Saturday, July 16, 2011

4 US soldiers killed in Iraq already this month

Yesterday another US soldier died in Iraq making four for the month and 19 in the last six weeks. Nicholas Newby is one of the fallen. Alecia Warren (Coeur d'Alene Press) reports on his miltiary procession yesterday: "More than 200 packed the sidewalk fronting Lake City High School on Friday afternoon to honor the funeral procession for Newby, a fallen National Guard soldier and Coeur d'Alene son. Children waved signs while teenagers, only a few years of life decisions away from Newby's 20, craned their necks to catch a glimpse. A collective hush fell on the crowd as hundreds of motorcycles, all seated with veterans, led in Newby's family." Alison Boggs (Spokesman-Review) adds, "They started showing up more than two hours before the military procession escorted Newby’s remains to a downtown funeral home. They ranged in age from babies to a World War II veteran. By the time the procession passed the street outside Lake City High School, Newby's alma mater, it was a tunnel of American flags, signs with good wishes, and veterans saluting." She notes that Nicholas Newby and Nathan Beyers were both killed in the same July 7th bombing. Robyn Nance (KXLY4 -- link has text and video) reports of Nathan Beyers return, "Men and women from the National Guard stood stoically as a flag draped over the remains of Sergeant Beyers was presented to his family who held hands as they walked to his casket. [. . .] Beyers leaves behind a wife and a young daughter who was born on veterans day last year." Bonners Ferry Herald notes, "In the same attack, a third Idaho soldier, staff sergeant Jason Rzepa, suffered a serious leg injury and was evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany."

DoD has not yet announced the name of Friday's fallen; however, WRAL reports it was 21-year-old Lucas Elliott. Patti Elliott, his mother, states, "On 9/11, we were sitting there watching everything unfold and Lucas turned to us and said, 'I'm going to be a soldier'." Ed Elliott, his father, states, "All I can say is I'm going to miss my hunting and fishing buddy." And Trisha Elliott, his wife, says, "I'm not sue how he did it, but he confinvced me to marry him and I don't regret it."

From the fallen to the War Criminals, Robert Moran (Philadelphia Inquirer) reports Justin W. Lee (ex-president of Dynamics International) entered a quilty plea Friday on the charge of "bribing military officials in exchange for government contracts related to combat operations". The total amount of his bribes are said to be over $1.2 million. Moran notes, "His father, George H. Lee Jr., the former chairman and chief executive officer of Lee Dynamics, was also indicted but remains at large."

The Justice Dept issued the following on Friday:

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFriday, July 15, 2011Former President of Lee Dynamics International Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Bribery Related to Department of Defense Contracts in Iraq
WASHINGTON – The former president of Lee Dynamics International, a defense contractor providing services to the U.S. military in Iraq, pleaded guilty today to an indictment charging him with a scheme to bribe military officials in order to obtain government contracts, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Justin W. Lee, 33, a resident of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel H. Slomsky in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and four counts of bribery. Lee and his father, George H. Lee Jr., were charged in an indictment unsealed on May 27, 2011, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Justin Lee admitted that he conspired with his father and others to bribe military contracting officers in order to obtain government contracts to support U.S. combat operations in Iraq. According to court documents, Justin Lee provided things of value, including cash, airline tickets, meals, hotel stays, spa visits and jobs, which were valued at a total of more than $1.2 million, to public officials in return for official acts which helped him obtain lucrative Department of Defense contracts. The contracts included multi-million dollar contracts for the storage of weapons at various warehouses in Iraq as well as bottled water.

“For Justin Lee and others, bribery was a way of doing business,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “He offered military officials vacations to Thailand and Europe, Rolex watches, cash, and even employment with their company, all in order to secure lucrative defense contracts. Private contractors will not be allowed to win business by stacking the deck against the competition and, as this investigation shows, the military officials who participate in such fraudulent schemes will also be held to account.”

“Justin Lee’s guilty plea is a prime example of the teamwork amongst Special Agents of the Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU), US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), our law enforcement partner agencies, and with the DOJ attorneys that comprised the former Kuwait Fraud Task Force,” said James K. Podolak, director of Army CID’s MPFU. “Charged with protecting the Army’s interests with respect to contract fraud and corruption, in a global environment, the MPFU stands ready with Special Agents strategically assigned throughout the U.S. and abroad to bring these criminals to justice.”

“This plea illustrates that it does not matter where they reside, work, or travel, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service will not stop pursuing those individuals who steal funds from the Department of Defense and U.S. Taxpayers” said Robert Craig, Special Agent in Charge for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Mid-Atlantic Field Office.

“I am pleased that Justin Lee pleaded guilty to the bribery charges filed against him for the abusive and illegal contracting schemes he engineered as a private contractor in Iraq,” said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. “I commend my SIGIR agents and our partners for persevering in this complex case, which is part of perhaps the largest fraud conspiracy yet uncovered in the reconstruction program.”

Four of the military contracting officials with whom Justin Lee conspired have pleaded guilty: John Cockerham Jr., Markus McClain, Kevin A. Davis and Levonda Selph.

Justin Lee faces up to 15 years in prison for each count of bribery, as well as a fine of $250,000 or three times the value of the bribe for each count. He also faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy count as well as a fine of $250,000.

George Lee, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Lee Dynamics International, remains at large. An indictment is merely a charge and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Trial Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Emily W. Allen of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Substantial assistance has been provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The case is being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigations Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, the FBI, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service.

The following community sites -- plus On The Wilder Side, Washington Week, Jane Fonda and -- updated last night and today:

And we'll close with this from The Bat Segnundo Show:

The Bat Segundo Show

Rethinking Radio, Cultivating Conversation

Edie Meidav

What is a California novel in the 21st century? Can an author or a reader get a handle on California if she doesn't live there? These are some of the many questions that we discuss with Edie Meidav, who returns to our program to discuss her new novel, Lola, California. (Link to show.)

James Marsh

Why is the Academy Award-winning filmmaker of Man on Wire so defensive? The man has good reasons. In this brisk 20 minute talk, James Marsh discusses the moral implications of documentary, how a filmmaker earns trust from his subjects, and whether a visual medium has the obligation to respect history. (Link to show.)

Dana Spiotta Roundtable!

Artistic integrity, the music world, Ada Lovelace, Thomas Kinkade, Susan Sontag's "Regarding the Torture of Others." These are just some of the topics covered in the first installment of a mammoth roundtable discussion of Dana Spiotta's Stone Arabia. (Link to first installment.)

Dana Spiotta Roundtable Discussion

This morning, our sister site, Reluctant Habits, launched the first installment of a 25,000 word discussion on Dana Spiotta's new novel, Stone Arabia. Over the next week, these five installments will include special appearances from novelists, journalists, essayists, and other fine readers. You can follow the discussion here. Please feel free to join in!

Spiotta In Conversation Live!

Additionally, Ms. Spiotta will be in conversation with Our Correspondent at McNally Jackson (52 Prince Street, New York, NY) on July 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM. If you liked Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad and our roundtable discussion intrigues you, you won't want to miss this.

Project Nim and Edie Meidav

We also recently released two new shows. There's a conversation with Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker James Marsh about Project Nim, the ethics of science, and whether filmmakers have an obligation toi respect history. And don't miss our 45-minute talk with Edie Meidav, on the occasion of her new novel Lola, California. The Meidav show covers everything from Wordsworth to Flaubert, and a good deal in between.

Feel free to visit the main Bat Segundo site and listen to our gratis programs!

If you wish to subscribe to the show with a podcatcher program (for later transfer to your iPod), copy and paste the following URL into your program:

You can also subscribe to the show through iTunes.

These conversations will put a smile on your face, tickle your funny bone, and may just challenge you.

Thanks again for listening!

The Bat Segundo Show

The Bat Segundo Show
315 Flatbush Avenue, #231, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends