SIGAR Quarterly Report Reveals Scrapped Equipment, Lower Capability

Posted: July 30, 2015 The Defense Department scrapped $157.4 million worth of equipment it bought that never reached the Afghan National Army, according to a quarterly report to Congress from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

DOD has the option to stock equipment purchases made for the ANA that are later determined to be no longer needed if the department notifies Congress. However, of the nearly $175 million worth of equipment not used by the ANA this quarter, DOD is only stocking $16.1 million, according to the July 28 report.

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The Ethics of Internal Investigations, Domestic and Abroad: Protecting the Attorney Client Privilege during Internal Investigations after In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc.

The Ethics of Internal Investigations, Domestic and Abroad: Protecting the Attorney Client Privilege during Internal Investigations after In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc.

The attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine are two of the oldest and most sacrosanct privileges in the law.

The attorney-client privilege protects the functioning of the attorney and client relationship and, in essence, requires (a) an attorney; (b) a client; (c) a relationship between the attorney and the client for the purpose of rendering and receiving legal advice; and (d) a communication between the attorney and the client; and (e) the intent that the communication be confidential. Courts have long held that the privilege ONLY applies when the attorney is providing legal advice. An attorney advising a company on how to conduct its business is not a protected communication.

US courts have recognized that the privilege covers confidential communications between a company (through its employees) and its lawyers (in-house or outside counsel) regarding legal advice. Attorney client privilege has historically protected confidential employee communications in internal investigations.

The case of U.S., ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton[1] called in to question the ability to assert the attorney client privilege regarding documents generated as a result of an internal investigation conducted under corporate policies or pursuant to certain regulatory requirements. Barko arises from an action brought by a former employee of Kellogg Brown & Root (“KBR”) alleging certain wrongdoing by the company in the performance of its government contracts. During the discovery phase of the litigation, the former employee requested 89 reports created during internal fraud investigations conducted by KBR. KBR asserted the attorney client privilege and work product doctrine to the requests and sought protection from the court. Continue reading

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The Pentagon in fiscal year 2014 obligated $6.1 billion on contracts in Afghanistan, the lowest amount since FY-07, according to a new Congressional Research Service report.

The number of contractors in the country has also dropped precipitously, from a high of 117,000 in March 2012 to just shy of 40,000 in December.

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U.S. Psychologists Urged to Curb Questioning Terror Suspects


The C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va. The American Psychological Association will vote on an ethics policy that would bar its members from participating in national security interrogations. Credit Larry Downing/Reuters

WASHINGTON — The board of the American Psychological Association plans to recommend a tough ethics policy that would prohibit psychologists from involvement in all national security interrogations, potentially creating a new obstacle to the Obama administration’s efforts to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects outside of the traditional criminal justice system.

The board of the of the A.P.A., the nation’s largest professional organization for psychologists, is expected to recommend that members approve the ban at its annual meeting in Toronto next week, according to two members, Nadine Kaslow and Susan H. McDaniel, the group’s president-elect. The board’s proposal would make it a violation of the association’s ethical policies for psychologists to play a role in national security interrogations involving any military or intelligence personnel, even the noncoercive interrogations now conducted by the Obama administration. The board’s proposal must be voted on and approved by the members’ council to become a policy. Continue reading

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How the American Psychological Assn. lost its way

The American Psychological Assn. is in crisis.

Last December, a Senate Intelligence Committee report laid bare the extensive involvement of individual psychologists in the CIA’s black-site torture program. Then, in early July, a devastating independent report by a former federal prosecutor determined that more than a decade ago APA leaders — including the director of ethics — began working secretly with military representatives. Together they crafted deceptively permissive ethics policies for psychologists that effectively enabled abusive interrogation of war-on-terror prisoners to continue.

These revelations have shocked and outraged not just psychologists but also the public at large. After all, the APA‘s ethics code for psychologists governs not only its 80,000 members but also underlies the policies of most state licensing boards.

The fallout will be on full display next month as the APA — the world’s largest association of psychology practitioners, researchers and educators — holds its annual convention in Toronto. There, APA authorities will face members’ confusion and rage during three APA Council governance meetings, a three-day teach-in organized by Psychologists for Social Responsibility, and open town hall meetings. Can this soul-searching be channeled into fruitful reforms, not just for the organization but also the future of the field? A lot is at stake in the weeks ahead.

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Tackling foreign fighters

The trend of young people travelling from Australia and other western nations to fight in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq is causing a great deal of concern for our politicians, policy makers and society at large. However, this phenomenon is not a new one, nor is it solely linked to Islamic countries.

Erica Vowles: Hello, and welcome to Rear Vision. I’m Erica Vowles. On the program today, the trouble with foreign fighters.

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Taxpayers condemned to a life sentence with Serco

Taxpayers condemned to a life sentence with Serco

Friday, 31 July 2015, 3:39 pm
Press Release: Public Service Association

Taxpayers condemned to a life sentence with Serco

Public Service Association/Te Pukenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) national secretary Erin Polaczuk and organisers Willie Cochrane & Nerinda Cropp will attend the privatisation protest outside Mt Eden Prison this Saturday, 1 August at 11am.

The PSA has been critical of the government’s decision to hand the management of Mt Eden and other prisons to private provider Serco and supports the protest going ahead. Continue reading

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Vetting Armed Private Security Personnel

Vetting Armed Private Security Personnel 

August 2015 

By Jonathan McConnell

Four hundred miles from land. The nearest vessel isn’t even showing up on the radar. A container ship is sailing in the middle of the ocean. A skiff approaches, what does the armed security guard do? No one would hear it if he popped off a few rounds. Sure the ammo count would be off, but he could say he spent that on zeroing the weapon.

This is a fight private maritime security companies operating off the coast of Somalia face every day. How does a firm find personnel with integrity that go beyond what is codified or the industry standard? How does it evaluate the mental capacity of someone to be fit for duty as a privately contracted armed security personnel? Continue reading

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Book Review of The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order

Molly Dunigan, “Book Review of The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order, by Sean McFate.” Journal of the Middle East and Africa, 6: 227-233, July 2015.

With the prevalence of Islamic insurgencies throughout the Middle East and Africa at present posing no surprise to even the most casual observer of international politics, the fact that Nigeria and its allies in Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Benin are experiencing a wave of tactical and operational successes against militant group Boko Haram is both heartening and puzzling. Why now, after nearly six years of insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram that has involved the brutal killing of civilians, the mass abduction of girls and women, and the displacement of tens of thousands of residents toward the country’s northeast, are state forces finally seeing some measure of success?1

The answer may very well lie in recent media reports that “mercenaries,” or contractors working for private military companies (PMCs), from South Africa and the former Soviet republics are now on the ground in Nigeria fighting side by side with the Nigerian forces and providing training, equipment, and potentially even air support to their operations. Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Intelligence in Washington confirmed in mid-March of this year that South African contractors had been hired in recent months to train Nigerian troops but denied that they were operating in any paramilitary sense on the ground in Nigeria. An anonymous senior Nigerian official, however, has indicated that the South African contractors are taking a more direct role in the fighting, operating on the ground, leading the liberation of some of the affected communities, and bringing very sophisticated weaponry and equipment with them. South African contractors in the region have themselves corresponded with the media to indicate the additional presence of Ukrainian pilots in Nigeria—though whether they are tasked with providing close air support for tactical missions or simply flying supply routes is difficult to discern.2 Continue reading

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New Human Terrain System? Army, PACOM Séance Reveals News

New Human Terrain System? Army, PACOM Séance Reveals News

New Human Terrain System? Army, PACOM Séance Reveals News. New Human Terrain System

By John Stanton

The US Army Human Terrain System (HTS) will become a “shining star, you’ll see” said a music critic, part-time divinity professor, retired military officer, and former HTS contractor. He was incensed that with the alleged demise of the US Army program, it having been murdered, killed and defeated, the HTS suddenly has new life thanks to “those pro-HTS intellectuals authorized by somebody higher up in their organizations to take up the HTS cause. Hey! Shining Star. Do you know that song by Earth, Wind and Fire?” the former HTS contractor said. “That should be the theme song for the new HTS ramp-up. And you know what? The HTS rebirth will be like the story of that guy from Greek mythology who was crucified, died, buried and then came back to life. What was his name, again?” Continue reading

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