Unknown Senator blocks bill; costing disabled veterans up to $500 next year
Our guess, and it’s only a guess is Johnny Isakson
Bergmann and Moore September 27, 2012
After passing the House of Representatives, the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) increase for VA benefits was blocked in the Senate by an unknown Senator, according to Senate staffers who alerted Bergmann & Moore.
The Veterans COLA affects a number of key benefits for veterans: disability compensation, pension as well as survivor benefits. The uncontroversial bill adjusts VA benefits to keep up with inflation and easily passes Congress each year.
Paul Sullivan, a Gulf War veteran and Director of Veterans Outreach for Bergmann & Moore, LLC, a law firm concentrating on VA disability law, said, “This secret hold is unconscionable: it will take up to $500 next year out of the wallets of disabled veterans and their families: money they need to pay their rent and put food on the table for their children.”
According to a statement this afternoon from Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, blocking the bill will reduce benefits starting in January for 3.9 million veterans and their survivors.
The EEOC granted a former Ronco Consulting Employee and American Injured War Zone Contractor the Right to Sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act after investigating the complaint.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.
Even those who were disabled due to the negligence of the company in question.
The body of an Oklahoma contractor who was found dead in Baghdad is being flown back to the U.S. after a two-week bureaucratic debate over whether the Iraqi government would perform an autopsy on his remains.
Tulsa World June26, 2012
Officials say Michael David Copeland, 37, of Colbert in southern Oklahoma, is one of the first Americans working for the U.S. government to die in Iraq this year. He was found unresponsive June 9 in his living quarters. Foul play is not suspected in his death.
Copeland previously served in the Marines and later with the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He was a contractor with DynCorp International at the time of his death.
Copeland’s case is a snapshot of the new reality of working in Iraq for Americans who, over the years, were accustomed to vast privileges and influence that disappeared when U.S. troops left last December.
Iraq agreed to release the remains of the Oklahoma man after negotiations with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. His body was flown out of Iraq Tuesday afternoon.
Hoo Ah Ken et al !
The Leaf Chronicle June 24, 2012
BLUEMONT, VA. — A group of investors, government officials, business executives and former military personnel has broken ground on a private retreat they hope will become a premier getaway for wounded warriors recovering in the Washington, D.C., area.
Boulder Crest Retreat will be 37 acres where recovering service members and their families can vacation, enjoying therapeutic and recreational activities, said founder Ken Falke, a retired Navy explosive ordnance disposal master chief.
“A large percentage of our military members come from rural America. Wounded warriors treated at Walter Reed can sometimes be assigned there for one to four years. While they are in top facilities, at the end of the day, they are still living in military apartments and medical clinics. This will give them the chance to get out of the city,” Falke said Friday.
Another Defense Base Act PTSD failure.
McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35
Doug Robinson at Deseret News June 5, 2012
Dale McIntosh stands with children in Central America. McIntosh did private security work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dale McIntosh was no stranger to death. When it wasn’t everywhere around him, it was a constant threat, something that kept him literally looking over his shoulder for months at a time.
A former Marine, he hired himself out as a privately contracted bodyguard in the Middle East, where he lived on the edge and saw and did things so terrible that it haunted him. He survived firefights, ambushes, exploding cars, road mines, snipers and rocket-propelled grenades. In the end, he escaped without any wounds, or at least none we could see.
When he returned, he seemed to be the Dale that his friends remembered — charming, gregarious, warm, outgoing — but inside, he was hurting and disturbed. McIntosh brought demons home with him.
In 2006, I wrote a lengthy profile about McIntosh, then a student at Westminster who took time off from his studies to pursue quick money and an adrenaline fix in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the postscript: McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35
After graduating from Utah State, Dale served five years in the Marines — part of it in special ops — but felt unfulfilled because he never saw action. He compared it to being an athlete who never got in the game. Eager to use his military skills and see action, he signed on to do private security work. At the time, there was a big demand for security firms, the most famous and controversial of which was Blackwater. With a shortage of manpower, the U.S. government hired the firms to protect American interests and personnel in the Middle East. They were largely ungoverned by law, which did not make them popular at home or abroad. McIntosh spent six months in Afghanistan, five months in Iraq, two months in Bosnia and then another two months in Iraq before returning to Utah in the fall of 2005.
Doug Robinson has written at length about his friend Dale. Please read the entire story here
BEST KEPT SECRET OF THE WARS
The Majority of ExPat Civilian Contractor Casualties first served their country in the military.
Many of them gave twenty and more years of service before deploying in a civilian capacity.
Many of them were buried with military honors.
Yet we are not supposed to know their names or even that they died in our wars.
Defense Base Act War Profiteers are encouraged to abuse the families they leave behind
You can see some of these nameless hero’s at
Please keep them and their families in your thoughts today and everyday
Hamilton had previously served as a helicopter crew chief for the Marines for five years. Hamilton worked for Boeing on the V-22 Osprey and H-46 Sea Knight out of New River.
A Havelock resident working for a private contractor in Afghanistan died on Saturday.
Jason Matthew Hamilton, 40, was working as a Boeing field representative supporting the Army 1st Cavalry as a helicopter expert in Afghanistan. He died of natural causes, according to a Boeing source.
Hamilton was working on CH-47 Chinook helicopters at the time.
After serving as a helicopter crew chief for the Marines for five years, Hamilton worked for Boeing on the V-22 Osprey and H-46 Sea Knight out of New River.
A native of Statesville, he will be buried in Mooresville on Saturday
Jason Matthew Hamilton
HAVELOCK — Mr. Hamilton, 40, of Havelock, NC passed away on Saturday, April 14, 2012 in Afghanistan while serving as the Boeing Field Service Representative supporting the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry as an expert in CH-47 Chinook systems.
He was born on April 1, 1972 in Statesville, to Violet Wright Knox of Mooresville and the late Johnnie Eugene Hamilton.
Jason was an Eagle Scout, a 1990 graduate of Mooresville High School and a US veteran serving in the Marine Corps with 5 years of service as a helicopter crew chief. He was a member of Mooresville ARP Church.
He was preceded in death by grandparents, Job and Ruth Hamilton; grandmother, Carolyn Glass; and grandfather, Joe V. Knox. He is survived by his parents Violet and Van Knox; his children Jacob Hamilton, Paige Hamilton, and their mother, Lorie Hamilton; brother, Jeff Knox and fiancee, Jenn Shea; grandmother, Elizabeth Knox; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at Mooresville ARP Church with Rev. Andy Ward and Rev. Gerald R. Hallman officiating. Burial will follow the service at Glenwood Memorial Park. The family will receive friends on Saturday from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Welcome Home Veterans, 128 S. Main Street, Mooresville, NC 28115 and/or Mooresville ARP Church, 659 Carpenter Ave, Mooresville, NC 28115.
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the family of Mr. Hamilton. Condolences may be made to the family at http://www.cavin-cook.com.
After the death of Noah Lee Sarvis in September, his family and friends are still seeking justice since the man who committed the crime was only charged with careless driving.
However, the case isn’t as cut and dry as some may assume. Judge Tim Campbell found Felton Bland guilty of careless driving because there wasn’t enough evidence to hold him for any other charges. Some of the family and friends of Sarvis felt that Bland should have been charged with vehicular homicide or DUI manslaughter, but according to the State Attorney’s Office, there wasn’t enough evidence to support the charges
Bland was found guilty of careless driving and fined $1,400. He also will take a victim awareness and driving safety class and his license has been suspended.
FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS SHIPMATE
Noah Lee Sarvis “Flatliner”
Noah Lee Sarvis, 53, of South Carolina, passed away on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011.
Noah served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years as a Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. He was a member of the Navy/Marine Corps EOD Association, Patriot Guard Riders, and American Legion Post 392 PC.
Noah loved to ride his motorcycle, enjoyed fishing and being outdoors. He appreciated meeting people and never met a stranger.
Noah is survived by his wife of 23 years, Liz Sarvis; son, Christopher Maulden (Jennifer); mother, Genette Taylor; brother, Rick Sarvis; sister, Jeanita Vaughan; grandchildren, Madysen and DJ; mother-in-law, Betty Yancey; brothers, Robert Yancey (Crystal) and Victor Yancey (Holly); niece and nephews, Hunter, Addison, and Catherine.
He was preceded in death by his father and brother.
A memorial service was held at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, at the Kent-Forest Lawn Funeral Home Chapel, with Mike (GunnrMike) Fennewald officiating.
Veterans Day for me is honoring our veterans by identifying veterans’ enemies and allies.
By Michael Leon
Happy Veterans Day, Occupy Wall Street.
As for enemies of veterans, think and fight every right-wing think tank, Allen Breed, and every VA-system bureaucrat who thinks screwing our veterans out of their benefits is their job.
And that goes double for the congressional SuperCommittee now contemplating how badly they want to betray our most recent veterans
T Christian Miller ProPublica September 27, 2011
Private contractors injured while working for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan filed a class action lawsuit  in federal court on Monday, claiming that corporations and insurance companies had unfairly denied them medical treatment and disability payments.
The suit, filed in district court in Washington, D.C., claims that private contracting firms and their insurers routinely lied, cheated and threatened injured workers, while ignoring a federal law requiring compensation for such employees. Attorneys for the workers are seeking $2 billion in damages.
The suit is largely based on the Defense Base Act, an obscure law that creates a workers compensation system for federal contract employees working overseas. Financed by taxpayers, the system was rarely used until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most privatized conflicts in American history.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians working for federal contractors have been deployed to war zones to deliver mail, cook meals and act as security guards for U.S. soldiers and diplomats. As of June 2011, more than 53,000 civilians have filed claims for injuries in the war zones. Almost 2,500 contract employees have been killed, according to figures kept by the Department of Labor, which oversees the system.
An investigation by ProPublica, the Los Angeles Times and ABC’s 20/20  into the Defense Base Act system found major flaws, including private contractors left without medical care and lax federal oversight. Some Afghan, Iraqi and other foreign workers for U.S. companies were provided with no care at all.
The lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind, charges that major insurance corporations such as AIG and large federal contractors such as Houston-based KBR deliberately flouted the law, thereby defrauding taxpayers and boosting their profits. In interviews and at Congressional hearings, AIG and KBR have denied such allegations and said they fully complied with the law. They blamed problems in the delivery of care and benefits on the chaos of the war zones
Statement concerning filing of class action for fraud and bad faith against KBR, DynCorp, Blackwater, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting, CNA Insurance, AIG Insurance and others who conspired to deny benefits to severely injured contractors and to harm them further
Scott Bloch files complaint for $2 billion against major government contractors like
KBR, Blackwater.XE, DynCorp, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting and the global insurance carriers AIG, CNA, ACE and Zurich, on behalf of thousands of former employees, for unlawful, fraudulent and bad-faith mistreatment of injured employees and their families
Since 2003, top government contractors like Blackwater, KBR, DynCorp, CSA/AECOM and ITT have been perpetrating a fraud on their employees and on the American public.
The silent warriors who work for these companies, many of them decorated former military service members, have been injured, mistreated and abandoned by the contracting companies and their insurance carriers who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums.
“It is a grave injustice,” Bloch said, “to those who rode alongside American soldiers, including Iraqi and Afghani Nationals, to be case aside without the benefits of the law. We are supposedly trying to bring them the rule of law. We are supposedly trying to encourage them in democratic institutions.
We are the ones asking them to believe in justice and individual rights.
This is a travesty to all Americans and those around the world who look to America for an example of humanitarian aid and proper treatment of workers.”
This is a lawsuit for damages in the amount of $2 billion to remedy the injuries and destruction caused to the lives, finances and mental and physical well being of thousands of American families and others whose loved ones were injured while serving America under contracts with the United States.
It seeks an additional unspecified amount to punish the companies who made massive profits while causing this harm to people unlawfully and maliciously and working a fraud on the American public who paid them.
“This abusive and illegal scheme by the defendants has been allowed to go on for too long.
We are talking about loss of life, suicide, loss of homes, marriages, families split up, “ Bloch said, “and the culprits are the large government contractors who should have treated their employees better, and the mega-insurance companies who were paid a hefty sum to make sure the employees were taken care of with uninterrupted benefits in the event of injuries in these war zones.”
This complaint is filed due to actions and omissions of defendants, in conspiracy with others, and individually, to defeat the right of American citizens and foreign nationals to receive their lawful benefits and compensation under the Defense Base Act (“DBA”), as it adopts the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).
The lawsuit explains that those sued engaged under the RICO statute in an enterprise of fraudulent and or criminal acts to further their scheme to defeat the rights of individuals who have been injured or suffered occupational diseases, and death, while on foreign soil in support of defense activities under the DBA.
These acts were perpetrated repeatedly through bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, using telephones, faxes, and United States mail .
“These are heroes, decorated by America’s Armed Services,” said Bloch.
“Some of the foreign contractors were decorated special forces soldiers from their countries who assisted the United States in combating threats. The sheer disregard for human dignity and law is reprehensible and deserves punishment.
These families and many others who have been harmed need treatment, need compensation, need redress of the wrongs that have been perpetrated by these huge companies and insurance carriers for the last 10 years.
They have earned $100 billion per year on the backs of these people, with the blood of these plaintiffs and those whom they represent.”
The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and covers individuals from all over the United States, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and other counties.
Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:
Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290
Veterans and service members who had tours of duty extended between Sept. 2001 and Sept. 2009 have 10 more days to apply for one-time hardship pay.
Veterans and their beneficiaries may apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay until March 18, the Pentagon announced last week. Congress extended the program as part of the two-week continuing resolution.
Eligible service members may submit a claim to their military service and receive $500 for each full or partial month served in Stop Loss status, or the involuntary extension of a tour of duty.
Pentagon officials estimate about 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries are eligible to receive the payments, but only about 78,000 have done so thus far. See the original here
Interested, eligible individuals should visit http://www.defense.gov/stoploss for more information.
AUSTRALIAN families, friends and communities have buried 23 soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2002. The Courier Mail Sunday Mail Australia
But there is an even sadder and often silent statistic that is forgotten – the number of soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who have ended their lives for reasons that don’t command a full military funeral or public acknowledgement by politicians.
New Defence figures show that 31 enlisted Defence personnel have, or are believed to have, committed suicide since 2005.
Of those, 10 were in Queensland the highest among the states, with seven suspected suicide cases in NSW and six in the ACT.
The suspected suicide deaths of two other Queensland soldiers earlier this year are also being investigated by the coroner but are not included in the figures at this stage.
“Look at Vietnam. The number killed was far outweighed by the number who took their own life in the years after their service,” Mr Jarratt said.
“We call it the invisible wounds of war, people dying not in combat but as a result of combat, years later.”