Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Widow of bomb hero Olaf Schmid accuses Army of inquest cover-up

ATTENTION DEPLOYED CONTRACTORS:  Always get a copy of any visit for any kind of medical you receive no matter where you go for help.  Missing medical records are the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies biggest defense when denying you medical and lost wage benefits no matter how seriously you may be injured

The Daily Mail Co Uk

The widow of bomb disposal hero Olaf Schmid has criticised the inquest into his death and accused Army chiefs of covering up the ‘true reasons’ he died.

Christina Schmid, 35, said she felt ‘betrayed’ by the Ministry of Defence.

The inquest last week into the 30-year-old’s death in Afghanistan in 2009 recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

The coroner stated there was ‘nothing in the operation which fell below what might have been expected and that could have contributed to his death’.

But Mrs Schmid said: ‘The inquest was futile and rushed. They didn’t seem to want to look into the true reasons for his death. All they wanted to talk about was what happened to his body parts when I have always been more concerned about what was happening in his brain leading up to that point.’

She added that a fainting fit the staff sergeant had before his death was caused by exhaustion.

Mrs Schmid said: ‘I feel betrayed – but I should have learned by now that the MoD is nothing more than an institution which covers its back and does what’s easiest.’

Sources claimed last night that the MoD had lost the medical records of Staff Sergeant Schmid, who was known to his family and colleagues as Oz.

They say the missing records would have shown that he was suffering medical issues in the lead-up to his death which could have impacted on his ability to do his job.

Staff Sgt Schmid was trying to disarm improvised explosive devices (IEDs) when he was killed the day before he was due to return home for a break. He won a posthumous George Cross for gallantry.

At the inquest in Truro, Cornwall, several of his colleagues gave statements saying he had appeared ‘unsettled and impatient’ after his five-year-old stepson told him in a phone call the night before: ‘Daddy, it’s time to come home.’

But according to sources who knew him, his agitation could also have been the result of the severe digestive complaints he experienced during his five months in Helmand, which were not raised at the inquest.

One source said: ‘It was widely known that Oz suffered from chronic irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.

‘All the boys would joke about it but he was in a lot of discomfort and had to use the toilet up to 15 times a day. He received treatment for his problems during the tour but no evidence exists of this because the MoD have said that they cannot find his medical records.’

Mrs Schmid has previously spoken of the stress her husband was under after working for 129 days without a break.

How dare they blame my son for Olaf’s death:

The widow of Olaf Schmid accused the Army yesterday of trying to blame her young son for the bomb disposal expert’s death.

Christina Schmid, 35, said she felt betrayed by the Ministry of Defence and described his inquest last week as ‘futile and rushed’.

The hearing had been told that the night before Staff Sergeant Schmid died his stepson, Laird, now seven, had told him: ‘Daddy, it’s time to come home.’

It was claimed the poignant phone call had unsettled him just hours before he was due to fly back from Afghanistan for two-weeks leave.

But his distraught wife dismissed the suggestion that he was impatient and suffering from ‘last-day jitters’ when he was killed by an improvised explosive device in October 2009.

She insisted that her husband, posthumously awarded the George Cross, was overworked, stressed and exhausted.

The MoD, she claimed, wanted that ‘brushed under the carpet’ at the inquest because it hoped to mask the shortage of bomb disposal experts in Afghanistan

I feel betrayed but I should have learned by now that the MoD is nothing more than an institution which covers its back. I believe there has been a cover-up because all the facts haven’t come out. I am deeply disappointed by the verdict.’

The inquest was told of a fainting fit her husband had had while on parade a month before his death. Mrs Schmid said it had been caused by him falling asleep standing up – and not dehydration.

She said that according to Army guidelines he should have been on rest and recuperation leave six weeks before his death.

But because of the chronic shortage of bomb disposal experts in Afghanistan – the Army was 50 per cent short at the time – he remained on duty. ‘There were only three of them to do the work when they needed 25,’ said Mrs Schmid. ‘Oz had so many IEDs to deal with he was being made to work at a pace he wasn’t comfortable with.

‘They were trying to say he wanted to work at that tempo. But Oz didn’t think it was right. There was no other option for him.’

Two days before his death he had told his wife he had been working too long without a break.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

Weir’s Saddam bribery profits go to Iraq good causes

AFP

EDINBURGH — Profits confiscated from British engineering firm Weir for paying illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s regime are to be ploughed into Iraqi good causes, the Scottish government announced Sunday.

Some 1.4 million pounds of the 13.9 million pounds of forfeited profits will support water development and other humanitarian causes.

The Glasgow-based firm, which makes pumps and valves for the oil and gas industry, handed over the money at the High Court in Edinburgh last December for breaching United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq before the 2003 invasion.

Weir were also fined three million pounds.

Of the money heading to Iraqi good causes, one million pounds will go to Scottish aid groups to work with Iraqi partners.

Some 300,000 pounds will go towards water development, while the Iraqi Youth Orchestra will be given 100,000 pounds to tour the Edinburgh Festival.

“A top priority is support for water projects in Iraq,” said Scotland’s External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop.

“We are working with the UN to develop proposals that will tackle water development based on the needs identified in the country.

“Scotland has always been a responsible nation and our distinctive approach to international development has made a difference to some of the most vulnerable people in the world.”

Mark Chadwick, of the Edinburgh-based Mercy Corps, said: “It’s particularly welcome at a time when the continuing humanitarian needs of Iraqis appear to be slipping off the international agenda.

“We know from our work on the ground that the people of Iraq still need a great deal of help and there’s a lot yet to be done to improve their government’s ability to deliver essential public services in an efficient and transparent way.”

Some 100,000 pounds will be donated to the Linda Norgrove Foundation, for humanitarian work in Afghanistan. Scottish aid worker Norgrove was killed last year during a botched attempt to rescue her from Taliban kidnappers.

The rest of the money will be used to fund community projects in Scotland

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Iraq, NGO's | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aboriginal Elder dies in back of G4S Prison Van

Calls to re-open criminal case over Mr Ward’s death

National Indigenous Times Australia

Family members have joined with the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and the Aboriginal Legal Service calling for the West Australian Government to review the circumstances surrounding the death of an Aboriginal elder who died in searing heat in the back of a prison van.
This follows Worksafe WA’s decision to charge the WA Department of Corrective Services, the prison contractor, G4S and two of the company’s drivers over the elder’s death.
However, family members and the Deaths in Custody Committee claim the Worksafe investigation has uncovered new evidence about the circumstances surrounding the elder’s death and they want the Department of Public Prosecutions to re-open the criminal case. The elder has been given the name Mr Ward because his first name cannot be used for cultural reasons.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, G4S, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

Aid worker, Linda Norgrove, inquest to open

The Independent Sunday UK

An inquest into the death of kidnapped aid worker Linda Norgrove will take place this week.

Ms Norgrove, from the Western Isles, was helping the Afghan people rebuild their war-torn country when she was taken hostage and then killed during a rescue attempt.

The 36-year-old was seized during an ambush in the Dewagal valley in Kunar province, Afghanistan, on September 26 last year.

She was killed by a grenade thrown by US special forces attempting to free her on October 8.

The inquest takes place at Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner’s Court in Trowbridge on Tuesday.

Her parents John and Lorna, who live on Lewis in the Western Isles, are expected to attend. They have previously said that they do not hold anyone responsible for her death.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live last month, Mr Norgrove said: “We don’t hold anybody responsible. I don’t think it’s a question of responsibility.

“Nobody deliberately intended to kill Linda. It was brave soldiers going in there in very difficult circumstances trying to mount a rescue and, unfortunately, it went wrong.”

Asked how they try to rationalise what happened, Mr Norgrove said: “I don’t think it’s rationalisable.  Please read the entire article here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Safety and Security Issues, State Department, USAID | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Securitas Says China License Process Slows Nascent Guard Market

Bloomberg

Securitas AB, the world’s second- largest provider of security services, has faced more difficulties than it expected in China, which a year ago allowed private security companies to start operations, Chief Executive Office Alf Goeransson said.

“The ramp-up in China is going very slow, unfortunately,” Goeransson said in a telephone interview today. “We had much higher hopes.” He declined to specify his growth targets, saying “the goal is to significantly increase” the company’s presence in China.

Securitas has hired about 300 guards in China since the country opened up for private security services at the beginning of 2010, Goeransson said from his Stockholm headquarters. Securitas’s ambition to expand faster is being held back by local governments’ “cumbersome licensing process,” he said.

The security industry’s growth potential in China is “fantastic,” with likely room for 4 million security guards, many of whom would work for international companies, Goeransson said in an interview last May. China is part of Securitas’s strategy for expanding globally. It aims to extend its presence to about 60 countries from 45 in three years.

The company, which competes with market leader G4S Plc, Please read the entire article here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

Business executives killed in Iraq plane crash

Bodies of Lebanese killed in private jet crash in Iraq return to Beirut

(Daily Star, The (Beirut, Lebanon) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 07–BEIRUT — The bodies of six victims — including three Lebanese nationals — killed in a plane crash in northern Iraq were transferred to Beirut over the weekend.  The Lebanese victims were named as businessman Abdullah Lahoud, from Aamchit, Jbeil, co-pilot Abdullah Yazbeck, from Hawsh al-Rafka, Bekaa and air hostess Stephanie Luca, from Batroun. Yazbeck and Luca were buried Sunday.

nd, as details continued to emerge over the fate of the destroyed private jet.

Briton Killed in Iraq Plane Crash

BBC News UK

A British man has been killed in a plane crash in Iraq.

He was one of seven passengers who died when the plane crashed shortly after taking off from Sulaimaniyah in northern Iraq on Friday.

The Associated Press reports the plane caught fire and crashed after trying to land during a snowstorm.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman later added: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Iraq on 4 February 2011.”

“We stand ready to provide consular assistance,” she added.

It is thought the light aircraft had been flying to the Turkish capital, Ankara, from Sulaimaniyah, a predominantly Kurdish city 160 miles north-east of Baghdad.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) The chief executive of private equity group MerchantBridge and two JPMorgan executives were among seven people killed when a small plane crashed in northern Iraq, officials said on Saturday.

The plane went down shortly after takeoff on Friday from an airport at Sulaimaniya in Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region.

MerchantBridge Chief Executive Officer Basil al-Rahim and Abdallah Lahoud, a partner in the company, died in the crash, MerchantBridge said in a statement.

Airport officials said the businessmen on the plane had flown to Sulaimaniya to visit the offices of AsiaCell, one of Iraq’s major mobile phone service providers, which is partially owned by Qatar Telecommunications.

Rahim was a member of the AsiaCell board of directors, AsiaCell said in a statement. JPMorgan executives Murad Megalli and Javier Zurita also were killed in the crash, along with the three crew members on board, it said.

Megalli “had been with J.P. Morgan for more than a decade and successfully led our businesses in Turkey, Central Asia and the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) region,” JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and two other executives said in an email to employees.

Zurita had been head of telecom investment for Europe, Middle East and Africa and had worked for the bank for four years, the email said.

A JPMorgan representative could not immediately specify the victims’ nationalities.

MerchantBridge said last October it had launched an equity fund in Iraqi equities. An executive said at the time that the company had over $1.5 billion worth of investments in Iraq.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Iraq, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

G4S Private Security Guards steal bank cash they are entrusted with guarding

New Vision Uganda

OPERATIVES investigating the sh800m stolen by private security guards attached to G4S have recovered sh13m. The money was buried in a pineapple garden in Molo village, Tororo district.

The recovery of the sum, just a day after the theft, brought the total sum of cash recovered by Friday to over sh130m.

The sh13m, sources said, was recovered after operatives from the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) arrested a driver of the security chase car that was escorting the bullion van at the time of the theft.

The driver led the operatives to the spot where he had buried his ‘share’. The driver was reportedly picked from an outlet of one of the telecommunication firms in Mbale town.

“We are pursuing very useful clues and the rest is just a matter of time,” a source said. The driver, who claims that he was placed at gunpoint, was nabbed after he abandoned the chase car near Mbale stadium.

The money, belonging to Stanbic Bank, was being transported in a bullion van from Mbale to Moroto and not Nakapiripirit district as earlier reported, when the G4S guards disappeared with it, abandoning the van in the eastern district of Bulambuli.

In a statement issued on Thursday, G4S said significant progress had been made in the investigation working in collaboration with the Police.

POLICE have recovered part of the sh800m Stanbic bank cash that was stolen from a bullion van in Bulambuli last week by G4S security guards.

This is not the first time security guards entrusted with escorting cash in transit to other branches have fled with the money.

In 2005, Securicor Gray guards were accused of stealing sh700m they were transporting in a bullion van.

In 2006, thirteen Group 4 security guards were charged with stealing money in transit worth sh723m belonging to four Kampala banks.

All the previous heists were the work of private security guards. Liberalisation of the escort services has certainly given rise to the mushrooming private security firms.

However the recent thefts seem to give out the message some private security firms hired by the banks have become unreliable.

To compound the problem, security firms have a very poor vetting system. Majority of the firms hire former security personnel without properly screening them.

Although the money is insured, entrusting it to people whose criminal records have not been established can lead to cash flow problems.
Investigations into these thefts point to the fact that they are done with the connivance of some bank officials. There is also need to always rotate the cash escort guards.

Banks should also introduce other strict control methods such as the one used by the Central Bank where the armoured bullion vans can only be accessed once they reach their pick up points or final destinations.

Police might have had their own limitations at the time, but they were not involved in bullion van cash- in-transit thefts.

The banks should reconsider using police or military police services as they are more discreet and accountable.

See the original here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, G4S, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistani Taliban demands death for Raymond Davis

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday demanded that the country’s government execute a US official who shot dead two men in broad daylight, or hand him over to the Islamist militant group.

“We demand that the Pakistani government hang Raymond Davis or otherwise hand him over to us. We will decide his fate,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Azam Tariq told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Tariq claimed that Davis, whose exact role in Pakistan has been unclear, was a spy.

“He was here for spying. He is an American spy. We will kill all those people and will target them who will help him (Davis) or try to set him free,” Tariq said.

“He is a killer, he has killed two innocent Pakistanis. We will take revenge for them,” he added.

The shooting has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Islamabad after the US demanded that Davis, who shot two Pakistani motorcyclists on January 27, be freed on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.

Please read the entire article here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department, Taliban | , , , , , | Leave a comment

G4S Staff on deportation flights played ‘Russian roulette’ with lives

Paul Lewis and Mathew Taylor at the Guardian UK

The inaugural flight to Afghanistan should have been a showcase for a multinational company vying for the lucrative contract to deport foreign nationals on behalf of the British government.

See G4s-Securicor Training Film here

The plane heading to Kabul on 26 January 2004 had been chartered by a company that would go on to become part of the world’s largest private security firm – G4S. Its cargo included refused asylum seekers in handcuffs. A number had their legs bound with tape and had been placed in the first-class cabin.

But according to new evidence some of the guards on that flight, recruited to supervise the deportation, had not completed a full training course, and they included a number of inexperienced prison staff. Some had not even received Home Office accreditation.

Shocking details about that flight and dozens more are contained in previously unseen evidence to parliament obtained by the Guardian. The documents reveal how G4S employees spent several years raising concerns about the potentially lethal methods being used on refused asylum seekers.

The most disturbing technique involved bending deportees over in their seats and placing their head between their legs. The procedure became known within the company as “carpet karaoke” because it would force detainees, struggling for breath, to shout downwards toward the floor.

Although an apparently successful method of keeping disruptive detainees quiet, it can lead to a form of suffocation known as positional asphyxia.

Its alleged use is documented in written testimony by four G4S whistleblowers, submitted to the home affairs select committee in the aftermath of the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan who died on a British Airways flight from Heathrow in October last year.

The cause of Mubenga’s death remains unknown. Passengers on BA flight 77 reported seeing three guards heavily restraining the 46-year-old, who they said had been bent over and complained of breathing difficulties before his collapse. Police later arrested the guards in connection with the death and recently extended their bail until next month.

Please read the entire article here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, G4S, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghan security ban seen holding up $6billion in US aid

by Missy Ryan Reuters at Arab Times

KABUL: The Afghan government’s halting steps to banish private security companies guarding aid workers and other Westerners against a growing insurgency has frozen some $6 billion in US aid, a US official has said.

A host of multi-year health, agriculture, infrastructure and energy projects, worth a total of $6 billion, have been approved by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and are ready to begin, but have been on hold since November, a senior USAID official said.

“No new development projects can get underway because they can’t contract security,” the official said. “We have expressed concern to the Afghan government that this is a wasted opportunity.”

Heavily armed, highly paid private guards hired to keep diplomats, aid workers and UN officials safe have become a common sight in Afghanistan since the Taliban were toppled by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001.

But some of the guards’ heavy-handed tactics on the streets, and some of their private behavior, have earned the ire of deeply conservative Afghans, including President Hamid Karzai.

Please read the entire article here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department, USAID | , , , | Leave a comment

US Pushed Relaxed Paksitan Visa Policy, no security clearances

A policy that has brought sheer disaster

By Ansar Abbasi at The International News

ISLAMABAD: The influx into Pakistan of dubious characters and criminals like the double murderer Raymond Davis has not only raised questions about the capability of our agencies but also made the situation extremely vulnerable. 

This situation has built up in the backdrop of last year’s extraordinary laxity allowed in the visa policy for American officials following President Asif Ali Zardari’s personal intervention without the approval of the federal cabinet.

The policy, which has already started pinching many in the Foreign Office and security agencies, has resulted in visas issued by the Pakistani Embassy in Washington without any security clearance.

Now it appears the fallout of this extremely flawed, but flexible policy is becoming evident. People like Raymond Davis, a killer, succeeded in getting the Pakistani visa in the garb of a US consulate official even before the policy was relaxed in mid-July last year. Who else has come in is a huge question.

The American authorities have been exerting immense pressure on the Government of Pakistan to cut delays and refusals in the issuance of visas to those assigned to go to Pakistan, apparently as government officials, diplomats or media men.

Details show that Davis, who is suspected to be either a CIA agent or member of a private agency like Blackwater, had been issued visa before the introduction of the new but extremely vulnerable system under which Pakistan’s Embassy in Washington is free to issue visa to anyone without any security clearance from Pakistani security agencies.

Even before the introduction of the new visa facility for Americans, only in one case more than 50 personnel of DynCorp were issued visas by Pakistan, despite reservations of some security agencies, following a direction coming from the highest levels in the government. Prior to that, it is said, already several dozen DynCorp personnel were already present in Pakistan. DynCorp, apparently a private security agency, was found involved in spying activities in Pakistan.

Sources in the Foreign Office insist that in view of the criminal acts of Raymond Davis and his dubious actions of carrying illicit weapon, more than 80 bullets, face masks, GPS and pictures of sensitive installations, pressure is now on the Government of Pakistan to revisit its present visa policy, besides ensuring that no American is issued a visa without security clearance.

Of late, a senior Foreign Office source had revealed to The News that after the implementation of the new policy, which empowered the Pakistani Embassy in Washington to issue visas to the Americans for one year without referring their cases to Pakistani security agencies, about 400 visas were issued to US citizens in first two days, including a weekend holiday.

Amid reports of national and international media about the presence of innumerable Blackwater and DynCorp personnel, the Pakistani security agencies have been seeking proper screening of American visitors to protect our national interest. However, the US authorities had directly approached the president to get the visa policy relaxed.

It is pertinent to mention here that from January 1, 2010 to 14 July 2010, a total of 1,895 officials and diplomats were issued visas by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. All these visas were issued following the clearance of the visa seekers by the Pakistani security agencies.

However, following the implementation of this policy on July 14, 2010, the Pakistani Embassy in Washington issued visas to almost 1,445 citizens, including the US officials and diplomats, till end August 2010 i.e. in six weeks time. Out of the 1,445 US citizens, 862 were declared as US diplomats and officials.

Although, under the constitution of Pakistan, all such matters fall in the domain of the prime minister and his cabinet, a Foreign Office letter clearly showed that the visa policy was revised to the advantage of the Americans following the desire of President Zardari.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the Interior Ministry, which in the past too has been offering extraordinary favours to the Americans, has assured the Americans that the issue of diplomatic immunity would be positively settled for the arrested American criminal. The Foreign Office, which was unambiguous a few days ago that Davis does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, now seems uncertain and refers to some ‘remarkable’ work done by the Interior Ministry for the Americans.

Interestingly, it was also the Interior Ministry which, following the request of the American authorities, had issued licences of prohibited bore arms to a Pakistani private security agency called Inter-Risk, which had a security contract with the much condemned DynCorp. A letter written by the then US ambassador Anne W Patterson to Interior Minister Rehman Malik on March 30, 2009 confirming her government’s security contract with DynCorp International and their Pakistani sub-contractors Inter-Risk (Pvt) Ltd, and Speed Flo Filter Industries. The US ambassador also used her influence on the Government of Pakistan to get prohibited bore arms licences for Inter-Risk, which later became a big scandal.

In her letter, the US ambassador sought this special favour from Interior Minister Rehman Malik to enable the Inter-Risk to operate in the territorial limits of Pakistan. It was also in the knowledge of the Interior Ministry that the US Embassy in Islamabad had ordered the import of around 140 AK-47 rifles and other prohibited weapons in the name of Inter-Risk.  Please see the original here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

US calls off Afghan-Pak trilateral meeting in retaliation to Davis detention issue

The New Kerala

Washington, Feb 13: The United States has postponed a high-level trilateral meeting among the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan that was scheduled to take place later this month, in what seems to be a retaliation against the continued judicial remand of double-murder accused US diplomat Raymond Davis in Lahore.

The trilateral talks, in which top officials were to have outlined the progress on issues like the war in Afghanistan and the campaign against extremism, had been scheduled for February 23-24 in Washington.

“In light of the political changes in Pakistan and after discussions with Afghan and Pakistani officials in Washington, it was agreed to postpone the Trilateral Meeting scheduled for February 23-24,” US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley said in a press statement.

The step is being seen as an American arm-twisting of Pakistan to release Davis, who has confessed to shooting dead two Pakistani men in Lahore, allegedly in ‘self-defence’.

However, Crowley maintained that “we remain committed to robust engagement between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States, as we share many issues of mutual concern and benefit from being at the same table.”

“We look forward to convening a very productive Trilateral Meeting at the earliest opportunity,” he added.

The latest development- the postponement of the trilateral dialogue- seems to be the fallout of the diplomatic row between the two countries on the Davis detention issue.

It is noteworthy that according to an ABC News report, two Pakistani officials involved in negotiations about Davis said that Donilon summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, to the White House on Monday evening, and told him that the US will kick Haqqani out of the country, close US consulates in Pakistan and cancel Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s upcoming visit to Washington if the detained US embassy employee is not released from custody by Friday.

However, the US Embassy in Islamabad denied the report in a press release titled “Correction for the record”.

“Although we are unable to discuss the substance of a private diplomatic meeting, U.S. Embassy Islamabad can state categorically that the description of the conversation in this report is simply inaccurate,” the US Embassy added.

According to earlier reports, the US had already warned that the Pak-US high-level dialogue would be at risk unless Pakistan releases Davis, and also threatened to cut aid to Pakistan in that case.

Despite the US insisting that Pakistan should free Davis as he is entitled to “full immunity from criminal prosecution by Pakistan” under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, he was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days on Friday, with the next hearing due on February 25.  Please see the original article here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada hiring shady security in Afghanistan

OTTAWA Winnipeg Free Press-– Canada spent more than $41 million on hired guns in Afghanistan over four years, much of it going to security companies slammed by the U.S. Senate for having warlords on the payroll.

The Defence and Foreign Affairs departments have employed 11 security contractors in Kabul and Kandahar since 2006 but have kept quiet about the details.

Now documents tabled in Parliament at the request of the New Democrats show Foreign Affairs paid nearly $8 million to ArmorGroup Securities Ltd., recently cited in a U.S. Senate investigation as relying on Afghan warlords who in 2007 were engaged in “murder, kidnapping, bribery and anti-Coalition activities.

The company, which has since been taken over by G4S Risk Management, provided security around the Canadian Embassy in Kabul and guarded diplomats.

Tundra SCA stands on guard for the Defence Department outside Canadian military forward operating bases and has collected more than $5.3 million.

The U.S. Senate report included Tundra on a list of companies that poach staff from Afghan security forces, angering President Hamid Karzai. Please see the original here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, G4S, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment