Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Federal judge returns shooting lawsuit involving company once known as Blackwater to NC court

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Survivors and estates of Iraqis killed during an infamous 2007 shooting involving a U.S. security company’s contractors cannot sue the firm or its workers in federal court, a judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle said in his decision that nonresident aliens are typically unable to sue in federal court for injuries sustained outside the country. He sent the case back to a North Carolina court, where the lawsuit was initially filed.

“We intend to vigorously pursue our claims,” said attorney Jim Roberts, who represents the Iraqi survivors who brought suit. He said he was pleased that the case was returning to Wake County. The plaintiffs had argued that nonresident aliens are permitted to sue in North Carolina courts.

The lawsuit accuses the security company formerly known as Blackwater and its contractors of wrongful death and negligence in the shooting that killed 17 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. It was filed on behalf of three people killed in the shooting — Ali Kinani, Abrahem Abed Al Mafraje and Mahde Sahab Naser Shamake — along with survivors of the dead and others who were wounded.

Attorneys for the company, now known as Xe Services, argued last year that Blackwater contractors were essentially acting as employees of the U.S. government because they were providing security to State Department personnel. Because of that, the government should serve as the target of the lawsuit, lawyers argued.

Boyle did not issue an opinion on that question. An attorney for the company did not immediately return a call Wednesday.

The Blackwater shooting became a flashpoint of the Iraq war, straining relations between Washington and Baghdad. Five of the company contractors were initially charged with manslaughter for their role. A federal judge dismissed those charges a year ago, citing missteps by the government.

A sixth contractor, Jeremy Ridgeway, pleaded guilty in the criminal case.

Please see the original here

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , | 1 Comment

More Blackwater Bullshit

Mothers:  No Justice for our Son’s Slaughtered in Iraq

The company has no comment on this
pending legal matter except to say that the dismissed claims were
precluded by law under the Defense Base Act’s workers’
compensation system, and

that the company continues to provide
survivors’ benefits to the families under that system.”

Blackwater has not spent on dime on DBA insurance.  Eric Prince even testified before Congress that DBA insurance was cost reimburable to Blackwater.

If the survivors are being paid DBA benefits it is the insurance company paying them, not Blackwater.  The Insurance Company will be reimbursed any benefits they pay out plus an administrative fee by the US Taxpayer.

While we’re on taxpayers, these four slaughtered sons were misclassified by Blackwater as independent contractors for tax purposes and misrepresented as employees for the purpose of obtaining DBA insurance.

Blackwater has not missed a profit aside from their legal fees which would have been better spent supporting these families.

By 2oo4 Contractors would have known what they were getting into but no one expected to be sacrificed so you could cut corners

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Follow the Money, Iraq, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | 1 Comment

Rufford “Hobby Hobson” EOD Contractor Obituary

Farewell Good Friend

Rufford “Hobby Hobson”

Visitation will be in the J.W. Call Funeral Home Chapel at 12 noon on Saturday.

Funeral services will be 1:00 p.m. Saturday, January 29, 2011 in the J.W. Call Funeral Home Chapel.

Burial will follow in the Johnson Memorial Park at Pikeville, Ky.

Military services will be conducted at the gravesite by the Wright Patterson Airforce.

Rufford Butler “Hobby” Hobson, age 79, of Hickory Creek, Texas, passed away, December 19, 2010 in Hickory Creek, Texas.
He was born in Floyd County, Kentucky on October 9, 1931 the son of the late Edgar and Hazel Nunnery Hobson.
Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by one brother, William Edgar (Billy) Hobson.

He served in the US Army and then the US Air Force where he retired a CMsgt.

He continued to serve his country in Bomb Disposal until his death.

He served in Korea and Vietnam. He loved his country.

Among his many achievements in the Air Force were, Bronze Star, Air Force Conduct Medal with Six Oakleaf Clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, NCO Professional Military Education Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal with Three Knots, Korean Service Medal with One Star, Air Forc Longevity Service Ribbon with Six Oakleaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with One Star, Vietnam Service Medal with Four Bronze Stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palms, Republic of Vietnam Compaign Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Air Force Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with One Oakleaf Cluster, Vietnam Honor Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Master EOD Badge, Master Missile Badge.

He is survived by three daughters, Rhonda Coleman (Ronald) of Tampa, FL, Deborah Bass (Eugene) of Seffner, FL and Belinda Torres (Andres) of Seffner, FL.
Two sisters, Josephine Hall of Pikeville, KY and Gaye Hall of Banner, KY.
Seven Grandchildren, Mark Coleman, Jerry O’Neill, Dale O’Neill, Jennifer Tellez, Gene Bass, Ariel Torres and Yesenia Tores.
Ten Great-Grandchildren, Anthony Coelman, Drew O’Neill, Andrew Coleman, Dustin Coleman, Hayley Farr, Katelyn Farr, Gabriel Tellez, Kaylee O’Neill, Anneliese Tellez and Elaine Torres.
Serving as Pallbearers will, Eugene Bass, Andres Torres, Jerry O’Neill, Dale O’Neill, Gene Bass and Drew O’Neill.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the D.A.V. Chapter of Johns Creek, 658 Rock Road, Pikeville, Ky. 41501.

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Ronco | , , , , , | 2 Comments

DoD Contract Awards January 25, 2011

DoD Contracts

AIR FORCE

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Defense Systems Division of Herndon, Va. was awarded a $49,694,900 contract which will research, develop, and deliver an integrated software solution that improves upon the targeting functionality currently performed by Air Force and joint targeting automation software.  At this time, $2,173 has been obligated.  Air Force Research Laboratory/RIKF, Rome, N.Y., is the contracting activity (FA8750-11-D-0001; basic orders 0001 and 0002).

The Boeing Co., of Wichita, Kan., was awarded a $13,168,213 contract modification which will provide for Option Year II support for one of two special air mission aircraft assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., which provides air transportation for the President.  At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. OC-ALC/GKSKB, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-09-C-0005; PO0022).

NAVY

Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., Windsor Locks, Conn., is being awarded a $24,636,056 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for procurement and installation of Electronic Propeller Control System kits into the C-130T aircraft for the Navy Reserves (up to 20) and the LC-130H aircraft for the Air Force National Guard (up to 5), including non-recurring engineering, technical and logistics services.  Work will be performed in Windsor Locks, Conn. (65 percent), and Crestview, Fla. (35 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2013.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contracts combines purchases for the Navy Reserves ($20,490,770; 83 percent) and the Air Force National Guard ($4,145,286; 17 percent).  This contract was not competitively procured.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-11-D-0008).

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc., Newport News, Va., is being awarded $10,960,474 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2110) in support of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) engineering detailed design.  Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to complete in September 2015.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion and Repair, Newport News, Va., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY

Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training & Support, Orlando, Fla., is being awarded a $7,360,467 modification to a cost plus fixed-fee contract (HR0011-10-C-0042).  This award is for the National Cyber Range (NCR) program.  The contractor will build on the preliminary design created in Phase I and tasks that have been accomplished in Phase II to date.  At the completion of the revised Phase II program, the contractor will demonstrate the capabilities of the flexible automated Cyber Test Range NCR.  The Phase I and Revised Phase II deliverables including the Concept of Operations and the Detailed Engineering Plan (DEP) are the basis of the revised Phase II effort.  Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla. (69.810 percent); Cherry Hill, N.J. (16.262 percent); Princeton, N.J. (4.073 percent); Columbia, Md. (0.120 percent); Albuquerque, N.M. (1.033 percent); San Antonio, Texas (0.002 percent); Washington, D.C., (8.700 percent).  The work is expected to be completed July 7, 2011.  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity.

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Contract Awards, Government Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IED casualties in Afghanistan spike

How many Contractor Deaths and Injured due to IED’s?

The number of U.S. troops killed by roadside bombs in Afghanistan soared by 60 percent last year, while the number of those wounded almost tripled, new U.S. military statistics show.

Justice for Injured Contractors

by Craig Whitlock at The Washington Post

All told, 268 U.S. troops were killed by the improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in 2010, about as many as in the three previous years combined, according to the figures, obtained by The Washington Post. More than 3,360 troops were injured, an increase of 178 percent over the year before.

Military officials said an increase in attacks was expected, given the surge in U.S. and NATO troops, as well as the intensified combat. Even so, the spike comes despite a fresh wave of war-zone countermeasures, including mine-clearing machines, fertilizer-sniffing dogs and blimps with sophisticated spy cameras.

The U.S. military has struggled for years to find an antidote to the homemade explosives. IEDs – concocted primarily of fertilizer and lacking metal or electronic parts that would make them easier to detect – are the largest single cause of casualties for U.S. troops, by a wide margin.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael L. Oates, the director of a Pentagon agency dedicated to combating the bombs, noted that the percentage of IED attacks that have inflicted casualties – on U.S., NATO and Afghan forces, as well as Afghan civilians – has actually declined in recent months, from 25 percent last summer to 16 percent in December, according to U.S. military statistics.

“My main concern is driving these effective attacks down,” he said. “We’re enjoying success there, and I do believe we’re going to continue to reduce [the enemy’s] effectiveness.”

Oates and other military officials have emphasized figures showing that IEDs killed fewer troops in the NATO-led coalition last year than in 2009 – a slight decline, from 447 to 430.

A further examination of those numbers, however, shows that casualty rates among U.S. troops have skyrocketed as they have taken over responsibility from European allies for fighting in southern Afghanistan, where resistance from insurgents has been most fierce. Meanwhile, casualty rates among allies have dropped.  Please read the entire story here

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Van Oord Bags Dredging Contract in Iraq

Van Oord has been awarded the dredging contract for the Iraq crude oil export expansion project off the coast of Iraq in the Arabian Gulf.

Dredging Today

The client is the South Oil Company of Iraq. Van Oord will be working for main contractor Leighton based in Australia. The contract value for Van Oord amounts to some 100 million US Dollar. Work will start immediately and continue until the end of 2011. After completing the maintenance dredging project in the port of Umm Qasr in 2003, this is Van Oord’s next project in Iraq.

Van Oord will be dredging a 43-kilometre-long trench and the turning basins around three oil loading buoys. The project site is located at the mouth of the river Euphrat. Van Oord will be deploying its largest trailing suction hopper dredger HAM 318 and two cutter suction dredgers.The HAM 318 will be working at a distance of approximately 40 km off shore. The cutter suction dredgers will be working closer to the coast. During project execution all employees will remain offshore.  Please read the original here

 

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Contract Awards, Iraq | , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. office urges halt in funds for Iraq security institute

by Walter Pincus at The Washington Post

A top U.S. oversight office has recommended that the United States halt further funding for a $26 million education academy for senior Iraqi security officials after discovering that the Iraqi government had never agreed to operate or maintain the facility.

The United States has spent more than $13 million on the project.

“At this point, it is unclear if the GOI [Government of Iraq] will budget for the operations and maintenance of the IIA [Iraqi International Academy] upon completion,” said Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, in a report sent to the Central Command’s Gen. James N. Mattis and released Tuesday. “Without such an agreement, U.S. funds spent on construction are at risk of being wasted, as are the funds planned to equip and furnish the facility,” Bowen added.

Please read the entire article here

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Iraq, SIGIR | , , , | Leave a comment

Hawaii man’s family will appeal dismissal of Blackwater lawsuit

“Our courts have long been a place where all citizens have equal access to justice.  The ruling here turns that principal on its head.  The families of the decedents are now being denied the ability to present their case against Blackwater simply because they do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay the private arbitrators.”

by Gregg K Kakesato at the Star Advertiser

The family of a Big Island man killed in a horrific ambush in Fallujah, Iraq seven years ago will appeal a federal court decision that dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the security company formerly known as Blackwater, the family’s attorney said.

Paauilo resident Wesley Batalona and three other civilian military contractors died in a March 31, 2004 ambush. Insurgents led a mob which mutilated and set fire to their bodies before dragging the charred remains through the streets and hanging two 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.

Marc Miles, a Southern California attorney who represents June Batalona, Wesley Batalona’s wife, told the Star-Advertiser today said the four men who were hired by Blackwater Security Consulting “have been denied their day in court.”

Last Friday,  U.S. District Judge James C. Fox entered judgment against the families of Wesley Batalona, Scott Helvenston, Jerko “Jerry” Zovko and Michael Teague, finding that court-ordered arbitration fell apart because neither side was paying the costs of that process.

“The families had lost their case against Blackwater because they were not wealthy enough,” Miles said.

In Jan, 5, 2005, Batalona’s family and relatives of the three other contractors filled a wrongful death suit.

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. The men were sent in Mitsubishi SUVs to escort a convoy of three empty trucks to pick up kitchen equipment for a food company, the lawsuit said. 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.

Blackwater countersued the four families seeking $10 million arguing that the families had breached the security guards’ contracts by their wrongful death legal action.

Miles said for years, Blackwater has avoided a trial of these claims against it, through the use of at least five Washington law firms and appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Miles said after losing the appeals, Blackwater forced the case into private arbitration, knowing it could afford the heavy price tag associated with litigating a case in private arbitration.

“Our clients never had the ability to pay,” Miles added, “and we made it clear from the very beginning.”

The three private arbitrators refused to continue the arbitration session because the families could not afford to pay them, Miles added.

Miles said the families petitioned the North Carolina federal court to allow them to return to the North Carolina state court in order to prosecute their case against Blackwater.

But Blackwater attorneys asked the federal court to enter a judgment in its favor and end the entire case, despite the evidence never having been presented and no trial ever having been conducted, Miles added, which a federal judge did last week.

“This is a sad day in the American legal system,” said another attorney for the four families in a written statement. Daniel J. Callahan added: “Our courts have long been a place where all citizens have equal access to justice.  The ruling here turns that principal on its head.  The families of the decedents are now being denied the ability to present their case against Blackwater simply because they do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay the private arbitrators.”  Miles said the appeal should be filed with the 4th federal Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.,  within 60 days.

“We will take it to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary,”  Callahan added.

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Follow the Money, Iraq, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , | 1 Comment