Hundreds of injuries have occurred in Antarctica since 2001, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, but only three cases have been reported to the U.S. Department of Labor. This, despite the fact that Antarctic contract employees are entitled to special insurance benefits under the Defense Base Act laws and contract companies are required to report all injuries to the Department of Labor. But Raytheon Polar Services (RPSC), the company hired to run the U.S. Antarctic program, failed to comply with the law.
When they do report an injury Liberty Mutual refuses to pay.
Why would Raytheon jeoparadize their quals to bid on further work to help the insurance company?
I worked (wintered over) for Raytheon Polar Services at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Palmer Station, Antarctica in 2002. I know first hand the unique working conditions and safety hazards faced daily by employees at these U.S. stations. There is no hardware store or supply house down the street to get your parts and material from. If the person ordering parts for your job isn’t clear about the scope of the work, you may find yourself improvising. I also believe the NSF lacks in the oversight capabilities necessary to ensure all work is done to applicable codes and in a safe manner. Raytheon basically inspects themselves. Nothing independent about that!! They’ve gone unchecked for years. I know I brought several safety concerns to the attention of the Station Manager (a Raytheon employee) and was told “I just didn’t know how things were done down here!” (I think I worked for that same guy in Iraq!) I haven’t been following the Antarctica work much so I want to thank our friends at Defense Base Act Compensation Blog for bringing this story to my attention.
Rumor has it KBR is bidding on this contract.
YLE.fi March 31, 2011
A project in which a Finnish company is to provide security services in Iran is facing resistance, slowing progress. Political turmoil has kept Iran’s security and political leadership on their toes. The Finnish project is historic, because western security companies have not previously worked in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The security firm’s fixer Auvo Niiniketo says that the project has met resistance in Iran.
”The project is still alive, but Iran is going through big changes,” says Niiniketo. “We believe in the project, but local decision makers don’t quite dare to make decisions like this.”
Private security contractors are almost unknown in the country, making the Finnish project a groundbreaking concept. The politically sensitive project has been approved at a high level in the country’s security apparatus. There are, however, elements in Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s government that are opposed to the deal and have slowed down implementation.
By Emmanuel Duparcq (AFP) March 31, 2011
KABUL — When Afghan businessman Rahim won a lucrative deal from a NATO sub-contractor to build a road in the violence-hit south of the country, he put in a call to a local Taliban leader.
The pair cut a deal — every month Rahim would meet a Taliban representative and quietly hand over $20,000. In return, the insurgents would leave his project alone.
“It was a good deal. We finished the project in seven months, 20 days ahead of schedule, without once being attacked,” he told AFP.
As the United States and its Western allies ramp up development in Afghanistan ahead of a planned military withdrawal, a significant proportion of the money spent is going to the very organisation they are here to defeat.
by Ana Cavell BBC News World March 31, 2011
Prossie was working as a schoolteacher when she heard an attractive advert on Ugandan radio.
A Kampala company called Uganda Veterans Development Ltd was recruiting women to work for high wages in shops in US Army bases in Iraq.
She signed up, along with 146 other Ugandan women.
But when she arrived in Baghdad, she discovered that been bought by an Iraqi agent for $3,500 (£2,200). Her real job was as a housemaid for an Iraqi family.
On the other side of Baghdad, at an American military base, a Ugandan security contractor called Samuel Tumwesigye heard what was happening to these women.
He called one of them, Agnes, on a mobile phone she had hidden, and promised to help her.
Adam M. Carney always wanted to help others, even in unstable and dangerous environments.
A 1995 Midview High graduate, the 34-year-old died Monday night of an apparent heart attack while working as a private security contractor in Afghanistan to train the country’s police force.
“That was all he talked about his whole life,” his mother, Wanda, said Wednesday as she and his father, Michael, drove to Atlanta where Carney lived. “He just loved to help people. And he was drawn to the excitement of the work. He liked that it was different all the time.”
Carney, who is survived by two young children, his parents and two brothers, had worked in Afghanistan for a private security contractor for the past 18 months. A former Navy firefighter and Atlanta police officer, he woke up early Tuesday morning and felt ill, according to his mother.
“He went to the (Army) base hospital and was later airlifted to a German hospital (in Afghanistan) where he was pronounced dead,” Wanda Carney said.
Third arrest over explosives ‘found in car’ belonging to security guard
A third person has been arrested at London’s Olympic Stadium site on suspicion of supplying explosives.
The 61-year-old man is being questioned by police after officers from the Olympic Site Support Unit stopped and searched a woman in a car park off Pudding Mill Lane on Tuesday.
UK Press Association March 30, 2011
A female security guard has been arrested near London’s Olympic Stadium site on suspicion of possessing explosives and drugs.
The 40-year-old dog handler was held after her vehicle was searched, but police said the incident was not thought to be terror-related.
Scotland Yard said police recovered a very small amount of a substance, which was being forensically examined.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “On March 29, acting on information received, police stopped and searched a woman in a car park off Pudding Mill Lane. Her vehicle was searched and a 40-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of possession of an explosive substance and Class A drugs. She is in custody at an east London police station. Please see the entire article here
A spokesman for security firm G4S, which earlier this month signed a deal to be the official security firm for the Games, said: “Our canine services team is licensed to hold small samples of explosives for training purposes and are required to undertake rigorous training and follow strict operational processes. G4S take breach of operational processes very seriously and are assisting the police with their inquiries in relation to this incident.”
March 28, 2011 – The DI family is mourning the loss of Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) team member Angela Kiti of Nairobi, Kenya, who was killed on March 27, 2011 during a rocket attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Ms. Kiti, 26, joined the team as a billeting coordinator on February 2, 2011.
“Every one of our team members who leaves the comforts of his or her home in order to help others around the world is a hero. Angela worked with our LOGCAP team in Kandahar and, sadly, is now part of a group of heroic individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice while supporting coalition military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan,” said DI chairman and CEO Steve Gaffney. “We are deeply saddened by this loss and our hearts go out to all of Angela’s loved ones during this difficult time.”
Please keep Angela’s family, friends, colleagues and the entire LOGCAP team in your thoughts and prayers.
Thirty-year-old Sabah al-Bazee “was among more than 50 people killed on Tuesday when gunmen attacked a local government building in Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein,” Reuters reports.
Al-Bazee has been a contributor for Reuters for the past seven years. He was also working as a cameraman. He “suffered shrapnel wounds in an explosion,” according to Reuters.
For more on Sabah al-Bazee, read tributes from friends and co-workers at Reuters.
Afghan police officials say the bomb struck the soldiers’ patrol in the province of Kapisa, a Press TV correspondent reported on Wednesday.
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the incident but say the attack has killed 13 soldiers. They say four Afghan civilians have also been injured.
Kabul – A suicide bomber attacked a convoy of NATO-led troops in the north-eastern Afghan province of Kapisa, a senior official said Wednesday.
According to initial information, at least four people were injured in the attack that took place in Tagaab district, close to the capital Kabul, Abdul Hakim Akhundzada, the district governor, said. He did not identify the victims.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid took responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to the media. He said that 13 French soldiers were killed in the bombing which was carried out by one of their fighters, Abdul Rahman Dehsabzwal.
The bomber detonated his explosive-laden car close to six-vehicle convoy that had parked in the Tatarkhel area of the district.
Mujahid said that four civilians were also injured in the attack.
NATO was not immediately available for comment. Most of the NATO troops stationed in the districts are from France. Please see the original here
by Robert Brodsky at Government Executive March 28, 2011
Mandatory suspension or debarment of indicted contractors could have a “chilling effect” on contractor relations, the Defense Department’s top acquisition official told the Commission on Wartime Contracting on Monday.
In February, the congressionally chartered commission released an interim report on how the department could reduce waste, fraud and abuse through enhanced oversight and improved deployment of government resources in contingency contracting.
The report offered 32 specific legislative, regulatory and policy proposals, including limiting the government’s reliance on armed private security contractors. The commission’s final report is due out in July and likely will be considered by Congress for possible legislation.
DynCorp International Inc., the largest U.S. contractor in Afghanistan, was warned by Pentagon officials in January that it is failing to adequately inspect and repair in a timely manner potential electrical hazards at U.S. bases, according to a document.
DynCorp also filed reports indicating that it fully completed repair work on potential life, health or safety electrical problems “even though parts are on order and the work is not complete,” Lieutenant Colonel David Schoolcraft, a military contracting officer, wrote to DynCorp on Jan. 7 in a formal “Letter of Concern.”
The Pentagon’s contract oversight agencies have increased their scrutiny of issues related to electrical wiring at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan after 18 troops were electrocuted in Iraq either in accidents or in connection with faulty construction or grounding of equipment.
There is no indication that military personnel have been electrocuted in Afghanistan. DynCorp management, in a Jan. 31 response, outlined the company’s plans to address the issues. The warning to DynCorp may be highlighted today during a hearing of the congressionally mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting.
A U.S. arms company illegally trafficked assault rifles and gun parts to Jordan and UAE, a court will hear today.
Four men from Sabre Defence Industries are expected to plead guilty to the alleged fraud after reaching a deal with the U.S. government.
The Tennessee firm shipped silencers as ‘lawn mower mufflers’ and rifle barrels as ‘gear shafts’to gain an advantage in the international arms industry, according to federal court documents.
Emails seized by investigators show Sabre management dodging U.S. regulators and law enforcement by illegally moving guns and parts between 2003 and 2008.
The alleged fraud also involved the firm’s British owner and CEO Guy Savage, along with Nashville officials, using ‘phony shipping documents’ and invoices from ‘fairy land’ in sending gun parts overseas in false bottom shipping containers. Please read the entire article here
Associated Press Canadian Press March 27, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Affidavits attached to search warrants for a Tennessee company show that illegally trafficked assault rifles and gun parts connected to the company were found in Middle Eastern countries, including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
Federal court documents unsealed Wednesday related to Sabre Defence Industries, fill in the picture of an alleged conspiracy to skirt U.S. regulators and law enforcement to gain an advantage in the international arms industry.
Four local Sabre executives charged in a 21-count federal indictment are scheduled to change their not guilty pleas Monday, The Tennessean reported.
The alleged fraud included British owner and CEO Guy Savage and Nashville officials using “phoney shipping documents” and invoices from “fairy land,” sending gun parts overseas under false bottoms in shipping containers and stamping silencers illegally imported from Finland as if they were manufactured in Nashville, according to the affidavits.
By 2007, Sabre officials were going as far as calling silencers “lawn mower mufflers” and rifle barrels “gear shafts” in their effort to fly under the radar of regulators.
Federal prosecutor John Webb confirmed that the four Tennessee defendants — President Charles Shearon, Chief Financial Officer Elmer Hill, Director of Sales Michael Curlett and International Shipping and Purchasing Manager Arnold See Jr. — have reached a plea agreement with the government.
Knoxville Biz . com March 27, 2011
LENOIR CITY – The transformation of EOD Technology started with a phone call.
As Matt Kaye recalls, his Lenoir City company was contacted by the U.S. Army in early 2003 with a vague but simple message: ” ‘We’re going to a place that we can’t really tell you about, and we need you to do some things that we can’t really tell you what they are, but want to know if you’d be interested in hearing about it.’ And so we said, ‘Yeah.’ “
The mission wasn’t hard to figure out. The U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003, and EODT already had established itself as a leader in explosive ordnance disposal, a skill set that could be invaluable in a war zone potentially riddled with land mines and booby traps.
But the Iraq War also opened the door for EODT to expand its mission. The company eventually moved into security operations, and by 2010 had established itself as one of the leading private security contractors for the U.S. government, even landing a high-profile contract to guard the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON — Launched in February 2006 with an urgent goal – to save U.S. soldiers from being killed by roadside bombs in Iraq – a small Pentagon agency ballooned into a bureaucratic giant fueled by that flourishing arm of the defense establishment: private contractors.
An examination by the Center for Public Integrity and McClatchy Newspapers of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization revealed an agency so dominated by contractors that the ratio of contractors to government employees has reached 6-to-1.
A JIEDDO former director, Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, acknowledged that such an imbalance raised the possibility that contractors in management positions could approve proposals or payments for other contractors. Oates said the ratio needed to be reduced.
How two American kids became big-time weapons traders — until the Pentagon turned on them
The e-mail confirmed it: everything was finally back on schedule after weeks of maddening, inexplicable delay. A 747 cargo plane had just lifted off from an airport in Hungary and was banking over the Black Sea toward Kyrgyzstan, some 3,000 miles to the east. After stopping to refuel there, the flight would carry on to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Aboard the plane were 80 pallets loaded with nearly 5 million rounds of ammunition for AK-47s, the Soviet-era assault rifle favored by the Afghan National Army.
Reading the e-mail back in Miami Beach, David Packouz breathed a sigh of relief. The shipment was part of a $300 million contract that Packouz and his partner, Efraim Diveroli, had won from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. It was May 2007, and the war was going badly. After six years of fighting, Al Qaeda remained a menace, the Taliban were resurgent, and NATO casualties were rising sharply. For the Bush administration, the ammunition was part of a desperate, last-ditch push to turn the war around before the U.S. presidential election the following year. To Packouz and Diveroli, the shipment was part of a major arms deal that promised to make them seriously rich.
This article appears in the March 31, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive March 18.
Reassured by the e-mail, Packouz got into his brand-new blue Audi A4 and headed home for the evening, windows open, the stereo blasting. At 25, he wasn’t exactly used to the pressures of being an international arms dealer. Only months earlier, he had been making his living as a massage therapist; his studies at the Educating Hands School of Massage had not included classes in military contracting or geopolitical brinkmanship. But Packouz hadn’t been able to resist the temptation when Diveroli, his 21-year-old friend from high school, had offered to cut him in on his burgeoning arms business. Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history.