Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

The Bomb Plant: America’s Three A.M. Nightmare

The private contractor guard force is owned by a foreign company with a long record of botched security operations from Afghanistan to London to Oak Ridge, Tennessee

The company is now wholly-owned by foreign security firm G4S, the same company that won notoriety on 9/11 when its Argenbright Security division ran passenger checkpoints at Dulles and Newark airports where hijackers boarded planes. Its performance on 9/11 was the major political impetus Congress used to federalize all airline security and create the Transportation Security Administration.

G4S was involved in a major scandal when its employees took part in bizarre hazing rituals when supposedly guarding State Department employees in Afghanistan. More recently, the company so botched security preparations for the London Olympics, the British government was forced to call in the army at the last minute.

by Joseph Trento at The DC Bureau  November 14, 2012

Aiken, S.C. – Tons of weapons grade plutonium and other nuclear materials, a target for terrorists, are not being properly protected by the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy’s sprawling Savannah River Site, according to security consultants and U.S. counterintelligence officials.

A secret security review underway at DOE and other government agencies after an elderly nun last summer breached a NNSA bomb-grade-uranium facility at the Oak Ridge Tennessee Y12 area reveals “harrowing problems in site management and control at other DOE sites,” said a Homeland Security official who requested anonymity. The official said that the Savannah River Site was of concern because “SRS does not have the staffing or the facilities to protect the huge amounts of plutonium that have been brought to SRS in recent years.”

SRS has one of the greatest concentrations in the world of radioactive material. In one old reactor building – the K Area Material Storage (KAMS) facility – protected by the same contractors that botched security at Oakridge, there is enough weapons grade plutonium to destroy the world multiple times. Here plutonium in its purest form can be found by the ton.

Please read this entire article at The DC Bureau

November 14, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, G4S, Government Contractor, Private Security Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Safety and Security Issues, Vetting Employees, Wackenhut | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ronco Riff

October 25, 2012

Voluntary Today, Involuntary Tomorrow

Another Successful Flush by Wackenhut G4S

Will the last Ronco Consulting Corporation Employee out please close the lid ?

October 25, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Oversight, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Follow the Money, Friendly Fire, G4S, Government Contractor, Iraq, Landmines, Lawsuits, Mine Clearance, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Sudan, Taxes, United Nations, United Nations Board of Inquiry, Vetting Employees, Wackenhut | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

War Profiteer of the Month-G4S

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”.

Please read the history of G4S and more here

August 31, 2012 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money, G4S, Ronco, Wackenhut | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen?

G4S Driver Steals GBN 1.5 million  June 23, 2012

Plovdiv. 33-year-old driver of armoured cash transport car in Plovdiv stole BGN 1.5 million.

The man was declared for a nationwide search. Yesterday at 14.25 in the First Regional Police Department was received a signal that there was an abandoned security van on Petrova Niva Str. During the investigative activities has been established that there were about BGN 1,5 million in a different currency missing from the car owned by a private security firm. Driver of the cash transport car George Enev (33) from the town of Plovdiv is suspected of committing the offense. In connection with the search police presence in Plovdiv is stepped up. Police stop vehicles and check IDs.
The inspection of the vehicle found that it is owned by a private security firm G4S. Clients of the security firm headquartered in England, are Governments, banks, insurance companies, industrial companies, commercial companies, public institutions and private individuals.

Last year, Danny Fitzsimons, a G4S ArmorGroup security guard in Iraq was convicted of shooting and killing two G4S colleagues, after a Baghdad bar fight. His family insisted he suffered from post-traumatic stress from an earlier stint in Iraq as a British paratrooper, and was so unstable, G4S ArmorGroup should never have hired him.

The Edmonton Journal  June 22, 2012

After last week’s triple homicide at the University of Alberta’s HUB Mall, that ancient question has haunting relevance.

Armoured car guards Michelle Shegelski, Brian Ilesic, Eddie Rejano, and their wounded colleague, Matthew Schuman, were employees of G4S Secure Solutions, the world’s largest private security company.

So was Travis Baumgartner, 21, now charged with shooting them. Over the last few days, G4S has repeatedly asked Edmontonians to donate to a trust fund the firm established for the victims’ families. G4S won’t say how much, if anything, it is contributing.

It’s a lovely gesture to create a trust to accommodate a spontaneous outpouring of community generosity. But for the world’s second-largest employer, a firm with 657,200 staff in more than 125 countries, to launch a corporate fundraising campaign, without leading by example, is little short of offensive.

According to G4S’s 2011 annual report, last year it had revenues of about $12 billion, and profits of about $317 million. It’s part of the security-industrial complex that ballooned after 9/11. The Anglo-Danish multinational doesn’t just guard bank deliveries. Cash security is just 17 per cent of its global business.

In Australia, G4S was hired to provide detention services for refugee claimants and prisoners, with disturbing results. In 2007, the Western Australia Human Rights Commission concluded G4S drivers locked detainees in a scorching van without food or drink, leaving one man so dehydrated one drank his own urine. G4S was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine. In 2008, an aboriginal man in G4S custody of died of heat stroke after being driven through the desert in a metal pod behind a prisoner van. It was so hot inside, the man was severely burned, where his skin touched the metal floor. G4S was fined $285,000.

Are such controversies relevant to the HUB tragedy? A transnational conglomerate can’t be held responsible for the alleged actions of one employee among 657,000. And no psychological screening process in the world can infallibly predict human behaviour. Yet this tragedy, fundamentally, is about one G4S employee accused of shooting four others. In a world where governments increasingly contract out police, prison and quasi-military services to for-profit companies, it’s worth asking how we ensure these guns-for-hire are fit to carry them and how we hold a corporation accountable when things go wrong.

Please see the original and read more here

June 23, 2012 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Contractors Arrested, G4S, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, Vetting Employees | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Were ArmorGroup Allegations Quashed?

CBS News  September 29, 2009

CBS News first reported this month on the hazing and humiliating of local employees and other serious breaches of ethics and policy by civilian security guards during wild parties at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Turns out, the State Department was warned that things weren’t right at the embassy, but nothing was done. Now there are troubling questions for the man once in charge of investigating those problems, reports CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

As inspector general for the State Department, Howard Krongard was supposed to be an independent watchdog.

It was his job to investigate the very type of misconduct alleged at the U.S. embassy in Kabul: forced sexual hazing of guards, contract fraud and waste of tax dollars.

CBS News has learned that serious allegations about the embassy reached Krongard’s office two years ago – where they apparently vanished into thin air.

How that could’ve happened is even harder to explain when you consider who made the complaint: Sen. Joe Lieberman, head of the Homeland Security Committee. His staffers say they notified Krongard’s office about security and fraud allegations made by high-level whistleblowers from inside ArmorGroup, the company that provides embassy security.

Asked if he remembers that, Krongard said, “No. I Have no knowledge of that whatsoever.”

Watch: Excerpt of Attkisson’s Interview with Krongard

But CBS News has learned Krongard had a special and controversial link to the company he should have been policing. His brother Buzzy, former executive director of the CIA, was on ArmorGroup’s board of directors.

March 8, 2012 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Friendly Fire, State Department | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More DoD Investigations of Allegations of U.S. Contractor-Fueled Human Trafficking

By NICK SCHWELLENBACH at POGO  January 26, 2012

It appears that Fiscal Year 2011 saw more Defense Department criminal investigations of alleged human trafficking by its contractor supply chain than in any one of the last five years, according to a Pentagon inspector general report publicly released today (it is dated January 17).

All three investigations involved or allegedly involved U.S. government contractors or subcontractors in Southwest Asia: Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

“While not criminal prosecutions, there have been some civil and administrative actions recently. Earlier this year, the Justice Department joined a whistleblower qui tam lawsuit that alleged that ArmorGroup North America had not reported trafficking-in-persons violations by its personnel as required by its contract. ArmorGroup North America, which had a contract to defend the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, settled the lawsuit for $7.5 million. ArmorGroup North America’s parent company said in a statement that the settlement was made “to avoid costly and disruptive litigation—and that there has been no finding or admission of liability.”

Please read the entire post here

January 26, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Human Trafficking, Legal Jurisdictions, State Department | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ArmorGroups Danny Fitzsimons was facing racially motivated assault charges

Murderer was facing race attack charges in UK before killing in Iraq

Daily Gazette  April 25, 2011

A DOUBLE murderer who served with the Army in Colchester was due to stand trial for racially aggravated assault in the UK before he killed two contractors in Iraq.

Former paratrooper Danny Fitzsimons, 31, was sentenced to at least 20 years in an Iraqi prison earlier this year.

But his violent tendencies had already surfaced with Fitzsimons facing an assault charge at Bolton Crown Court, according to the Manchester Evening News.

See Tuesday’s Gazette for the full story.  See original at The Daily Gazette

April 25, 2011 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

State Department axes guard firm for Kabul embassy and ArmorGroup gets a raise

Huffington Post March 17, 2011  Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The State Department has fired a contractor hired to provide security at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, less than six months after the company won the $274 million job.

The department ended its agreement for embassy security with EOD Technology of Lenoir City, Tenn., because the company was not going to be able to start work on May 1, as the contract required, the State Department said Thursday in a statement.

ArmorGroup North America will continue to guard the embassy for at least the next four months until a replacement for EOD Technology is found.

Vetting the Employees

The State Department said in 2009 that it would not renew its contract with ArmorGroup after its guards were caught engaging in lewd behavior and drinking excessively at their living quarters.

———————————————————————–

Financial Times two days ago on Nick Buckles, the 3.8 million dollar a year man, says:

“The failure of a competitor to take on security at the US Embassy in Kabul will see G4S stay on at the expense of the failed incumbent, at an improved rate.

(“improved” over that 1 million a month they were losing due to allegedly underbidding the contract)

Gordon’s lawsuit alleges that Michael O’Connell, ArmorGroup North America’s vice president of operations, emailed Sauer on March 11, 2007, “AGNA bid this at a very low price and a very low margin,” adding the next day that the timelines and resources given to State in its proposal “don’t match up,” but it wasn’t “a big deal unless” the State Department contracting officer’s representative “calls us on it”.

The contract rollover has been won in spite of controversy over the recruitment and behaviour of staff by ArmorGroup, a subsidiary acquired by G4S in 2008, which led to a critical report by the US State Department over the running of the contract.

March 17, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, EODT, G4S, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ArmorGroup Vodka Butt-Shot Contractor STILL Guarding the Kabul Embassy

ArmorGroup caused an international scandal and lost its State Department contract. Why’s the company still protecting one of America’s most dangerous diplomatic outposts?

“If there’s a better argument for making this mission an inherently governmental function, this situation is it,” she says. “We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company.”

by Daniel Schulman at Mother Jones

More than a year has passed since the State Department decided to drop its contract with the security firm protecting the US embassy in Kabul, following an international scandal featuring drunken debauchery fit for a Van Wilder flick. But the company that introduced the world to vodka butt-shots is still on the job—and it doesn’t seem to have plans to stand down anytime soon. Long after the expiration of its initial contract, in fact, ArmorGroup North America is currently hiring more guards to protect the Kabul embassy.

The firm sparked controversy in September 2009, when a Washington-based watchdog group sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighting a list of violations by the company, from a chronic guard shortage to the hiring of personnel who couldn’t speak English and would be unable to communicate with their colleagues in an emergency. But the most shocking charges concerned what the Project on Government Oversight called a “Lord of the Flies environment”—hazing and wild partying depicted in a series of graphic photographs showing members of the Kabul embassy security force drunk, half-naked, and engaged in an array of NSFW behavior.

Embassygate tainted not just ArmorGroup North America (AGNA) and its parent company, the security conglomerate G4S, but the State Department, too, leading to investigations by Congress and State’s inspector general. In the years leading up to the scandal, it turned out, the State Department had repeatedly found fault with the company’s performance—at one point stating in an internal memo that “the security of the US Embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy” as a result—but failed to fire AGNA. A former high-level AGNA employee also came forward to say that he’d warned the State Department about “lewd, aberrant, and sexually deviant behavior” by the company’s recruits more than two years before this conduct made global headlines. Again, no action was taken.

In December 2009, deeply embarrassed by the controversy, the State Department said it planned to axe AGNA once its contract came up for renewal that summer. But when that time came, the agency ended up extending the firm’s contract for another six months while it brought in another security provider. “Because the current KESF [Kabul Embassy Security Force] contract can only be extended through December 30th, we must have the company on the ground and operating by then,” a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security told Mother Jones last summer.

In late September, the agency selected the Tennessee-based firm EOD Technology to take over the contract. But December 30 came and went with no changing of the guards. And AGNA apparently believed it was staying put, at least for a while. In mid-January, the company posted a job ad on Careerbuilder noting that it was “recruiting Protective Security Specialists to provide security to the U.S. Embassy in, Kabul, Afghanistan.”

A spokeswoman for AGNA, Susan Pitcher, confirmed that the firm is still protecting the embassy, but declined to comment further, citing a State Department policy about contractors speaking to reporters. EODT also declined to comment. But a Diplomatic Security spokesman told Mother Jones that the transition has been delayed. Now, he said, the handover won’t happen until May. “In order to provide EODT with adequate time to make an orderly transition, it has been given 120 days from the end of AGNA’s contract,” the spokesman said.

Sources familiar with the security force contract questioned whether the delay has anything to do with the transition process; one suggested that the State Department may merely be stalling after unwittingly selecting a replacement for AGNA that also has a controversial background.

In October, a week after the agency chose EODT for the job, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has conducted a years-long investigation into private security firms in Afghanistan, released a report leveling serious allegations at both EODT and AGNA. It accused the companies of relying on local warlords to staff their guard forces—strongmen with unclear allegiances and possible Taliban ties. In one case, according to the report, EODT hired a group of Afghans who had recently been fired by ArmorGroup for “providing sensitive security information to…a Taliban-affiliated warlord.” (In response, EODT claimed that “all leaders which EODT utilized were made known to the US military at every stage of mobilization.” AGNA countered that it only relied on Afghans who had been recommended by special operations troops.)

Making matters worse for EODT, federal agents raided its offices in early December in connection with an investigation into potential export violations involving the transit of weapons or other military-grade materials. The company has said it is cooperating with the investigation and has denied any wrongdoing. “We obviously would not have been selected for some of the sensitive and important projects we handle for our country around the world had we not been thoroughly investigated before and found to be trustworthy,” the firm said in a statement. A State Department official said the agency was unaware the company was the subject of a federal investigation until stories about the raid appeared in the press, and insisted the probe “has not held up the transition.”

For Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, the fact that the State Department handed the embassy job to a company saddled with its own serious baggage illustrates the flawed logic of placing contractors in roles that she believes should be performed by US government personnel. “If there’s a better argument for making this mission an inherently governmental function, this situation is it,” she says. “We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company.”

Please see the original at Mother Jones

February 17, 2011 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contract Awards, Contractor Oversight, EODT, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ArmorGroup Security Contractor Danny Fitzsimons Trial Jan 23, 2011

We ask again why ArmorGroup is not on trial for endangering the lives of everyone they exposed to an armed Danny Fitzsimons?

Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare are dead because of ArmorGroup’s negligence in failing to Vet a mentally ill employee with a weapons charge pending in England.

Before joining ArmorGroup, Mr Fitzsimons had been dismissed by two other security firms, Aegis and Olive, on one occasion for “extreme negligence”. At the time that he was taken on by ArmorGroup he was on bail awaiting trial for assault in Manchester. here

And who paid the families of the dead?  The Defense Base Act’s Exclusive Remedy relieved ArmorGroup of responsibility but does not pay benefits when alcohol is involved.

Upon arrival, he was given an M4 rifle, a pistol and a bullet-proof vest which he set down in his room before meeting with an old friend he had made during a previous tour in Iraq, where he worked with three different firms before joining ArmorGroup.

Fitzsimons and his friend, another ArmorGroup security guard who was identified only as Kevin, bought two bottles of whiskey before settling in Kevin’s trailer in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone to chat over drinks. here

“You must question their employment practices and for them to be walking away at a crucial time like this is absolutely irresponsible. They have been part of the process right from the word go.” here

Daniel Fitzsimons denies murder of two colleagues in Iraq

British security contractor Daniel Fitzsimons tells Baghdad court he is guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility

British security contractor accused of murdering two colleagues in Iraq has given his first courtroom account of the drunken night that has left him facing a possible death sentence.

Daniel Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, told a criminal court in Baghdad today that he was not guilty of murdering Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in August 2009, but was guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, after he responded to taunts from both men.

Fitzsimons claims he was watching a DVD with a colleague from his army days, Kevin Milson, when McGuigan joined them. Fitzsimons had returned to Baghdad just over 24 hours earlier, following two previous tours with other security companies. He said he did not know McGuigan, but claimed intra-military tensions soon played out between them.

“Paul was with the marines and I was with the Parachute Regiment and as everyone knows there is rivalry between the two,” he said. “He started to insult me and insulted two friends of mine who had died in Iraq. I punched him in the nose and said ‘come on, fight me’.”

Fitzsimons’s testimony was similar to an account he gave to the Guardian in March last year. He claims to have been provoked, first in Milson’s room and then, later, in his own cabin, where he had returned to use the internet.

“I had been on the internet for an hour and then slept and then my door crashed in,” he said. “I saw Paul McGuigan and the Australian man, Darren Hoare. They kicked me in the face with their sandals. They wanted to kill me. It was shameful for a soldier.

“Paul took my M4 [assault rifle] from beside my bed and pointed it at me. He said ‘I am going to kill you’. I raised my pistol and shouted to Paul twice to put down his weapon, but he did not respond. Then I made my decision, as an old soldier, as a trained soldier, I shot him twice in the chest and a third time in his face as he fell.

“The Australian then tried to fight me for the pistol. He went for the trigger and tried to turn the pistol to my neck. He was shouting that he was going to kill me. He was much bigger than me. I pulled the trigger and put two, maybe three bullets in his chest.”

Fitzsimons had been diagnosed in Britain with post-traumatic stress disorder, but the Iraqi court is yet to decide whether that will be used in his defence. Iraqi medical experts have twice found that Fitzsimons was suffering no particular emotional disorder at the time of the killings.

The judge, Ali Yousef, questioned Fitzsimons on forensic evidence prepared for a coroner, which said powder burns were absent from Hoare’s body, not supporting Fitzsimons’s account of a close contact struggle during which fatal shots were fired from a short range.

Fitzsimons said: “I think the evidence was manipulated by the security company. The crime scene was changed.”

Salam Abdul Kareem, a lawyer for the victims’ families, urged the court to hand down the maximum sentence, which is death by hanging, or life imprisonment. “He did not stop shooting until all 14 bullets were finished,” he said.

McGuigan’s relatives and former fiancee in Britain have strongly challenged Fitzsimons’s version of events, claiming McGuigan was executed.

The case was adjourned until 20 February, when a verdict is expected

January 23, 2011 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Follow the Money, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Danny Fitzsimons pleads self-defence in Iraq trial

By Ammar Karim (AFP) January 23, 2010  10 am est

BAGHDAD — The British security guard accused of killing two of his colleagues in the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone insisted at his trial on Sunday that he acted in self-defence during an alcohol-fuelled brawl.

Danny Fitzsimons, 30, told Karkh criminal court in west Baghdad that the two men, fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian national Darren Hoare, had burst into his room and pinned him down before pointing an M4 rifle at his face, prompting him to use his pistol to kill them.

“It was very clear that he acted in self-defence, and we also submit that he has psychiatric problems,” Fitzsimons’s Iraqi lawyer Tariq Harb told the court, referring to a court report that said the defendant suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“He also did this under the influence of alcohol. I ask you, judge, to lighten his sentence.”

In comments translated to the court into Arabic, Fitzsimons, who faces a maximum sentence of death if convicted, said he had returned to Iraq on August 8, 2009, to work as a private security guard with ArmorGroup, a British-based security firm.

Upon arrival, he was given an M4 rifle, a pistol and a bullet-proof vest which he set down in his room before meeting with an old friend he had made during a previous tour in Iraq, where he worked with three different firms before joining ArmorGroup.

Fitzsimons and his friend, another ArmorGroup security guard who was identified only as Kevin, bought two bottles of whiskey before settling in Kevin’s trailer in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone to chat over drinks.

At a later point, a visibly-drunk McGuigan entered the trailer and disparagingly referred to two of Fitzsimons’s late friends, both killed in Iraq, as homosexuals, prompting Fitzsimons to punch him in the face.

The two, according to the defendant, shook hands to reconcile but continued to argue for the remainder of Fitzsimons’s time in the trailer, prompting him to return to his own trailer and go to sleep.

At around 1 am, Fitzsimons said, McGuigan and Hoare burst into his trailer, with Hoare pinning him down while McGuigan began hitting him in the face with a sandal.

McGuigan then grabbed Fitzsimons’s M4 and pointed it at his face, threatening to kill him.

According to Fitzsimons, McGuigan used threatening and crude language, which the court-appointed female interpreter refused to translate verbally, instead writing the words for the judge.

The defendant said that, at that point, he manoeuvred into a position to grab his pistol and fired two rounds into McGuigan’s chest followed by a bullet into his face.

After a tussle with Hoare, Fitzsimons recalled firing two or three rounds into the Australian’s body.

He then ran outside his trailer to call for help but when none came, decided to run to the British embassy, which is also located in the Green Zone.

He was then confronted by an Iraqi guard working for ArmorGroup, Arkaan Mehdi, who pointed his weapon at Fitzsimons. The defendant said he fired one round into Mehdi’s leg to get him out of his way, and fled.

Asked by the judge whether he had anything further to say, Fitzsimons said, in remarks that were not translated into Arabic for the judge by the court-appointed translator: “I don’t believe this is a fair trial.”

He also entered a plea of not guilty.

The trial was adjourned until February 20 as the court sought clarification over his psychiatric report, Harb said.

January 23, 2011 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, G4S, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

ArmorGroup North America, (Wackenhut/G4S) and EODT, the Taliban and US Funds

Senate panel: U.S. money was funneled to Afghan warlords with links to violence

from The Hill   October  7, 2010

The leading Senate panel on military affairs has found that several private security contractors in Afghanistan funneled money from their Pentagon contracts to warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping and bribery.

The private security contractors at the center of the yearlong Senate Armed Services Committee investigation also used U.S. taxpayers’ money to pay off individuals who supported the Taliban or took action against NATO-coalition forces in Afghanistan, according to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the panel’s chairman.

One of the companies investigated, ArmorGroup, a subsidiary of the British company G4S, relied on Afghan warlords — some of whom were Taliban supporters — to provide manpower for the company’s guard force at an Afghan air base, the report said.

During the contract period with the U.S. Air Force, one of the warlords who provided security forces for ArmorGroup killed another warlord in a shootout at a bazaar, according to the report. A third warlord working with ArmorGroup was killed in a U.S.-Afghan military raid on a Taliban meeting at his home.

A second company, EOD Technology (EODT), relied on local powerbrokers to supply personnel for its guard force, including one individual said to have raised money for the Taliban. EODT also hired personnel that had previously been fired by ArmorGroup for passing sensitive information to a Taliban-linked warlord, according to Levin.

EODT is registered as a foreign corporation in Tennessee.

(See EODT’s response here)

The investigation also looked into more than 125 Pentagon security contracts in Afghanistan that were in place from 2007 to 2009. The panel found that contractors did not properly vet their personnel or ensure they received adequate training. The investigation revealed wasted resources and “wide gaps in government” oversight that allowed “dangerous” failures to take place, Levin said.

See the entire report here

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Contractor Oversight, EODT, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

State Department Inspector General Documents AGNA Antics in Afghanistan

What AGNA ArmorGroup North America?? You mean Michael O’Connell??

Thank you POGO

The State Department Office of the Inspector General (OIG) today released a damning performance evaluation of ArmorGroup North America (AGNA), the contractor responsible for guarding the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Among the revelations from today’s OIG report:

  • AGNA employed, and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security failed to scrutinize, “Nepalese guards without verifiable experience, training, or background investigations in violation of its contract.”
  • “AGNA cannot account for 101 U.S. Government-furnished weapons that have been missing since 2007. AGNA used U.S. Government-furnished weapons for training rather than required contractor-furnished weapons.”
  • “AGNA regularly allows individuals who are not vetted by Embassy Kabul’s regional security office unescorted access to Camp Sullivan, a U.S. Government-owned camp containing sensitive materials.”

The report confirms and expands on the findings of our investigation last year, which pulled back the curtain on a “Lord of the Flies environment” that had taken hold of the Embassy security guard force.

Lewd and obscene photos of AGNA security guards helped our investigation garner considerable attention—but the key revelation, as detailed in our letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was that the State Department was failing to conduct oversight of a contractor performing an incredibly important service. Today’s OIG report is just one more piece of evidence demonstrating that the State Department continues to struggle in its oversight of private security contractors.

Find statements by POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian and POGO investigator Jake Wiens here.

ArmorGroup’s contract expired on June 30, 2010, but the company will continue to guard the Embassy through the end of 2010. The State Department has selected EOD Technology, Inc. (EODT) to take over security at the Embassy.

— Bryan Rahija

See also:

October 28, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, State Department | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Senate Report Says ArmorGroup Funded Warlords In Bed With the Taliban

Project of Government Oversight

“Money is ammunition; don’t put it in the wrong hands,” Gen. David Petraeus warned in an August memo that gave counterinsurgency (COIN) guidance. But apparently the U.S. government is doing just that. Yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee released a report detailing examples where the U.S. has fueled warlords connected with the Taliban and Iranian intelligence. This is at least the third government report made public that asserts that weak contract oversight is undermining U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan–in sum, we may be funding the very folks we’re fighting against.

According to the Senate report, its “inquiry uncovered evidence of private security contractors funneling U.S. taxpayers dollars to Afghan warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping, bribery as well as Taliban and other anti-Coalition activities.” The report delves into numerous problems connected to the more than 26,000 private security personnel in Afghanistan, an estimated 90 percent of whom are funded through U.S. contracts or subcontracts. The issues range from untrained guards to insufficient weaponry to unmanned posts.

Read the entire article here

October 8, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, G4S, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment