Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Ex-military contractor gets prison for bribery

Chron AP Texas News

HOUSTON — A former senior employee of a U.S. military employee got a three-year-and-one-month prison sentence for her part in a conspiracy to bribe Army contracting officials at a U.S. base in Kuwait.

Dorothy Ellis was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy to bribe public officials. U.S. District Judge David Hittner of Houston also ordered the 53-eyar-old Texas City woman to serve three years of probation and pay $360,000 in restitution. She’s the 14th of 16 people charged in the case to plead guilty.

Maj. Eddie Pressley and his wife Eurica Pressley are scheduled for trial in a Decatur, Ala., federal court Jan. 31. They allegedly took $2.8 million in bribes from a contractor who delivered bottled water and building fences in Kuwait and Iraq.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq, Kuwait | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Investigation into CIA contractors sheds light on agency’s torture policy

Contractors strike deal for CIA-funded legal aid


A federal inquiry into two CIA contractors is providing further insight into the US intelligence agency’s use of torture tactics in interrogations and its network of secret prisons during the height of the war on terror.

Federal prosecutor John Durham is leading an investigation into whether any operatives or contractors for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) accused of using torture on terror suspects in secret detention centers around the world should face criminal charges. If found guilty, CIA operatives and their civilian counterparts could not only feel the full weight of the US justice system, but be tried under international law as well.

“The use of torture is forbidden under US domestic law,” Anthony Dworkin, a senior policy fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations working on human rights, international justice and international humanitarian law, told Deutsche Welle.

In addition, the Torture Act criminalizes any act of torture carried out by a US citizen overseas. During armed conflict, the use of torture as well as cruel and inhuman treatment are violations of the law of armed conflict; in such cases they can be prosecuted in the United States under the War Crimes Act.

“Torture in armed conflict is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and torture committed as part of a widespread or systematic campaign might be a crime against humanity,” Dworkin said. “In these cases, it could be prosecuted before an international court or tribunal if it has the jurisdiction.”

Please read  the entire story here

January 25, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, Legal Jurisdictions | , , | Leave a comment

Judge tosses lawsuit against Blackwater over contractor deaths in Iraq after 6 years

A congressional investigation concurred with that view, calling Blackwater an “unprepared and disorderly” organization on the day of the ambush.

Blackwater suit tossed 7 years after grisly deaths

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit that blamed the security company formerly known as Blackwater for the deaths of four contractors killed in a grisly 2004 ambush on the restive streets of Iraq.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox said court-ordered arbitration fell apart because neither side was paying the costs of that process, so he decided to shut the case nearly seven years after the killings. Katy Helvenston, the mother of contractor Scott Helvenston, said Tuesday the families couldn’t afford the costs, and she fears the case is over. The lawsuit was filed about a year after the men’s deaths.

“It’s pretty much destroyed my life,” Helvenston said. “I haven’t known one moment of joy since Scotty was slaughtered. I think the worst party is the betrayal from my country. I feel so betrayed.”

Insurgents killed the four contractors, then mutilated the bodies, dragged the charred remains through the streets and hung two of the corpses from a bridge. Images from the scene were relayed around the world, and the event triggered a massive U.S. military siege known as the Battle of Fallujah.

Survivors of the contractors contend Blackwater failed to prepare the men for their mission and didn’t provide them with appropriate equipment, such as a map. Helvenston, Jerry Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague were sent in Mitsubishi SUVs to guard a supply convoy. Their survivors argued they should have been given armored vehicles.

A congressional investigation concurred with that view, calling Blackwater an “unprepared and disorderly” organization on the day of the ambush.

Blackwater, however, argued that the men were betrayed by the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and targeted in a well-planned ambush. The company said the result of the ambush likely would have been the same even if they had stronger weapons, armored vehicles, maps or even more men.

Following a 2007 shooting in Baghdad, Blackwater changed its management, name and eventually its ownership. USTC Holdings, an investment firm with ties to founder Erik Prince, acquired the company that’s now called Xe Services in December. The deal includes its training facility in Moyock, N.C.

Daniel Callahan, an attorney representing the survivors, said they plan to appeal the ruling. Helvenston said she doesn’t expect success from further appeals.

An attorney for Xe didn’t immediately repond to requests seeking comment.

See Background Setback for families suing Blackwater

Fox 43 Pennsylvania Fox News

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit that accused the security company formerly known as Blackwater of wrongful death, closing the case more than six years after four company contractors were killed in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox said in his decision that neither side was paying for court-ordered arbitration. The mother of one of the contractors said Tuesday the families couldn’t afford the costs and that the case appears over.

Insurgents killed the four contractors in a March 2004 ambush, then mutilated the bodies before dragging the charred remains through the streets and hanging two from a bridge.

Survivors of the men contend Blackwater failed to prepare them for the mission and didn’t provide them with appropriate equipment.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gunmen kidnap contractor in Mosul

Aswat al-Iraq The First Independent News Agency in Iraq

NINEWA / Aswat al-Iraq: Unknown gunmen kidnapped a contractor on Monday in eastern Mosul, according to a security source.
“Unknown gunmen kidnapped a civilian contractor near his house in al-Muthanna neighborhood, eastern Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
“The man received a phone call from unknown people, claiming they want to sign a deal with him,” the source explained, pointing out that he went to them and then disappeared.
He did not give further details.
Mosul, the capital of Ninewa, lies 405 km north of Baghdad.

Thanks to Iraq Today for this

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Marine, Steve Greenoe, faces gun smuggling trial

Raleigh native charged with smuggling guns to England

UKPA Associated Press via Google

A former Marine faces trial in the United States accused of smuggling more than 60 handguns into Britain in his luggage.

Steven Greenoe, 37, is alleged to have imported at least 66 weapons into the country from his home in North Carolina.

Police fear many of the guns, which included Glock and Ruger 9mm pistols, were sold to criminal gangs in north-west England.

One drive-by shooting in Wythenshawe, Manchester, last October, in which a man was hit in the leg, allegedly involved a gun linked to Greenoe.

Documents posted in US courts reveal the suspected gun runner was stopped by security staff but talked his way on to a flight. He claimed to be an arms salesman returning from a gun show and that the broken-down weapons parts were harmless dummy samples.

Former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism chief Andy Hayman said details of the case are “genuinely shocking”.

Writing in a national newspaper, he said: “This makes a mockery of the stringent checks we all endure at US airports, such as removing our shoes and belts, having our toothpaste confiscated and all the other irritants. Steven Greenoe’s guns could just have easily been bombs.”

Greenoe, who lived with his British wife Elizabeth in Frankwell, Shrewsbury, styled himself online as a “security and investigations” specialist. Investigators have linked him to 10 flights that flew to Manchester via Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Atlanta last year.

The latest indictment posted in a North Carolina court outlines how he is accused of illegally buying and exporting firearms. Greenoe, who remains in custody, is due to go on trial in the United States Eastern District Court of North Carolina in March.

Greenoe was also charged with making false statements at a string of gun shops across the US state. The offences took place between February and July last year and involve 63 weapons sold for around 500 US dollars (£316) each.

Please see the original here


January 25, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , | Leave a comment

Afghans Purge Hundreds of Top Cops as NATO Cheers

by Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room

Over the past year, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior has fired hundreds of leading police officials, according to a forthcoming NATO report on the Afghan security services. And that purge is just the beginning, even as police ranks are scheduled to expand.

As of November, the newly-appointed Afghan interior minister, Bismullah Mohammadi, has “changed 32 top ministerial leaders and many top provincial leaders” in his first four months on the job, according to a report on institutional development at the ministries of Interior and Defense prepared for the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. That’s on top of the elimination of “hundreds” of top police “leadership positions leadership positions deemed to be wasteful or redundant” over the past year. And “thousands of patronage positions” are expected to be jettisoned in the coming months.

Even though NATO is rushing to get more police in uniform so the cops can help Afghan soldiers take over security responsibilities from the U.S. by 2014, NATO is cheering the purge on. The Afghan police have had persistent problems with competence, corruption and even basic literacy. The report, acquired by Danger Room and scheduled for public release on Thursday, judges that Mohammadi’s firings, along with other recent “major reforms” to the ministry, will “help reduce bureaucracy, negative incentives and corruption.”

NATO is also hopeful about Mohammadi’s new squad. The new deputy for strategy and policy is getting rid of “thousands of patronage positions” from the ministry. The new logistics chief is “honestly assessing shortfalls” in equipping the cops, after accountability was “negligible” last summer. The new commander of the elite police force, the Afghan National Civil Order Police, is stressing “ethics, training [and] professionalism.”

If that sounds like faint praise, it speaks to how far the Afghan police still have to go before they can keep the peace without U.S. mentorship. Police units are often short on necessities like fuel and ammunition, and at times they use raids on suspected Taliban as opportunities to shake down civilians. Others make money on the side by helping the drug trade. Not many of them can read beyond a kindergarten level.

NATO’s training effort for the cops has its own problems. In November, its leader, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell said he was still short hundreds of police trainers. The U.S. Army has made up for some of that by re-awarding a billion-dollar training contract to DynCorp, the same contractor that’s mentored the cops for nearly a decade’s worth of under-performance. One of Gen. David Petraeus’ first Afghanistan initiatives was to deputize “local police units” – don’t call them “militias” — as an auxiliary force.

NATO sees reasons for optimism in the months ahead. A new law provides retirement benefits for cops, which helps get rid of “Soviet-era” police brass who’ve stuck around for a paycheck, something the report says “increased corruption in the lower ranks” by example. Over the next year, the interior ministry will add four more police training facilities around Afghanistan, allowing 18,000 more cops to be trained at any given time.

And the defense ministry, which is considered a more competent institution, is becoming more closely involved in the police’s development, “transferring small arms” to its sister ministry, “formalizing joint training, and improving information sharing.” It’s part of what NATO wants to see in 2012: less NATO teaching Afghans how to soldier and police, and more Afghans teaching each other those skills.

Whether that can happen remains to be seen. The report goes into a lot of detail about institutional improvements in both the defense and interior ministries. But it notes that even as the ministries are scheduled to add another 39,000 soldiers and cops this year — despite the Interior Ministry’s purge — poor literacy rates remain a problem: 50,000 security personnel have received literacy training, with 42,000 currently enrolled. And it doesn’t mention any pay increases for security forces, even though the Taliban’s estimated pay is about even or even better than what the Afghan government dishes out — another factor contributing to poor performance and corruption.

If there’s change coming to the Afghan police, the U.S. needs to rush to put it in place: by 2014, U.S. troops are supposed to relinquish a leading role in securing Afghanistan to the national police and army. But don’t think that’s going to mean the end of U.S. involvement in the Afghan security forces. The NATO training command estimates that it’ll cost $6 billion a year, indefinitely, to sustain the security infrastructure the U.S. is building — and given the dire state of Afghanistan’s economy, that cash is likely to come in large part from the U.S. taxpayer. The U.S. can buy good cops or it can buy bad cops, but chances are it’s going to be paying no matter what.  Please see the original here

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, DynCorp, NATO, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment