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LAT: US Contractor Found Liable for Fraud in Iraq (in SPITE of Bush Admin)

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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 03:52 AM
Original message
LAT: US Contractor Found Liable for Fraud in Iraq (in SPITE of Bush Admin)
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 04:49 AM by Nothing Without Hope
Custer Battles is one of the smaller fry as Iraq contractors go, but it's good to see their crimes brought to light. The REAL story here, though, is that this case was brought and prosecuted only because of an antique, Civil War-vintage law that allows civilian whistleblowers to file suits "on behalf of the government." At no time did the Bush Administration step forward to help with this case. No surprise - as the article explains, this free ride from the Bushies was a product of "political considerations": "Battles ran as a Republican candidate for Congress in 2002, and Custer boasted of the company's ties to the administration."

As Alan Grayson, the lawyer for the whistleblowers who brought this case, said: "There is an orgy of greed among contractors in Iraq, and the Bush administration is for all practical purposes participating in it. They have done nothing to get the taxpayers' money back. They've done nothing to punish the wrongdoers."

I want to see those filthy conduits between the corrupt contractors and the Bush Administration explored, exposed, and prosecuted. There is a huge, writhing nest of them, poisonous vermin that continue to glut and damage. They are dangerous to any who would bring them to justice, as Col. Ted Westhusing (may we never forget this honest and courageous man) found before his "suicide" at the site of another greedy contractor he was investigating for fraud:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Here is the new story on the crooked, greedy contractor company with its ties to the endlessly corrupt Bush Administration that HAS been brought to justice IN SPITE OF those ties.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-fr...

U.S. Contractor Found Liable for Fraud in Iraq


A federal jury tells a security firm to pay back millions to the American government.
By T. Christian Miller, Times Staff Writer
March 10, 2006

(snip)

Company owners Scott Custer and Mike Battles were former Army Rangers who were short of weapons, experience and money when they arrived in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion.

Within a matter of months, they won two contracts with the provisional authority, which governed Iraq until June 2004. The company held one contract worth as much as $16.8 million to provide security guards at Baghdad airport and a second worth as much as $21.4 million to provide logistical support for a currency exchange in which Iraqis turned in old dinars for new bills provided by the coalition.

As outlined in a Los Angeles Times story, two whistle-blowers came forward in the fall of 2003 to accuse Custer Battles of fraud. Robert Isakson and William "Pete" Baldwin eventually filed a claim under the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era anti-fraud measure that allows private citizens to file suit on behalf of the government and to receive a portion of any money recovered. In this case, the two men stand to receive as much as $3 million, with the government recovering the rest.

The False Claims Act allows the Justice Department to join whistle-blowers in the prosecution of cases. But in this case, government attorneys did not intervene. Grayson, the lawyer for Isakson and Baldwin, attributed the decision to political considerations. Battles ran as a Republican candidate for Congress in 2002, and Custer boasted of the company's ties to the administration.

(snip)


Among the implications and lessons from this story is this: whistleblowers CAN bring these monsters down. Just don't go alone to confront them in their camp as Col. Westhusing did. These are criminals, and criminals kill for money.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. Surely this is worth at least one read? n/t
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Just not so many of us around at this time of night.
This is DAMN good news in my eyes!

These scumbags might be minor players in the web of
theft and corruption woven by B*shCabal, but it's a start!

Kick this in 3 hours and watch the responses you get then!
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:36 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thanks for your encouragement!
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 04:38 AM by Nothing Without Hope
:toast:

I agree that this story IS good news, and the ramifications and lessons are just as big as the central facts.

LOVE your SD commemorative coathanger! :evilgrin:
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:03 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Hey, you got 5 recommendations already! Not bad for 5am!
And, BTW:
People who 'love' my South Dakota quarter ALSO enjoyed:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...



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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Love that thread, thanks for the link! Superb "bullshit filter."
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 05:16 AM by Nothing Without Hope
In this connection, I especially like the "Gott Mit Uns" slipped onto your SD quarter. That faux posing as "compassionate Christians" - just like the Nazis did under that slogan.

Another important - and virtually unnoticed - crescendo of Bushie power/money grabs thinly disguised as compassion for the Katrina survivors: A March 7 presidential executive order has OFFICIALLY made "faith-based initiatives" part of the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged to "remove all obstacles." Read the text of the executive order and see for yourself just how far from the Constitution this latest - and IGNORED - executive order has taken the country:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
thread title (3-8-06 GD): Army of God - Homeland Security to Help Spread Faith
New Bush Executive order: Responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security with Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/2006030...

This outrage is slipping by with basically no notice at all even from the progressive blogs.

Oh yeah, the Department of Homeland Security showed its COMPASSION to the Hurricane victims and survivors all right.
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ClayZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:26 AM
Response to Original message
2. K and R
:kick:
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:40 AM
Response to Original message
5. Hell, a Civili War punishment should follow form the act;)
Beautiful post. Clear and to the point.

I'm shocked, shockedk that there's corruptionin Iraq!

What next, fixed elections. Mon Dieu!

:evilgrin:
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:41 AM
Response to Original message
6. My expectation: the Bushies will now go after the False Claims Act.
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 04:43 AM by Nothing Without Hope
I wouldn't be surprised if they're ALREADY doing this, though I haven't researched to find out. Surely they'll try to destroy the law that allowed these whistleblowers to go after their crony contractor's crimes. The Bushie lawyers wouldn't lift a finger to get to the truth in this case, but they're hell on wheels for going after any legal checks on the Bush cabal's power to loot and kill and steal our Constitutional freedoms.
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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:47 AM
Response to Original message
9. KICK and go on alert to watch for Bushies to rescind this ACT!
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:52 AM
Response to Original message
10. The false claims act. We can all get rich now.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:27 AM
Response to Original message
11. kick n/t
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:03 AM
Response to Original message
12. One more kick before leaving - I'd be grateful if readers could
keep this kicked enough to be visible. :hi:
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:05 AM
Response to Original message
13. $12 B - cash.
Pallets of cash, 363 tons, sent to Iraq to grease the skids. No receipts. Rumsfeld and Cheney should be tried.

-Hoot
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:14 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. $9 Billion still missing?
Where is it?

KBR is as corupt as any Corp can get. Where are the indictements for their fraud?
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:17 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. I think that's an additional 9B
It's not included in the cash shipped, IIRC. CIA and Army was smearing it around.

-Hoot
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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:16 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. I'm sure that money will fund a lot of attack ads, and crappy RW websites.
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joeunderdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:23 AM
Response to Original message
17. Gee, and I thought it was the welfare mothers making us broke.
Un-fucken-real.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:04 AM
Response to Original message
18. Remember the Jan. story about Halliburton giving US troops contaminated
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 08:13 AM by Nothing Without Hope
water? I'm betting there's no prosecution THERE! Those "political considerations" are a lot more powerful than with Custer Battles. Here's an excerpt from a Boston Globe/AP article and a couple of DU thread links on this outrage:

http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2006/01/26/tr... /

Troops said to get tainted water


Halliburton workers, records provide details
By Larry Margasak, Associated Press | January 26, 2006

(snip)

''The level of contamination was roughly 2x the normal contamination of untreated water from the Euphrates River," Granger wrote in one of several documents. The Associated Press obtained the documents from Senate Democrats who are holding a public inquiry into the allegations today.

Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, who will chair the session, held a number of similar inquiries last year on abuses by contractors in Iraq. He said Democrats were acting on their own because they had not been able to persuade Republican committee chairmen to investigate.

(snip)

The water specialist said he told company officials at the base that they would have to notify the military.

''They told me it was none of my concern and to keep my mouth shut," he said.



Two DU threads on this outrage from Jan 22-3:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

So, what's happening on the Democratic-only investigation of Halliburton knowingly giving our troops water containing raw sewage? I think we should keep asking about it.


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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:06 AM
Response to Original message
19. Article says this is the FIRST TIME any contractor in Iraq war has had to
give money back... this clearly demonstrates that shrubco isn't even LOOKING.

You would expect in ANY major undertaking of this sort there's plenty of room not only for fraud, but even innocent clerical errors. Some degree of oversight is needed as a matter of course, and of common sense, but it's clearly not being provided.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Exactly! The very first time. The lawyer for the whistleblowers put it
this way: "There is an orgy of greed among contractors in Iraq, and the Bush administration is for all practical purposes participating in it. They have done nothing to get the taxpayers' money back. They've done nothing to punish the wrongdoers."

Also see the previous reply (#18) on the outrageous case of Halliburton knowingly giving raw sewage-contaminated water to our troops - the GOP congress members REFUSED TO INVESTIGATE and in Iraq a potential whistleblower was told to keep his mouth shut.
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stop the bleeding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
21. Thank you NWH - I know that I have heard of this Battles before
I just can't remember where. Just like so many of these other crooks in DC, he has probably gone in and out through a revolving door for years.

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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
22. kick n/t
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 02:43 PM
Response to Original message
23. kick n/t
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
24. kick n/t
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WiseButAngrySara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
25. Tip of the iceberg, but good exposure. K & R. ....n/t
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
26. kick - we need to expose how the Administration has worked to conceal
the extreme corruption and war profiteering of its crony contractors in Iraq. This case was pursued IN SPITE OF the Administration's efforts, which have so often suppressed any investigation. It's the tip of the iceberg, but it's an important example and evidence to use in demanding fuller investigations and arousing the concern of the public.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
27. kick for visibility n/t
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
28. kick - this is AMMUNITION to drive for investigation and break through
the blocks by the Bushies.
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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
29. kick
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 02:50 AM
Response to Original message
30. one more kick and bedtime.
Thank you all for your support for this thread.
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
31. This is definately a must read. Thanks for posting it.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
32. kick n/t
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
33. ***USA TODAY ARTICLE ON CUSTER BATTLES CASE - they're appealing
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 04:51 PM by Nothing Without Hope
Doubtless they plan to try to get one of Bush's pet judges next time.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-03-09-defe...

Jury fines defense contractor in Iraq $10M


Posted 3/10/2006 12:10 AM
By Laura Parker, USA TODAY

A federal jury on Thursday ordered a U.S. defense contractor accused of war profiteering in Iraq to pay more than $10 million in damages and fines.

In the first civil fraud case brought against a military contractor during the Iraq war, the jury in Alexandria, Va., found that Custer Battles LLC committed fraud in 37 instances in connection with a $9 million contract to help distribute new currency in Iraq.

(snip)

The Justice Department declined to participate. Charles Miller, a department spokesman, declined to comment.

"The Bush administration has done nothing to recover this money or to penalize the people who committed the fraud," said Alan Grayson, attorney for Isakson and Baldwin. "All of the work was done by the whistle-blowers. They did nothing to help us."


(snip)


Read the descriptions of some of the outrageous things these crooks did, but don't do it before you need to relax for bedtime. It will make your blood boil. And they are going to appeal the charge - will they succeed in getting a pet Bushie lawyer to help them blow off their guilt? The Bush Administration's refusal to help with this case shows very clearly their position on exposing and prosecuting the blatant, huge fraud perpetrated in Iraq by their cronies.

My expectation is that - possibly already - the Bushies will attack this old law that allowed the whistleblowers to bring the case.
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