Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Afghan immigrant, paralyzed while working as combat translator, is reunited with family after help from lawmaker

The New York Daily News  May 14, 2012

David Handschuh/New York Daily News
Jamil Patkik, 33, was working as a combat translator in Afghanistan when his helicopter crashed, paralyzing him from the waist down. Now he is home in Queens with daughter Noor Bibi, 7, and sons Abdul, 5, Shahbaz, 9, and Khalil, 12.

An Afghan immigrant paralyzed while working as a Navy translator has a new gig: interpreting for his wife and kids, reunited with him in Queens after a lawmaker cut through red tape.

“Before, I was always away from them,” Jamil Patkik said as his youngest son, Abdul, 5, cuddled on his lap. “Now we’ll be together forever.”

Patkik’s wife and four kids had been approved to come to New York by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services but languished for 10 months on a waiting list in Pakistan.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand got involved and convinced the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan to issue visas for Patkik’s family, who finally arrived last month.

Patkik, 33, a U.S. citizen, was desperate for them to join him in Flushing because he needs his wife’s help with daily activities.

A civilian combat translator, he was paralyzed from the waist down in a deadly 2010 Black Hawk chopper crash in Afghanistan’s Zabul province.

Nine Americans, including four SEALs with whom Patkik worked closely, died in the accident.

“I thank Mr. Patkik for his heroic service and sacrifice to our country and will continue to assist his family,” Gillibrand said.

Patkik’s wife, Naseem, who had seen him only on Skype for the last two years, is overjoyed the clan is together again. The kids started school and are learning a new language.

“I’m translating English for them,” said Patkik, smiling.

Patkik first immigrated to Queens in 2000 from Pakistan, where his family relocated during the Soviet-Afghan war.

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May 14, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Interpreters | , , , | Leave a comment

Possible suicide vehicle crash in Afghanistan targeted top Marine

Washington Post  March 16, 2012

The top U.S. commander in Helmand Province and his British deputy were with the U.S. Marines that an Afghan man tried to run down as they waited for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to arrive in southern Afghanistan, defense officials acknowledged Friday, proving the incident to be more serious than had been disclosed earlier.

A senior defense official also said that three Afghans, including the father and brother of the alleged attacker, were detained by the military. It was not clear if they were still in custody. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation

Pentagon press secretary George Little said Maj. Gen. Mark Gurganus, the other Marines and the British official were at Bastion Air Field waiting to greet Panetta, when an Afghan contractor hijacked a white Toyota SUV and tried to run down the Marines. The Afghan, who worked as an interpreter, had a lighter and a container of fuel in the vehicle which ignited. He was badly burned and later died

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March 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Interpreters, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

Afghan who crashed truck where Panetta landed dies

The Detroit Free Press  March 15, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan man who crashed a stolen truck at an airfield as U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s plane was landing there died Thursday of extensive burns, a top U.S. general in Afghanistan said.

U.S. Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparotti, the deputy commander of American forces in Afghanistan, told reporters traveling with Panetta in Kabul that the driver was an interpreter working for the foreign forces.

The man apparently had a container of fuel in the car, which ignited during the crash Wednesday at the British airfield in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.

“There was a puff of smoke and he came out engulfed in flames,” Scaparotti said. He said the truck was headed toward a group of U.S. Marines assembled at the ramp.

“My personal opinion, yes, he had an intent to do harm,” Scaparotti said.

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March 15, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Interpreters | , , , | Leave a comment

Injured War Contractors Sue Over Health Care, Disability Payments

T Christian Miller ProPublica September 27, 2011

Private contractors injured while working for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan filed a class action lawsuit [1] in federal court on Monday, claiming that corporations and insurance companies had unfairly denied them medical treatment and disability payments.

The suit, filed in district court in Washington, D.C., claims that private contracting firms and their insurers routinely lied, cheated and threatened injured workers, while ignoring a federal law requiring compensation for such employees. Attorneys for the workers are seeking $2 billion in damages.

The suit is largely based on the Defense Base Act, an obscure law that creates a workers compensation system for federal contract employees working overseas. Financed by taxpayers, the system was rarely used until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most privatized conflicts in American history.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians working for federal contractors have been deployed to war zones to deliver mail, cook meals and act as security guards for U.S. soldiers and diplomats. As of June 2011, more than 53,000 civilians have filed claims for injuries in the war zones. Almost 2,500 contract employees have been killed, according to figures [2]kept by the Department of Labor, which oversees the system.

An investigation by ProPublica, the Los Angeles Times and ABC’s 20/20 [3] into the Defense Base Act system found major flaws, including private contractors left without medical care and lax federal oversight. Some Afghan, Iraqi and other foreign workers for U.S. companies were provided with no care at all.

The lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind, charges that major insurance corporations such as AIG and large federal contractors such as Houston-based KBR deliberately flouted the law, thereby defrauding taxpayers and boosting their profits. In interviews and at Congressional hearings, AIG and KBR have denied such allegations and said they fully complied with the law. They blamed problems in the delivery of care and benefits on the chaos of the war zones

September 27, 2011 Posted by | AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Corruption, Defense Base Act, DynCorp, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Interpreters, KBR, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans, Wackenhut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Defense Base Act Class Action

Statement concerning filing of class action for fraud and bad faith against KBR, DynCorp, Blackwater, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting, CNA Insurance, AIG Insurance and others who conspired to deny benefits to severely injured contractors and to harm them further

Scott Bloch  files complaint for $2 billion against major government contractors like

KBR, Blackwater.XE,  DynCorp, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting and the global insurance carriers AIG, CNA, ACE and Zurich, on behalf of thousands of former employees, for unlawful, fraudulent and bad-faith mistreatment of injured employees and their families   

WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2011)

Since 2003, top government contractors like Blackwater, KBR, DynCorp, CSA/AECOM and ITT have been perpetrating a fraud on their employees and on the American public. 

The silent warriors who work for these companies, many of them decorated former military service members, have been injured, mistreated and abandoned by the contracting companies and their insurance carriers who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums.

“It is a grave injustice,” Bloch said, “to those who rode alongside American soldiers, including Iraqi and Afghani Nationals, to be case aside without the benefits of the law.  We are supposedly trying to bring them the rule of law.  We are supposedly trying to encourage them in democratic institutions. 

We are the ones asking them to believe in justice and individual rights. 

This is a travesty to all Americans and those around the world who look to America for an example of humanitarian aid and proper treatment of workers.”

This is a lawsuit for damages in the amount of $2 billion to remedy the injuries and destruction caused to the lives, finances and mental and physical well being of thousands of American families and others whose loved ones were injured while serving America under contracts with the United States. 

It seeks an additional unspecified amount to punish the companies who made massive profits while causing this harm to people unlawfully and maliciously and working a fraud on the American public who paid them.  
“This abusive and illegal scheme by the defendants has been allowed to go on for too long. 

We are talking about loss of life, suicide, loss of homes, marriages, families split up, “ Bloch said, “and the culprits are the large government contractors who should have treated their employees better, and the mega-insurance companies who were paid a hefty sum to make sure the employees were taken care of with uninterrupted benefits in the event of injuries in these war zones.”
This complaint is filed due to actions and omissions of defendants, in conspiracy with others, and individually, to defeat the right of American citizens and foreign nationals to receive their lawful benefits and compensation under the Defense Base Act (“DBA”),  as it adopts the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).  
The lawsuit explains that those sued engaged under the RICO statute in an enterprise of fraudulent and or criminal acts to further their scheme to defeat the rights of individuals who have been injured or suffered occupational diseases, and death, while on foreign soil in support of defense activities under the DBA.  

These acts were perpetrated repeatedly through bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, using telephones, faxes, and United States mail .
 “These are heroes, decorated by America’s Armed Services,” said Bloch. 

“Some of the foreign contractors were decorated special forces soldiers from their countries who assisted the United States in combating threats.  The sheer disregard for human dignity and law is reprehensible and deserves punishment. 

These families and many others who have been harmed need treatment, need compensation, need redress of the wrongs that have been perpetrated by these huge companies and insurance carriers for the last 10 years. 

They have earned $100 billion per year on the backs of these people, with the blood of these plaintiffs and those whom they represent.”
The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and covers individuals from all over the United States, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and other counties.  

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:
Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290
scott@scottblochlaw.com

September 26, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, DynCorp, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Interpreters, Iraq, KBR, L-3, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Traumatic Brain Injury, USACE, USAID, Veterans, Wackenhut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lost in Translation: How The Army Wastes Linguists Like Me

Wired’s Danger Room  August 24, 2011

It’s no secret that the U.S. Army has a language barrier to overcome in Iraq and Afghanistan. A decade of war has led an English-constrained military to seek all kinds of quick fixes, from translator gadgets to private contractors — something Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lamented this week. But more galling is the fact that the few soldiers who do speak Arabic, Pashto and Dari are still being wasted, even in the warzones where they’re needed the most. I know — because I was one of them.

The Army spends years and hundreds of thousands of dollars training each of its foreign-language speakers. At the same time, it uses costly contractors to work the same jobs for which its own linguists have trained. In Iraq and Afghanistan, private-sector linguists are largely replacing their military counterparts rather than augmenting their numbers, an expensive redundancy

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August 25, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Interpreters, Iraq | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Families of soldiers killed by interpreter in Afghanistan accuse US contractor of negligence

WASHINGTON -Associated Press at Canadian Press  July 12, 2011

In the rush to send more interpreters to work alongside American troops in Afghanistan, a U.S. defence contractor called Mission Essential Personnel hired Nasir Ahmad Ahmadi, a slightly built and emotionally troubled 23-year-old. Just a few months after Ahmadi arrived at an Army Special Forces base near Kabul, he was ordered to pack his bags and leave. The soldiers were alarmed by his strange behaviour, his inability to do the job and the foul condition of his living quarters. They suspected he used drugs.

Instead of getting ready for the next flight out, Ahmadi grabbed an AK-47 assault rifle from another interpreter’s room on the base and started shooting. He killed Specialist Marc Decoteau, a 19-year-old just a few weeks into his first tour of duty, and Capt. David Johnpaul Thompson, 39, a veteran soldier and the father of two young girls. At close range, Ahmadi shot Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Russell, 37, hitting him in the legs. Russell survived. All three soldiers were unarmed.

An alert Army sergeant ended the rampage at Firebase Nunez when he drew his pistol and killed Ahmadi, a native of Afghanistan who had immigrated to the United States in 2009.

On Monday, nearly 18 months after the shootings in January 2010, Russell and the families of Decoteau and Thompson filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court in North Carolina that accuses Mission Essential Personnel of negligence and breach of contract.

It said the company failed to look into Ahmadi’s background and did not properly test him to ensure he was psychologically sound before giving him a job.

Please read the entire article here

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Interpreters, Mission Essential Personnel, Private Military Contractors, Safety and Security Issues, Vetting Employees | , , , , | Leave a comment

Families sue military contractor Mission Essential Personnel over soldier deaths in Afghanistan

Fay Observer    July 12, 2011

The families of two Fort Bragg soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan last year by a disgruntled interpreter have filed a lawsuit against the military contractor for whom the man worked.

Capt. David J. Thompson and Spc. Marc P. Decoteau were killed Jan. 29, 2010, after Nasir Ahmad Ahmadi opened fire inside Camp Nunez with an AK-47 assault rifle. The camp was in Wardak province.

A third soldier, Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Russell, was injured in the attack.

Ahmadi had worked as an interpreter at the base for Special Forces soldiers.

According to the complaint, Ahmadi opened fire on soldiers in the base after being told he would be reassigned to another base.

Russell and the estates of Decoteau and Thompson filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court against Mission Essential Personnel LLC. The complaint alleges that Mission Essential Personnel “failed to properly vet, prepare, place and manage (Ahmadi).”

In response to the lawsuit, Mission Essential Personnel released a statement calling the incident that led to Thompson’s and Decoteau’s deaths “shocking and tragic” and offered the families their deepest condolences.

Please read the entire article here

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Interpreters, Legal Jurisdictions, Mission Essential Personnel, Private Military Contractors | , , , , , , | Leave a comment