

 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 01:14 PM
Posted by Administrator

Kudos to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding for setting an example for how seriously and appropriately to handle inspectors who rollerstamp inspections without actually doing the inspections.

An inspector was turned in by another inspector for such rollerstamping of weld inspections off on military ships, including extra-critical SUBSAFE welds on submarines. Contrary to the way such fraud is handled at Boeing on commercial and military aircraft platforms based on Boeing commercial aircraft, Northrop Grumman immediately launched a real investigation (as opposed to intentionally ineffective Boeing ethics/Legal/OIG investigations) into the inspector’s fraud, including re-inspection of every weld the inspector had rollerstamped off as being done and OK when they were never actually done.

They disclosed the fraud to the government, fired the inspector, and otherwise handled the incident completely appropriately–in direct opposition to how Boeing handled my report of massive rollerstamping at Boeing to Boeing’s Chief Counsel at Boeing’s Chicago Headquarters.

Northrop Grumman is obviously a company that takes integrity and its responsibilities to protect our brave military personnel’s lives seriously.

Too bad Boeing has no such integrity, as demonstrated by how they intentionally mishandled the report I submitted to their Chief Counsel in the good faith that it would be actually be investigated and the fraud documented within it ended, and how they retaliated against the inspector who reported the fraud to them–me. Contrary to such Boeing modus operandi, Northrop Grumman investigated and ended the fraud one of its inspectors reported to them–they didn’t do as Boeing did–”killing the messenger,” then continuing the fraud.

Nice to know there are companies of integrity out there that take their responsibilities to the warfighter and the public seriously. Perhaps their management’s integrity will be rewarded as it should be–with more business for their company.

As much as I love the hypothetical concept of an uncorrupted Boeing and the many non-addled employees that work there, feeding the the cancer of corrupt Boeing management cannot be justified, especially when there are companies out there with managements of integrity that want the work. Such a company could hire the good Boeing workers over if they are given the contracts instead, leaving corrupt Boeing management and their sycophants in corruption to whither and go away. That may be the only way to stem such Boeing management corruption at this point–a managment that has demonstrated that it will not “let go” of the company until it has died as a consequence of their corruption and incompetence.

But, Boeing’s Chief Counsel’s actions to cover up the fraud documented in my report and to instead show up at my workplace to personally direct the retaliation against me is understandable, if you think like a criminal would.

The inspection fraud at Boeing was an intentional creation of corrupt Boeing management to take shortcuts and increase profitability and efficiency at the expense of passenger, crew, and military personnel safety, whereas, at Northrop Grumman, it was one rogue inspector.

Rollerstamping inspectors at Boeing are par for the course, as that is what Boeing management wants them to do. Been there, witnessed/experienced what happens to inspectors who refuse to rollerstamp at the direction and expectation of corrupt Boeing management.

So, if Boeing’s Chief Counsel had actually decided to investigate as Northrop Grumman did instead of covering it up, the investigation would have implicated many levels of Boeing management that had directed the fraud–not just a few rogue inspectors.

Because rollerstamping has for so long been a part of the business plan, ending it would have had 1997 style implications for Boeing’s production lines, and obviously, it was much easier for them to retaliate against this whistlblower than ending the fraud and implicating themselves in the process.

Doing so would have also threatened Boeing’s corrupt relationship with FAA management it has cultivated for years, making Boeing actually have to certify its aircraft were safe, rather than just going through the motions with complicit FAA management. Boeing’s undeserved delegations by corrupt FAA management would also have ended, ominously for the 787, which is already two years late.

I am proud that I have dealt with Northrop Grumman, both on the B-2 program where I worked for them through Boeing’s subcontract, and via my warning their CEO, Ronald D. Sugar, of Boeing’s theft of their B-2 technology for use in their commercial programs in a letter I faxed to him on 12-14-06.

Working for a corrupt companies’ management, as I did for many years at Boeing, makes you envious of the employees who work for the uncorrupted companies out there, like Northrop Grumman, whose management ensures a quality system of integrity no matter what the cost, whereas corrupt Boeing management and its Chief Counsel ensure the opposite, precisely to save costs and increase efficiency by consciously engaging in such fraud, on a truly massive scale.

Obviously, in Boeing management’s twisted thinking, a few rollerstamped required inspections make a little money, and massive amounts of rollerstamping will therefore make massive amounts of money.

Thankfully for the warfighter, that is not Northrop Grumman management’s philosophy.

What follows is the article about the rogue inspector, and how a truly ethical company handles rollerstamping reported to it (of course, Boeing management already knew of the rollerstamping I reported to it, as it was done at their direction):

http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2009/ … s_060109w/

Weld inspector’s lies may affect 9 ships

By Christopher P. Cavas – Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jun 1, 2009 16:48:42 EDT

More than 10,000 welded joints on at least eight submarines and a new aircraft carrier might need to be reinspected after the discovery by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding that one of its inspectors had falsified inspection reports.

According to an internal report obtained by Navy Times, the issue came to light May 14, when a welding inspector at the company’s Newport News, Va., shipyard told a supervisor that a fellow inspector was initialing welds as “OK” without performing the inspections. Confronted by the supervisor, the offending inspector admitted to falsifying three weld inspections, all that same day.

Company officials rapidly began an internal investigation and notified the Navy’s supervisor of shipbuilding of the situation, according to the report. On May 20, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began its own investigation.

Northrop Grumman declined to reveal the employee’s name, citing the ongoing personnel investigation. A company official did say May 28 that the employee initially had been suspended, then fired.

According to the report, a quick company review of the inspector’s work showed that 12 other joints inspected by the employee that evening were satisfactory. But the ramifications of the falsified inspections rapidly grew beyond a single night’s work.

“We have to go back and check everything this guy has ever touched,” said one industrial source.

The employee had been certified to perform inspections in June 2005 and, according to the report, a review of the shipyard’s welding database showed that in the ensuing four years he inspected and signed off on more than 10,000 structural welding joints on at least nine ships.

Company officials said May 27 that the investigation of the employee’s work could mean that all the joints would need reinspection or re-evaluation.

3 ships in service
According to the report, the ships worked on by the inspector included the Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Missouri, California, Mississippi, Minnesota and John Warner, and the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush. Bush, North Carolina and New Hampshire are in service; the other subs are in various states of construction at Newport News and at the General Dynamics shipyards in Groton, Conn., and Quonset, R.I.

The two shipbuilders share equally in building the submarines. Each shipyard builds specific sections of the submarines and transports the sections to the other yard. The shipbuilders alternate in assembling the hulls.

The inspector performed most of his work on the New Mexico (2,133 welds inspected), Missouri (3,169), California (2,002) and Mississippi (2,177). The employee inspected only 23 welds on New Hampshire and two on North Carolina.

A little more than 10 percent of the submarine welds were hull integrity, or SUBSAFE, joints involving critical parts.

The inspector also performed 229 piping joint inspections on submarines.

There are many thousands of welds on each 7,800-ton submarine — more then 300,000, according to an Electric Boat Best Manufacturing Practices Web site.

But making sure that welding work is done correctly can be a matter of life and death.

“People take this really, really seriously,” said one industry source. “Why? Because people don’t want another Thresher. Nobody takes a chance.”

The submarine Thresher sank in April 1963 when it was forced to dive below its crush depth and the hull imploded. All 129 men aboard the sub perished.

“The quality of our work is something we take very seriously,” Northrop spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell-Jones said in a May 28 statement to Navy Times.

Previous problems
Newport News is still smarting from a welding filler issue that arose in fall 2007. Shipyard workers had used the wrong type of welding filler material on many pipe welds, and the company and the Navy were forced to re-examine a number of submarines, aircraft carriers and surface ships built or repaired at the shipyard. Northrop changed a number of workshop practices as a result.

Both the Navy and Northrop Grumman emphasize that there is no relation between the weld filler issue and the latest problem with the inspector.

Northrop Grumman has developed an inspection plan of the offending inspector’s work that will focus on hull integrity and SUBSAFE joints as a priority, followed by non-SUBSAFE joints, according to the internal report.

The nature of the NCIS investigation is unclear.

“I can confirm that NCIS is investigating allegations made against a weld inspector, but I cannot get into case specifics,” NCIS spokesman Ed Buice wrote in a May 28 e-mail to Navy Times. “NCIS does not comment on the details of ongoing investigations.”

Federal Antitrust Probe Targets Tech Giants, Sources Say

 

Link to Original:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/02/AR2009060203412.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter

By Cecilia Kang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Justice Department has launched an investigation into whether some of the nation’s largest technology companies violated antitrust laws by negotiating the recruiting and hiring of one another’s employees, according to two sources with knowledge of the review.

The review, which is said to be in its preliminary stages, is focused on the search engine giant Google; its competitor Yahoo; Apple, maker of the popular iPhone; and the biotech firm Genentech, among others, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Justice Department officials declined to comment about an investigation, as did officials from Google and Yahoo. Apple and Genentech could not be reached for comment.

The sources said the review includes other tech companies and is “industry-wide.” By agreeing not to hire away top talent, the companies could be stifling competition and trying to maintain their market power unfairly, antitrust experts said.

“This could be collusive restraint on trade, which could have a serious impact on competition,” said Albert Foer, president of the American Antitrust Institute.

Such an agreement would underscore the fierce competition over top engineering and business talent.

Google has long been known for its exhaustive recruiting process to find people who fit into its culture and create innovative Web technologies. In 2005, Microsoft sued Google for hiring away Kai-Fu Lee, Microsoft’s vice president for Web Interactive services, to head Google’s operations in China.

The review is the latest move by the administration to step up scrutiny over possible anti-competitive actions in the high-tech sector. The industry has disrupted traditional business models of advertising, media, and news, and companies like Google and Facebook have amassed strong market shares in Web search, advertising and social networking.

The Justice Department last month launched a review of the board ties between Google and Apple, which some say are competitors. The Federal Trade Commission has initiated a review of Google’s settlement with book authors and publishers on digital records of their works. Obama’s antitrust chief at the Justice Department, Christine Varney, has said she plans to look at the network effects of high-tech companies and how their grasp on markets has cut out competitors and hurt consumers.

Antitrust experts say that could include wireless carriers and software operators that may be blocking certain applications from running on their networks and devices.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers