by David Isenberg at Huffington Post July 30, 2012
A new report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) provides some detail on the sacrifices made by private contractors who engaged in reconstruction or stabilization activities in Iraq between May 1, 2003, and August 31, 2010.
The total number includes 318 Americans (U.S. military, federal civilian employees, and U.S. civilian contractors), 111 third-country nationals, 271 Iraqis and 19 of unknown nationality who were working in support of the U.S. reconstruction or stabilization mission during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Of course, the actual total number, as opposed to the merely official one, is almost certainly higher, according to the report
For several reasons, an exact calculation is not possible. First, no agency managed a central database for reconstruction or stabilization casualties. Each U.S. government entity involved in Iraq’s reconstruction–the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of State (DoS), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)–maintained its own employee casualty database. The Department of Labor (DoL) maintains a database of civilian contractors of all nationalities that were killed in Iraq who worked for or were contracted by U.S.-based companies or were insured through U.S. insurance carriers and notified DoL through the Defense Base Act.
Second, the databases we could access often did not contain enough detail to confirm whether a casualty was stabilization- or reconstruction-related. For example, there were 1,047 military casualties where the type of mission could not be determined.
Finally, there was no central source of information on third-country nationals or Iraqi civilians killed while working on or in support of U.S. projects.
What the report, “The Human Toll Of Reconstruction Or Stabilization Operations During Operation Iraqi Freedom” does say is that “Americans suffered 44 percent of the total reconstruction or stabilization-related deaths, including 264 from the Department of Defense (37 percent) and 54 U.S. federal civilian employees and U.S. civilian contractors (8 percent).” So, looking just at the very limited subset of contractors working stabilization and reconstruction-related activities, you get 57 deaths.
It is a thankless and increasingly deadly job, and one so mired in graft that the drivers see a fraction of the cash paid by U.S. military paymasters
Reuters KHOSH GOMBAT, Afghanistan | Sun Jul 29, 2012
In the cabins of their “jingle” trucks flamboyant with tinsel baubles and painted tiger patterns as they move NATO’s war supplies, Habibullah thinks he and other drivers are becoming a forgotten front in an Afghan war growing more vicious.
From a dusty truck park midway between Kabul and the Pakistan border, and under the constant thump of helicopters from Jalalabad airbase over the road, Habibullah moves food and military materiel across the Taliban’s eastern heartland, from Nuristan to the former al Qaeda cave stronghold of Tora Bora.
“We worry about our fate when NATO leaves, because the Taliban also call us the infidels. For them, we are not just the enemy, but also traitors,” said the soft spoken 23-year-old, who contributes seven trucks to a cooperative with five owners.
It is a thankless and increasingly deadly job, and one so mired in graft that the drivers see a fraction of the cash paid by U.S. military paymasters, with the rest skimmed by middlemen or even going into the hands of insurgents for “protection”.
Only this week, three of Habibullah’s trucks were attacked and burned by Taliban amid the rugged mountains of Nuristan, a virtual no-go zone for NATO soldiers after heavy past losses and now garrisoned by a handful of Afghan troops and police.
SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION
LETTER FOR U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE
U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ
SUBJECT: Status of Fiscal Years 2011-2012 Iraq Security Forces Fund (SIGIR 12-018)
Bloomberg Tony Capaccio July 27,
At least 719 military personnel, civilian contractors, Iraqis and third-country nationals died inIraq over seven years performing U.S. reconstruction and stability operations, according to the first audit of its kind.
The dead include 264 of the 4,409 U.S. troops who died in Iraq from May 1, 2003, through August 30, 2010, according to the audit released today by Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
The audit represents the first time a U.S. agency has attempted to tally the deaths associated with spending about $60 billion in congressionally appropriated reconstruction and stabilization funds.
Nothing was safe or “soft” about reconstruction missions, according to the report. “The human losses suffered in Iraq and outlined in this report underscore the point that when such operations are conducted in combat zones, they are dangerous for everyone involved,” the report said.
The deaths occurred during U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, train police and security forces and restructure Iraq’s government institutions.
“The actual number of deaths related to reconstruction or stabilization activities is certainly higher than 719,”according to the report. “For several reasons, an exact calculation is not possible,” the report said, noting that no agency managed a central database for these categories of casualties.
The Justice Department plans to bring a new indictment against four Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a 2007 shooting that killed 17 Iraqis.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina had thrown out the case in 2009, but an appeals court reinstated the charges last year.
Urbina, who has since retired, said prosecutors built their case on sworn statements the guards had given under a promise of immunity.
A Justice Department attorney told Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday that a special team will ensure that prosecutors working on the new indictment don’t have access to “privileged statements.” Prosecutors say they will seek a superseding indictment after gathering additional evidence.
The guards are accused of opening fire in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007.
Mr McGowan had previously served in the Parachute Regiment.
It is thought he left the Army to become a private security contractor, joining the lucrative “circuit”, as it is known.
The 32-year-old was engaged to be married and had two young children, Manus and Mila.
No details surrounding his death were available last night.
Luke Duffy June 27, 2012
I regretfully announce the loss of yet another fallen comrade and great friend,
Marc McGowan, sadly passed away yesterday while in Afghanistan.
He was a man of great character and a true friend. Always quick to laugh and see the funnier side of almost any event and situation, Marc was a man that could be relied upon to carry you through even the toughest of times.
Marc and I served together in the Parachute Regiment where we developed a strong bond that remained to this day. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Sleep well my friend.
Kidron engineer killed in Afghanistan July 26, 2012
WOOSTER — A Kidron man taken hostage in Afghanistan in 2008 and held captive for 56 days before being released was shot and killed Monday in a rural part of that country.
Al Geiser, 65, of Kidron, was with two Afghans, one a business partner and close friend and the other a co-worker, and returning from a job that was part of a hydroelectric project when they were killed, according to a press release issued by Carl Wiebe, pastor of Kidron Mennonite Church.
The Associated Press reported gunmen killed three people in an ambush on a van in northern Afghanistan, and one of the victims was an electrical engineer who lived in the country for decades. However, the AP story did not contain the information of the American killed.
(AP) CNN News KABUL, Afghanistan – July 24, 2012
The U.S. embassy and Afghan officials say an American civilian who reportedly worked as an electrical engineer in northern Afghanistan has been killed by gunmen.
The U.S. Embassy on Tuesday could not provide further details because of privacy laws, but three Afghan security officials say the man, an electrical engineer working in Afghanistan for about 30 years, was shot Monday by gunmen as he rode in a mini-bus in northern Parwan province. The gunmen, two or three in number, also killed two Afghans, the driver and one of the man’s colleagues, they said.
Shirin Agha, the police chief in Parwan’s Siahgerd district, said on Tuesday that the American had been dressed in Afghan clothes and had a long beard
Three Civilian Contractors, Police Trainers, killed in Green on Blue Herat Afghanistan Unknown Number Wounded
The victims were Benjamin Monsivais, a former US Border Patrol and retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent; Joseph Perez, a retired US Customs and Border Protection port director; and retired British customs officer David Chamberlain, DHS said in a statement.
Dave Chamberlain was killed in western Afghanistan alongside two American colleagues by a gunman who turned his weapon against the US military coalition, sources have said.
Mr Chamberlain, who was in his 40s and from Westgate-on-Sea, was working for the Border Management Task Force, which trains and mentors former Afghan customs officers and border policemen, when he and his colleagues were killed on Sunday, a source said.
He said another American national had been taken to hospital with severe injuries and that an Afghan interpreter had also been injured during the shooting.
KABUL — Three foreign civilian contractors working for NATO as trainers were killed Sunday when a man in an Afghan security force uniform turned his weapon against them, NATO and Afghan officials said.
The shooter was killed in the incident in the west of the country, the International Security Assistance Force said in a statement, without giving further details or naming the nationalities of the victims.
An Afghan official who requested anonymity said he knew two Americans had been killed in the attack and they had been shot by an Afghan man in a police uniform in a military training centre near the Herat airport.
HERAT (Reuters) – July 22, 2012
A gunman wearing an Afghan uniform turned his weapon against foreign trainers working for NATO in the western province of Herat on Sunday, killing three, in a grim 24 hours for the coalition which also saw five NATO soldiers killed.
The latest rogue shooting by an Afghan in a police or army uniform happened at a regional training center in the relatively peaceful western province near Afghanistan’s border with Iran, which is normally patrolled by Italian forces.
“An individual wearing an Afghan National Security Force uniform turned his weapon against ISAF contracted civilian employees in western Afghanistan today, killing three,” a spokesman for the NATO-led coalition said, adding that an unknown number of other people had been wounded.
The Supreme Group shows no prior death claims filed dating back to September of 2001.
While no single insurer shows death claims filed amounting to this number for this time period
CNA shows 46 death claims filed
Zurich shows 105 death claims filed
And the DoL lists 103 death claims to an uninsured employer (there were previously none listed)
We filed FOIA’s on February 22, 2012 and again on March 8, 2012
Which included the following:
1. Any and all complaints, statements, or reports to U.S. Dept. of Labor (DoL) concerning the activities of Supreme Group, Supreme Food Service, and their subcontractors
2. Any and all letters, reports, e mail, memoranda or other record showing communications with people regarding the activities of and/or the filing of DBA claims by Supreme Group, Supreme Food Service, and their subcontractors
3. Any and all report(s) of investigation or other memoranda or record concerning results of investigation conducted by DoL or any person working for DoL concerning the activities of and/or the filing of DBA claims by Supreme Group, Supreme Food Services, and their subcontractors
We understand that when filing FOIA requests they must be worded properly
But are we to believe that there were 192 Death Claims filed in one quarter by one company and that during this same quarter over 100 Death Claims were filed to an uninsured employer,
AND NO ONE HAD ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR?
After many years of surviving an extremely abusive Overly Zealous Defense
These benefits were recently taken away by the Benefits Review Board when Attorney Bruce Nicholson, who was actively pursuing a settlement with KBR/AIG’s Attorney Michael Thomas, had a contract with the widow, was the attorney of record with the BRB, did not as much as respond to the Appeal.
While Bruce Nicholson is the one who apparently purposely abandoned the claim, Michael Thomas and the BRB were more than happy to carry on without notifying the widow that AIG’s appeal of her claim was unopposed.
Our thoughts are with you today Barb
NORFOLK The Virginian Pilot July 13, 2012
A civilian contractor died this morning during dive operations at Pier 10 at Norfolk Naval Station.
The man died shortly before 11 a.m. during operations on the amphibious assault ship Wasp, according to the Navy.
The man’s name was being withheld while his relatives were being contacted.
The cause of his death has not been determined.
Associated Press July 12, 2012
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania – Seven people were killed in Mauritania on Thursday in the crash of a military plane chartered by a Canadian mining company to transport gold, an aviation official said.
The plane caught fire shortly after taking off from an airstrip in Nouakchott, the West African nation’s capital. The pilot attempted to return to the runway but failed to reach it, said the official affiliated with Mauritania’s flight control agency.
The military crew members, custom officials and contractors working for a Canadian mining company aboard died on the spot. All of them were citizens of Mauritania, the official added. He declined to be named in line with department policy.
Aronson Capital Partners Blog July 10, 2012
The post-war reductions of CIA personnel in Iraq could provide greater opportunities for contractors with niche capabilities in intelligence collection, processing, and analysis.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the CIA is considering plans to reduce its presence in Iraq to 40% of wartime levels due, in part, to Iraqi officials’ unfavorable feelings toward a major CIA presence in the country.1 U.S. officials have since complained that deteriorating communications with Iraq have resulted in significant losses of situational awareness regarding the activities of al-Qaeda in Iraq. As a result, the CIA and other members of the Intelligence Community (“IC”) will have to shift operations back toward traditional intelligence collection and will need the help of private contractors to augment such a shift.
In light of fiscal pressures and sequestration concerns, the IC contracting community is expected to experience cuts in contracting and spending. However, there are still valuable growth opportunities which complement the Obama administration’s national security strategy to conduct smaller operations by combining intelligence and special operations capabilities. Leon Panetta, Defense Secretary and former Director of the CIA, stated in the January 5, 2012 strategic review briefing that even with a reduction in the overall defense budget, “We will protect our investments in special operations forces, new technologies like ISR and unmanned systems, space and cyberspace capabilities, and our capacity to quickly mobilize.”2
DanChurchAid (DCA) is seeking a visionary, dynamic Head of Operations for its Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) programmes around the globe. DCA is offering a job that will make a difference and improve the lives of people living at risk from Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and assist in the reconstruction of societies after conflict.
DCA has operational HMA programmes in Angola, Burma/Myanmar, DR Congo, Laos, Lebanon, Libya and Sudan, implementing the entire range of HMA activities.
The Head of Operations (HO) will be responsible for the coordination and supervision of all operational mine action aspects of the DCA HMA programmes. The HO will be comfortable in dealing with all external actors in strategic global HMA at all levels from UN agencies to local partner organisations. The challenging role extends to strategic advice, strategic planning, operational supervision, recruitment, training, impact measurement and ownership and operation of DCA’s HMA quality assurance mechanism.
Submit your application Please upload your letter of motivation, your CV and latest relevant diploma to www.noedhjaelp.dk/job or http://www.danchurchaid.org/get-involved/jobs/jobs-in-denmark no later than Thursday 9 August 2012. The interviews with the shortlisted candidates will be scheduled for Monday 20 August 2012. Initial interviews may take place by Skype, and relevant candidate(s) may be invited for a further interview in Copenhagen later in August.
For further information about this position please contact Head of Mine Action, Mr. Richard MacCormac at +45 2969 9138 or acting Head of Operations, Mr. M.J. Fred Pavey at +45 2969 9125. DCA promotes equal opportunity in terms of gender, race/ethnicity and belief and encourages all qualified and interested candidates to apply.