Archive for August 26th, 2006

Allen, Dogged By Protest, Dodges Downtown

Allen visit attracts protesters Protesters dressed as a banana and a monkey wear signs reading “Racism is not a family value” while walking down Beverley Street in downtown Staunton today. A handful of protesters, as well as a few supporters, were on hand Friday afternoon to express their views during a visit by U.S. Sen George Allen that was canceled at the last minute.

4:35 p.m. STAUNTON — Sen. George Allen gave the slip to protesters, supporters and city officials today, bypassing an afternoon stop in downtown Staunton for an unannounced lunch break at a local drive-in restaurant.
The last-minute change in plans came minutes after a man identifying himself as a University of Virginia law school student broke in front of reporters at an event at Staunton’s Holiday Inn, forcefully asking the senator, “Have you ever used the word n—–?”

Allen Gave The Slip To Protesters

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US Army Reserve Officer Pleads Guilty in Iraq Case

Washington – A U.S. Army Reserve officer pleaded guilty on Friday to improperly steering millions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction contracts as part of a conspiracy involving kickbacks, smuggling and sexual favors.

Lt. Col. Bruce Hopfengardner, 46, of Frederick, Virginia, was the first military office to admit taking part in the scheme to defraud the U.S.-led occupation authority.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Hopfengardner, who had been a police chief in California, served as an adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority.

His duties included recommending spending for law enforcement projects related to rebuilding Iraq, including a police academy in the south-central city of Al-Hillal, the government said in court papers.

Prosecutors said he and others plotted to steer millions of dollars to Philip Bloom, a U.S. citizen with businesses in Romania and postwar Iraq. In exchange, they received money, plane tickets, jewelry, alcohol, cigars and sexual favors from women provided by Bloom at his villa in Baghdad and at least one other place, the government said.

Robert Stein, a former U.S. Defense Department contract employee, pleaded guilty on February 5 to related charges. He controlled the spending of about $82 million in CPA funds reserved for reconstruction projects in south-central Iraq.

Bloom pleaded guilty on April 18 to conspiracy, bribery and money laundering.

The government said Hopfengardner, Stein and others sought to hide Bloom’s submission of multiple bids on the same CPA contract. The bids included both the “low” bid as well as several higher “dummy” bids that set the stage for improperly awarding millions of dollars to Bloom and his companies, the government said.

It alleged that Bloom sent about $175,000 in laundered funds to Hopfengardner from February 2004 to July 2004 as kickbacks. Hopfengardner admitted in court to smuggling stolen currency into the United States in March 2004.

Hopfengardner faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000. An Army spokesman, Paul Boyce, said the Army has been working closely with the Justice Department and would act swiftly on any related personnel matter.

Two other Army Reserve lieutenant colonels were arrested last year in connection with the investigation.
More here…

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Democrats Unite Against Rumsfeld

DEMOCRATS TARGET RUMSFELD to boost election pressure on rivals.

Campaign strategists seek intraparty consensus by focusing on accountability rather than Iraq troop withdrawals. A “no-confidence” vote in Pentagon chief, which Democratic lawmakers might offer on defense spending legislation, could embarrass Bush while appealing to Republicans who defend ousting Saddam but criticize war’s execution.

One House Republican predicts leaders would heed White House urgings to block a vote. But a Republican consultant says some incumbents may embrace idea for distance from war setbacks.

In private comments to top aides, Rumsfeld signals he plans to remain through Bush’s term.


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Welcome To My Blog!

I’m just getting started…so stay tuned!
I hope this will be fun and informative for all who visit here! 🙂

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