Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Public Service Post

One of the fun things about blogging is looking at where your readership comes from. Since Blog Simple's readership is composed of, let us say charitably, a select few, it's easy and quick. God knows what the big sites do, probably just ignore it.

We've usually got a few folks a week looking (googling) for 'simple blog', and hopefully we are of some service there. For a while there were hits looking for 'big black dick', thankfully those have gone away and won't return, even after this post.

Many, more than the previous two, come from people looking for information on 'selph', 'momon' or 'pressley'. These relate to army corruption cases that have come out of Iraq and Kuwait. Blog Simple wrote a series of posts about them and especially the lack of interest shown by the national press. Though the national press may lack interest, the URLs of our visitors makes it clear that there are many in the military who are interested.

So, as a public service, here is a quick summary of previous posts with a follow up below that reviews the latest news:
  • 9/1/2007 - Skeletons - Levonda Selph worked for Gen. Petraeus.
  • 6/11/2008 - Lt. Co. Levonda Selph - more on Selph and Petraeus.
  • 8/11/2008 - An army of many - WSJ article provided the reporting, unfortunately the article is now behind a paywall. The article speculates that 70 or more officers were involved. Momon is named. This post got a comment from Guillermo Contreras of the San Antonio Express News that pointed to his two articles on the same subject. Unfortunately one of the articles is no longer available.
  • 9/12/2008 - Corruption - covers the two articles by Contreras. They were certainly the most complete look at the whole affair.
Levonda Selph and James Momon have already pleaded guilty to their crimes (Selph's was really quite minor). Lately, a few articles have reported the following:
A 23-count indictment unsealed today alleges that a civilian contractor paid more than $2.8 million in bribes to a U.S. Army contracting official stationed at Camp Arifjan, an Army base in Kuwait, and the official's wife, and that the three individuals committed honest services fraud and money laundering offenses in connection with the same conduct, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division announced.

The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Alabama, charges Terry Hall, 43, of Snellville, Ga., with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one substantive bribery count, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of engaging in monetary transactions in criminal proceeds.

Hall was originally indicted in the District of Columbia on Nov. 20, 2007, and charged with one count of bribery of a U.S. Army contracting official at Camp Arifjan. On Sept. 4, 2008, Hall was charged in a superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, two substantive bribery counts and two honest services wire fraud counts. The government will seek dismissal of the D.C. indictments so that Hall can be tried together with his co-conspirators, named in the Alabama indictment unsealed today.

In the Alabama indictment, U.S. Army Major Eddie Pressley, 39, and his wife, Eurica Pressley, 37, both of Harvest, Ala., are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, one substantive count of bribery, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and eleven counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminal proceeds.

Pressley, it seems, has branched out into being a developer in Alabama. But why the indictment was issued there is an open question. The first indictments were issued in DC. It's also interesting that apart from Momon, no one but the two Pressleys and Hall are mentioned in the reporting.

We've come along way from the original WSJ article where perhaps 70 officers were involved. There may be, of course, more indictments down the road, but this latest gives us the impression that the DOJ is working hard to keep this out of the limelight and to put a cap on the whole issue. Using the compromised US attorney's office in Alabama adds to our suspicions.

We will post on this again if any more details come out. Don't hold your breath.

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