Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Inside Moyock’s ACADEMI training center

WAVY March 1, 2012

MOYOCK, N.C.  It’s new name is ACADEMI . However, many know it as the company formally called Blackwater USA.

ACADEMI’s new owner wants to portray the company in a different light. In a direction, they claim, of more transparency.

For the first time since the change of command, only 10 On Your Side was invited behind the gates of the ACADEMI training center in Moyock, North Carolina.

At first glance the vast land is quiet and serene.

There’s a meditation garden with a short path winding around a simple pond. At the garden’s entrance stands a child embracing the American flag. The silent symbolism is powerful.

Mixed within the beautiful landscape are occasional bursts of gunfire. You also hear the squeal of car tires. Both are a reminder it’s work as usual during WAVY.com’s visit.

On the track, head driving instructor Craig Stephens explained the importance of driving techniques. “I can use this car to save my life. And that’s what I basically train the guys here for,” Stephens said.

The property consists of 7,000 acres sprawled across the border of North Carolina’s Camden and Currituck counties. Parts of it looks like a giant playground, a ropes course with a zip line and slide. There’s also a track where high speed turns are perfected.

Every facility serves a specific purpose, often rooted in some past tragedy. There’s a mock town with a church and high school, which was built to train for and respond to massacres like Columbine and Virginia Tech.

The ACADEMI contractors are mostly former members of the military and police force. They venture into conflict zones to protect American dignitaries. Their biggest client is the U.S. State Department

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March 1, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment

Woman hurt in homemade bomb blast

Borneo Post March 2, 2012

ALOR GAJAH: A woman was seriously injured when a box she was carrying, believed to contain a homemade bomb, exploded in front of her house in Lubok China here yesterday.

Earlier, Norasyikin Md Esa, 27, found the box in front of her house in Kampung Ramuan China Besar about 8.40am.

As it was addressed to her brother, Saiful Eszwan, 35, she carried the box while opening the main gate to go to work at a shopping complex in Masjid Tanah where she worked as cashier.

At that juncture, the bomb exploded, injuring Norasyikin in the face and body.

She was warded at the Malacca Hospital where her condition was reported to be stable.

Melaka CID chief ACP Raja Shahrom Raja Abdullah said the homemade bomb contained gasoline and other unidentifiable materials.

He said, initial investigations revealed the bomb was “linked” to Saiful who worked as a cleaning contractor.

“We are investigating the matter from various angles, with the aid of a bomb disposal and forensics units, to derive the motive behind the incident,” he said, adding that the case was being investigated under the Firearms Act

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March 1, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal | , , | Leave a comment

Senators go after waste in wartime contracting

Government Executive  March 1, 2012

Citing massive problems with waste and fraud, lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation to improve oversight of wartime contract spending.

Co-authored by Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Jim Webb, D-Va., the Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act would overhaul the federal government’s planning, management and oversight of contract spending in areas of conflict.

In August 2011, the independent, bipartisan Wartime Contracting Commission reported that as a result of poor procurement oversight, federal agencies wasted as much as $60 billion of the more than $205 billion spent on private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCaskill and Webb first introduced the legislation to create the commission in 2007, using as their model the Truman Committee, which investigated waste and fraud during World War II.

Thursday’s legislation focuses on four areas of wartime contracting: elevating oversight responsibility, requiring the government to identify how it will pay for overseas military operations, increasing transparency and competition, and instituting additional provisions for contractor accountability. It specifically requires the Defense and State departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development to exercise more authority and responsibility over the contractors they work with.

“You can bet that contractors who’ve made billions off of U.S. taxpayers aren’t excited about a crackdown,” McCaskill said in a statement. “But with the roadmap provided by the commission report, we can change the way our government contracts during wartime and make sure these failures are never repeated.”

Webb, former secretary of the Navy, stated the bill recognizes the work of support contractors and the “necessity to improve government management and accountability in the contracting process that resulted in unacceptable costs, excessive waste and substandard performance in far too many areas.”

Scott Amey, general counsel to the Project on Government Oversight praised the bill saying, “No matter the policy or ideological reasons for hiring wartime contractors, this bill provides an improved set of checks and balances that will save taxpayers billions.”

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March 1, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Commission on Wartime Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN peacekeeper killed in Darfur ambush

Rueters Africa  United Nations February 29, 2012

A U.N.-African Union peacekeeper was killed and three others were wounded in Sudan’s conflict-torn western Darfur region on Wednesday when their patrol was ambushed, the United Nations said.

“A patrol moving from Nyala to Shearia in south Darfur was ambushed at Baraka village. The initial reports indicate that three peacekeepers were wounded and one was killed,” said U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky. No further details were available.

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Africa, United Nations | , , , , | 2 Comments

American teacher killed in north Iraq

Newsday

Authorities in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah said 18-year-old Biyar Sarwar shot his gym teacher, U.S. citizen Jeremiah Small, before turning the gun on himself at a private English-speaking school during a morning sports lecture. Sarwar died later at a nearby hospital.

Small, 33, was from Cosmopolis, a town in western Washington state near the coast. His father, J. Dan Small, confirmed the death on his Facebook page. “Our oldest, Jeremiah, was martyred in Kurdistan this a.m.,” the elder Small wrote

USA Today  March 1, 2012

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq  – An American gym teacher was shot and killed Thursday in an apparent murder-suicide after an argument with a student in a private school in northern Iraq, officials said.

 The quarrel broke out Thursday morning at the Medya School in Sulaimaniyah between the gym teacher and the student, identified as 18-year old Biyar Sarwar, said city police spokesman Sarkawit Mohammed. During the argument, Mohammed said, Sarwar shot the teacher with a gun he had hidden in his clothes.

Mohammed said Sarwar then shot himself, and died of the wounds later at a nearby hospital. Sulaimaniyah health director Retawit Hama Rashid confirmed Sarwar’s death.

Eyewitnesses described a scene of chaos in the classroom, with several students fainting out of fear.

Sulaimaniyah mayor Zana Hama Saleh confirmed the police account but declined to speculate on Sarwar’s motive.

The Associated Press is withholding the gym teacher’s name pending notification of next of kin.

Sulaimaniyah is located in Iraq’s comparatively peaceful Kurdish region, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad.

The attack came at the Media School, a private, Christian, English-based academy that covers elementary through secondary grade levels. It runs schools in the three provinces that make up Iraq’s northern Kurdish region with a total enrollment of about 2,000 students.

According to the school’s website, American staff often help teach one or two courses each semester. An estimated 95 percent of the students come from Kurdish Muslim families, and the rest are described as either Orthodox or evangelical Christians or from other backgrounds.

Many students are the children of local government officials and community leaders.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has not yet confirmed the death

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gunmen kill 2 NATO troops in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters)

The two NATO troops shot and killed in Afghanistan by two Afghans on Thursday were Americans, said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity

AP at Navy Times  March 1, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — Gunmen, including one believed to be an Afghan soldier, killed two NATO troops Thursday in southern Afghanistan, just hours after the top NATO commander in the country allowed some foreign advisers to return to work at government ministries.

The shootings were the latest in a series of attacks by Afghan security forces — or militants disguised in their uniforms — against Americans and other members of the international alliance. Six NATO service members have been killed in this way in less than two weeks as tensions rise over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment