U.S. Government Reneged on Private Prison Contracts, Signing Bonuses for 10,000 Soldiers

South Texas Family Residential Center

South Texas Family Residential Center

In one week, the U.S. government reneged on saying they wouldn’t be doing business with private prison contractors and nearly 10,000 soldiers were told they’d be required to return their signing bonuses from almost a decade ago. This is the freedom of empire on display.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, Mother Jones ran a story about the Obama administration’s renewal of a contract with Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The deal, announced last Monday, Oct. 17, was with the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. Through the contract, the center agreed to staff reductions in terms that would cut costs by 40 percent.

The center, which inters most of the country’s immigrant mothers and children, is now set to be running until 2021. When the facility first opened in 2014, their contract had been awarded directly from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), superseding the bidding process. With that deal, the DHS was to pay the center a set amount, no matter how many of their beds were occupied. The detention facility currently has 2,400 beds.

According to Mother Jones, CCA had earned 14 percent of its 2015 revenue from the South Texas facility.

CCA CEO Damon Hininger

CCA CEO Damon Hininger

More U.S. government contracts are in the works, with detention centers across the country operated by CCA. The company’s CEO, Damon Hininger, told the Tennessean that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — a branch of the DHS — wouldn’t be able to afford funding for new detention facilities that weren’t privately run.

Previous complaints of the CCA-operated detention center in South Texas included under-staffing and illness among incarcerated children. Most of the mothers at the facility insinuated that they were being treated unfairly, living in conditions that were prison-like, after fleeing gang violence in Central America, and elsewhere.

U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) called the South Texas Family Residential Center “costly to taxpayers,” saying that it “achieves almost nothing, other than trauma to already traumatized individuals.”

Only months after the Justice Department said it would end business with private prison contractors, the U.S. government reneged on that promise.

“CCA shares climbed on Monday [Oct. 17] after the company announced the renewed contract in Texas.”

U.S. National Guard troops

U.S. National Guard troops

Additionally, the LA Times reported on a horde of California National Guard soldiers who had been ordered to pay back their enlistment bonuses from a previous decade, to the U.S. government.

“Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist to go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.”

Over-payment is the name of the game here. The money awarded in enlistment bonuses to Guard troops was apparently handed out illegally. Now, those soldiers who risked their lives going to war are required to incur interest on what they were previously paid. If they don’t, they could potentially face having their wages garnished.

Officials in the Guard were handing out funds apropos of their wilting to pressure to meet demand. That is, the demand of never-ending war.

Christopher Van Meter, 42, an Iraq war vet who formerly held rank as a Captain in the U.S. Army, told the LA Times that he had to re-work the mortgage on his house in order to pay back the debt he owed the Pentagon. The Army claimed he shouldn’t have received his $25,000 in reenlistment bonuses, in tandem with $21,000 in student loan repayments.

“People like me got screwed,” Van Meter said.

The former Army Captain was awarded a Purple Heart for his injuries in an incident where he had been struck by a roadside bomb that his vehicle had accidentally detonated.

A former master sergeant in the Army, Susan Haley, 47, who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan, in 2008, is currently paying back $20,500 in bonuses. Haley served in the Army for 26 years. Her husband and eldest son also served. While stationed in Afghanistan, her son lost a leg.

“I feel totally betrayed,” Haley claimed.

She worries she’ll have to sell her house, in order to pay back the bonuses.

“They’ll get their money, but I want those years back.”

With the burgeoning demand for soldiers, the Pentagon and California National Guard were under the gun to fulfill enlistment numbers. An official in California’s Guard, Col. Michael S. Piazzoni, was responsible for some of the audits over the impropriety of the bonuses handed out to the unsuspecting men and women who had enlisted.

“The system paid everybody up front,” Piazzoni said, “and then we spent the next five years figuring out if they were eligible.”

From the LA Times:

“In 2010, after reports surfaced of improper payments, a federal investigation found that thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were given to California Guard soldiers who did not qualify for them, or were approved despite paperwork errors.”

In 2011, one official from the Guard, Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, was eventually sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison, for $15.2 million in false claims. In addition, three other Guard officials pleaded guilty to fraud.

In total, out of 14,000 cases investigated by auditors, about 9,700 soldiers of the Guard were ordered to repay some, if not all, of their bonuses.

So far, at least $22 million has been recouped. With a multitude of cases and noncompliance, the process is expected to continue for years.


Bryan is a freelance writer/copy editor/copywriter. He reads, researches and drinks beer. He also writes poetry, short stories, essays, and is working on various novels, some of which include private documentation of traveling and living in Philadelphia, Colorado, and New Jersey. Currently, he lives in South Philadelphia. He also paints and records his own music.

The Intercept: Cross & the Sword Creating Christian Jihad in Ukraine


The Making of a Christian Taliban in Ukraine

Image result for The Making of a Christian Taliban in Ukraine

Photo by Tomasz Glowacki , for The Intercept

THE RECRUITMENT POINT for volunteers in Dmytro Korchynsky’s holy war is located in the basement of a building in central Kiev, on Chapaev Street, in what used to be a billiard club. Anyone can sign up, and the location isn’t secret — its address and phone number is on the Internet.

Inside, lying on the billiard tables, are toy Kalashnikovs, which recruits can use to shoot at targets on the wall. Behind the bar, shelves are lined not with liquor bottles but with Molotov cocktails left over from the violent protests that ousted the government a year ago; the firebombs may be useful in the next stage of Ukraine’s upheavals.

Along with being a recruitment center, the former billiard club also serves as the headquarters of Korchynksy’s political organization, “Bratstvo” (in English, the Brotherhood). I find Korchynsky in a side room furnished with a large billiard table, worn-out leather sofa, armchairs and a piano. Lying on the piano are the notes of Chopin’s funeral march and the lyrics to the German national anthem, whose first verse, beginning “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,” harkens back to the Nazi era. It is perhaps an unfortunate choice of song for a political figure that is often described as an extremist, ultranationalist and fascist.

Dmytro Korchynsky

Dmytro Korchynsky (Tomasz Glowacki ) Tomasz Glowacki

Korchynsky does not pretend to be moderate, but he doesn’t appreciate the worst epithet used against his forces.

“We are not Nazis,” he tells me. “We are patriots and nationalists.”

Korchynsky is nearly a caricature of a Russian-hating Ukrainian nationalist. His silver hair contrasts with his dark, bushy mustache, which is turned down at the edges in the Cossack style. The St. Mary’s Battalion, which is one of more than a dozen private groups fighting alongside the Ukrainian Army against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, is Korchynsky’s creation. It is also one of the more unusual volunteer formations in the ragtag forces taking on the separatists, incorporating an ideology that manages to mix Christian messianism with Islamic jihadism.

The religious thread is not entirely surprising — Korchynsky and his men are devout Orthodox Christians. It was in the 1990s that Korchynsky learned the advantage of mixing religion and politics when he fought in the Caucasus region alongside Muslims, who were battling Russia for independence.

Korchynsky points approvingly to Lebanon. There, Hezbollah participates in government as a political party, while its paramilitary wing wages war independent of the state (and is thus considered, by the United States and the European Union, a terrorist organization). Korchynsky believes that sort of dual structure would be beneficial for Ukraine. He sees himself as the head of an informal “revolutionary community” that can carry out “higher order tasks” that are beyond the formal control of government.

That’s the theory. In practice, Korchynsky wants the war in eastern Ukraine to be a religious war. In his view, you have to take advantage of the situation: Many people in Ukraine are dissatisfied with the new government, its broken institutions and endemic corruption. This can only be solved, he believes, by creating a national elite composed of people determined to wage a sort of Ukrainian jihad against the Russians.

“We need to create something like a Christian Taliban,” he told me. “The Ukrainian state has no chance in a war with Russia, but the Christian Taliban can succeed, just as the Taliban are driving the Americans out of Afghanistan.”

For Korchynsky and the St. Mary’s Battalion, the Great Satan is Russia.

KORCHYNSKY WAS BORN to fight Russia.

“We really like civilization,” he explained. “We want to have hot water in the bath and a functional sewage system, but we also want to be able to fight for our ideals.”

Korchynsky wants to move the war to Russian territory, and he says his people have already formed underground structures there. Like the Islamic State, one day his “brothers” will receive orders and begin their work.

“We will fight until Moscow burns,” he says.


Read Part One and Part Two on Ukraine’s Private Battalions.

–  The material for this story is part of BROTHERS, a documentary film being developed for Germany’s broadcaster WDR – Die Story and Autentic, produced by Propellerfilm, broadcast date May 18th, 10pm (MET).


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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of TheTruther.us, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for WeAreChange.org, is currently working on publishing the WeAreChange memoir with Brian Kenny, If you would like to contribute to getting our book out click this link https://igg.me/at/Wearechangebook

US Army investigating missing guns stolen from base in Germany

US Army investigating missing guns stolen from base in Germany

US Army investigating missing guns stolen from base in Germany.

The US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) is investigating the apparent theft of guns and other military equipment from its base in Stuttgart, Germany, US military news website Stars and Stripes reported on Friday.

CID spokesman Chris Grey said that the investigation into the theft earlier this month at Panzer Kaserne, part ofUS Army Garrison Stuttgart, is still ongoing.

“Several semi-automatic pistols, one small-caliber automatic rifle and a shotgun were among the items taken,” from an armory room on the base in Stuttgart, he said.

“At this point in the investigation it does not appear that an outside entity stole the firearms and equipment or breached the fence line, but we have not completely ruled it out,” Grey said.

The US army is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to the recovery of the weapons or the prosecution of those involved in the theft, which comes at a time of heightened security concerns in Germany following a series of terrorist attacks in recent weeks.

At least ten Germans have been killed and dozens more injured in four attacks in Wurzburg, Munich, Reutlingen and Ansbach, three of which have been linked to Islamic terrorism.

In July last year French authorities were similarly alarmed after the theft of up to 190 detonators, a stock of plastic explosives and around 40 grenades from a base in southern France. The theft occurred despite the country being on high terror alert since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015.


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for Just 1$ a month you can help Grow We are change
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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of TheTruther.us, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for WeAreChange.org, is currently working on publishing the WeAreChange memoir with Brian Kenny, If you would like to contribute to getting our book out click this link https://igg.me/at/Wearechangebook

A Nuclear City Under The Ice (Yes, It’s Real)


Layout of Camp Century

By 21st Century Wire

[For further reading on Deep Underground Military Bases or, “DUMB’s” read this insightful article]

Rod Adams describes the US Army research station known as ‘Camp Century’….

“It was powered initially by diesel generators, but the long term plan was nuclear power due to the challenge of delivering fuel across the ice. On January 23, 1959, the US Army signed a contract with ALCO (American Locomotive Company) to design and build a reactor that could be prefabricated in the US, disassembled and delivered to Camp Century. The required timeline was short and there were contract penalties of up to $4,000 per day for missing the agreed delivery date.”

“On November 12, 1960, the reactor (designated as PM-2A) started providing electricity and heat to the station. The entire design, build, assemble, test, disassemble, deliver, reassemble, and start-up process took less than 2 years.”

Continue Reading

After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.





Two Active Duty Soldiers Speak Out

Media Roots Radio- Interview with Two US Soldiers by Media Roots

This is a Media Roots Radio interview conducted by Abby and Robbie Martin with two active duty soldiers in the army: Malcolm and Yossarian. Malcolm is a soldier enlisted in the US Army and serves as an aviation mechanic. Yossarian is an Apache helicopter pilot and military aviator in the US Army. They are both stationed abroad right now but were gracious enough to take some time out of their schedule to sit down on Skpe for an interview with Media Roots. They speak out why they enlisted and give their perspective on Bradley Manning, US foreign policy and 9/11 while expressing deep concern for the future.

They are also both contributing writers for Media Roots. Check out their op-ed writings in the Soldier’s Corner of the site.

The above timeline is interactive. Scroll through it to find out more about the show’s music and to resources mentioned during the broadcast. To see a larger version of the timeline with clickable resources go to the soundcloud link below the player.

If you would like to directly download the podcast click the down arrow icon on the right of the soundcloud display. To hide the comments to enable easier rewind and fast forward, click on the icon on the very bottom right.

Listen to last week’s interview with Kurt Haskell, Eyewitness to the Underwear Bomber Terrorist Attack, another radio broadcast about Charlie Sheen, Bradley Manning, Sex & Censorship, an exclusive interview with Brett Smith, the Creator of 9/11 Movie Hypothesis, or an exclusive Interview with Cindy Sheehan.


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