But he later claimed he thought he was shooting at ducks, not armed men.
Also, a day into their detainment, some of the seven Afghan men began suffering body aches that a Marine quoted in the report deemed to be signs of opium withdrawal.
One member of Birchfield’s squad told the NCIS that the contractors had a history of shooting at Marines patrolling the area
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Afghan security contractor convicted in a U.S. Marine’s fatal shooting was a frequent drug user who may have smoked opium or hashish hours before the killing in one of Afghanistan’s top opium-producing regions, a U.S. military investigation suggests.
The report obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request hints that drug use was rampant among the private security guards spotted by Lance Cpl. Joshua Birchfield’s unit about an hour before he was shot in Afghanistan’s Farah Province on Feb. 19.
The U.S. Marine Corps previously concluded Birchfield died in the line of duty when he was shot by a local contractor as a group of Marines was on foot patrol. The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates noncombat deaths of Navy personnel, looked into whether a crime was committed and who committed it.
Although the report indicates drug use may have been a factor, saliva and hair samples taken from the man weren’t tested for drugs. The NCIS told AP that Afghan prosecutors decided those tests weren’t needed because the man confessed to Birchfield’s killing. A suspected bag of opium found at the encampment where the assailant and other security contractors were keeping watch also was never tested, the agency said.
A year ago today one of the most defining incidents of the upcoming year at war in Afghanistan occurred.
Civilian Contractors and the CIA working side by side were killed when a double agent set off a suicide vest in Khost, Afghanistan.
Thank you for your service
Our Thoughts are with your families today and always
Former Navy Seal working for Blackwater
Former Special Forces working for Blackwater.
Former Army Officer who specialed in Intelligence and had served as a contractor for military intelligence
Former Detective with the Atlanta Police Department had served as a private security contractor
had recently become CIA Officers.
On November 29, 2010, we discovered that certain hard drives shipped from our office in Iraq were stolen in transit to out US offices along with other office equipment. After investigation, on November 30, 2010 we determined, to the best of our knowledge, that the stolen hard drives contained personal information of certain of our past employees. Based on our investigation, we believe that the stolen hard drives contained the following unencrypted personal information of our past employees: (i) first and last names, (ii) social security numbers, (iii) passport numbers, (iv) last known home addresses and (v) date of birth and place of birth.
On December 13, 2010 WSLLC notified each of the affected personnel via the US Postal Service to inform them of the breach. They were offered a one year subscription to ConsumerInfo.com credit monitoring service and some advice on how to best protect their credit.
Wackenhut was the primary provider of fire protection services at FOB’s/COB’s in Iraq from 2004 until they lost the contract in Nov 2010. The loss of the contract would account for the reason the hard drives and office equipment was being shipped back to the states. That’s six years worth of employee information on those hard drives. We could easily be talking about 10,000 affected employees.
I’ve contacted WSLLC for answers to specific questions and asked if they would like to make a statement regarding this incident. As of the publishing of this post I have yet to received a response from them.
Wackenhut is not the first company to lose control of it’s employees personal information. A an employee of joint Venture Stanley Baker Hill (SBH) and DAAR published and distributed the names and social security of 269 employees working in Iraq and elsewhere. SBH was the contractor awarded the task of electrical inspections in Iraq for Task Force SAFE. They have since been replaced Versar International Inc.. Many victims on this list were employees of the individual companies in Iraq and elsewhere and had no association with the SBH joint venture. I believe the four individual companies of Stanley Consutants, Michael Baker Corporation, Hill International, or DAAR Engineering still have US Government contracts. At the time of that posting SHB still had not officially notified everyone on the list. Many found out about the breach after reading the article on MsSparky.com. I do not believe SBH ever contacted any State Attorney General’s office.
In its bid to become more transparent, the US government has launched a new “Dashboard” website to show foreign aid flows.
The US government spends more than US$58 billion a year in foreign assistance through more than 20 agencies. Total government expenditure is over three trillion (thousand billion) dollars annually.
Though the USA is the world’s largest aid donor, it devoted only 0.2 percent of its Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA), according to 2009 figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – far short of the 0.7 percent of GNI commitment made by rich countries in 1970.
The “Dashboard”, still incomplete, only provides details of aid managed by the state and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) amounting to $37 billion. Peace and security tops the list of sectors which receive foreign assistance – nearly $11 billion. Humanitarian aid gets the fourth highest amount – just over $4 billion. Please see the original here
We highly recommend David Isenberg’s new blog
In his own words “In keeping with my own philosophy it is neither pro-contractor nor anti-contractor. It is just devoted to highlighting the current news on PMSC issues. So I cull major and minor news sources and specialized databases every day and post the links to the quality news, reports, studies, government documents, and information from all over the world.”
Danny Fitzsimons was hired by ArmorGroup to carry a gun despite having been diagnosed with PTSD, being in trouble with the law, and posting on Facebook about “The War Inside His Head”. ArmorGroup should be on trial here too.
The trial of a British security contractor charged with killing two of his colleagues last year opened Wednesday in Baghdad with testimony from a guard who said the contractor shot him.
Danny Fitzsimons, who attended the hearing, is the first Western contractor on trial in an Iraqi court since a 2009 U.S.-Iraqi security agreement lifted immunity for foreign contractors.
Iraq pressed hard for foreign contractors to be accountable for their actions after armed contractors employed by the North Carolina-based Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Xe, opened fire at a Baghdad intersection in September 2007, killing 17 civilians.
Fitzsimons is charged with two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of two contractors, a British and an Australian, during an argument last year inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. He is also charged with an attempted murder of an Iraqi guard working for a British security firm.
Fitzsimons could receive the death penalty if convicted.
The trial opened with a testimony of the Iraqi guard who claims Fitzsimons shot him in the leg.
Arkan Mahdi Saleh, an Iraqi guard at the security firm ArmorGroup that also employed the defendant and the two slain men, told a three-judge panel that he saw Fitzsimons with a pistol before he was shot.
“I was standing at a guard post when I heard some movements behind me,” said the 33-year old Saleh. “When I turned back to check, I saw Fitzsimons with a pistol in his hand and aiming at me,” Saleh, identifying the defendant as the man who shot him.
Two other witnesses took the stand on Wednesday, confirming much of Saleh’s account of the shooting. One said he saw Saleh lying wounded on the ground.
Fitzsimons appeared in court clean shaven, wearing a beige shirt, jeans and sneakers. He stood behind a wooden fence with two security guards closely watching him.
After hearing the eyewitness testify, the defendant asked a judge for permission to speak. The request was refused.
“I got a lot to say,” Fitzsimons told his lawyer, Tariq Harb, after the court adjourned and the guards were handcuffing him for the trip to prison.
One of the judges, presiding over the 45-minute hearing, read written testimonies of three foreign security contractors who have left Iraq since the fatal incident.
None of the three testified to witnessing Fitzsimons shoot his two colleagues and the Iraqi guard. They wrote in their statement they saw the group of three foreign contractors drinking and quarreling inside one of the caravans where they lived. Please see the original here
from the Huffington Post
at the Burnley Express
The trial of a security contractor from Manchester charged with killing two of his colleagues in Iraq last year has opened in Baghdad.
Danny Fitzsimons, from Middleton, Manchester, is the first Westerner to go on trial in an Iraqi court since a 2009 US-Iraqi security agreement lifted immunity for foreign contractors.
He was at Wednesday’s hearing which adjourned the trial until January 23.
He has been charged with shooting and killing two contractors — a British and an Australian — during an argument inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in June last year and then wounding an Iraqi while fleeing.
All three men were working for the British security firm ArmorGroup Iraq.
Muslim nation financing effort
Somalia’s transitional government is using private security firms and Arab governments to train and fund a paramilitary force to battle pirates in the region that have threatened international shipping.
A lawyer representing Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) said on Tuesday that a security contractor, Saracen International, is being paid by a Muslim government to train an anti-piracy force in Bosaso, a town in the northern Somali province of Puntland on the horn of Africa. The TFG is also looking into training another, similar force in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.
“The goal of the TFG and the donor is to strengthen the mechanism in order to bring some law and order into Somalia,” Pierre Prosper, the lawyer, told The Washington Times. “Many of the trainers have experience and were contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Mr. Prosper said the agreement between Saracen and the TFG/Puntland government is for security training. “The donor is paying for the services of Saracen. The only contract I am aware of is between Saracen and the Somali government to provide the services,” he said.
Mr. Prosper, who was President George W. Bush’s ambassador at large on war-crimes issues between 2001 and 2005, would not disclose the identity of the donor. Please read the entire article here
AAP The Sydney Morning Herald December 29, 2010 – 11:44AM
The federal government has requested a speedy extradition of an Australian man to the United States to face charges of soliciting bribes.
Building contractor Neil Campbell is accused of soliciting a $US190,000 ($A188,585) bribe to build schools and hospitals in Afghanistan between May and August 2010.
The 61-year-old Queenslander had been working for an International Organisation for Migration panel in Kabul that selected Afghan subcontractors at the time.
He was arrested on October 13 at an Indian airport, following an undercover US sting, and has since been held in New Delhi’s notorious Tihar Prison.
An Indian court recommended his extradition to the US to face charges on December 21, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has confirmed.
Mr Campbell, who faces 10 years’ jail if found guilty, has not contested the extradition.
“The Australian government urges the US and Indian authorities to handle the extradition process expeditious,” a DFAT spokeswoman told AAP on Wednesday, adding that the Australian government could not interfere with foreign judicial processes.
Consular officers had visited Mr Campbell in detention on nine occasions since his arrest and attended all 11 of his court appearances, the spokeswoman said.
Officials in Canberra also had been in frequent contact with his family to update them on his welfare and legal situation Please see the original story here
Reno veteran Nicholas Moody has been out of jail in the United Arab Emirates for a couple weeks.
Now we have learned he will be back home in the U.S. in time for the New Year!
Monday afternoon his mother told Channel 2 Moody secured his passport and a new visa and has a ticket to New York City for Wednesday.
His family is still trying to book a flight home from New York to Reno though.
Moody was arrested in September while heading home from his job as a private security contractor in Iraq.
He was charged with possession of weapons accessories parts that could accompany a gun.
He spent 64-days in jail before the charges were dismissed on December 13th. Please see the original here
Update: Kevins family has informed us that he had also spent several years working for KBR on a contract in Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan with DynCorp.
DynCorp International LOGCAP Team Member Killed in Kandahar Rocket Attack
Kevin, 40, of Missouri City, Texas, joined DI on September 30, 2010, to support the U.S. Army Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract.
DI CEO Steve Gaffney acknowledged Kevin’s dedication to the mission and expressed condolences on the tragic loss saying, “Kevin lived and worked in a warzone to help support our troops – that kind of selfless courage is remarkable but too often goes unrecognized until the unthinkable happens. Kevin’s service to our military was heroic and our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this difficult time.”
The DI family extends deepest condolences to all of Kevin’s loved ones and to the entire LOGCAP team.
DUBAI // An American contractor who does business in Afghanistan fought with three undercover officers, thinking they were Taliban members, when he was arrested in connection with drug charges, a court heard yesterday.
K J, 27, was arrested on September 18 by three drug officers dressed in Pakistani national dress, records showed, and he fought with them while screaming, “they are not police”.
A witness told prosecutors that K J had feared for his life because he thought the men were insurgents who wanted to kidnap him.
K J was charged with possession and consumption of 10 grammes of hashish, as well as facilitating the transfer of 2.8 grammes of the drug to another person. He denied the charges in the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.
The American was detained after a taxi driver told police that a passenger offered him hashish after chatting with him about life in Afghanistan.
“I spoke to him about shars [hashish] and he told me he had some,” the driver told prosecutors. “I asked for some to be sure, and he handed me a small piece wrapped in plastic.”
After the defendant was dropped off at his hotel, he arranged for the taxi to pick him up later that day for another trip. The driver contacted police, who instructed him to take the passenger to a petrol station in the al Ghusais district, where they would arrest him.
During the arrest, the defendant reacted violently whilst trying to defend himself.
Police officers told the court that they presented their identifications and said they were police, but the defendant continued to wrestle with them.
They claimed that K J showed them the drugs in his possession, and said that he acquired them in Afghanistan with the intent of consuming them in the US. He will appear in court again next month. Please see the original story here
HURLBURT FIELD – The Accident Investigation Board (AIB) ended its investigation into the CV-22 crash that claimed the lives of four people and injured 16 without determining the cause of it.
Air Force Special Operations Command officials released the results of their investigation into the April 9, 2010 CV-22 aircraft accident near Qalat, Afghanistan.
Maj. Randell D. Voas and Sr. Master Sgt. James B. Lackey with 8th Special Operations Squadron were killed along with an Army Ranger and a civilian contractor. It was the first known fatal Osprey crash since the aircraft entered active service in 2006.
Then AFSOC Vice-Commander Maj. Gen. Kurt Cichowski convened an AIB to investigate the incident. Brig. Gen. Donald Harvel Brig. Gen. Donald Harvel, the Air National Guard assistant to the commander, AFSOC, Hurlburt Field, served as board president.
According to a press release AFSOC issued Thursday, “…the board president could not determine the cause of the mishap by the standard of ‘clear and convincing evidence,’ in part because the flight incident recorder, the Vibration Structural Life and Engine Diagnostics control unit, and the right engine were destroyed and therefore not available for analysis.” Please read the entire story and see videos here
A top provincial official said the Turkish nationals went missing in Paktia Province along with their Afghan driver. He added that he men were ambushed by unknown gunmen.
“Four Turkish engineers working with a border police unit were kidnapped along with their Afghan driver and have been taken away to an unknown location,” DPA quoted Rohullah Samoon, spokesman for the provincial governor as saying.
Sources say the abductees worked for a construction company.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. However, several militant groups and kidnapping-for-ransom gangs are active in the volatile region. Please read the entire article here
At Press TV Dec 25, 2010
A German national has died of his wounds in a hospital in Afghanistan’s northern Balkh Province as Taliban step up their attacks against foreign troops in the country.
Local police officials say the aid worker was on his way from Khulm district to the city of Mazar-i-Sharif when gunmen attacked his vehicle.
He was taken to a military hospital in the German army base.
“Yesterday at around 4:30 p.m. (1200 GMT), two unknown armed motorcyclists shot a German national as he was on his way from Khulm district (Balkh Province) to the city of Mazar-i-Sharif,” AFP quoted Balkh deputy police chief Abdul Rauof Taj as saying.
“He was taken to a German-run hospital in Mazar city by police. We have been informed that he died in the hospital today,” the police official added.
The attackers also injured his local translator who was traveling with him.
Foreign and local aid workers have been increasingly targeted by the Taliban this year. Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for the killing. Please see the entire article here