Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Pentagon Wants to Keep Running Its Afghan Drug War From Blackwater’s HQ

Wired’s Danger Room November 21, 2012

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is supposed to be winding down. Its contractor-led drug war? Not so much.

Inside a compound in Kabul called Camp Integrity, the Pentagon stations a small group of officers to oversee the U.S. military’s various operations to curb the spread of Afghanistan’s cash crops of heroin and marijuana, which help line the Taliban’s pockets. Only Camp Integrity isn’t a U.S. military base at all. It’s the 10-acre Afghanistan headquarters of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.

Those officers work for an obscure Pentagon agency called the Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office, or CNTPO. Quietly, it’s grown into one of the biggest dispensers of cash for private security contractors in the entire U.S. government: One pile of contracts last year from CNTPO was worth more than $3 billion. And it sees a future for itself in Afghanistan over the long haul.

Earlier this month, a U.S. government solicitation sought to hire a security firm to help CNTPO “maintain a basic, operational support cell” in Kabul. Army Lt. Col. James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman, explains that “cell” doesn’t kick in the doors of any Afghan narco-kingpins. It handles the more mundane tasks of overseeing the contracts of the Pentagon’s counter-narcotics programs, from “training and linguists, and [providing] supplies, such as vehicles and equipment.” The solicitation, however, indicates those services aren’t going anywhere: When all the options are exercised, the contract extends through September 29, 2015, over a year past the date when Afghan soldiers and cops are supposed to take over the war. And the “government preferred location” to base CNTPO? Camp Integrity.

 

The envisioned Pentagon counter-narco-terrorism staff is pretty small: only two to four personnel. But protecting them at Camp Integrity is serious business. The November 6 solicitation calls for a security firm that can “provide a secure armory and weapons maintenance service, including the ability to check-in and check-out weapons and ammunition,” particularly 9 mm pistols and M4 rifles; and to provide “secure armored” transportation to the CNTPO team — primarily “in and around Kabul, but could include some remote locations.”

CNTPO has a longstanding relationship with Blackwater, the infamous security firm that is now known as Academi. In 2009, it gave Blackwater a contract to train Afghan police, and company employees used that contract to requisition guns from the U.S. military for their private use. Although that contract was ultimately taken out of CNTPO’s hands, the office’s relationship with Academi/Blackwater endures. Last year, Academi told Danger Room it has a contract with CNTPO, worth an undisclosed amount, to provide “all-source intelligence analyst support and material procurement” for Afghanistan. An Academi spokeswoman, Kelley Gannon, declined to comment on Academi’s relationship with CNTPO, or whether it’ll bid on the new contract

Please read the entire article here

November 28, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Private Army Formed to Fight Somali Pirates Leaves Troubled Legacy

The New York Times  October 4, 2012

Eric Prince

WASHINGTON — It seemed like a simple idea: In the chaos that is Somalia, create a sophisticated, highly trained fighting force that could finally defeat the pirates terrorizing the shipping lanes off the Somali coast.

But the creation of the Puntland Maritime Police Force was anything but simple. It involved dozens of South African mercenaries and the shadowy security firm that employed them, millions of dollars in secret payments by the United Arab Emirates, a former clandestine officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, and Erik Prince, the billionaire former head of Blackwater Worldwide who was residing at the time in the emirates.

And its fate makes the story of the pirate hunters for hire a case study in the inherent dangers in the outsourced wars in Somalia, where the United States and other countries have relied on proxy forces and armed private contractors to battle pirates and, increasingly, Islamic militants.

That strategy has had some success, including a recent offensive by Kenyan and African Union troops to push the militant group Al Shabab from its stronghold in the port city of Kismayu.

But with the antipiracy army now abandoned by its sponsors, the hundreds of half-trained and well-armed members of the Puntland Maritime Police Force have been left to fend for themselves at a desert camp carved out of the sand, perhaps to join up with the pirates or Qaeda-linked militants or to sell themselves to the highest bidder in Somalia’s clan wars — yet another dangerous element in the Somali mix.

Please read the entire story at the The New York Times

October 5, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Maritime Security, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

State Department in Bed with Blackwater

Blackwater acted under auspices of US government’

August 10, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, State Department | , , | 2 Comments

ACADEMI / BLACKWATER CHARGED AND ENTERS DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT

TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012  FBI Version

_WWW.JUSTICE.GOV/USAO/NCE/ <http://WWW.JUSTICE.GOV/USAO/NCE/>_

*_ACADEMI / BLACKWATER CHARGED AND ENTERS_*

*_DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT_*__

RALEIGH, N.C. — U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced the unsealingof a bill of information and deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) involving Academi LLC, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide and Xe Services, LLC (Academi / Blackwater). The bill of information and DPA were unsealed today in U.S. District Court in New Bern, N.C., during proceedings before the Honorable Louise W. Flanagan, U.S. District Judge. In the agreement, the company admits certain facts set forth in a bill of information and agrees to a $7.5 million fine. The agreement also acknowledges and references a $42 million settlement between the company and the Department of State as part of a settlement of
violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations.

“Today’s proceedings conclude a lengthy and complex investigation into a company which has provided valuable services to the United States Government, but which, at times, and in many ways, failed to comply with important laws and regulations concerning how we as a country interact with our international allies and adversaries,” said U.S. Attorney Walker. “Compliance with these laws is critical to the proper conduct of our defense efforts and to international diplomatic relations. This prosecution is an important step to ensuring that our corporate citizens comply with these rules in every circumstance.”

IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett stated, “High-ranking corporate officials hold positions of trust not only in their companies but also in the eyes of the public. That trust is broken when such officials abuse their power and commit crimes to line their own pockets. An international fraud of this magnitude requires a coordinated effort among law enforcement agencies to stop those involved from profiting from their wrongdoing.”

“Compliance with the firearms laws of the United States in both domestic and international commerce is essential to maintaining order and accountability,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Wayne L. Dixie. “Whether it is an individual or a corporation, we will enforce the provisions of the federal gun laws equally. If violations are discovered, we will move to hold those responsible for the violations accountable for their actions.”

“Blackwater profited substantially from Department of Defense (DoD) contracts in support of overseas contingency operations over the past decade,” commented Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). “This investigation showed that no contractor is above the law, and that all who do business with the DoD will be held accountable. With this agreement, Blackwater acknowledged their wrongdoing, and took steps to remedy and mitigate the damage they caused to the United States and the public trust.”

“For an extended period of time, Academi / Blackwater operated in a manner which demonstrated systemic disregard for U.S. Government laws and regulations. Today’s announcement should serve as a warning to others that allegations of wrongdoing will be aggressively investigated,” said Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.

“This company clearly violated U.S. laws by exporting sensitive technical data and unauthorized defense services to a host of countries around the world,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta. “In doing so, company employees were frequently in possession of illegal firearms and aided other foreign nationals in the acquisition of illegal firearms. HSI is proud to have played a role in assisting the investigation to call this company to account for its actions.” Nicholson oversees HSI activities in Georgia and the Carolinas.

See BILL OF INFORMATION

August 8, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Lawsuits | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blackwater admits to facts behind 17 federal charges

By JOSH GERSTEIN  Politico  August 7, 2012

The government security contractor formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide has admitted to the key facts behind 17 federal criminal charges, including illegal exports and unauthorized possession of automatic weapons, as part of an effort to end a long-running investigation into the firm’s conduct.

Blackwater, now known as Academi LLC, agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine on top of a $42 million settlement it reached earlier regarding civil arms export violations.

“Today’s proceedings conclude a lengthy and complex investigation into a company which has provided valuable services to the United States Government, but which, at times, and in many ways, failed to comply with important laws and regulations concerning how we as a country interact with our international allies and adversaries,” U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker said in a statement. “Compliance with these laws is critical to the proper conduct of our defense efforts and to international diplomatic relations. This prosecution is an important step to ensuring that our corporate citizens comply with these rules in every circumstance.”

Some of the charges relate to Blackwater’s possession of machine guns at a training compound in North Carolina.

“ACADEMI is pleased to reach this important agreement on this legacy matter. It is yet another step in our commitment to fairly resolve past issues and become the industry leader in governance, compliance, and regulatory matters,” Academi spokesman John Procter said in a statement. “The agreement, which does not involve any guilty plea or admit to any violations, reflects the significant and tangible efforts that ACADEMI’s new ownership and leadership team have made in achieving that goal. The company is fully committed to this agreement and looks forward to successfully fulfilling its obligations on this legacy matter.”

More on the company’s deferred prosecution agreement here from the Associated Press.

Please see the original and read more here

August 8, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Lawsuits | , , , , | Leave a comment

Company once known as Blackwater settles arms case

MICHAEL BIESECKER | August 7, 2012 05:14 PM EST | Associated PressAP at Huffington Post


RALEIGH, N.C. — The international security contractor formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle federal criminal charges related to arms smuggling and other crimes.

Documents unsealed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in North Carolina said the company, now called Academi LLC, agreed to pay the fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to settle 17 violations.

The list includes possessing automatic weapons in the United States without registration, lying to federal firearms regulators about weapons provided to the king of Jordan, passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to Sweden and Denmark and illegally shipping body armor overseas.

Federal prosecutors said it settles a long and complex case against the company, which has held billions in U.S. security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

August 7, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | 1 Comment

DOJ to seek new indictment in Blackwater shooting

WASHINGTON AP  

The Justice Department plans to bring a new indictment against four Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a 2007 shooting that killed 17 Iraqis.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina had thrown out the case in 2009, but an appeals court reinstated the charges last year.

Urbina, who has since retired, said prosecutors built their case on sworn statements the guards had given under a promise of immunity.

A Justice Department attorney told Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday that a special team will ensure that prosecutors working on the new indictment don’t have access to “privileged statements.” Prosecutors say they will seek a superseding indictment after gathering additional evidence.

The guards are accused of opening fire in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007.

 

July 26, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mercenaries Sue Blackwater Over Fake Gun Tests

Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room  July 16, 2012

The security firm once known as Blackwater has repeatedly tried to distance itself from its bad old days of wrongful death and corporate misconduct. But a new lawsuit filed by two former employees raises questions about whether the firm’s kinder, gentler rebranding is more than skin deep.

Two former employees of the firm, now called Academi, say that they were fired from their jobs in Afghanistan after blowing the whistle on an attempt by a colleague to falsify dozens of marksmanship tests for security contractors. Robert Winston and Allen Wheeler thought that they were following Academi’s new ethics guidelines, which require employees to report suspected instances of waste, fraud and abuse. But not only were Winston and Wheeler fired, they allege Academi arranged with the State Department to blacklist the two security contractors from finding future work with private security firms.

According to the lawsuit, which Nation reporter Jeremy Scahill first tweeted about on Thursday, Winston and Wheeler witnessed a fellow firearms instructor twice fail to record the results of shotgun and machine-gun training amongst dozens of Colombian employees of Academi. The State Department, which hires Academi to protect its diplomats in conflict zones, requires weapons certification from the guards: If contractors can’t properly fire their weapons, they’re a danger to diplomats in need of protection and innocent civilians nearby.

But on two occasions in March 2012, Winston and Wheeler say that instructor Timothy Enlow informed the State Department inaccurately that Academi’s guards were proficient with shotguns and machine guns. On the second occasion, Enlow failed to bring an M249 belt-fed machine gun to the test range near Kabul, but reported a successful test anyway.

“I know there is a lawsuit about Academi not qualifying contractors properly with the belt fed machine guns,” Enlow told the would-be marksmen, according to the lawsuit, “but I am going to help you guys out.”

Please see the original and read more here

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Expansion planned at Academi/Blackwater compound in Moyock

The Virginian Pilot  June 25, 2012

Academi plans to build a 235-bed lodge at its Moyock, N.C.,-based compound with plans to expand operations where it trains military and law enforcement personnel how to shoot better under stress, protect officials from terrorist attacks, and storm criminal hideouts, among other things.

The $3.2 million lodge is the largest expansion of facilities on the 7,000-acre compound in at least four years. It comes after a tumultuous period during which the company name changed twice and management rolled over.

Formerly known as Blackwater, Academi is the largest taxpayer in Camden County. With about 250 workers on site, it also is the largest private employer in the county, where most its facilities are based.

Please see the original and read more here

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Xe | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Academi Training Center, XE, Blackwater picks up Afghan DoD Security Services Contract

Defense Professionals  June 13, 2012

(W560MY-12-C-0006)

Academi Training Center, Moyock, N.C., was awarded a $17,448,051 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the security services in support of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Dwyer, and an option for FOB Delaram II. Work will be performed in Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of May 22, 2016. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 12 bids received. The Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W560MY-12-C-0006).

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ACADEMI — ex-Blackwater — Boosts State Dept Business, Eyes Acquisitions:

AOL Defense June 8, 2012

How confident is the new management at private security contractor ACADEMI — formerly known as Xe and, also, infamously, as Blackwater — that they’ve turned the company around?

Last month, apparently without attracting any public attention (until now), they quietly bought another security firm, International Development Solutions, and took over its piece of the State Department’s $10 billion World Protective Services contract, which then-Blackwater got kicked out of years ago.

And ACADEMI plans on further acquisitions, CEO Ted Wright confirmed in an exclusive interview with AOL Defense.

The company has spent a year rebuilding and is set to grow again, said Wright, who took over in June 2011. (He was hired by a new ownership team that bought out Blackwater founder Erik Prince the previous December). “The things we said we were going to do a year ago, we’ve kind of done,” said Wright, just back from visiting employees in Afghanistan.

Since he started, the company has not only a new name but a new management team, a new board of directors — in fact it didn’t even have a board before — and a new corporate headquarters in Arlington, looking across the Potomac River straight at the headquarters of the State Department. Many of the employees doing security work in the field are new, Wright said, and the core of ACADEMI’s business, its training cadre, has turned over almost completely: Only about 10 instructors remain from the old days, compared to 30 new hires, with another 20 on the way.

Please see the original and read the entire report here

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor, State Department, Xe | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PTSD Casualty- Hidden war zone scars claim another soldier/civilian contractor’s life

Another Defense Base Act PTSD failure.

McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35

Doug Robinson at Deseret News  June 5, 2012

Dale McIntosh stands with children in Central America. McIntosh did private security work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dale McIntosh was no stranger to death. When it wasn’t everywhere around him, it was a constant threat, something that kept him literally looking over his shoulder for months at a time.

A former Marine, he hired himself out as a privately contracted bodyguard in the Middle East, where he lived on the edge and saw and did things so terrible that it haunted him. He survived firefights, ambushes, exploding cars, road mines, snipers and rocket-propelled grenades. In the end, he escaped without any wounds, or at least none we could see.

When he returned, he seemed to be the Dale that his friends remembered — charming, gregarious, warm, outgoing — but inside, he was hurting and disturbed. McIntosh brought demons home with him.

In 2006, I wrote a lengthy profile about McIntosh, then a student at Westminster who took time off from his studies to pursue quick money and an adrenaline fix in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the postscript: McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35

After graduating from Utah State, Dale served five years in the Marines — part of it in special ops — but felt unfulfilled because he never saw action. He compared it to being an athlete who never got in the game. Eager to use his military skills and see action, he signed on to do private security work. At the time, there was a big demand for security firms, the most famous and controversial of which was Blackwater. With a shortage of manpower, the U.S. government hired the firms to protect American interests and personnel in the Middle East. They were largely ungoverned by law, which did not make them popular at home or abroad. McIntosh spent six months in Afghanistan, five months in Iraq, two months in Bosnia and then another two months in Iraq before returning to Utah in the fall of 2005.

Doug Robinson has written at length about his friend Dale.  Please read the entire story here

June 5, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Balkans, Blackwater, Central America, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Iraq, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor, Veterans | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Supreme court rejects Blackwater Iraq shooting appeal

James Vicini Rueters  June 4, 2012

Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by four Blackwater Worldwide security guards who argued prosecutors made improper use of their statements to investigators in charging them with killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007.

The justices refused to review a ruling by a U.S. appeals court in Washington, D.C., that reinstated the criminal charges against the guards for their roles in the Baghdad shooting that outraged Iraqis and strained ties between the two nations.

The shooting occurred as the guards, U.S. State Department security contractors, escorted a heavily armed four-truck convoy of U.S. diplomats through the Iraqi capital on September 16, 2007.

The guards, U.S. military veterans, responded to a car bombing when gunfire erupted at a busy intersection. The guards told State Department investigators they opened fire in self-defense, but prosecutors said the shooting was an unprovoked attack on civilians.

Please see the original and read more here

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Lawsuits, Private Security Contractor, State Department, Xe | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ex-Blackwater executives finger CIA in weapons trial

Several other lawsuits filed by Contractor Employers will expose the extent to which Civilian Contractors were actually working for the CIA and the State Department in capacities that are not known to the public.

It is known that Ronco Consulting has worked for/with the CIA via the State Department .

Blackwater/Academi has banked more than $2 billion from security and training contracts with various federal agencies, including the CIA, since 2002. Several former CIA officials later went to work for the company.

The Virginian Pilot

Five ex-Blackwater executives, facing federal firearms charges in connection with a gift of weaponry to a Middle Eastern monarch, have come up with a new explanation for how it occured:

It was a CIA operation.

In court papers filed last month in Raleigh, the defendants say the gift of five guns to King Abdullah II of Jordan during a royal visit to Blackwater’s Moyock, N.C., headquarters in March 2005 was requested, directed and authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Attorneys for the five have filed declarations from two retired CIA officials, including a former Jordan station chief, who say they are familiar with the circumstances of the king’s visit and would be willing to testify about it.

The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s a new wrinkle in a case that dates to April 2010, when the five security company executives were indicted on a variety of felony firearms charges. One key section of the indictment involved King Abdullah’s 2005 visit to Moyock, during which the monarch was presented a Bushmaster M4 rifle, a Remington shotgun and three Glock handguns.

Please read the entire article here

June 2, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Security Clearances | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Defense of Freedom Medal Held Hostage by the Defense Base Act

Crossposted from the Defense Base Act Compensation Blog  May 31, 2012

WHY HAVE I NOT RECEIVED THE DEFENSE OF FREEDOM MEDAL?

The Defense of Freedom Medal is an award held to be the equivalent of the Purple Heart and is awarded to Civilian Contractors injured in the war zones. 

One question we get here repeatedly is why have I not received the Defense of Freedom Medal?   The question comes from severely disabled Civilian Contractors wounded in horrific explosions and insurgent attacks.

WHO IS HOLDING YOUR MEDAL HOSTAGE?

The company you work for is responsible for requesting  that you receive the medal and providing the documentation that you have indeed suffered a qualifying injury.

As all Injured War Zone Contractors know the minute you must file a Defense Base Act Claim you are automatically placed in an adversarial relationship with your employer.   Your Employer and the Defense Base Act Insurance Company are considered equal entities in the battle you have entered for your medical care and indemnity.

Your Employer is required to assist the insurance company in denying your claim.  Under the War Hazards Act the Employer/Carrier must prove to the WHA Tribunal that they have diligently tried to deny your claim.

It appears that your Defense of Freedom Medals could be held hostage by your Employers due to the adversarial relationship the Defense Base Act has created.

When KBR, DynCorp, Blackwater, Xe, et al, provide documentation of your injuries to the DoD they have just admitted that you are indeed injured and to what extent.

Specific information regarding injury/death: Description of the situation causing the injury/death in detail to include the date, time, place, and scene of the incident, and official medical documentation of the employee’s injuries and treatment. The description must be well documented, including the names of witnesses and point of contact (POC) for additional medical information, if needed.

These admissions sure would make it hard for Administrative Law Judges like Paul C Johnson to name them as alleged.   ALJ Paul C Johnson has yet to award benefits to a DBA Claimant in a decision based on a hearing.

KBR who can never seem to find their injured employees medical records holds the key to the Defense of Freedom Medal.

Certainly there are other lawsuits outside of the DBA that the withholding of this information is vital too.

For those of you who still give a damn after being abused by so badly simply because you were injured-

The Defense of Freedom Medal may find you many years down the road once an Administrative Law Judge says you were injured.

We recommend that you contact your Congressional Representative or Senator and have them request this Medal if you qualify for it and would like to have it.

If you are still litigating your claim it SHOULD serve to legitimize your alleged injuries.

May 31, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, DynCorp, Halliburton, KBR, Lawsuits, War Hazards Act | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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