Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Hungarian UN Employee Freed in Sudan’s Darfur Province

Earthtimes.org via undpi.org
Nairobi/Khartoum – A Hungarian citizen working for the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s restive Darfur province has been released after 90 days in captivity, the UN said.
The mission, known as UNAMID, said in a statement that the man appeared to be in good health after his release on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are thankful to have our colleague back with us, safe and sound,” said UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari.
Armed men took the Hungarian and two colleagues from their home in the North Darfur town of El Fasher on October 7, although the others managed to escape from the moving vehicle they were bundled into.
The release came as “the result of the efforts of the Sudanese authorities,” UNAMID said.
Kidnappings of aid workers and peacekeepers for ransom are common in Darfur, which has been plagued by conflict and insecurity since 2003, when mainly non-Arab tribesmen took up arms against what they called decades of neglect and discrimination by Khartoum.
The UN estimates 300,000 people have died and almost 3 million have been displaced as a result of the conflict, while Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.
UNAMID said ten peacekeepers in total have been abducted since the mission began in 2008, but it said it would not be “deterred by such acts of violence and criminal activities against its peacekeepers.”   Please see the original here

January 6, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defense Dept Drops some big weapons systems

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is also seeking to reduce the Pentagon’s reliance on civilian contractors

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) The Defense Department said Thursday that it would terminate the Army’s expeditionary fighting vehicle and suspend purchases of the Marine Corps’ F-35 jet fighter, shifting the funds to higher-priority programs.

The cuts, part of a broader effort to find more than $100 billion in savings in the department’s budget, were called necessary because of the programs’ ballooning development costs.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is also seeking to reduce the Pentagon’s reliance on civilian contractors, as well as consolidate IT data and command centers. Energy consumption is also a concern, with savings to be reinvested in improving combat forces and infrastructure.  Please read the entire story here

January 6, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, Pentagon | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCIS Investigation Determines Lance Corp Joshua Birchfields death by Afghan PSC Negligent Homicide

See all related stories on this death and investigation

January 5, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS)

The following are excerpts from this story, please visit WLS to read the full story and see the video

A military investigation into the battlefield death of Indiana Marine Joshua Birchfield has found it was a negligent homicide.

Lance Corporal Josh Birchfield is the only service member to have been murdered by an American-paid security contractor.

The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has now officially determined what the I-Team first reported last March: that Birchfield was gunned down by a private Afghan guard paid under a pentagon security contract.

It didn’t have to end this way and shouldn’t have, according to a report by the NCIS, which investigates non combat deaths of navy personnel and whether crimes were committed.

NCIS investigators determined that on February 19, 2009 a crime was committed when 24-year-old Lance Corporal Birchfield was shot in the head and killed while on patrol in the Farah province.

According to the agency’s 220-page final report:

  • the shooter was working security for a construction company, on a government contract
  • he spotted a group of armed men and opened fire
  • it was a U.S. Marine patrol
  • a suspected bag of opium was found at the guard post
  • but the guard wasn’t drug tested because he confessed to the shooting calling it “a big mistake”, then later claimed he thought he was shooting at ducks
  • the conclusion: Birchfield’s death was “senseless and tragic’
  • the unnamed security guard was sentenced to 15 years in prison

January 6, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment