The Oregonian August 30, 2012
Magistrate Judge Paul Papak this week denied KBR’s request to throw out the lawsuit by 12 Oregon soldiers. The 12 in the lawsuit are part of a group who accuse the company of knowingly exposing them to a carcinogen, hexavalent chromium, that was present at a water treatment plant in southern Iraq where the soldiers were assigned to provide security for KBR engineers.
The company denies the charge.
Papak also denied requests by both sides to exclude the others’ expert witnesses, except to limit the extent of the medical opinions offered by Dr. Arch Carson, who said the soldiers’ suffered “genetic transformation injury” as a result of their exposure to the carcinogen. Carson’s testimony will be allowed, but he will not be allowed to argue that the injury persists to the present day. Papak noted that Carson conceded “that he lacks a good scientific basis” for that portion of his opinion.
30 Aug 2012 — javier at War Resistors International
G4S plc (formerly Group 4 Securicor) is a British multinational security services company headquartered in Crawley, United Kingdom. It is the world’s largest security company measured by revenues and has operations in around 125 countries. G4S was founded in 2004 by the merger of the UK-based Securicor plc with the Denmark-based Group 4 Falck.
In 2004 G4S bought private military and security company (PMSC) ArmorGroup and in doing so joined the shadowy world of privatised war. PMSCs have been accused of profiting from war, conflict, and political instability at the expense of security and human rights.
The British government has already played a large role in the growth of this industry by endorsing its widespread use in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the three years 2007-2009 the industry earned £62.8 million in contracts from the UK government. Almost all of the Foreign Office’s contracts have gone to ArmorGroup, now part of G4S. In June this year, defence secretary Philip Hammond, announced 30,000 Army jobs would go amid spending cuts, citing the need to use “more systematically the skills available in the reserve and from our contractors”.
Bloomberg August 29, 2012
After investments in food, telecommunications and cleaning-product companies in the early 1990s, CM Equity Partners bet on a little-known U.S. government contractor that would shape the firm’s future.
It bought Intermetrics Inc., which designed software forNASA, in 1995 and sold the company five years later after more than quadrupling its revenue. Following that success, the New York-based private equity firm in 2004 dropped its“generalist” investment philosophy to concentrate exclusively on federal contractors, said Peter Schulte, a founder and managing partner.
CM Equity is now one of at least 38 private equity firms backing companies that sell primarily services to the federal government, an increase from fewer than 10 a decade ago, according to investment firm Stifel Nicolaus Weisel. Carlyle Group LP (CG) and Cerberus Capital Management LP, the two biggest private equity firms in federal contracting, own or control companies that had $8.9 billion in U.S. awards last fiscal year, government procurement data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“It’s a sign of the maturity of the sector,” said Charles Chappell, president of Chantilly, Virginia-based Caliber Consulting LLC, which advises firms seeking to buy federal contractors. “You’ve finally had some companies reach a size”that commands the attention of private equity investors, he said.
NBC Southern California August 23, 2012
That’s according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by his parents in July.
Pfc. Acosta was 19 when he was killed in March 2011 inside a secure area of the Forward Operating Base Frontenac in Afghanistan.
The combat medic was shot to death on base by an Afghan national hired to protect the military – a man who had previously threatened to kill U.S. troops, according to the lawsuit filed by Dante and Carolyn Acosta in federal court.
“We lost our oldest son. We lost a bright, funny, charismatic 19-year old young man with a bright future. He wanted to be a surgeon,” Dante Acosta, Rudy’s father, said.
The Acostas are suing the private security company, Tundra Group, based in Canada, saying that the firm rehired Shir Ahmed after previously firing him for making the threats.
According to the lawsuit, Ahmed was hired in May 2010 and fired in July of the same year after making statements about killing U.S. personnel. Tundra recommended he not be rehired but the recommendation never entered his file and Ahmed was rehired in March 2011, the lawsuit claims.
The Acostas’ Los Angeles attorney, Stuart Fraenkel, said Ahmed was given body armor and a loaded AK-47 weapon.
The lawsuit states that Tundra entered into an agreement with the American government in November 2009 to “among other things, screen, evaluate and monitor private security guards at nine military installations, including FOB Frontenac. The agreement required Tundra perform ordinary and necessary safety precautions to protect the men and women, living, working and servicing at FOB Frontenac.”
“They have customs, practices, procedures, protocols in place to prevent this kind of a problem from happening and they didn’t follow them,” said Fraenkel, who is also representing three others injured in the attack
The increased security for contractors was put in place in recent months alongside efforts to increase security for coalition troops. Contractors and coalition troops alike have been increasingly targeted recently by uniformed Afghan soldiers and policemen, in so called “green-on-blue” attacks. Over the past two weeks, at least 10 U.S. troops have been killed in attacks by Afghan troops on their international colleagues.
Nathan Hodge WSJ August 21, 2012
The U.S. military has added previously undisclosed security measures for contractors in Afghanistan, amid a wave of insider attacks by Afghan soldiers and police and the continuing withdrawal of coalition troops.
A NATO document viewed by The Wall Street Journal outlines a number of extra precautions for contractors, including requiring personnel to travel in more heavily armored convoys with military-compatible communications, GPS trackers and specific weaponry.
VOA August 21, 2012
The ministry said Tuesday that 45-year-old Mika Yamamoto was shot in the northern city of Aleppo. She worked for the Tokyo-based Japan Press, where she previously covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Fighting continues across Syria, where opposition activists say the violence killed at least 140 people Monday. The Local Coordination Committees says more deadly violence hit Damascus, Homs and Daraa on Tuesday.
Patrick D. Feeks one of 11 who died in Aug. 16 crash
Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks, 28, was one of seven Americans killed in the crash Thursday during a firefight with insurgents northeast of Kandahar, officials said. Four Afghans on the helicopter also were killed.
Feeks, who was assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group One out of Coronado, Calif., was the eighth service member from Maryland to die this year, and the seventh killed in Afghanistan.
Feeks enlisted in the Navy in March 2006 and was assigned to SEAL Team Three in May 2008. He deployed to Afghanistan last December.
He deployed to Iraq in 2008 and 2010. His awards and decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Feeks leaves his parents, Thomas and Virginia, and his wife, Emily.
Seattle Associated Press August 20, 2012
The Defense Department says a 32-year-old sailor from Des Moines was among seven Americans killed last week when a U.S. military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of southern Afghanistan.
He was assigned to an explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit in San Diego.
Navy officials say Carson enlisted in May 1999 and graduated from boot camp at recruit training command in Great Lakes, Ill. in August 1999.
His awards and decorations include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Battle Efficiency Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
The Department of Defense has identified another San Diego-based service member killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan last week.
Sean P. Carson, 32, was assigned to an explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit in San Diego. Carson was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Petty Officer, first class.
It was a very humbling experience, to go from being a very able-bodied man, leading an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team on numerous combat deployments, to simply not being able to carry myself up a sidewalk.
He’s still an active duty Marine, living in California.
Marquette native Zambon, who lost his lower legs to an improvised explosive device while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2011, trained hard for the trip to Tanzania, which he made with Tim Medvetz and Medvetz’s organization, The Heroes Project.
But the accomplishment was about much more than climbing a mountain.
“The journey of making it to Africa was for me and my recovery,” Zambon, 27, said in an email. “The summit of Kilimanjaro was for my two friends SSgt. Josh Cullins (killed in action in October 2010 in Operation Enduring Freedom) and Sgt. Mike Tayaotao (killed in action in August 2007 in Operation Iraqi Freedom) whose dog tags I climbed with around my neck and buried atop Mount Kilimanjaro with my own EOD (explosive ordnance detail) digging knife that had dug on numerous IEDs.
G4S is set to pull out of Pakistan amid an increasingly hostile environment for foreign security companies, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
4-Traders August 19, 2012
The company, which trades under the name Wackenhut Pakistan Ltd, has agreed to sell the business to its chairman in the region for about $10 million.
Ikram Sehgal, chairman of G4S’s Pakistani operation, who already owns a 50 percent stake in the company, is expected to buy the company’s Pakistan interest.
“The Pakistani government has decided it doesn’t want foreign security companies in the region, which makes it tough for outsiders to operate,” Sehgal is quoted as saying.
G4S, the world’s largest security firm, employs 10,000 staff in Pakistan, where it provides security for the UN and multinational corporations.
G4S is under fire over its failure to provide enough guards at the London Olympics.
The family has also been told that Global Security, the company he was working for at the time, had refused to pay out his life insurance
Telegraph and Argus August 20, 2012
Rebecca Lake, said her family was being “kept in the dark” despite an on-going fight for justice for her brother Daniel Saville, 40, a former Coldstream guard, who was among three Britons who perished when Pamir Airways Flight 1102 crashed north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 17, 2010.
Mr Saville, who grew up in Wilsden , Haworth and Allerton , Bradford, had been only a few weeks away from his return to Britain from working as a private security contractor for a US government agency trying to combat the cultivation of heroin.
A damning official report blaming the failure of the aircraft’s captain and Afghan air traffic control for causing the disaster has been obtained from the Foreign Office by the Telegraph & Argus using the Freedom of Information Act.
But Mrs Lake, 45, of Clayton Heights , Bradford, has made a fresh plea to the authorities to keep her family fully informed of developments as lawyers continue a compensation battle in the US for the British victims of the doomed plane which had been flying on false documents.
She said that, despite investigations in the war-torn country, it had been “difficult” for the Afghan authorities to fully investigate and bring to justice those who were to blame for causing her brother’s death.
The family has also been told that Global Security, the company he was working for at the time, had refused to pay out his life insurance.
Mrs Lake said: “We really have no idea about what is going on. As far as we are concerned, everything is at a standstill.
“We really do not think that we are going to get any answers. There has been fault admitted somewhere, just not to us. We have not even had an apology or explanation.
CBS Denver August 19, 2012
Serviceman Darrel Enos died just before he was scheduled to return home. He was fatally shot by a man he was training.
Enos was a husband, father, twin brother and son to his mother Patricia Loren.
“Darrel was very proud to be serving his country always, always, but it’s such a needless loss,” Loren said.
Enos was killed by an Afghan he was working to train. He was in the Navy, working on a Marine battalion training Afghan police recruits. The official report states that one of those recruits turned his gun on his trainers, killing Enos. It was his fifth tour.
“I think that nobody should have to deploy that many times,” Loren said.
“I just hate that he’s gone. I never thought it would happen to Darrel,” brother Dale Enos said.
Enos’ family in Colorado Springs had high hopes of seeing him return home soon. He was heading back in just one week. Instead he died doing what he loved.
“Darrel always loved to help people. That’s what he thought he was doing over there,” Dale Enos said.
Stories like Enos’ are happening more and more in recent days in Afghanistan. His family just wants him remembered as the hero he was, killed in action.
Loren is headed to Delaware to meet his casket. He’ll be honored at Marine Corps Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and then later in Colorado Springs.
Post Gazette.com August 18, 2012
Those qualities had served him well during his nine-year Army career, according to his stepmother, Jan Holman.
Staff Sgt. Holman, a 1990 Avonworth graduate, was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province by an improvised explosive device, according to the Department of Defense. He was 39.
A large contingent of family members, including his mother, Carol, of Franklin Park, and his father David and stepmother, of Forward Township, Butler County, were at Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware, when his body was brought back to the United States this morning.
“He had planned to make the Army a career,” Jan Holman said. “He liked everything about it.”
After graduating from Penn State in 1995 with a degree in criminal justice, Sgt. Holman held a variety of jobs. He drove cross-country for his father’s trucking company, operated a limousine service and did construction work.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he joined the Army as an enlisted man at age 29. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division and became a member of the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team. “They were like a family for him,” his stepmother said.
About three years ago he began training as an explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, specialist. Assigned to the 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, 20th Support Command, he had been stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. He had looked forward to his deployment in Afghanistan, which began in January, Jan Holman said. He was scheduled to come home in September.
He had been on patrol with a U.S. Special Forces team in the Afghan mountains when he was killed.
A Fort Bragg soldier died Wednesday in Afghanistan of wounds he suffered when he encountered an improvised explosive device, the Defense Department said Friday.
Staff Sgt. Eric S. Holman, 39, of Evans City, Pa., died in Ghazni province. He was assigned to 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, 20th Support Command at Fort Bragg.
He was an explosive ordnance disposal soldier, the 20th Support Command said in a press release issued Friday night.
“They are warriors who are properly trained, equipped and integrated to attack, defeat and exploit unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices and weapons of mass destruction,” reads the U.S. Army’s website.
Holman used to perform with the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army Parachute Team. “The entire family of the Golden Knights offer our deepest regrets and gratitude to our family member Eric Holman,” the parachute team announced on its Facebook page Thursday. “Thank You and you will be missed.”
Sacbee August 16, 2012
For Russ Mote and his family, the grief comes in waves as they remember the son and brother who was killed a week ago while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan.
The comfort comes as they remember Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote’s characteristic smile and his conviction that the work he and his team were doing in an Afghan village in Helmand province was making a difference.
They were further comforted Thursday by the outpouring of support from El Dorado County residents and others who waved flags from Highway 50 overpasses and lined streets in El Dorado Hills as a motorcade bearing the young Marine’s body passed en route from McClellan Air Park to Green Valley Mortuary.
Sky Mote, 27, and two other members of the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion from Camp Pendleton – Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills and Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va. – were killed Aug. 10.
Initial reports were that the three were shot by an Afghan police officer after sharing a meal with the man. Russ Mote said he is waiting to hear the story from members of his son’s unit.
“Sky always had a smile on his face. … I’ve only seen three pictures where he wasn’t smiling,” Mote said, and those were official Corps photos in which the Marine was supposed to look somber.
Sky Mote joined the Marines nine years ago, after graduating from Union Mine High School in his hometown of El Dorado.