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License to Steal

Saturday News Dump, hidden under JonBenet's rotting little corpse. Have I got your attention now? Good, because you need to pay attention to this. Small headline in WaPo this morning:

Verdict Against Iraq Contractor Overturned

What is this? Our old pals Custer Battles, war profiteers of the stinkiest ilk, looters of uncounted millions of US dollars from the US (Republican) controlled "Coalition Provisional Authority". You know why they are being given an oopsie on this theft? Because a judge has ruled that the Coalition Provisional Authority was not an agency of the US Government:

Although a jury found the company guilty, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III ruled on review that the firm could not be sued under the federal False Claims Act because of the ambiguous structure of the authority, which issued the contract. The judge also concluded that the way in which the company had been paid distanced it from the U.S. government.

He said there was ample evidence that the company had submitted "false and fraudulently inflated invoices" but found that the nature of the Coalition Provisional Authority precluded a fraud claim. Ellis signed his ruling Wednesday; it was made public yesterday.

Although "the CPA was principally controlled and funded by the U.S., this degree of control did not rise to the level of exclusive control required to qualify as an instrumentality of the U.S. government," the 23-page ruling said. "In fact, the evidence clearly establishes that it was created through and governed by international consent."

I am so enraged I can barely type.

And there's one more little item, significance unknown except that it seems surrounded by an invisible cloud of stink:

The Custer Battles litigation was brought under a separate anti-fraud law that allows citizens to sue on behalf of the government. It is not known whether any similar cases have been brought against contractors for the CPA. Such matters are sealed until the Justice Department decides whether to join the suit, which it did not in the Custer Battles case.

This money was stolen from the US Government, everyone agrees. Why wouldn't the US Justice Department join in the suit? Why was it left up to two (heroic) private citizens, of limited means and resources, to fight these thieving bastards?

Where did all those millions wind up?

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