Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

SAS men wounded in Kabul raid

NZ Herald  June 30, 2011

Two New Zealand SAS soldiers were wounded yesterday as they battled a deadly Taleban suicide raid in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister John Key said last night the men played a “crucial” role in thwarting the terrorist attack that left at least 10 civilians dead at the Inter-Continental hotel in Kabul.

At least six suicide bombers stormed the five-storey building about 9pm local time (5am NZ time).

Once inside, they went from room to room, attacking the residents, before taking over the roof of the building.

At least 10 Afghan civilians were killed in the battle, which ended when a Nato helicopter attacked the militants on the roof, killing them all.

Mr Key said a “handful” of New Zealand’s SAS troops – fewer than a dozen, he thought – went to the raid with the Afghani Crisis Response Unit in a mentoring role to observe.

SAS forces are in Kabul to train local forces with a view to handing back security responsibilities soon.

“The incident obviously escalated,” the Prime Minister said.

Please read the entire story here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill would give U.S. flag to families of federal workers killed on job

Joe Davidson The Washington Post   June 29, 2011

With Congress considering so many ways to make the lives of federal employees more difficult, even small, symbolic efforts to recognize them are notable, even when they’re dead.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has approved legislation that would allow agencies to present an American flag to the families of federal employees who are killed while on duty or because of their status as a government employee.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the committee, said he was pleased the panel considered the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011, “especially since they received so much negative attention and criticism recently for simply doing their jobs.”

The bill stands in contrast to unrelated proposals that would extend the federal pay freeze, make employees pay more for health and retirement benefits, cut the federal workforce and allow workers to be fired if they are seriously behind on their federal taxes.

Please read the entire article here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Casualties, Department of Defense, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment

Huge Bank Corruption Plot In Afghanistan Might Have Been Covered Up By This Central Banker, Who Just Fled To The U.S.

Courtney Comstock at Business Insider  June 29, 2011

Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, the former governor of the Afghan central bank, fled the country Monday amid a scandal over corruption at Kabul Bank, which was taken over by the government last year.

Now the IMF’s support of Afghanistan is said to be in jeopardy.

Fitrat says he fled because his life was in danger. He says he flew to the U.S. because, “The government, and particularly the president, knew that I knew a lot of facts about how they stole public depositors money [including] the deposits of small Afghans, farmers, carpenters … that they [had] saved in Kabul Bank … they [the government] had used that money for political campaigns and they knew I had evidence for that.”

Please read the entire story at Business Insider

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Follow the Money | , , , | Leave a comment

Pentagon Contractor Employee Investigated for Human Trafficking, Fired… But No Prosecutions or Contract Terminations

By NICK SCHWELLENBACH at POGO

Yesterday, the State Department released its latest annual report on combating human trafficking. The report said that although one Department of Defense contractor employee was investigated and dismissed in the last year, there have been no prosecutions and no contract terminations:

Allegations against federal contractors engaged in commercial sex and labor exploitation continued to surface in the media. During the reporting period, allegations were investigated and one employee was dismissed by a DoD contractor. The Inspectors General at the Departments of State and Defense and USAID continued their audits of federal contracts to monitor vulnerability to human trafficking and issued public reports of their findings and reparations. USAID also created an entity dedicated to proactively tracking contractor compliance with the authority to suspend contracts and debar contracting firms, a positive step toward increasing enforcement in this area. No prosecutions occurred and no contracts were terminated.

Earlier this month, POGO published an investigation into a case of alleged labor trafficking by a DoD subcontractor in Iraq. In that instance, there were no prosecutions or contract terminations. Last year, I and Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig wrote that there have been zero prosecutions or contract terminations ever since a tough-sounding “zero tolerance” policy that emphasized prosecutions went into place nearly a decade ago. Experts inside and outside the government told us there is little appetite and investigative resources to go after these crimes. “Zero prosecutions,” we quoted attorney Martina Vandenberg, a former Human Rights Watch investigator, “suggests zero effort to enforce the law.”

Nick Schwellenbach is POGO’s Director of Investigations.  Please see the original here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arlington Cemetery’s mishandling of remains prompts FBI criminal probe

Jerry Markone and Christian Davenport at The Washington Post   June 28, 2011

The Justice Department is investigating the mishandling of remains at Arlington National Cemetery in a broad criminal inquiry that is also seeking evidence of possible contracting fraud and falsification of records, people familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.

A federal grand jury in Alexandria has been subpoenaing witnesses and records relating to the scandal at the nation’s most venerated military burial ground, sources said. The investigation, conducted by the FBI and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, has been underway for at least six months, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The Justice Department’s investigation significantly escalates the level of scrutiny faced by the cemetery, and the probe joins several ongoing inquiries by Congress, which last year passed a law mandating that the cemetery verify that remains are properly accounted for at every one of its 330,000 graves. The law also requires the Government Accountability Office to look into the cemetery’s contract management procedures, and whether the Army-run cemetery should be turned over to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which oversees 131 national cemeteries.

In a report released last June, the Army inspector general found widespread problems at the cemetery: a dysfunctional management system; millions wasted on information technology contracts that produced useless results; misplaced and misidentified remains; and at least four cases in which crematory urns had been dug up and dumped in a dirt pile.

Please read the entire story at the Washington Post

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 French journalists in Afghanistan freed

Elaine Ganley Associated Press at Seattle PI  June 29, 2011

PARIS (AP) — French television has reported that two journalists held hostage in Afghanistan since December 2009 were freed Wednesday.

France-3 television said in a flash across their screen that their reporters Stephane Taponier and Herve Ghesquiere have been released, without providing further details. Their translator, Reza Din, was also released.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the two men were in good health and would be returning shortly to their homeland after one of France’s longest hostage ordeals.

President Nicolas Sarkozy thanked “everyone who participated in freeing the hostages” and praised Afghan President Hamid Karzai for his management of the hostage situation.

The television journalists were kidnapped together with three Afghan associates while working on a story about reconstruction on a road east of Kabul. The Taliban said the insurgency movement was holding them and made a set of demands — never published — in exchange for the men’s freedom.

Please read the entire story at Seattle PI

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Journalists | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CHART: Number Of Contractors In Afghanistan Will Surge As U.S. Troops Withdraw

By Pratap Chatterjee at Think Progress Security  June 29, 2011

The number of contractors in Afghanistan is likely to increase significantly in the next year as the Obama administration pulls back some of the extra 68,000 troops that it has dispatched there since January 2009.

Typically, the U.S. pays one contractor to support every soldier that has deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. The ratio of contractors to troops increases dramatically during a military surge as well as during a drawdown, and often stays higher than troop levels when military numbers are low, i.e. down to 30,000-50,000.

The reason is simple — the military needs extra workers to build new bases as well as to shut them down. Just like a hotel or restaurant, a military base also needs a minimum number of people to do the basics like janitorial or food service work. And as troops withdraw, U.S. diplomats are likely to hire extra security contractors as they are doing now in Iraq.

Using a range of 1.3 to 1.4 (based on what Afghanistan needed before the surge and Iraq needed after the drawdown), I would project that if the Obama administration draws down to 68,000 troops in Afghanistan by September 2012, they will need 88,400 contractors at the very least, but potentially as many as 95,880:

The majority of these workers do maintenance and other support tasks. But the one group that has seen demand explode since Obama became president is the number of private security contractors (men or women with guns), which spiked from a flat line of about 4,000 to almost 19,000 today. Given the attack on the Intercontinental in Kabul yesterday, that number seems very unlikely to drop:

To be sure, there are two reasons that might change — a dramatic slowdown in reconstruction activity or if President Karzai decides to disband the private security contractors in the country as he has threatened to do in the past.

Despite the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, violence in Afghanistan is on the rise. If this potential surge in private security contractors sparks any violent incidents like the shootout in Nissour Square in Baghdad in 2007, the U.S. could see an increasing drumbeat from Afghan politicians like President Karzai to leave the country altogether.

Please see the original at Think Progress Security

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan, Iraq Wars Killed 132,000 Civilians, Report Says

by Noah Shachtman at Wired’s Danger Room  June 29, 2011

Rarely does a report warn its readers to take its data with a grain of salt. But that’s exactly what a new Brown University study does with what they say is a deliberate undercount of the civilian deaths from ten years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At least 132,000 civilians have died since 2001, say researchers at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies. Between 12,000 and 14,000 of them died in Afghanistan — the most recent of which came from Tuesday’s audacious insurgent attack on Kabul’s most famous hotel. Another 120,000 died in Iraq. If you want to include Pakistan in that mix — and since the U.S.’ shadow war there is an adjunct of the Afghanistan conflict — add another 35,000 deaths, although the report says it can’t “disaggregate civilian from combatant death” there, which is kind of a big deal.

No one can say with certainty how many civilians have died in these wars. But even by the Institute’s own admission, the death toll is far higher. The Institute only counts direct violence that killed civilians — bombings, gunshot wounds, missile strikes, whatever. It doesn’t include indirect deaths, as occur when war creates refugees that can’t find food, clean water or adequate medical care. Nor does it include the lost limbs and emotional suffering that are a part of every war. Nor does it attempt to count civilian deaths in U.S. shadow wars like Yemen or Somalia.

And its data is reliant on existing tallies from the U.S., the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations and media reports. Some of them lack precision and aren’t able to go where conditions are most dangerous. Many of them disagree about exactly who is a civilian non-combatant: the National Counterterrorism Center, for instance, categorizes Afghan police and security contractors as civilians killed by terrorism. (The U.S. doesn’t officially keep body counts — at least not for U.S.-caused civilian deaths.) Think of the Institute’s data as a tally of civilian-death tallies.

Please read the entire article here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Casualties, Iraq | , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan tells US to leave ‘drone’ attack base

Sami Zubeiri  AFP   June 29, 2011

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan told the United States to leave a remote desert air base reportedly used as a hub for covert CIA drone attacks, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar was quoted by state media as saying on Wednesday.

His remarks are the latest indication of Pakistan attempting to limit US activities since a clandestine American military raid killed Osama bin Laden on May 2. Islamabad also detained a CIA contractor wanted for murder in January.

“We have told them (US officials) to leave the air base,” national news agency APP quoted Mukhtar as telling a group of journalists in his office.

Images said to be of US Predator drones at Shamsi base have been published by Google Earth in the past. The air strip is 900 kilometres (560 miles) southwest of the capital Islamabad in Baluchistan province.

A US embassy spokeswoman told AFP there were no US military personnel at Shamsi.

American drone attacks on Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan’s northwestern semi-autonomous tribal belt are hugely unpopular among a general public opposed to the government’s alliance with Washington.

Despite condemning the drone strikes in public, US documents leaked by Internet whistleblower Wikileaks late last year showed that Pakistani civilian and militant leaders had privately consented to the drone campaign.

Please read the entire story here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Pakistan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sallyport Wins KBR LOGCAP Contract and Transitions in 60 Days

Press release from PR Web  June 29, 2011

Sallyport was awarded the Fire and Emergency Services contract for Iraq under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP III). The Prime contractor for the LOGCAP in Iraq is Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc, who provides basic life support services to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and civilian contract personnel.

Fire and Emergency Services is categorized as a “High Risk” job, and has many critical components. Recognizing Sallyport’s reputation in this critical sector, KBR sub-contracted the entire Fire and Emergency portion of the BLS to them. This allowed KBR to focus on what they do best, whilst benefiting from Sallyport’s industry-wide experience in protecting lives, fighting fire, and mitigating property damage.

The transition for this contract was exceptional; within 60 days, Sallyport had established an HQ in Baghdad, transitioned 21 sites across the country – an area the size of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama combined – and built an operational capacity of over 500 firefighters. This made Sallyport the largest contract fire department in the DoD, and the 78th largest fire department nationwide.  Read the entire press release here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contracts Awarded, Government Contractor, Iraq, KBR, LOGCAP | , , , , | Leave a comment

SAIC, Tetra Tech joint venture gets contract

AP at Forbes  June 29, 2011

McLEAN, Va. — Defense contractor SAIC Inc. and Tetra Tech Inc., an engineering and construction consultant for water and energy projects, said Wednesday that their joint venture received a contract to provide civilian police and criminal justice assistance to the U.S. Department of State.

Under the contract, Integrated Justice Systems International LLC will compete for task orders to provide technical assistance, training, logistics and infrastructure services to help the Department of State strengthen criminal justice systems in foreign countries.

The joint venture is one of six teams that can compete for task orders under the contract, the companies said. The multiple-award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract could be worth $10 billion, with one base year and four option years, the companies said.

Please read the entire article here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contracts Awarded, Government Contractor, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment

Sallyport Awarded Four-Year Contract To Support USAID Tarabot Project

Sallyport has received a four-year subcontract on the recently awarded USAID Tarabot project. Beginning June 16, 2011, the program will assist with training the Iraqi Civil Service and improving the capabilities of the Iraqi government. Under this project, Sallyport will provide Turn-Key support solutions to Management Systems International, which is serving as the Prime Contractor.

Read the entire press release here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Contracts Awarded, Iraq, USAID | , , , , | Leave a comment