Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

State Department Funds US Group to train troops in Somalia

They shot one of Van Blerk’s South African Bancroft colleagues as well as a contractor from a demining company and 10 Ugandan soldiers trained in bomb disposal. The demining contractor and six of the Ugandans died. Dark trails of blood smear the floor inside the house where the trainer crawled for cover. Another Bancroft employee was shot in the stomach the day before but survived.

Associated Press at Huffington Post August 10, 2011

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — On the front lines of Mogadishu’s streets, Islamist militants battle African Union troops. Standing alongside the peacekeepers are members of an American-run team of advisers, former military men who play a little-known but key role in the war against al-Shabab.

Aside from covert raids by special operations forces, the U.S. government has not been involved militarily in Somalia since the intervention almost two decades ago that culminated in the Black Hawk Down battle. But a Washington-based company has been quietly working in one of the world’s most dangerous cities to help an AU peacekeeping force protect the Somali government from al-Qaida-linked Islamist insurgents.

While troops struggle to get control of this shattered capital that has been filling with refugees fleeing famine in southern Somalia, The Associated Press got rare access to the military advisers, providing a first look into their work.

The men employed by Bancroft Global Development live in small trailers near Mogadishu’s airport but often go into the field. It’s dangerous work — two Bancroft men were wounded last month.

Among the advisers are a retired general from the British marines, an ex-French soldier involved in a coup in Comoros 16 years ago, and a Danish political scientist.

Funded by the United Nations and the U.S. State Department, Bancroft has provided training in a range of military services, from bomb disposal and sniper training to handing out police uniforms

Please read the entire article at the Hufffington Post

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Somalia, State Department, United Nations | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stressed by Two Wars? Take a Cruise

Rose Ellen O’Conner at DC Bureau  August 10, 2011

It was early March 2006 and U.S. wars raged in Iraq and Afghanistan. The death toll for American troops had reached 2,576, and then President George Bush had asked the month earlier for an additional $70 billion in funding for the war, bringing the total for the year to $120 billion. The Army was growing so short on soldiers that it had begun filling out its combat ranks with Navy sailors.

Weeks earlier, the bombing of one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrine in Samarra had sparked what Bush called “a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal” that had left thousands dead in Iraq. The Pentagon was scrambling for a new strategy.

But not all Washington military insiders were worrying about the war. On March 2, 2006, Navy-secretary-turned-lobbyist William L. Ball III emailed Jean Trotter, a Navy public affairs official, about a taxpayer-funded aircraft carrier cruise he was planning for some of the richest businessmen in the United States. He suggested that Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, who had recently replaced Paul Wolfowitz as Donald Rumsfeld’s number two, might want to join the party

Please read the entire story here

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Department of Defense, Follow the Money, Government Contractor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surfers honor Navy EOD Kraig Vickers killed in Afghan crash with paddle out

Aaron Applegate The Virginan Pilot  Aug 10, 2011

Red carnations and fluttering American flags lined the beach, forming a gateway to the surf Tuesday night. Sunflowers, daisies and red roses filled buckets, as more than 200 surfers picked up a flower, clenched it in their teeth and paddled out into the ocean off Sandbridge near one of Kraig Vickers favorite surfing spots.

Vickers, a Navy bomb disposal technician working with a Beach-based SEAL team, was one of 30 Americans killed in the helicopter crash in Afghanistan. He lived in Virginia Beach with his wife and several children. Another child is on the way.

Just south of the Little Island Fishing Pier, surfers and stand up paddlers formed a giant circle, interlocking hands and paddles in a ceremony called a paddle out.

The event was a rare public display of mourning for victims of the crash in a city home to secretive, close-knit SEAL teams and those who work with them.

Just before Tuesday’s paddle-out circle broke up, whoops, screams and splashing erupted from the crowd and hundreds of flowers were cast into the ocean where they floated.

Please read the entire article at The Virginian Pilot

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , | Leave a comment

Nick Null, Navy EOD, dies in SEAL Team Chopper Crash

Nick Null Memorial Page

Nick Null Online Memorial

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , | Leave a comment

Red Cross brands assaults on medics in conflict zones a ‘humanitarian tragedy’

Violence against medical personnel in areas of unrest costing millions of lives, according to ICRC report

Global Development at The Guardian UK  August 10, 2011

International Committee of the Red Cross director Yves Daccord

Attacks on doctors and healthcare workers in conflicts from Somalia to Afghanistan have a drastic knock-on effect by jeopardising the health of millions, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a report on Wednesday.

“Violence that prevents the delivery of healthcare is currently one of the most urgent, yet overlooked, humanitarian tragedies,” Yves Daccord, ICRC director-general, said in a statement. “Hospitals in Sri Lanka and Somalia have been shelled, ambulances in Libya shot at, paramedics in Colombia killed, and wounded people in Afghanistan forced to languish for hours in vehicles held up in checkpoint queues. The issue has been staring us in the face for years. It must end.”

According to Dr Robin Coupland, who led research carried out in 16 countries, millions could be spared if the delivery of healthcare were more widely respected.

“The most shocking finding is that people die in large numbers not because they are direct victims of a roadside bomb or a shooting,” he said. “They die because the ambulance does not get there in time, because healthcare personnel are prevented from doing their work, because hospitals are themselves targets of attacks or simply because the environment is too dangerous for effective healthcare to be delivered

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Humanitarian Assistance, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Australia withdraws troops guarding Iraq embassy

Thirty-three Australian soldiers who were guarding the country’s embassy in Iraq have been withdrawn and a Dubai-based private security firm has taken over, an embassy official said.

ABC News  August 10, 2011

“We now have moved to a contractor called Unity Resources Group (URG) to provide embassy security,” the official said, adding that the last soldiers left on Saturday.

The soldiers guarding the embassy were the last significant Australian troop presence in the country.

Australia once had 2,000 soldiers in Iraq, one of the larger non-US deployments.

Two Australian officers remain as advisers to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, the embassy official said.

According to its website, URG is based in Dubai and was founded by Gordon Conroy, “a former commander in the Australian SAS (Special Forces) Counter Terrorist Squadron” who is the firm’s director and chief executive.

Last year, the ABC revealed URG, which handles security for the Australian embassy in Baghdad as part of a $9 million contract, is one of only two military contractors to have killed an Australian in Iraq.

Please read more here

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment