Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Undercounting Contractor Casualties in Iraq

by David Isenberg at Huffington Post  July 30, 2012

See Also Davids blog at the Isenberg Institute of Strategic Satire

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.

Please read the entire post here at Huffington Post

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Federal Workers, Government Contractor, SIGIR | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghan truckers a forgotten front in a war growing deadlier by the day

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.

Please see the original and read more here

July 29, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Department of Defense, NATO, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Audit Report July 27, 2012


July 27

,http://www.sigir.mil/files/audits/12-018.pdf#view=fit 2012

SUBJECT:         Status of Fiscal Years 2011-2012 Iraq Security Forces Fund (SIGIR 12-018)

July 27, 2012 Posted by | Iraq, SIGIR | , | Leave a comment

Iraq Reconstruction Effort Cost 719 Lives, Audit Finds

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.

Please read the entire story here

July 27, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq, SIGIR, USACE | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DOJ to seek new indictment in Blackwater shooting


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.


July 26, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mark McGowan, Ex Soldiers, Private Security Contractor dies in Afghanistan

Ex-soldier dies in Afghanistan

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.

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. civilian killed by Afghan gunmen

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

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, State Department | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Civilian Contractors, Police Trainers, killed in Green on Blue Herat Afghanistan Unknown Number Wounded

US identifies contractors killed in Afghanistan

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.

A British civilian contractor was one of three people shot dead on Sunday by a person wearing an Afghan national security force uniform.
An Afghan police officer shot and killed three American civilians on Sunday at the West Zone Police Training Center in Herat province, CNN reports.  Huff Post
Afghan in uniform kills three NATO contractors

(AFP)–1 hour ago

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.

July 22, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Department of Labor and Supreme Group, A Cover Up?

In the second quarter of 2010 The Department of Labor reports that the Supreme Group had 192 employee death claims filed


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)


See Also Failure to Secure DBA Coverage, Failure to Report Claims


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,


July 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, War Hazards Act, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mercenaries Sue Blackwater Over Fake Gun Tests

Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room  July 16, 2012

The security firm once known as Blackwater has repeatedly tried to distance itself from its bad old days of wrongful death and corporate misconduct. But a new lawsuit filed by two former employees raises questions about whether the firm’s kinder, gentler rebranding is more than skin deep.

Two former employees of the firm, now called Academi, say that they were fired from their jobs in Afghanistan after blowing the whistle on an attempt by a colleague to falsify dozens of marksmanship tests for security contractors. Robert Winston and Allen Wheeler thought that they were following Academi’s new ethics guidelines, which require employees to report suspected instances of waste, fraud and abuse. But not only were Winston and Wheeler fired, they allege Academi arranged with the State Department to blacklist the two security contractors from finding future work with private security firms.

According to the lawsuit, which Nation reporter Jeremy Scahill first tweeted about on Thursday, Winston and Wheeler witnessed a fellow firearms instructor twice fail to record the results of shotgun and machine-gun training amongst dozens of Colombian employees of Academi. The State Department, which hires Academi to protect its diplomats in conflict zones, requires weapons certification from the guards: If contractors can’t properly fire their weapons, they’re a danger to diplomats in need of protection and innocent civilians nearby.

But on two occasions in March 2012, Winston and Wheeler say that instructor Timothy Enlow informed the State Department inaccurately that Academi’s guards were proficient with shotguns and machine guns. On the second occasion, Enlow failed to bring an M249 belt-fed machine gun to the test range near Kabul, but reported a successful test anyway.

“I know there is a lawsuit about Academi not qualifying contractors properly with the belt fed machine guns,” Enlow told the would-be marksmen, according to the lawsuit, “but I am going to help you guys out.”

Please see the original and read more here

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marine Veteran KBR PTSD Casualty Wade Dill July 16, 2006

After many years of surviving an extremely abusive Overly Zealous Defense

Wade Dill’s  family was finally provided death benefits under the Defense Base Act

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

July 15, 2012 Posted by | AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Follow the Money, Halliburton, KBR, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civilian diver dies during work at Norfolk Naval Station

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.

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors | , , , | Leave a comment

Plane Crash in Mauritania kills 7

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.

Please see the original and read more here

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

CIA Shifts Strategy in Iraq—Still High Demand for Niche Capabilities

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

Please read the entire post here

July 12, 2012 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Iraq | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Job Op-Head of Operations – Explosive Ordnance Disposal & Humanitarian Mine Action

See at Reliefweb  July 12, 2012
Closing date: 09 Aug 2012

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.

How to apply:

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.

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Humanitarian Assistance, Landmines, Mine Clearance, NGO's, United Nations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment