Archive for October, 2009


Nick Schwellenbach at The Center for Public  Integrity has written a very good article on the Defense Departments Revolving Doors.  His article mentions the F-15 program.  This is interesting because Boeing is currently proposing a Stealthy F-15 for sales overseas.  I wonder if our new National Security Advisor and former Boeing Audit and Finance Committees Director General (ret.) Jones, will remove himself from any and all interest in the outcome of Boeing’s proposal to sell stealth technology abroad?

DEFENSE: Warnings About Revolving Door in Pentagon from Ex-Lobbyist Official

http://www.publicintegrity.org/blog/entry/1730/

Here is another related link:  http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/Silent031709.xml  William Lynn, new Deputy Secretary of Defense, former Raytheon Lobbyist,  now revolving door user.  To say I am disappointed in the Obama Administration would be a rather large understatement.  -GFS

About F-15 and Added Stealth Technology:

Heavy Metal

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 @ 01:18PM

Boeing Proposes Stealthy F-15

Link to original Heavy Metal article:

http://www.victoriousopposition.com/index.php/site/category/heavy-metal/

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Here is General James Logan Jones’s biographical statement from around December 4,  2008.

General James Logan Jones Jr. (born December 19, 1943) joined the board of directors of The Boeing Company on June 21, 2007.  General (ret.) Jones serves on the company’s Audit and Finance Committees.  He is also President-elect Barack Obama’s selection for National Security Advisor.  He is the former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) (2003–06), and the commander of the United States European Command (COMUSEUCOM) (2003–06.  He served as the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps (July 1999–January 2003).  Jones retired from the United States Marine Corps on February 1, 2007, after 40 years of service.

In 2007, Jones served as chairman of the Congressional Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, which investigated the capabilities of the Iraqi police and armed forces.  In November 2007, he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of State as special envoy for Middle East security.

Early career- In January 1967, Jones was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.  Upon completion of Basic, he was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam where he served as a platoon and company commander with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines.  While overseas, he was promoted to first lieutenant in June 1968.

Returning to the United States in December 1968, Jones was assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California where he served as a company commander until May 1970.  He then received orders to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. for duties as a company commander, serving in this assignment until July 1973.  While at this post (December 1970) he was promoted to captain.  From July 1973 until June 1974, he was a student at the Amphibious Warfare School, MCB Quantico, Virginia.

In November 1974, he received orders to report to the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan, where he served as the commander of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines until December 1975.

From January 1976 to August 1979, Jones served in the Officer Assignments Section at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.  During this assignment, he was promoted to major in July 1977.  Remaining in Washington, his next assignment was as the Marine Corps liaison officer to the United States Senate, where he served until July 1984.  In this assignment, his first boss was John McCain, then a U.S. Navy captain.  He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1982.

Senior staff and command- He was selected to attend the National War College in Washington, D.C. Following graduation in June 1985, he was assigned to command the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California from July 1985 to July 1987.

In August 1987, Jones returned to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he served as senior aide to the commandant of the Marine Corps.  He was promoted to colonel in April 1988, and became the military secretary to the commandant in February 1989.  During August 1990, Jones was assigned as the commanding officer of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unity (24th MEU) at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejune, North Carolina.  During his tour with the 24th MEU, he participated in Operation Provide Comfort in Northern Iraq and Turkey.  He was advanced to brigadier general on April 23, 1992.  General Jones was assigned to duties as deputy director J-3, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany on July 15, 1992. During this tour of duty, he was reassigned as chief of staff, Joint Task Force Provide Promise for operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Republic of Macedonia.

Returning to the United States, he was advanced to the rank of major general in July 1994 and was assigned as commanding general, 2nd Marine Division, Marine Forces Atlantic, MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. General Jones next served as director, Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations during 1996, then as the deputy chief of staff for plans, policies, and operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.  He was advanced to lieutenant general on July 18, 1996.  His next assignment was as the military assistant to the secretary of defense.

Commandant- On April 21, 1999, he was nominated for appointment to the grade of general and assignment as the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps.  He was promoted to general on June 30, 1999, and assumed the post on July 1, 1999.  He served as commandant until January 2003, turning over the reins to General Michael Hagee.

Among other innovations during his career as Marine Corps commandant, General Jones oversaw the Marine Corps’s development of MARPAT camouflage uniforms and the adoption of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.  These replaced the woodland uniforms and the LINE combat system respectively.

General Jones assumed duties as the commander of U.S. European Command on January 16, 2003, and supreme allied commander Europe on January 17, 2003.  He is the first Marine Corps general to serve as SACEUR/EUCOM commander.

The Marine Corps had only recently begun to take on a larger share of high-level assignments in the Department of Defense.  As of December 2006, General Jones was one of five serving Marine Corps four-star general officers who outranked the current commandant of the Marine Corps (General James T. Conway) in terms of seniority and time in grade—the others being Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace; former commandant Michael Hagee, commander of U.S. Strategic Command James E. Cartwright, and Assistant Commandant Robert Magnus.

As SACEUR, Jones led the Allied Command Operations (ACO), comprising NATO’s military forces in Europe from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Mons, Belgium.  General Jones relinquished command as SACEUR on December 7, 2006, and was succeeded by U.S. Army Gen. John Craddock.

General Jones stepped down as SACEUR on December 4, 2006, and retired from the Marine Corps on February 1, 2007.

Here is General James Logan Jones’s newest version (10-27-09) of his biographical statement (minus Boeing) found here:

https://slsp.manpower.usmc.mil/gosa/biographies/rptBiography.asp?PERSON_ID=133&PERSON_TYPE=General

In previous posts I have questioned Obama’s appointment of former Boeing Director, James L. Jones, as his National Security Advisor.  Formerly Jones’s bio statements glowingly reported his ties to the Boeing Company, his service as the Director (Board of Directors), serving on Boeing’s Audit and Finance Committees. 

As more corruption involving Boeing in defense contracting becomes evident, it is interesting  that someone would be making Boeing disappear from General Jones’s internet bios.   

As evidenced by numerous news reports, Boeing’s troubling power and influence, and reports of unethical actions that appear to be taking place in DOD agencies, (including the Pentagon itself), related to Boeing’s  influence, contracts, and relationships with Defense officials seem to be broadening in scope.  What interesting timing.  Anyone want to talk about the problems surrounding “revolving doors” now?

 

New Rajaratnam Lawyer Dowd Represented McCain, Major Leagues

 

Link to original:  http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a5YLiSWRrUPw

 

 

By David Glovin, Cary O’Reilly and Thom Weidlich

 

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) — John M. Dowd, the new criminal lawyer for Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, made his reputation outside the courtroom as much as in it.

During more than 30 years as a lawyer, Dowd has represented U.S. Senator John McCain in an ethics investigation, ex-Justice Department aide Monica Goodling in a U.S. probe and former Arizona Governor Fife Symington in a bank fraud trial. The 225- page report he assembled for Major League Baseball in 1989 found 412 instances in which Pete Rose bet on the game, leading the sport to banish its career hits leader.

For Rajaratnam, the move to replace James Walden of New York’s Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP with Dowd of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Field LLP, means he’ll be relying on a Washington-based attorney to convince a Manhattan jury to acquit him if the case goes to trial. Andrew Weissmann, a former Justice Department attorney now at Jenner & Block LLP in New York, said Dowd is so good that he’ll have little difficulty connecting to local jurors.

“It’s a factor that you would consider,” Weissmann, who as a member of the Justice Department’s Enron Corp. Task Force dealt with Dowd during his representation of former executive David Delainey. “I think it’s more about the person than the location.”

“The difference between D.C. and New York, or New York and Chicago — it doesn’t matter,” said John Moustakas, a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP in Washington.

$20 Million Scheme

Rajaratnam, 52, was among six people charged in New York on Oct. 16 in a $20 million insider trading scheme that federal prosecutors called the biggest ever involving hedge funds. He was freed by a magistrate judge on a $100 million bond, of which $20 million had to be guaranteed.

According to prosecutors, tips to Rajaratnam came from insiders and others at hedge funds, investor relations firms and companies including Intel Corp., International Business Machines Corp., McKinsey & Co., and other companies whose shares were traded in the scheme. Prosecutors said they have wiretaps of Rajaratnam discussing the scheme.

Walden defended Rajaratnam in the early stages of the case, winning his release on bond after prosecutors asked a judge to jail him before the trial. In a statement yesterday, Walden said his firm had “laid a strong foundation for Mr. Rajaratnam’s defense.” The statement didn’t say why Dowd took over the case.

Dowd didn’t return phone and e-mail requests seeking comment yesterday.

Marine Captain

Dowd, 68, is a 1963 graduate of St. Bernard College and a 1965 graduate of Emory University’s law school. He was a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and member of the Judge Advocate General Corps before joining the Justice Department as a lawyer in the tax division and as chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force, according to Akin Gump’s Web site.

“John’s experience is unimpeachable, and it will take that here,” Scott Fredericksen, a partner at Foley & Lardner in Washington, said in an interview. “The government has come out of the gates in very strong fashion with wiretaps. One would expect this case to go to trial, and John has the experience. He’s a fighter.”

Dowd’s clients have come from sports, government and the corporate boardroom.

In the late 1980s, Fay Vincent, Major League Baseball’s commissioner from 1989 to 1992, hired Dowd to look into gambling allegations against Rose, who began and ended his career as a player and manager with the Cincinnati Reds. Rose also played for the Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos.

Dowd’s investigation finding that Rose wagered even on his own team cited phone and bank records and betting slips in Rose’s handwriting.

Yankees’ Owner

The next year, Dowd delivered a report to Vincent about New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s dealings with an admitted gambler.

Dowd’s zealous defense of a client was on display during his representation of McCain, one of five senators who took contributions from savings and loan financier Charles Keating. They were later accused of seeking favors from regulators for him. The Senate Ethics Committee in 1991 cleared McCain of wrongdoing other than using poor judgment in going to a meeting set up to lobby regulators on Keating’s behalf.

“John is the only senator among all the senators that essentially threw Charlie Keating out of his office and broke off all relations with him,” Dowd told reporters last year as McCain, a Republican, was running for president.

‘Retribution and Intimidation’

Two years ago, Dowd defended Monica Goodling, who resigned as an aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during a U.S. probe of her role in the firing of U.S. attorneys. No charges were brought against Goodling. Dowd at one point accused the Justice Department’s inspector general of engaging in “retribution and intimidation” in the case.

Other Dowd clients have included executives at Boeing Co. and Sunrise Senior Living Inc.

“Mr. Dowd has an enviable reputation as an investigator, earned both in the government and outside,” said John Moscow, a former prosecutor now with Baker & Hostetler LLP in New York. “He is being asked to represent a man whose words were tape recorded. This will be a challenging task.”

The case is U.S. v. Rajaratnam, 09-02306, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: David Glovin in New York federal court at dglovin@bloomberg.net; Cary O’Reilly in Washington at caryoreilly@bloomberg.net; Thom Weidlich in New York at tweidlich@bloomberg.net.

 

Head of Defense Contract Audit Agency forced out; Army official assigned as replacement

By AP

October 26th, 2009

Defense Department’s top auditor forced out

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s chief auditor has been forced from her post and moved to another job inside the Pentagon.

The reassignment of the director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, April Stephenson, follows sharp criticism of the organization’s performance from members of Congress.

In an e-mail sent Monday to agency employees, Pentagon comptroller Robert Hale said the director of the Army Audit Agency, Patrick Fitzgerald, will replace Stephenson effective Nov. 9.

Hale doesn’t give a specific reason for the shift, but he does mention reports highly critical of the agency from the Government Accountability Office and the Pentagon inspector general.

The e-mail says Stephenson will take a senior position in Hale’s office.

 

Link to original:  http://blog.taragana.com/n/head-of-defense-contract-audit-agency-forced-out-army-official-assigned-as-replacement-207598/

A reader asked recently the following:  “Do you hate everyone and everything?”

Here is my answer in case anyone else has been wondering the same. 

“No, but lately, I don’t have a lot of sense of humor left.  I like good people who have some conscience, a backbone, and a good measure of ethics. I like people who try, really make the effort to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not just because they’ve figured an angle to profit from it themselves.   Because I am becoming more intolerant of greed and stupidity, I really like generous people who are not takers or gold diggers.  I like intelligence and those who are intelligent enough to have some self-doubts, because they are aware of what they don’t know.   Because I am really sick and tired of passive and passive-aggressive people, as most of the people I work with at my day job are that type, I love go-getters who see something that needs attention and are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get something done.

I am beginning to really value and appreciate dignity, privacy and peace and quiet as most of the crap and corruption we are fighting on every front is the antithesis of that.  I like good young people who have promise and potential to do good and great things, especially if I do not have to see them drug down and destroyed by the bad ones (kids and adults) before they can grow old enough to be strong and have direction.   

I really like hope.

I like people who won’t give up and remain hopeful while persistently staying realistic about the truth of what is going on and how some people are.  I like courageous people who will stand up when it is needed.  I like those who when on a righteous and ethical path refuse to give up.  I like kind people, who are kind from the inside, because they are.  I like seeing the spark in the eyes of kids when they’ve just “gotten it,” and are excited about life and doing something constructive, not destructive.  I like seeing people with initiative, not inertia.  And no doubt a whole lot of other things if I had time to reflect on it.  All I know is that it is necessary and worthwhile to struggle to make things better.  Our country and future depend on it!”

-GFS

HIDDEN TREUHAND: NO LAW, NO CRIME

by Shelley Stark

   ‘Treuhand’ is a German language term that refers to a ‘legal trust’. Conversely, a hidden ‘Treuhand’ is completely non-transparent, only somewhat legal, and operates covertly. Hidden ‘Treuhand’ is used to hide the beneficial ownership and control of any asset, located anywhere in the world, by owning the asset through a corporate structure. When the corporate structure is created with a hidden ‘Treuhand’, a lawyer/trustee is the listed shareholder. The real shareholder’s identity remains anonymous in all business dealings. According to Prof. Dr. Sol Picciotto, emeritus professor at Lancaster University and a senior advisor to the Tax Justice Network, there is a close link between tax avoidance dealings in offshore tax havens and the speculation that has fuelled the current financial crisis. He states: “large multinationals are as much financial as business entities, they have freedom to devise complex financial structures, and financial institutions such as banks, even more so: in recent surveys by the US Government Accountability Office and the Tax Justice network, the largest user of tax havens in every country was a bank”.

   Hidden Treuhand is made and in use especially in Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Switzerland, and Germany, in part because they all share the same basis of law. These European countries are set apart from the rest of the world in the way they foster the availability and especially the protection of hidden ‘Treuhand’.

   Lawyers are often called upon to act as a ‘trustee’ in a hidden ‘Treuhand’. There is no law regulating hidden ‘Treuhand’. There exists only law specifying that the lawyer cannot divulge any secrets pertaining to the client. The hidden ‘Treuhand’ is not so much protected by law as it protected by lawyers. If questioned, the lawyer will simply evoke attorney-client privilege. At that point, the law protects the lawyer.

   This is how it works: a notary public notarizes the names of all shareholders and registers them in the public corporate register. Anybody wishing not to be evident in this public registry engages a lawyer to represent his shares or ownership. Anonymity is insured because only the lawyer’s name will be notarized and visible in the corporate registry. The true beneficiary’s name is not notarized or publically evidenced in any form. The private contract, known as a hidden ‘Treuhand’, documents the arrangement between the lawyer and client, and only they are privy to its contents.

   There is no regulation of the Treuhand industry and yet, the Treuhand contract enjoys great protection by law. The Austrian Lawyers’ Chamber has taken great steps to alleviate any fear of embezzlement by a lawyer through a Treuhand contract registration process. The registration is optional, and was constructed to ensure beneficiaries that the asset held in a Treuhand contract is accessible only to the parties involved in the Treuhand contract, while providing banks assurances that the responsible parties are accountable.

   It is easily understood why guidelines for administrating hidden beneficiaries and assets would be desirable. The hidden ‘Treuhand’ operates in obscurity: clients do not outwardly appear to own their assets and the practice is not regulated by law. It is easy to imagine that the secretiveness afforded this covert world might eventually stumble onto problems such as embezzlement of a beneficiary’s property by a lawyer. The secretive aspects of hidden ‘Treuhand’ require too much trust from clients, leading to the need for lawyers themselves to regulate that which the law does not and cannot regulate.

   In the early 1990s, Wild West cavalier Treuhand activities gave way to multiple cases of embezzlement and threatened to destroy the institution of Treuhand in Austria. The client’s anonymity was used against the client to embezzle property much to the chagrin of banks financially involved. The activities of some lawyers provoked outrage from banks to the extent these institutions were threatening the Austrian legal community. Banks caught in the fray, forced the legal community to take action to ensure both clients and lending institutions that embezzlement by lawyers would cease to occur.

   The answer to how this dilemma was solved is detailed in a legal brief written in 1996 by a Viennese lawyer, and the current Vice President of the Lawyers’ Chamber, Dr. Gerhard Horak. If lawyers are going to create hidden ‘Treuhands’, keep them as flexible as possible, and yet not actually have the legal authorities involved, then lawyers themselves would have to find a way to regulate their colleagues.

   Dr. Horak writes: “accumulated abuse and embezzlement by lawyers…caused great consternation among private investors and financial lending institutions, provoking hesitation to commission lawyers with trust activities. This development and ensuing lack of trust especially affected younger colleagues in the legal profession, who were unable to convince clients in the Treuhand business sector that they were worthy of the necessary trust for Treuhand transactions.”

   As problems mounted and the actions of lawyers came under further scrutiny, the desire for a more effective means of securing Treuhand activities increased, forcing a seminar to be held in Salzburg in 1995 to avert further damage. Dr. Horak claims: “Earlier attempts (only tentative) by the Chamber of Lawyers to intervene by regulating Treuhand was strictly declined at the time by colleagues under the dogma and allusion of freedom within the legal profession to make contracts as they like.”

   The response from the Austrian legal community was the creation of the ‘Treuhand handbook’—an agreed upon set of guidelines drawn up by the Lawyers’ Chamber and a registration system.

   Their goal was to offer clients the highest possible security and efficient control regarding Treuhand transactions while maintaining complete freedom to arrange contracts and operate as flexible as possible. “Within the scope of these maxims, we pushed to take action although we didn’t like to (not in our interests) and subsequently developed the legal trust handbook for guidance,” said Dr. Horak. Clearly, the legal profession in Austria did not like the idea of guidelines and felt it was not in their interest. The actions taken by the Vienna Bar Association assured clients that complete anonymity and security could be achieved simultaneously.

   The Vienna Bar Association purchased a special computer system to be supervised only by qualified lawyers for registering Treuhand contracts and beneficiaries. It was considered by many in the legal community to be an unfortunate necessity that any control of trusteeships by lawyers would be necessary. Dr. Horak noted: “The Lawyers’ Chamber knows that the legal trusteeship handbook is a tightly fitting corset.  The wearing of this corset is much easier for all of us if the noted ‘confidentiality crisis’ could be ended.”

   There are several very interesting points involved in the registration of a Treuhand. Firstly, participation by either the lawyer or the client is optional. Secondly, if the client opts for registration, the client can be assured of maintaining control without being present because the lawyer has to keep the trusteeship files in a way that all orders that have to be carried out are evident in the file.

   The third point is that even an “anonymous Treuhand contract,” or hidden ‘Treuhand’, can be registered. Dr. Horak’s brief states: “In case of controlling anonymous trusteeships, the control is restricted to the inspection of the trusteeship index, where the trusteeship is only evident by a sequential registered number.”

   Lastly, this scandal tells us something else about Treuhand activities: clients could not even turn to tax records as a means of getting their property back. In essence, Dr. Horak’s brief proves that hidden ‘Treuhand’ facilitates tax evasion and that the Austrian legal community is painfully aware of this fact. The Austrian Legal Chamber acknowledges the existence of anonymous or hidden ‘Treuhand’ and provides special conditions and security for the client, whereby the client’s beneficial ownership of an asset can be registered under a number much like an anonymous Swiss bank account.

   Banking secrecy only protects money from public knowledge, but a registered hidden ‘Treuhand’ offers the beneficial owner security and secrecy for the assets that are capable of producing equally secret income.

   Treuhand contracts are secretive and function without the slightest transparency, and yet they are fully protected by law. A leading Austrian bank confirmed that all contractual Trusteeships (with some exceptions) must be wound up over the Lawyer’s Treuhand Book as of July 1, 2000. The ‘some exceptions’ include registration of contracted hidden ‘Treuhands’ such as “anonymous Treuhands.” 

   The law does not regulate hidden ‘Treuhand’, so lawyers formed a regulating system themselves. The reason for creating the guidelines and voluntary regulations was to keep lawfully binding regulations from being imposed on the industry and yet maintain the freedom to make contracts that reflect the will of the parties without losing the cooperation of the banks. The lack of lawfully binding regulation offers a Wild West land of opportunity for those that can conceive of a business plan that would be made more advantageous when the identity of the true benefactors is completely concealed from public knowledge. The legal community acknowledges that in effect, a true legal framework is nonexistent, yet simultaneously specifies a framework based on trust law.

   There are some obvious perks in the Treuhand relationship to be realized by both the lawyers and their clients. Perks range from tax avoidance to outright tax evasion for both because neither one need declare income that cannot be traced. In this way, these lawyers/quasi trustees have created a thriving cottage industry for themselves. Moreover, it is an industry for which the lawyers themselves are the first line of defense. These lawyers have created secret legal structures despite efforts from the international community to work within and enforce the rule of law as practiced in democratic societies.

   The phenomenon of the hidden ‘Treuhand’, when combined with banking secrecy and globalization, is no longer confined only to Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxemburg. Due to globalization, these countries are able to impact economies outside their borders. For example, Germany is unable to keep taxable income from leaving Germany and becoming bunkered in Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Switzerland, or Austria.

   High net worth individuals and corporations from all over the world come to these jurisdictions not just to evade taxes, but also to create a hidden ‘Treuhand’ that hides their beneficial ownership of an asset in another country.

   The key role played by the hidden Treuhand is to prevent transparency regarding economic activities, not just beneficial ownership. These economic activities need not be confined to Europe; in fact, via the corporation, these activities have a global scope. As a result, non-transparent economic activities are encouraged. As a result of law and the lack of law, there is no means to disclose the secrets a Treuhand is meant to hide. In effect, the hidden ‘Treuhand’ is a black box. 

Shelley Stark is the author of Hidden Treuhand: How Corporations and Individuals Hide Assets and Money, published by Universal-Publishers.  Available direct from Universal -Publishers or through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  

To learn more about Hidden Treuhand and how it is impacting the world economy and your financial security, please put this in your browser: http://www.universal-publishers.com/book.php?method=ISBN&book=1599429292

The Heartland Of Corrupt Contracts Won’t Do Business With Acorn

 

Link to original:  http://prorev.com/2009/10/heartland-of-corrupt-contracts-wont-do.html

 

 

Jeremy Scahill, Common Dreams – On Tuesday night, US Undersecretary of Defense Shay Assad, the Pentagon’s top contracting official, sent a memo to the commanders and directors of all branches of the military instructing them to cease all business with the embattled community organization ACORN and to take “all necessary and appropriate” steps to prevent future contracts with the organization. Assad’s brief memo contained the two-page guidelines issued October 7 by Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Orszag’s guidelines were issued following the passage of Congressional legislation aimed at “defunding ACORN.”

Orszag’s guidelines were sent on October 7 to “the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies” and instructed them to “immediately commence all necessary and appropriate steps” to comply with the terms of the Defund ACORN Act. These include: no future obligation of funds, suspension of grant and contract payments and no funding of ACORN and its affiliates through Federal grantees or contractors. “Your agency should take steps so that no Federal funds are awarded or obligated” to ACORN, wrote Orszag.

While the DoD memo sent by Assad is basically a formality initiated by Orszag’s guidelines to all federal agencies, it is nonetheless remarkable given that ACORN is not a Defense Department contractor. According to an ACORN spokesperson, the group has not received Pentagon funds, nor has the community group even considered applying for such funds. . .

While the DoD sends out memos regarding an organization that it does not contract with, the Pentagon currently does business with a slew of corporate criminals whose billions of dollars in annual federal contracts make the $53 million in government funds received by ACORN over the past 15 years look like, well, acorns. The top three government contractors-all of them weapons manufacturers-committed 109 acts of misconduct since 1995, according to the Project on Oversight and Government Reform. In that period, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing paid fines or settlements totaling nearly $3 billion. In 2007 alone, the three companies won some $77 billion in federal contracts. There has been no letter sent around to federal agencies instructing them to cancel contracts with these companies that have ripped off taxpayers and engaged in a variety of fraudulent activities with federal dollars.

Also, it is not just the Defense Department that continues to hire corporations with real rap sheets. Contracting fraud and abuse is a corrupt cancer that permeates the federal bureaucracy. Overall, the top 100 government contractors make about $300 billion a year in federal contracts. Since 1995, they have paid a total of $26 billion in fines to settle 676 cases stemming from fraud, waste or abuse. According to the 2008 Corporate Fraud Task Force Report to the President, “United States Attorneys’ offices opened 878 new criminal health care fraud investigations involving 1,548 potential defendants. Federal prosecutors had 1,612 health care fraud criminal investigations pending, involving 2,603 potential defendants, and filed criminal charges in 434 cases involving 786 defendants. A total of 560 defendants were convicted for health care fraud-related crimes during the year.” Last month, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer settled a series of cases, including Medicaid fraud and illegally marketing banned drugs, in what the Department of Justice said is “the largest civil fraud settlement in history against a pharmaceutical company.” The company has also been ordered to pay a criminal fine of $1.195 billion, “the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the United States for any matter,” according to the DoJ. . .

If the law is to be applied equally, then Peter Orszag should be firing off memos instructing all federal agencies to cease business and cancel contracts with massive financial institutions, weapons manufacturers, mercenary firms and pharmaceutical companies. Given the incredible government reliance on corporations, particularly in the defense industry and in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, don’t hold your breath waiting for such a memo on DoD stationary any time soon.

Secrets scientist allegedly tried to provide Israel related to early warning defense systems

Link to original:  http://blog.taragana.com/law/2009/10/22/secrets-scientist-allegedly-tried-to-provide-israel-related-to-early-warning-defense-systems-15040/

By AP

October 22nd, 2009

Scientist worked on early warning defense systems

WASHINGTON — A former government scientist arrested earlier this week tried to provide Israel with classified information on satellites and early warning defense systems, says a grand jury indictment.

The grand jury indictment follows Monday’s arrest of Stewart D. Nozette, who spent 16 years doing sensitive defense work for the Energy Department, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The information Nozette allegedly tried to provide Israel in an FBI sting operation dealt with “satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information and major elements of defense strategy,” said the indictment, which did not elaborate.

Earlier this week, a former colleague said that Nozette was primarily a defense technologist who had worked on the Reagan-era Star Wars missile shield effort formally named the Strategic Defense Initiative.

The former colleague, Stanford University professor Scott Hubbard, said Nozette worked on the Star Wars project at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. According to the indictment, Nozette worked there from 1990 to 1999.

One aspect of Nozette’s work on the Strategic Defense Initiative involved a project called Timber Wind, an effort to develop a rocket engine powered by a nuclear reactor, said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

“On a number of occasions I asked Dr. Nozette about the program, but he was always quite scrupulous about rebuffing my inquiries,” Aftergood wrote on his group’s Web site. “Timber Wind was canceled shortly after it became public, and other nuclear rocket initiatives likewise faded away in the 1990s, as the effort to develop nuclear rocketry for military or civilian applications surged and then collapsed.”

At the Energy Department, Nozette had a “Q” clearance, which is equivalent to the Pentagon’s Top Secret clearance.

Nozette, who received a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983, faces a court appearance next Thursday before a federal magistrate. He is jailed without bond.

Neither a criminal complaint filed earlier this week against Nozette nor the indictment allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf violated U.S. law. The grand jury indictment alleging two counts of attempted espionage was handed up Wednesday.

On the Net:

Federation of American Scientists:

http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2009/10/nozette.html

A reader sent this in today.  Just what we all needed, a bit of levity with the encouragement.  -GFS

 

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(The original came with a charming picture of western great, Sam Elliot, one of my favorites)

 

 

BE STRONG, DARLIN!

 

A TOUGH OLD COWBOY FROM SOUTH TEXAS COUNSELED HIS GRANDSON THAT IF HE WANTED TO LIVE A LONG LIFE, THE SECRET WAS TO SPRINKLE A PINCH OF GUN POWDER ON HIS OATMEAL EVERY  MORNING.

 

THE GRANDSON DID THIS  RELIGIOUSLY TO THE AGE OF 103 WHEN HE DIED.

 

HE LEFT BEHIND 14 CHILDREN, 30 GRANDCHILDREN, 45 GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN,  25 GREAT-GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN, AND A 15-FOOT HOLE WHERE THE CREMATORIUM USED TO BE.