Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Post Traumatic Stress and the Hired Gun

What is not known is the impact among those who work in the armed private security sector

“There’s loads of loose cannons running around”

BBC Scotland  October 1, 2012

Former SAS soldier Bob Paxman – who served in Iraq as well as other hostile environments – is one of a growing number of former servicemen who say they have suffered with the mental health condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

After a number of years in the military, Paxman retrained as a private security contractor, on protection contracts in Africa and Iraq.

He says as a result of being constantly in a dangerous environment and witnessing colleagues being killed and maimed he was diagnosed with PTSD.

The stress disorder is thought to affect up to 20% of military personnel who have served in conflict zones, according to research published by the National Center for PTSD in the US.

What is not known is the impact among those who work in the armed private security sector, many of whom are drawn from the military.

Yet the condition, says Paxman, led to him having flashbacks and becoming violent and paranoid.

“I was a danger to the public, a danger to myself,” Paxman says.

“A danger to whoever was perceived as being the enemy.”

Please read the entire article here

October 1, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, Security Clearances, Traumatic Brain Injury, Vetting Employees | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will ArmorGroup, AGNA, G4S, finally be held accountable for the deaths of Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare??

The programme-makers heard stories of contractors being forced to work on dangerous missions with inadequate equipment, incident reports sanitised to protect company reputations and numerous deaths of former soldiers.

One security contractor, Bob Shepherd, said: “We know when a soldier dies it’s all over the newspapers, it’s on the TV. But we never know when security contractors die.

“For the companies it’s bad for business, for the government it’s hiding the true cost of these conflicts.

“If the British taxpayers knew the total numbers of people that have died on behalf of British security companies in places like Iraq and Afghanistan they would be shocked.”

BBC News Oct 1, 2012

Security firm G4S was sent warnings not to employ an armed guard in Iraq just days before he murdered two colleagues, a BBC investigation has found.

Private security guard Paul McGuigan, from the Scottish Borders, was shot dead by Danny Fitzsimons in 2009 in Baghdad while on a protection contract.

Another man, Australian Darren Hoare, was also killed.

All were working for UK contractor G4S, which was operating under the name ArmorGroup in the region.

Violent criminal

In a BBC documentary, it is revealed that a G4S worker sent a series of emails to the company in London, warning them about Fitzsimons’s previous convictions and unstable behaviour.

The anonymous whistleblower signed one email “a concerned member of the public and father”.

The worker warned G4S: “I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public.

“I am speaking out because I feel that people should not be put at risk.”

Another email, sent as Fitzsimons was due to start work in Baghdad, said: “Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust.

“I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing.”

Within 36 hours of arriving in Iraq in August 2009, Fitzsimons – a former paratrooper – had shot and killed the two men after what he claimed was a drunken brawl.

Paul McGuigan Paul McGuigan was killed by Fitzsimons

An Iraqi colleague was also wounded as Fitzsimons tried to flee the scene.

Fitzsimons had worked as a private security contractor before in Iraq, but he had been sacked for punching a client.

At the time he was taken on by G4S, Fitzsimons also had a criminal record, was facing outstanding charges of assault and a firearms offence, and had been diagnosed by doctors as having PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

In the documentary, the parents of Paul McGuigan call for the company to face criminal charges over the killing.

His mother Corinne Boyd-Russell, from Innerleithen in the Borders, said: “[Fitzsimons] fired the bullets. But the gun was put in his hand by G4S ArmorGroup. They put the gun in that man’s hand.

“I want G4S to be charged with corporate manslaughter and be held accountable for what they did.”

Corinne Boyd-Russell Corinne Boyd-Russell wants G4S charged with corporate manslaughter

The parents of Danny Fitzsimons, who is serving 20 years in a Baghdad prison after being sentenced for the murders in February 2011, were also shocked to hear about the existence of the emails.

Liz Fitzsimons, from Manchester, said: “And they still took him out there? They [G4S] need to be taken to task for that.

“The people who we feel are responsible, who we hold responsible for putting that gun in Danny’s hand, are without a shadow of a doubt G4S.”

A G4S spokesman admitted that its screening of Danny Fitzsimons “was not completed in line with the company’s procedures”.

It said vetting had been tightened since the incident.

Regarding the email warnings, the spokesman G4S told the BBC it was aware of the allegations but that an internal investigation showed “no such emails were received by any member of our HR department”.

He did not say whether anyone else in the company had seen them.

An inquest into the death of Paul McGuigan, a former Royal Marine, is due to begin in December.

The revelations in the Fitzsimons case come just weeks after G4S found itself at the centre of a crisis over its inability to meet its commitment to recruit security staff for the Olympics in London.

It is the biggest security company in the world in an industry that is worth about £400bn globally

WARNINGS ABOUT KILLER OF SCOT WENT UNHEEDED  October 1, 2012

Danny Fitzsimons was sentenced to at least 20 years in an Iraqi prison last year

CONTROVERSIAL security firm G4S ignored warnings not to employ an armed guard in Iraq who went on to murder two of his colleagues, it has been claimed.

Danny Fitzsimons was sentenced to at least 20 years in an Iraqi prison last year for killing Scot Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in Baghdad in 2009.The parents of Paul McGuigan, 37, have now called for G4S ArmorGroup to face criminal charges for failing to heed the warnings and sending Fitzsimons to Iraq.Now a new BBC Scotland documentary has revealed that G4S was warned not to employ Fitzsimons, who was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and had been fired by a previous security contractor for punching a client.

It emerged that a whistleblower sent two e-mails to the London-based company, which operates as Armorgroup in Iraq, expressing concerns that Fitzsimons’ unstable behaviour made him unsuitable to be handling weapons in a war zone.

The first e-mail, revealed in tonight’s BBC Scotland Investigates: Britain’s Private War programme, reads: “I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public. I am speaking out because I feel that people should not be put at risk.”And in a second e-mail, sent as 32-year-old Fitzsimons was about to start work in Baghdad, the whistleblower adds:“Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust.

“I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing.”Paul McGuigan’s mother, Corinne Boyd-Russell, from Innerleithen, in Peebleshire, said: “Fitzsimons fired the bullets. But the gun was put in his hand by G4S ArmorGroup.“I want G4S to be charged with corporate manslaughter and be held accountable for what they did.”

The parents of Fitzsimons were also shocked to hear about the existence of the e-mails.

Mother Liz Fitzsimons, from Manchester, said: “The people who we feel are responsible, who we hold responsible for putting that gun in Danny’s hand, are without a shadow of a doubt G4S.”

The news comes just months after the UK Government was forced to call in 1,200 troops to police the Olympic Games venues after G4S failed to provide enough staff.

The firm recently won a £20million contract to manage the electronic tagging of Scottish offenders.

A spokesman for G4S said: “Although there was evidence that Mr Fitzsimons falsified and apparently withheld material information during the recruitment process, his screening was not completed in line with the company’s procedures.

“Our screening processes should have been better implemented in this situation, but it is a matter of speculation what, if any, role this may have played in the incident.”

September 30, 2012 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, Follow the Money, G4S, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Safety and Security Issues, Security Clearances, State Department, Vetting Employees, Wackenhut | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whistleblower sacked after speaking out about G4S cutting corners when vetting security staff for the Olympics

From the people who brought you ArmorGroup Security at the US Embassy in Kabul 

Looks like they are using the same Vetting process they used to hire  Danny Fitzsimons as a security contractor who killed two fellow employees within hours of arriving on the job

  • Sarah Hubble was told not return after contacting the media about her experiences working for G4S
  • She says she had access to passport information, bank account details and national insurance cards but had not been vetted herself

The Daily Mail June 3, 2012

A whistleblower who claims staff cut corners while vetting security staff for the London Olympics was escorted from her place of work.

Data input clerk Sarah Hubble was interviewed by bosses, then told not to return after contacting the media about her experiences working for G4S.

Miss Hubble, 27, from Darlington, County Durham, claimed the system was creaking under the pressure of processing thousands of applications ahead of this summer’s games.

She said staff had to process a minimum of ten applications an hour and that the documents ended up piled in corners at the office in Stockton-on-Tees.

Please see the original and read more here

June 3, 2012 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, G4S, Private Security Contractor, Security Clearances, Vetting Employees | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Blackwater executives finger CIA in weapons trial

Several other lawsuits filed by Contractor Employers will expose the extent to which Civilian Contractors were actually working for the CIA and the State Department in capacities that are not known to the public.

It is known that Ronco Consulting has worked for/with the CIA via the State Department .

Blackwater/Academi has banked more than $2 billion from security and training contracts with various federal agencies, including the CIA, since 2002. Several former CIA officials later went to work for the company.

The Virginian Pilot

Five ex-Blackwater executives, facing federal firearms charges in connection with a gift of weaponry to a Middle Eastern monarch, have come up with a new explanation for how it occured:

It was a CIA operation.

In court papers filed last month in Raleigh, the defendants say the gift of five guns to King Abdullah II of Jordan during a royal visit to Blackwater’s Moyock, N.C., headquarters in March 2005 was requested, directed and authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Attorneys for the five have filed declarations from two retired CIA officials, including a former Jordan station chief, who say they are familiar with the circumstances of the king’s visit and would be willing to testify about it.

The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s a new wrinkle in a case that dates to April 2010, when the five security company executives were indicted on a variety of felony firearms charges. One key section of the indictment involved King Abdullah’s 2005 visit to Moyock, during which the monarch was presented a Bushmaster M4 rifle, a Remington shotgun and three Glock handguns.

Please read the entire article here

June 2, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Security Clearances | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SIGIR Speaks

David Isenberg Huffington Post  April 30, 2012

Today the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) has released its latest quarterly report. Here is what happening with private contractors in Iraq.

As of April 3, 2012, the Department of State (DoS) reported that 12,755 personnel supported the U.S. Mission in Iraq, down about 8 percent from the previous quarter. Current staffing comprises 1,369 civilian government employees and 11,386 (U.S., local national, and third country national) contractors. (89 percent of the total).

Of these contractors, DoS estimated that about 2,950 provided security-related services for DoS sites, down more than 22 percent from last quarter (3,800).

In February, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides said that DoS will continue to reduce the number of contractors over the coming months in an attempt to “right size” Embassy operations.

The Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I) manages U.S. security assistance to the Government of Iraq. OSC-I is staffed by 145 U.S. military personnel, nine Department of Defense (DoD) civilians, and 4,912 contractors.

But according to SIGIR, DoS tends to undercount the number of contractors working in Iraq. It found that:

In early April, DoS asserted that only 6 U.S. government employees and 48 contractors work on what it considers reconstruction programs. This total does not include any of the several hundred personnel working under the auspices of the PDP, [Police Development Program] which remains the single-most expensive ongoing initiative financed by DoS for the benefit of Iraq. Nor does it include any of the hundreds of employees and contractors supporting the missions of OSC-I and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), though both agencies oversee projects paid for with U.S. reconstruction funds.

According to the Defense Department, if you include the OSC-I contractors, the total for private security contractors rises to 3,577.

The takeaway is that after all these years the U.S. government still has problems tracking the number of contractors working in Iraq. The SIGIR report found that:

While SPOT [Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker database, administered by DoD] data provides SIGIR with a comprehensive view of contractor and grantee personnel in Iraq, significant apparent differences exist between agency-reported contractor numbers and SPOT data. For example, DoS reported to SIGIR that there were almost 11,400 contractors supporting Mission Iraq as of April 3, 2012, while SPOT data shows 5,172 working for DoS.276 In addition, USAID reported that 1,854 contractors are currently working on USAID projects in Iraq.277 However, SPOT data shows only 110 USAID contractor and grantee personnel in Iraq as of April 1, 2012. SIGIR intends to investigate these discrepancies and provide an update in the July 2012 Quarterly Report.

With regard to security contractors the Government of Iraq (GOI) announced in February that 124 private security firms were registered to work for foreign government entities and private firms engaged in activities in Iraq, but the GOI has taken steps to minimize the presence and scope of these firms. According to the GOI, the Security and Defense Committee of the Council of Representatives has drafted legislation to reduce the number of PSC firms working in Iraq from 124 to 63. Of the remaining firms, 15 to 20 would be foreign firms and the rest would be Iraqi.

On the fraud front, some of SIGIR’s noteworthy investigations were:

Three former officers of a U.S. defense contractor, the wife of one of the officers, and four foreign nationals were indicted for their alleged roles in a fraud and moneylaundering scheme involving contracts for reconstruction projects in Iraq. The defendants were also are charged with an aggregate of 74 wire-fraud offenses.A British citizen and his company were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay kickbacks in exchange for receiving more than $23 million in DoD subcontracts from April 2006 to August 2008. The British contractor allegedly paid more than $947,500 in unlawful kickbacks to two employees of a prime contractor to the U.S. government in order to obtain these subcontracts for work performed in support of the Coalition Munitions Clearance Program (CMCP).

David Welch, a former U.S. civilian contract employee, pled guilty to conspiring to steal 38 U.S. military generators and sell them on the Iraqi black market.

As of April 10, SIGIR is continuing to work on 110 open investigations.

There are a number of PSC firms working on the Police Development Program; especially in providing security at the Baghdad Police College Annex (BPAX). At BPAX, Triple Canopy, Inc., contractors provide protective details and escort PDP convoys. Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, LLC, provides perimeter security, with Iraqi Security Forces guarding the outer perimeter. EOD Technology, Inc., operates the counter-mortar and counterrocket system, and three U.S. military personnel are attached to the RSO explosive ordnance disposal unit. Another U.S. contractor provides a computer technician who manages the classified email system used by PDP personnel.

 Follow David Isenberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vanidan

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Government Contractor, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, Security Clearances, SIGIR, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philippines observes total ban on sending workers to Iraq

Blanket ban on sending Filipinos in Iraq is in anticipation of an increase in level of violence in the country

Gulf News  February 4, 2012

Manila: The Philippines announced that it has imposed a total ban on sending Filipino workers to Iraq in anticipation of a surge in violence following the withdrawal of US forces in the country.

Labour Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldo said that a ban has been imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (Poea) on sending Filipinos to Iraq in anticipation of an increase in the level of violence in the country.

“The Poea Governing Board has issued the resolution after the Office of the President has approved the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raising the Alert Level in Iraq from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3,” Baldoz said in a statement.

Baldoz chairs the governing board of the Poea, the government agency in charge of regulating and enforcing the country’s undeclared labour export policy.

Under the DFA and Poea-observed threat assessment warning system, Alert Level 2 means the imposition of certain restrictions on working in a certain host country. Alert Level 3 means that a deployment ban is being enforced.

“The recommendation was in view of the expected surge of terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq following the withdrawal of US military forces last December 2011,” Baldoz added.

However, Baldoz added that while a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers is being observed in all of Iraq, the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region is not covered by the restriction.

“The resolution imposes a total ban on OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) to Iraq but allows deployment to Kurdistan subject to Poea rules and regulations,” Baldoz said.

In 2007, the Poea suspended the processing and deployment of all OFWs bound for Iraq (and Afghanistan) due to the unstable peace and order situation in those countries.

Then on September 2, 2011, the Poea, through Governing Board Resolution No. 5 Series of 2011, allowed those with existing contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan and working inside American military camps and facilities to finish their contracts and to extend or renew these contracts onsite. The resolution also allowed covered workers to be redeployed to finish their contracts should they go home to the Philippines before their contracts’ expiration.

“The ban will stay until such time that it has been determined that the security condition has normalized, after due consultation with the DFA,” Baldoz explained.

The imposition of a total deployment ban is recommended for countries placed under Alert Level 3.

In July 2004, the government of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was caught in a bind when militants abducted Angelo dela Cruz, a Filipino truck driver working for an American contractor.

Although Dela Cruz was eventually released and sent home, the Philippines had been extra-cautious in placing the lives of OFWs at risk.

Please see the original and read more here

February 4, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, Security Clearances | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Theater Clearance Mandatory for USAFRICOM, DoD-Sponsored Travel to Africa

US Africa Command  January 31, 2012

STUTTGART, Germany,

 Jan 31, 2012 — Following an increase in uprisings and various crisis situations in parts of Africa, officials at U.S. Africa Command are taking steps to remind service members assigned to the command and other Department of Defense personnel that a theater clearance is mandatory when traveling to Africa whether in an official capacity or as an active duty service member on leave.

According to the Defense Department’s Foreign Clearance Guide, all DoD-affiliated and sponsored travelers, including military, DoD civilians and contractors, are subject to the clearance process. All DoD members are required to submit a request for clearance, regardless of where they are stationed.

When traveling to Africa, members and their leadership are urged to always check and be familiar with the Foreign Clearance Guide (FCG), which outlines specific requirements for each country and type of travel. Official travel, leave and approval levels differ for each country and travel type. The FCG is the authoritative document that shows the country-by-country requirements for travel to a foreign country.

“For the AFRICOM affiliated countries, clearance is required for all official travel,” said Marla Mann, U.S. AFRICOM theater clearance manager. “What some are surprised about is that it is also required for all military leave travel and recommended for civilian leave travel.”

Mann said there are consequences for violating this directive.

Please read the entire directive here

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Security Clearances | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment