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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Our stunningly context-free news media
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our stunningly context-free news media

a story from cbs news yesterday out of afghanistan...
ArmorGroup Hires Untrained Nepalese Nationals to Guard Kabul Embassy

A new report from the State Department Inspector General's Office found that a private security firm in Afghanistan hired more than 400 Nepalese nationals who lacked training and English languages skills to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

According to the report, ArmorGroup of North America (AGNA) was awarded a contract from the Department of State in July 2007 to protect the embassy. Through June 2010, AGNA has been allocated $97.5 million by the State Department.

the story did contain a link to but no actual mention of this story from last year...
Were ArmorGroup Allegations Quashed?

CBS News first reported this month on the hazing and humiliating of local employees and other serious breaches of ethics and policy by civilian security guards during wild parties at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Turns out, the State Department was warned that things weren't right at the embassy, but nothing was done. Now there are troubling questions for the man once in charge of investigating those problems, reports CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

As inspector general for the State Department, Howard Krongard was supposed to be an independent watchdog.

It was his job to investigate the very type of misconduct alleged at the U.S. embassy in Kabul: forced sexual hazing of guards, contract fraud and waste of tax dollars.

CBS News has learned that serious allegations about the embassy reached Krongard's office two years ago - where they apparently vanished into thin air.

the above story, in turn, contained a link to the following story but mentioned no details...
Shocking Hazing at U.S. Embassy in Kabul

On August 4, rockets land near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. On August 15, a suicide bomber hits close by killing or wounding 98. The attacks punctuate the dangers faced by hundreds of American diplomats and staff who work there. Yet some of the Embassy's own security guards are alleging shocking work conditions that put American lives at risk.

In numerous e-mails, the guards describe a crisis in discipline and morale, understaffing, sleep deprivation, "threats and intimidation." One guard refers to a group of guards and supervisors from the security contractor ArmorGroup as "sexual predators, deviants running rampant."

Guards provided dozens of graphic photos and videos depicting shocking scenes of hazing and humiliation by superiors, most of them too lewd to show. The guards recount a climate of fear and coercion where those who refuse to participate are retaliated against, even fired.

The State Department contracts with a private security firm - ArmorGroup North America, owned by Wackenhut. ArmorGroup employs 450 guards at the Kabul Embassy - two-thirds from Nepal and India, the rest from the U.S. and other English-speaking nations.

it's bad enough that, if you only read yesterday's news, you wouldn't know anything at all about the bigger, sordid story about armorgroup from last september (full details here in the mother jones article)... you also wouldn't know that armorgroup was a subsidiary of wackenhut, a notorious blackwater-style contractor, raking in gazillions of u.s. taxpayer dollars... you also wouldn't know that wackenhut is now owned by the british security conglomerate, g4s... and you ALSO wouldn't know this about howard krongard...
Brothers, Bad Blood and the Blackwater Tangle

They were smart, scrappy brothers who rose from modest circumstances in Baltimore to become lacrosse stars at Princeton, succeed in business and land big government jobs.

Now the Krongard brothers — who have carried childhood nicknames, Buzzy and Cookie, through long careers — are tied up in the tangled story of Blackwater, the security contractor accused in the deaths of at least 17 Iraqis while guarding a State Department convoy in Baghdad.

or this...
Howard J. "Cookie" Krongard (born December 12, 1940), was an appointee in the government of President George W. Bush. Krongard was head of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State. His position was known as the State Inspector General or State IG. After being accused of averting probes into contracting fraud in Iraq and a possible conflict of interest regarding investigations into Blackwater Worldwide, Krongard left his post on January 15, 2008, and was not eligible for retirement.

He is the brother of former CIA Executive Director A. B. Krongard.

yes, howard is the brother of the former cia executive director, a brother who also has this item on his resume...
Krongard resigned from the CIA shortly after the arrival of DCI Porter Goss in September 2004. While at the CIA, he was the connection between Erik Prince of Blackwater Security Consulting and the CIA. Through his influence, Blackwater was able to receive its first black contract.

see what happens when you add context...? suddenly, things get a LOT more interesting...

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