Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Army dog dies after handler killed

See  also Bomb Sniffing Army Dog and his Master to be Repatriated Together March 4, 2011

Press Association March 2, 2011

L/Cpl Liam Tasker and his dog Theo were killed while on patrol in Helmand province

A British army sniffer dog which holds the record for finding the most weapons and homemade bombs in Afghanistan has died shortly after his handler was shot dead.

Theo, a springer spaniel, suffered a seizure after Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was killed by small arms fire while the pair were on patrol in Helmand province on Tuesday.

Three weeks ago the Ministry of Defence heralded the success of Theo who had made 14 finds of IEDS (improvised explosive devices) and weapons caches in just five months in Afghanistan.

L/Cpl Tasker of The Royal Army Veterinary Corps, 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, had praised the dog for his dedication. “I love my job and working with Theo. He has a great character and never tires. He can’t wait to get out and do his job and will stop at nothing,” he said last month.

L/Cpl Tasker died from the injuries sustained in the attack, while Theo died after returning to Camp Bastion.

Please read more about L/Cpl Tasker and Theo here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan | , , , | 1 Comment

Davis Arrest Throws US Undercover Campaign in Pakistan Into Disarray

by: Dave Lindorff   |  This Can’t Be Happening | Op-Ed  At Truthout

The ongoing case of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor facing murder charges in Lahore for the execution-style slaying of two apparent agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, is apparently leading to a roll-back of America’s espionage and Special Operations activities in Pakistan.

A few days ago, Pakistan’s Interior Department, which is reportedly conducting a careful review of the hundreds of private US contractors who flooded into Pakistan over the last two years, many with “diplomatic passports,” and many others, like Davis, linked to shady “security” firms, arrested an American security contractor named Aaron DeHaven, a Virginia native who claims to work for a company called Catalyst Services LLC.

The Catalyst Services LLC website describes the company, with offices in Afghanistan, Dubai, the US and Pakistan, as having experience in “logistics, operations, security and finance,” and as having a staff led by “individuals who have been involved in some of the most significant events of the last 20 years,” including “the break-up of the Soviet Union, the US effort in Somalia, and the Global War on Terror.”

DeHaven is being held on a 14-day remand, charged with overstaying his visa and with living in an unauthorized area.

Meanwhile, the English-language Express Tribune in Pakistan reports that according to ISI sources, 30 “suspected US operatives” in Pakistan have “suspended” their operations in the country, while 12 have fled the country.

The paper quotes the Pakistan Foreign Office as saying that 851 Americans claiming diplomatic immunity are currently in Pakistan, 297 of whom are “not working in any diplomatic capacity.

The paper says that the country’s Interior Department claims that 414 of the total are “non-diplomats.” The majority of these American operatives, the paper says, are located in Islamabad (where the US is building a huge fortress-like embassy reminiscent of the one in Baghdad), with the others in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. Most are suspected of being involved in covert missions that report to the US Joint Special Operations Command, with many suspected of being active-duty Special Forces personnel from the Army’s Delta Force. (The website of the JSOC says its responsibility is “synchronizing Department of Defense plans against global terrorist networks and, as directed, conducting global operations  Please read the entire Op Ed piece at Truthout

March 2, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

According to Pakistani Media, The Nation, 400 Indian, Israeli agents infiltrate CIA operating in Pakistan

The NationPakistan March 2, 2011

LAHORE – Hundreds of especially-trained CIA contractors who worked closely with Indian intelligence agency RAW and Israel’s Mossad in the Middle East, Asia and Africa over the last two decades are covertly operating across Pakistan these days, The Nation reliably learnt on Tuesday.
Well-informed sources revealed that the Obama administration deployed more than 400 pro-India and pro-Israel CIA agents in 2010 in the big cities of the nuclear-armed country, including in Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
Sources believed that the American spies with pro-India mindset had been deployed in Quetta to fuel militancy in the largest but poor province of Balochistan while the US operatives who worked with Israeli agents before 9/11 had been sent to the country’s insurgency-hit region bordering war-torn Afghanistan.
The Foreign Intelligence Estimates (FIE) cell of the CIA, which is responsible for training, brainwashing and recruiting individuals to launch intelligence networks outside the United States, had awarded special contracts to those security companies where the Indian and Israeli lobby is very strong.

Please see this story here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Pakistan, State Department, Uncategorized, Xe | , , , , | Leave a comment

Two US airmen shot dead at German airport

AFP March 02, 2011

FRANKFURT AIRPORT — An attack Wednesday on a bus carrying US air force personnel about to fly home from Germany left two airmen dead and two seriously injured, local authorities and the US military said.

“Two airmen have been killed and two were wounded during a shooting incident today at Frankfurt International Airport,” the US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) said in a statement.

“The names of the deceased are being withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin. German authorities have the shooter in custody. The incident is currently under investigation.”

Authorities in Germany said that the alleged gunman was a 21-year-old originally from Muslim-majority Kosovo in southeastern Europe who was living in Frankfurt. Police said it was so far unclear what his motives were.

One of the victims was killed inside the bus and one outside the vehicle, Boris Rhein, interior minister of the western German state of Hesse, told reporters at the scene.  Please read the entire story here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

NATO airstrike kills four Afghan security guards, officials say

Thanks to Monsters and Critics for this

Kabul – A NATO airstrike killed four guards working for a private security company in southern Afghan province of Helmand, officials said Wednesday.

One more guard was injured in the strike in Gerishk district on Tuesday, said Mohammad Hakim Andar, provincial police chief. The men were providing security for a road construction firm in the region, he said.

Major Michael Johnson, spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said a joint investigation with Afghan officials was underway into incident.

The military engaged a group of suspected militants in the area after an ISAF ground patrol was attacked, Johnson said.

‘Following the engagement we heard allegations that four security guards were killed,’ he said.

‘Friendly fire’ casualties are not rare in southern Afghanistan. where the militants often operate in the vicinity of local forces.  Please see the original here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dynamics Of Outrage And Silence In Pakistan

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty March 2, 2011
By Shaheen Buneri
Activists from some Pakistani religious parties have been organizing demonstrations to demand that Raymond Davis — an American citizen who was assigned as a CIA agent to the U.S. Consulate in Lahore and who was allegedly involved in the killings of two Pakistani citizens there — be hanged. Although the case is still the subject of diplomatic and legal scrutiny, Pakistan’s religious groups and conservative political parties are working hard to stir up passions around the issue.
At the same time, some journalists and commentators in the media have joined this chorus, playing on the public’s deep-seated sense of insecurity and uncertainty to push the notion that the West — particularly the United States — is responsible for all Pakistan’s ills. You only have to spend a little time watching television talk shows and news programs to see how these forces are trying to pressure the courts and the parliament.

And some figures within Pakistan’s military and security establishments have backed these conservative forces in order to promote their own geostrategic agenda in the region and deflect public attention from pressing issues like poverty and insecurity. Please read this entire commentary here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Dyncorp LOGCAP IV Project Manager bites the dust

March 1, 2011 MsSparky

It was just last September when I wrote about the resignation/demotion/transfer call it what you will of Dyncorp’s manager Hank Miller and his Deputy Project Manager . Many many employees breathed a sigh of relief as these two headed to the tarmac.

During the rein of Hank Miller and Scott Mount, many Dyncorp employees were not being paid on time, employee turnover was very high, moral was very low and according to my sources the client was not happy with Dyncorp’s performance. There was much anticipation with the announcement that would replace Hank Miller in the position of Project Manager. I have to be honest the number of complaints I’ve heard from Dyncorp employees has drastically reduced since took the helm.

That didn’t last but six months and now Joe Schmitt has joined the ranks of “Past LOGCAP PM’s”. Reportedly there was a “incident” at near Kandahar involving Schmitt and the Base Commander, Colonel Applegate. It is alleged, the incident may have gotten physical. Regardless of the reasons, no one should EVER go there, especially our leaders. I don’t know if it was a voluntary or encouraged resignation of his position, but Dyncorp really had no other choice but to remove him from Theater. I have yet to confirm the rumors regarding Colonel Applegate’s consequences. It’s unfortunate on both sides.

Please read the entire post with documents and comments here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, DynCorp, LOGCAP | , , , , | 3 Comments

Contractor Performance and Suspensions in Iraq and Afghanistan

Panel 1 C Span February 28, 2011

Commission on Wartime Contracting

The independent and bipartisan federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan held a hearing on the effectiveness of government’s tools to hold contractors accountable for problems with their work. The commission issued its second interim report the previous week and estimated that $177 billion had been spent on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Witnesses spoke about how government agencies rate the performance of those contractors, and about the process for suspending contractors for poor performance or fraud.
Transcripts, Video, and related Programs here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are ISAF’s Tenuous Supply Lines Sustainable?

The human, fiscal and political costs of ISAF logistical supply missions are rising – in part because of the US military’s insatiable fuel demands. An adroit mix of counterinsurgency and diplomacy would be required to address the problem, a formula that presently remains out of the Pentagon’s grasp.

By John CK Daly for ISN Insights

The US, NATO and International Security Assistance (ISAF) forces operating in Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in November 2001 have had to cope with some of the longest and most arduous logistics supply lines in history. Nearly a decade after the onset of the campaign, the force’s ravenous supply demands are met by a convoluted network of resupply routes stretching from Pakistan in the south through Latvia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the north, the latter being the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) railway link established in February 2009. Despite the rosy pronouncements of ISAF Commander General David Petraeus, all routes are vulnerable either to militant attacks or political stressors with little resolution in sight, introducing increasing uncertainty into the Afghan military campaign. The US military’s insatiable fuel demands underpin all concerns about safety and logistics.

Gas-guzzling DoD

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is not only America’s – but the world’s – single largest consumer of fuel, spending more than $20 billion a year to purchase and transport 4.6 billion gallons. Ninety-one percent of all fuel purchased by the federal government goes to DoD.  Please read the entire article here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, ISAF, NATO, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Facts: Private security contractors in Afghanistan, Pakistan

Press Tv You.S.Desk  March 1, 2011 pm

The chairman of the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting decried on Monday a federal system that has allowed contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan to steal and waste tens of billions of dollars. Huffington post

“For the 200,000 people employed by contractors to provide support and capability in Iraq and Afghanistan, accountability is too often absent, diluted, delayed, or avoided,” Republican co-chair Chris Shays, formerly a longtime congressman from Connecticut, said while calling to order a hearing of the commission Monday. Huffington post

Increasing role of contractors

The commission last week issued a blistering interim report to Congress: “At What Risk? Correcting over-reliance on contractors in contingency operations,” which concluded that “misspent dollars run into the tens of billions” out of the nearly $200 billion spent on contracts and grants since 2002 to support military, reconstruction and other U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Huffington post

The U.S. has been increasingly using private military contractors in its ongoing “war on terror” in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The heavy reliance on contractors in Afghanistan signals that a situation that defense planners once considered temporary has become a standard fixture of U.S. military operations.

Many contractors in Afghanistan are likely to face combat-like conditions, particularly those manning far-flung outposts, and are exposed to possible militant attacks — blurring the line between soldier and support staff.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command told TPM website in December 2009 that the U.S. Department of Defense has 104,100 contractors in Afghanistan.

According to a study by the Congressional Research Service in late 2009, the surge of 30,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan could be accompanied by a surge of up to 56,000 contractors, vastly expanding the presence of personnel from the U.S. private sector in a war zone. Washingtonpost

CRS, which provides background information to members of Congress on a bipartisan basis, said it expects an additional 26,000 to 56,000 contractors to be sent to Afghanistan. That would bring the number of contractors in the country to anywhere from 130,000 to 160,000. Washingtonpost

After years of denial by U.S. state department and Pakistani officials, US defense secretary Robert Gates in an interview with the Pakistani TV station Express TV on January, 2010 confirmed that the private security firms Blackwater and DynCorp are operating inside Pakistan. Please read the entire story here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, DynCorp, Pakistan, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , | 1 Comment

UN urges supervision over US contractors

Press TV March 2, 2011

A UN expert group on mercenaries has urged the United States to exercise stronger official control over private security contractors in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries welcomed a U.S. Senate committee report this month which found that Washington had failed to manage those hired to provide security under contracts worth billions of dollars, with disastrous results.

However, the chairman of the UN body, Alexander Nikitin, said it was just “a step in the right direction” and more should be done to address the problems raised by the Senate’s inquiry. “In particular, there should be stronger oversight of United States’ private security contractors in Afghanistan and elsewhere,” Nikitin said in a statement.

“The matters discussed in the United States Senate report are too important to be left to self-regulation of companies,” he insisted. “While voluntary codes of conduct for private contractors are welcome, they are not sufficient to ensure that states regulate and monitor the activities of the companies they contract… and establish accountability mechanisms to address human rights violations.”

Nikitin notably pointed to an issue raised by the U.S. Senate committee, the lack of effective vetting that allowed security firms to employ people who may have been involved in human rights abuses in the past and continued abuse while under contract.

In a review of more than 125 Pentagon security contracts from 2007 to 2009 released on October 7, the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services found “systemic failures” including in vetting or training, while one firm even resorted to Afghan warlords for recruitment.  Please read the entire article here

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Private Security Contractor, United Nations, Vetting Employees | , , , , | Leave a comment