Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Six Filipinos killed in cargo plane crash near Kabul

The official refused to name the fatalities pending confirmation of their identities

Manila: The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that six Filipinos were among the eight fatalities in Wednesday’s cargo plane crash near the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Ed Malaya said they received information from the Philippine Embassy in Pakistan confirming that six Filipinos were among the dead in Wednesday’s crash of a C-130 cargo aircraft operated by PAE Justice Support.

PAE Justice Support is a private contractor operating in Afghanistan which provides logisitical support and security services at the Bagram Air Base, a facility operated by the United States military.

Identities withheld

The official refused to name the fatalities pending confirmation of their identities and upon notification of their next of kin.

Aside from the six Filipinos an Indian and a Kenyan national, were also killed in the crash.

The eight were passengers of a cargo plane owned by Trans Afrique a Ghana firm contracted by a US firm. The plane was en route from Bagram Air Base to Kabul Airport when it crashed in the vicinity of Kabul.

Malaya said a joint Afghan-international security force is conducting a search and retrieval mission.

The Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs has directed the Embassy to provide assistance and to coordinate with their employers for the repatriation of the remains and entitlement to benefits.

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties | , , | Leave a comment

13 million Afghans at risk of contracting Leishmaniasis, says WHO

Leishmaniasis in Afghanistan Relief Web

14 October 2010 | Kabul, Afghanistan – The World Health Organization (WHO) today launched its first global report on neglected tropical diseases. In light of an ongoing Leishmaniasis outbreak in Herat, Afghanistan, WHO along with the Ministry of Public Health and the Afghan Red Crescent Society used this opportunity to raise awareness about and advocate for neglected diseases in Afghanistan, with special emphasis on Leishmaniasis, a disease that threatens the health of 13 million vulnerable Afghans, especially women and girls.

In Kabul, commonly considered as the world capital of [Cutaneous] Leishmaniasis, the number of new reported cases dramatically rose from the estimated yearly figure of 17,000 to 65,000 in 2009, mainly among women and girls.

“This number is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as cases are grossly underreported owing to poor diagnostic tools and the stigma that is attached to this disease,” claimed Peter Graaff, WHO Representative to Afghanistan.

[Cutaneous] Leishmanisis is a parasitic disease transmitted through the bite of certain species of sandfly. The major symptom is skin sores which erupt weeks to months after the person has been bitten.

Leishmaniasis is both preventable and curable. Preventable through bed nets, and curable through medical treatment.

Editor’s note:  There is NO STERILE CURE FOR LEISHMANIASIS so do your best not to get it

Leishmaniasis is treatable, not curable

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Leishmaniasis, Safety and Security Issues | , , | Leave a comment

UN contractor injured in rebel attack

Columbia Reports

A topographer working for the United Nations, four policemen and three workers were injured on Wednesday when alleged FARC guerrillas attacked a group of coca eradicators, authorities said.

The attack took place in the area of the Pacific coastal town of Tumaco in the south western department of Nariño.

According to national authorities, FARC guerrillas fired grenades at the group of workers who were eradicating coca and marijuana plants.

The topographer was taken to a Bogota hospital for treatment. One of the injured policemen was taken to a hospital in Cali. The other injured were treated locally.

According to the U.N., topographers are sent on eradication missions to map the locations where eradications take place.  Original Story here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Columbia, Contractor Casualties, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Linda Norgrove, An aid worker’s courageous success

By Trudy Rubin at the Philadelphia Inquirer

Inquirer Opinion Columnist

Linda Norgrove’s approach was risky – and effective.
n April, I traveled around eastern Afghanistan with an extraordinary British aid worker, Linda Norgrove. I have a photo of her dressed in a long, black skirt and loose tunic, her hair under an enveloping shawl, as she stood beside several Afghan elders. I recall the respect those grizzled men showed her as she discussed their new crops, which had replaced opium poppy fields.But hard-line militants, who couldn’t care less about Afghan farmers, kidnapped Norgrove two weeks ago as she drove to the site of an irrigation project in Kunar province. She was killed during an attempted rescue by U.S. special forces last week. She was 36 years old. 

There’s an ongoing investigation into whether Linda was accidentally killed by her American rescuers, and the debate over whether she could have been freed through negotiations rather than military action. I may have more to say about this later, but that’s not what I want to write about now.

I think it’s more important that people know about Linda’s commitment and courage, and why the project she directed produced results while so many Western aid projects fail.

I traveled to Jalalabad to visit Linda’s program, which was run by the U.S.-based contractor DAI and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, because I’d heard it was totally focused on Afghans. At the time, Linda was deputy director, preparing to take the reins of the $150 million program to improve Afghan agriculture.

There were only two expatriates on the project (and only one after Linda took over) directing 200 Afghan staff, including engineers, architects, and agronomists. Linda lived in a rented Afghan villa, a two-story home with a walled garden, as is common in Afghan cities. Dressed like an ordinary Afghan woman, she traveled in a car without extensive security or a military escort.

Yes, this was risky. But living outside protected compounds and military bases allowed Linda to establish relationships with village elders, who in turn protected the projects. As her colleague Jonathan Greenham noted, “Arriving with several Humvees is not the best way to drink tea with folks.”

I saw the results of these relationships. As we stood by the Shamshapoor bridge outside Jalalabad, Afghan elders explained that a previous bridge had been washed away because a foreign contractor didn’t know the river could rise five feet in a few hours.  Read more here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, NATO, USAID | , , , | Leave a comment

2 charged in Iraq contract bribery case

UPI US News

NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 13 (UPI) — A former U.S. employee and a foreign contractor were charged Wednesday with conspiring to bribe a public official to win lucrative contracts in Iraq.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a release federal agents arrested former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project engineer John Alfy Salama Markus, aka John Salama, at his home in Nazareth, Pa. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official and to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of money laundering. Salama, 38, was to appear before a federal magistrate in Newark, N.J.

Ahmed Nouri, aka “Ahmed Bahjat,” a 40-year-old British citizen who is vice president of operations for Iraqi Consultants & Construction Bureau, was still at large. He is charged in the bribery count of the criminal complaint with conspiring with Salama.

Nouri’s firm is a privately owned foreign engineering and construction company that has been awarded millions in Iraqi reconstruction contracts.

“Given the opportunity to build a better future for people in that country, Salama, an employee of the Army Corp of Engineers, negotiated kickbacks to build himself a house,” Fishman said.

Federal authorities allege that between 2007 and 2008 Salama funneled confidential bidding information to ICCB through Nouri and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes from ICCB through Nouri in return.

Original story here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dutch court to free Iraq insurgent who plotted to kill Americans

Wednesday, October 13, 2010; 8:31 PM

The United States denounced a Dutch court’s decision on Wednesday to grant an early release from prison to a Dutch citizen who had been sentenced to a 25-year term for conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq.

“We are extremely disappointed in the Rotterdam District Court’s decision to release Wesam al-Delaema from prison after serving less than six years, and rejecting the 16-year prison term recommended by Dutch prosecutors,” Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said.

Delaema was convicted by a U.S. court, then later transferred to Dutch custody. He agreed to accept a 25-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.

It was unclear whether Delaema had been freed by late Wednesday, but a spokesman for the Dutch national proscutor said his release was imminent.

Delaema, who grew up in Iraq and became a Dutch citizen in 2001, admitted traveling to Iraq in 2003 to be a member of an insurgent group in Fallujah.  Read more here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , | Leave a comment

Aus businessman arrested in India, to be extradited to US

MSN International  by Lalit K Jha
Washington, Oct 14 (PTI) An Australian national working as a senior construction manager for an intergovernmental organisation in Afghanistan, who has been detained by CBI in India, will be extradited to the US, the Department of Justice has said.

Neil P Campbell, 60, was indicted on August 19 by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges of taking bribe as an agent of an organisation receiving federal funds.

The indictment was unsealed following his detention in New Delhi yesterday by CBI sleuths.

According to the indictment, Campbell worked for the International Organisation on Migration (IOM), which has received more than USD 260 million since 2002 from USAID.

IOM has worked closely with both the US and Afghanistan governments to construct hospitals, schools and other facilities.

The indictment alleges that from May 25 until August 5 in Afghanistan Campbell corruptly solicited a bribe for awarding sub-contracts funded by USAID.

According to the indictment, he allegedly solicited a one-time cash payment of USD 190,000 to allow a sub-contractor in Afghanistan to continue working on projects to build a hospital and provincial teaching college.

“There is too much at stake in Afghanistan to tolerate individuals who corrupt efforts to build schools and hospitals by lining their own pockets,” US Attorney Machen stated.

Campbell, a citizen of Australia, is now facing extradition from India to the US to answer to this charge.

The maximum penalty on the bribery charge is 10 years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, the likely prison term for the offense is in the range of 41 to 51 months.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

“This arrest serves as a strong warning to all who defraud the US in Afghanistan that they will be found and held accountable, regardless of citizenship,” said Arnold Fields, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. PTI LKJ  Original story here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, USAID | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan disbands security firm

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the dissolution of a security firm based in Nirmuz Province in a bid to improve security across the war-ravaged country.

The Afghan authorities have removed the firm’s arsenal, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday, adding that the government has banned several foreign security companies over the past weeks.

The move comes days after Afghanistan officially banned eight foreign security firms, including American contractor Xe Services LLC, formerly known as Blackwater.

The company has been struggling with a trail of legal cases and civil lawsuits, including one for killing 17 Iraqi civilians during a Baghdad shootout in 2007.

Earlier this year, Karzai called for the foreign security guards to be removed from the streets of Afghanistan over the next few months.

Karzai accused the security companies of running what he called an economic mafia based on crooked contracts.

The private companies are said to be in charge of providing security for foreign officials and embassies as well as development projects in Afghanistan. 

Karzai has said foreign security firms are only worsening the security situation in Afghanistan.

Most of the foreign mercenaries are believed to have close ties with the Afghan warlords.

They are also accused of contributing to the rising number of civilian casualties in the country.

Original Story here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

Afghan firms “pay off Taliban with foreign cash”

Reuters Africa By Hamid Shalizi

KABUL (Reuters) – Cash from the U.S. military and international donors destined for construction and welfare projects in restive parts of Afghanistan is ending up in the hands of insurgents, a contractor and village elders said.

The alliance of largely Western nations who back President Hamid Karzai and have nearly 150,000 troops on Afghan soil have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on aid and infrastructure since they ousted the Taliban from power in late 2001.

However with violence spreading and the insurgency bloodier than ever, some construction firms and workers on development projects say they are having to hand over some of their earnings to insurgents to protect their personnel, projects or equipment.

Mohammad Ehsan said he was forced to pay insurgents a substantial part of a $1.2 million (755,000 pound) contract he won from the U.S. military two months ago to repair a road in Logar province south of Kabul, after they kidnapped his brother and demanded the cash.

“You know we need this American money to help us fund our Jihad,” Ehsan quoted them saying when he eventually spent over $200,000 of the project money to secure his brother’s freedom.

Ehsan said the insurgents also demanded the cash be changed out of dollars into Afghan or Pakistani currency, saying greenbacks are “Haram” or forbidden for Muslims.

Paying off militants is common across Afghanistan, where it is hard to work in villages or remote areas without greasing the palms of local insurgent commanders, said Ehsan.  Read more here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors | , , , | Leave a comment

Upsurge of kala-azar (leishmaniasis) cases in Southern Sudan

8 October 2010 ¦ Juba, Sudan — Sudan Tribune

Recurrent outbreaks of visceral leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease also known as kala-azar, have been reported in Southern Sudan, with 6363 cases and 303 deaths (case fatality rate of 4.7%) recorded since outbreaks began in September 2009. The number of cases is more than six times higher than the same period starting in 2007 (when 758 cases were recorded) and 2008 (582 cases). Most affected patients (70%) are children aged under 15 years who already suffer from concurrent malnutrition and other secondary illnesses.  Read more here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Safety and Security Issues, Sudan, Toxic | , , , , | Leave a comment