For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut. He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers — all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.
The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.
“It was a Wal-Mart for guns,” he says. “It was all illegal and everyone knew it.”So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t know whom to trust in Iraq.
For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held, and he was classified a security detainee.Despite this staggering mess, there are no noble outcomes for those who have blown the whistle, according to a review of such cases by The Associated Press.
“If you do it, you will be destroyed,” said William Weaver, professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso and senior advisor to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.
“Reconstruction is so rife with corruption. Sometimes people ask me, ‘Should I do this?’ And my answer is no. If they’re married, they’ll lose their family. They will lose their jobs. They will lose everything,” Weaver said.
They have been fired or demoted, shunned by colleagues, and denied government support in whistleblower lawsuits filed against contracting firms.“There’s an unspoken rule in Baghdad,” he said. “Don’t snitch on people and don’t burn bridges.”
GOI: You have to read the rest of this article. This is just one example of rampant corruption that has plagued the Iraq reconstruction since day one. This story, however, puts a face to those that dare fight the good old boy network. Never the less, what they find is a federal government that refuses to work with them as well as peers, colleagues and friends that shun them for being seen as "unpatriotic." In other words, "How dare anyone question the government in a time or war?!!"
And for whatever reason the White House seems to be looking the other way.
Signed by Abraham Lincoln in response to military contractors selling defective products to the Union Army, the act allows private citizens to sue on the government’s behalf.
The government has the option to sign on, with all plaintiffs receiving a percentage of monetary damages, which are tripled in these suits.It can be a straightforward and effective way to recoup federal funds lost to fraud. In the past, the Justice Department has joined several such cases and won. They included instances of Medicare and Medicaid overbilling, and padded invoices from domestic contractors.
But the government has not joined a single quit tam suit alleging Iraq reconstruction abuse, estimated in the tens of millions. At least a dozen have been filed since 2004.
“It taints these cases,” said attorney Alan Grayson, who filed the Custer Battles suit and several others like it. “If the government won’t sign on, then it can’t be a very good case — that’s the effect it has on judges.”
The Justice Department declined comment.
GOI: And who heads up the DOJ (Dept. of Justice)?? Why, Bush lacky, consigliere and the iron fist in the velvet glove--Alberto "Geneva Conventions are 'quaint' and obsolete" Gonzales of course!!!
As Randi Rhodes says (and I'm paraphrasing a bit), "In chaos they can steal."
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