Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

UN tribunal finds ethics office failed to protect whistleblower

James Wasserstrom, an American diplomat, was fired and then detained by UN police after raising suspicions of corruption

The Guardian  June 27, 2012

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, has unsuccessfully sought to curb the UN’s dispute tribunal’s jurisdiction. Photograph: Sandro Campardos/Keystone

A landmark case brought by a former United Nations employee against the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has cast light on what activists describe as a pervasive culture of impunity in an organisation where whistleblowers are given minimal protection from reprisals.

James Wasserstrom, a veteran American diplomat, was sacked and then detained by UN police, who ransacked his flat, searched his car and put his picture on a wanted poster after he raised suspicions in 2007 about corruption in the senior ranks of the UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik).

The UN’s dispute tribunal has ruled that the organisation’s ethics office failed to protect Wasserstrom against such reprisals from his bosses, and that the UN’s mechanisms for dealing with whistleblowers were “fundamentally flawed”, to the extent the organisation had failed to protect the basic rights of its own employees.

The case was directed against Ban as being directly responsible for the actions of the ethics office.

Of the 297 cases where whistleblowers complained of retaliation for trying to expose wrongdoing inside the UN, the ethics office fully sided with the complainant just once in six years, according to the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a watchdog organisation in Washington.

Please see the original and read the entire story here

June 27, 2012 Posted by | United Nations, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taxpayers may not be on the hook for KBR’s legal costs in sodium dichromate suits

Oregon Live  June 26, 2012

It’s not clear who’s going to pay legal costs for defense contractor KBR Inc., which is being sued by National Guard soldiers who accuse the company of knowingly exposing them to a carcinogen.

While the company persuaded the Army Corps of Engineers to write an indemnification clause into its 2003 contract to restore the flow of Iraq’s oil, the Corps has twice refused KBR’s request to cover its costs in the two lawsuits proceeding against it in Oregon and Texas.

Lawyers for KBR say they believe the company is entitled to have its expenses covered by taxpayers but is proceeding through the litigation in the meantime at its own risk and expense, said Geoffrey Harrison of the Houston firm of Susman, Godfrey. The company expects to challenge the Corps’ denial “maybe at the end of the case,” he said.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Halliburton, Iraq, KBR, Lawsuits, Safety and Security Issues, Toxic, USACE | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

13,000 Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Cleared from Majnoon Oilfield

Iraq Business News  June 27, 2012

Hans Nijkamp, the head of Shell‘s operations in Iraq, has highlighted the success in removing explosive remnants of war (ERW) at the Majnoon oilfield, in which Shell has a 45% stake.

Speaking at CWC‘s Iraq Petroleum 2012 conference in London last week, Nijkamp said that more than 12 million square metres had been cleared so far, and work was proceeding at a rate of around 70,000 m2 per day.

Over 250 staff from 4 different contractors were involved in the operation, and well over 13,000 items have been removed and disposed of through controlled demolition by the Iraqi Army. The largest single item was a 500 kg explosive.

Shell’s other partners in the Majnoon venture are Petronas (30% share) and the Missan Oil Company, representing the Iraqi State (25% share).

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Iraq, Landmines, UXO | , , , , , | 1 Comment