NEW CASTLE, Del. — Someone’s been in here, Robert Dill thought as he walked through his neighbor’s house on the morning of Dec. 30.
That much seemed obvious even then — one day before his neighbor Jack Wheeler turned up dead at a landfill 7 miles away.
Dill, 73, had gone to check the Wheeler house after noticing an upstairs window open. He remembered locking all of them when he and his wife had tidied Wheeler’s aged brick duplex a few days earlier.
A former Pentagon official and a driving force behind the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Wheeler traveled often — mostly by train between Washington, New York and New Castle. Dill sometimes watched the house when Wheeler was away.
Speaking publicly for the first time about what he saw the day Wheeler vanished, Dill told USA TODAY that he wondered whether he had stumbled onto a crime scene. A side door to the house was open — not much, just a crack. Chairs had been knocked over, and the radios were silent. Dill had left them on a few days before. That’s how Wheeler liked it when he was gone: radios on and tuned to NPR. As he once told Dill, the sound made it seem as though someone was home.
In the kitchen, broken plates sat in the sink. A tall plant had been overturned. And Wheeler’s cadet sword from West Point lay on the floor, unsheathed. Dill remembers a heavy dusting of Comet cleanser on the kitchen’s wood plank floor — and what he believes was the print of a bare foot in the powder.
Had Wheeler, who battled bipolar disorder, simply become unhinged, trashed his house and left? That wasn’t the Jack Wheeler he knew, Dill says. If Wheeler’s home had been robbed, nothing seemed to be missing — not the sculptures nor the paintings Wheeler’s wife, Katherine Klyce, collected. Not the TV or the stereo.
London, Feb 20(ANI): Double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis has been found in possession of top-secret CIA documents, which point to him or the feared American Task Force 373 (TF373) operating in the region, providing Al-Qaeda terrorists with “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents,” according to a report.
Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is warning that the situation on the sub-continent has turned “grave” as it appears that open warfare is about to break out between Pakistan and the United States, The European Union Times reports.
The SVR warned in its report that the apprehension of 36-year-old Davis, who shot dead two Pakistani men in Lahore last month, had fuelled this crisis.
According to the report, the combat skills exhibited by Davis, along with documentation taken from him after his arrest, prove that he is a member of US’ TF373 black operations unit currently operating in the Afghan War Theatre and Pakistan’s tribal areas, the paper said.
While the US insists that Davis is one of their diplomats, and the two men he killed were robbers, Pakistan says that the duo were ISI agents sent to follow him after it was discovered that he had been making contact with al Qaeda, after his cell phone was tracked to the Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan, the paper said.
The most ominous point in this SVR report is “Pakistan’s ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis’s possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents”, which they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to re-establish the West’s hegemony over a Global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse,” the paper added. (ANI)
President Barack Obama pledged nearly two years ago to fix the broken system of awarding and managing federal contracts. But a new report paints a grim picture of the government’s reliance on the private sector for support in war zones and urges a series of reforms to prevent more U.S. tax dollars from being wasted.
The Commission on Wartime Contracting concluded that the use of hired hands has become a “default option,” pointing to the estimated $177 billion spent since 2001 on contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq, according
to a draft of the report expected to be released Thursday. Yet vigorous oversight and management of contractors by the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development is too often “an administrative after-thought,” the report said.
The bipartisan commission is urging Congress to provide the agencies with more people and authority to control this industrial army, which at times has nearly equaled the size of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Unless Congress provides resources to oversee and evaluate contractor performance, waste will continue and national objectives will suffer,” according to the draft report, obtained by The Associated Press. The investment “will be amply repaid in reduced waste and increased effectiveness” of war-zone contracting, it said.
The Justice Department has intervened in a false claims lawsuit against KBR Inc., one of the Defense Department’s largest contractors, claiming the goliath logistics firm made illegal payments to a Turkish subcontractor.
On Friday, the government joined a lawsuit first filed in February 2007 by a KBR whistleblower who claimed the former Halliburton subsidiary violated the False Claims Act in connection with the Army’s third-generation Logistics Civil Augmentation Program contract.
“Contractors hired to provide support to our men and women in uniform must play by the rules,” said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Justice Department. “As we’ve done today, the Justice Department will take action against those whom we believe charge the taxpayers for goods and services that were not provided to American troops.”
Under the mammoth LOGCAP III contract, KBR provides a host of logistics and support services to troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, including meals, water, mail, sanitation, fuel and showers. KBR performs the LOGCAP III contract largely through subcontractors. Please read the entire article here
ProPublica is pleased to announce that it has won two George Polk Awards this year, in collaboration with our partners NPR and Frontline, for the series “Brain Wars” and “Law & Disorder.”
A collaborative project by ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller and NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling and Susanne Reber, “Brain Wars ” found that the U.S. military was failing to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries suffered by soldiers. It has been selected for the George Polk Award for Radio Reporting.
ProPublica’s A.C. Thompson along with our partners Raney Aronson and Tom Jennings at Frontline and Laura Maggi and Brendan McCarthy at The Times-Picayune won the George Polk Award for Television Reporting for “Law & Disorder,” which took an in-depth look at the controversial and often brutal actions taken by the New Orleans Police Department in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The George Polk Awards are conferred every year to honor special achievement in journalism, particularly investigative and enterprise reporting. ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten  was among the winners last year for his reporting on the dangers of drilling for natural gas .
The hard lives of the Pakistani truck drivers who ferry supplies and fuel to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
From a distance, there’s nothing unusual about the trucks in Karachi’s Shiren Jinnah rest terminal. Lines of empty fuel tankers are parked on the side of a main road, waiting their turn to be filled up near the harbor. Huddled outside the trucks, jovial drivers drink tea, chat, and kill time. It’s only on closer inspection that the scars of war become evident. Bullet holes riddle the bumpers, and parked between the mammoth carriers are the charred skeletal remains of burnt truck carcasses awaiting repair.
In December, the U.S. Agency for International Development banned one of its biggest and oldest contractors, the Academy for Educational Development (AED), from receiving future contracts because of “substantiated evidence of misconduct” in the $150-million program for Pakistan’s federally-administered tribal areas. This scandal dealt a blow to both institutions.
By Marjorie Censer at The Washington Post February 21, 2010
A new database on contractors’ past behavior has industry scrambling to prepare, according to contracting lawyers and advocates.
The Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System, or FAPIIS, is meant to ensure the government, before making major awards to contractors, knows of past problems such as criminal convictions, fines, suspensions and contracts terminated due to default. The database, with the exception of past performance reviews, is set to go public in mid-April.
Now, attorneys and industry advocates say contractors are concerned about how the information will be used and whether their proprietary data will be protected. In the past, such records have not been easily accessible by the public.
“When the database was for use inside the government only, companies were concerned about misinformation,” said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council, an industry association. But contractors had the opportunity to speak with government representatives to clarify the facts.
The public, he said, is far more likely to misuse or misinterpret information from the database.
The new system will take a while to become a comprehensive source, as it depends on people entering information. Some records are to be submitted by the contractors themselves; others come directly from the government.
NAIROBI, Kenya – Four Americans taken hostage by Somali pirates off East Africa were shot and killed by their captors Monday, the U.S. military said, marking the first time U.S. citizens have been killed in a wave of pirate attacks plaguing the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean for years.
U.S. naval forces, who were trailing the Americans’ captured yacht with four warships, quickly boarded the vessel after hearing the gunfire and tried to provide lifesaving care to the Americans, but they died of their wounds, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
Two pirates died during the confrontation and 13 were captured and detained, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement from Tampa, Fla. The remains of two other pirates who were already dead for some time were also found. The U.S. military didn’t state how those two might have died.
Negotiations had been under way to try to win the release of the two couples on the pirated vessel Quest when the gunfire was heard, the U.S. military said.
The Quest was the home of Jean and Scott Adam, a couple from California who had been sailing around the world since December 2004 with a yacht full of Bibles. The two other Americans on board were Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, of Seattle, Washington.
“We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest,” said Gen. James N. Mattis, U.S. Central Command Commander.
In total the U.S. said that 19 pirates were involved in the hijacking of the Quest.
Only minutes before the military said the four Americans had died, a Somali pirate told The Associated Press by phone that if the yacht was attacked, “the hostages will be the first to go.”
“Some pirates have even suggested rigging the yacht with land mines and explosives so as the whole yacht explodes with the first gunshot,” said the pirate, who gave his name as Abdullahi Mohamed, who claimed to be a friend of the pirates holding the four Americans.
Graeme Gibbon-Brooks, the head of Dryad Maritime Intelligence, said he was confounded by the turn of events.
“We have heard threats against the lives of Americans before but it strikes me as being very, very unusual why they would kill hostages outright,” he said, adding that the pirates must realize that killing Americans would invite a military response.
The military said U.S. forces have been monitoring the Quest for about three days, since shortly after the pirate attack on Friday. Four Navy warships were involved, including an aircraft carrier.
Last week a Somali pirate was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a New York court for the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, a U.S. cargo vessel. That hijacking ended when Navy sharpshooters killed two pirates holding the ship’s captain.