Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

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

ArmorGroup Security Guard,Danny Fitzsimons, escapes Death Penalty in Baghdad

People with PTSD can have “heightened levels of physiological arousal,” such as elevated heart rates even though they are not in real danger, Baldwin said.

“Because they feel unsafe, they’re more likely to be triggered into a defense state that might get them out of a traumatic experience that isn’t really happening,” he said.

“During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger,” Baldwin said. “You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.”

From Learning to Live Again

The Guardian UK Monday February 28, 2011  12:50 GMT

Danny Fitzsimons avoids death penalty and lawyers press for reduced sentence to be served in UK

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s director, said: “If G4S had done the proper checks and risk assessments when Danny applied to work with them, they would have quickly seen that he was suffering from serious PTSD, a consequence of loyally serving his country.

Danny Fitzsimons leaves the Iraqi court where he received a 20-year jail sentence for murder. Immunity for foreign contractors was lifted in 2009. Photograph: Karim Kadim/AP

A British former soldier has been jailed for 20 years by the supreme court of Iraq for the murder of two fellow security contractors, becoming the first westerner to be convicted in the country since the 2003 invasion.

The family of 31-year-old Danny Fitzsimons expressed relief that he had escaped the death penalty and asked Iraqi authorities and the UK government to ensure his safety in prison. Defence lawyers indicated they would try to get the term reduced.

Before his conviction and sentencing in a hearing lasting less than 30 minutes, there had been talks over whether he could be transferred to a British prison. Fitzsimons’s family and campaigners fear for his safety if he is moved outside Baghdad’s Green Zone to the city’s Rusafa prison.

Fitzsimons, from Middleton, Manchester, was accused of shooting fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in Baghdad, colleagues with the UK security firm ArmorGroup, part of G4S, after an argument in the Green Zone in August 2009. He was also accused of wounding an Iraqi guard while fleeing. The incident happened within 36 hours of his arrival in the city. He had worked in the country before.

Fitzsimons admitted shooting the men but claimed it was in self-defence. The colleagues had been out drinking and the other two tried to kill him during an altercation, he said. Fitzsimons claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As he was led from the courtroom by Iraqi guards, he told reporters he was happy with the sentence. Asked whether he thought the trial had been fair, he said: “No.”

In an interview before the sentence, he told the Independent he had been treated “like a dog” in court.

Fitzsimons’s family and his British lawyer, John Tripple, who attended a court session last week, were not present at the hearing. His Iraqi lawyer, Tariq Harb, said: “This is a very good sentence. I saved him from the gallows.”

He told the Guardian he would appeal within 30 days. “I expect the sentence can be lightened to 15 years. The Iraqi law is independent and it is very fair.” Please read the entire story here

February 28, 2011 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, G4S, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Verdict delayed for ArmorGroup contractor accused of double murder in

Judge hearing trial of Daniel Fitzsimons orders clarification of post-traumatic stress disorder

Martin Chulov The Guardian UK  Sunday February 20, 2010

Sentencing of Daniel Fitzsimons, a British security contractor accused of murdering two colleagues in Baghdad has been adjourned until 28 February after a late intervention from his UK-based lawyer.

Judge Ali Yousef in Baghdad’s serious crimes court ordered further clarification of the term post-traumatic stress disorder, which is not recognised by Iraqi law but has been heavily relied on as a defence by Fitzsimons.

Fitzsimons has pleaded not guilty to murder but admitted manslaughter with diminished responsibility, claiming he acted in self defence.

He is accused of shooting dead two fellow ArmorGroup security contractors, Paul McGuigan, a Briton, and Darren Hoare, an Australian, at a base inside Baghdad’s Green Zone in August 2009.

If convicted, he could face a death sentence.

John Tipple, for Fitzsimons, said he would push for a prisoner transfer agreement with the Iraqi government which would allow his client to serve any sentence in the UK.  Please see the original here

February 20, 2011 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Danny Fitzsimons to be sentenced but for ArmorGroup it’s business as usual

Danny Fitzsimons

In only a matter of hours , barring further delays,  Danny Fitzsimons will face sentencing for shooting and killing Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan in ArmorGroups living quarters in the Green Zone.  A possible death sentence.

The first Contractor to be tried in the Iraqi Courts under Iraqi Jurisdiction.

Lucky for ArmorGroup.

Under Iraqi Jurisdiction there was no formal inquiry into who armed a man with several psychiatric diagnoses,  a criminal record,  pending weapons charges, who was fired from two other security companies and was known to be a problem among his peers.

Under US or UK law ArmorGroup would bear some responsibility for arming a man this whacked.  Maybe even be considered accessory to the murders.

Negligence of this nature occurs as a matter of rule with some of these Contract Companies.  Like Armorgroup did,  just under bid the contract so you can win it.   The solution then is to understaff, overwork, refuse to provide the necessary equipment that was contracted and paid for, and put any warm body in place without vetting them to ensure that they are who and what they claim to be.

How many accidents, injuries, and deaths have occurred due to negligence of this nature?

We will never know.  Very few incidents are publicized.

Contractors with psychiatric meltdowns are spirited away and promoted or dumped on their families.  The victims of the melt downs are paid to keep them from filing a Defense Base Act Claim.

Deaths and Injuries of many foreigners are never filed on because they and their families do not know they are due benefits.  Defense Base Act Claim filings are the only numbers kept.

All accidents in the warzones are the fault of no one due to the DBA’s Exclusive Remedy and dead men tell few tales when no real unbiased investigation is required.

There has been a very vocal outcry from the families and friends of Paul McGuigan and to a lesser extent Darren Hoare regarding what a bad man Danny Fitzsimons is and how they cannot wait to see him hung.  We get these comments on our blogs as well as witness them in recent media coverage.

But there is an odd abscence of them laying any blame where it us undoubtedly deserved upon the negligence of ArmorGroup for arming Danny Fitzsimons and putting their loved ones in his path.

Confidentiality?

Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan paid for this negligence with their lives.

The families of all involved have paid dearly and always will.

Danny Fitzsimons will soon pay for his actions, as well as every wrong done by every Contractor to the Iraqi people.

Danny Fitzsimons is to the Iraqi’s what Raymond Davis is the Pakistani’s.

Danny Fitzsimons is Blackwater in their eyes.

Armorgroup continues to guard the US Embassy in Kabul despite having the low bid contract “taken away”.

February 19, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, G4S, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

G4S tries to convince Aussies that they only hire Crims and Thugs to cover embassies in Afghanistan

!!AUSTRALIA YOU LOST ONE OF YOUR OWN!!

Darren Hoare, to a G4S Armorgroup Mentally Ill Criminal Danny Fitzsimons

in the Green Zone in Iraq

Darren Hoare murdered by fellow ArmorGroup Security Guard in Iraq

‘Crims, thugs’ in embassy security at The Australian

The security firm G4S and its affiliates protect Australian embassies across the globe from Brussels to New Delhi and Shanghai, but the company was last week accused of “major offences” in Afghanistan by the Afghan government.

This follows a US Senate investigation last year which found the employees of a G4S subsidiary in Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, included Taliban affiliates and criminals.

However, G4S executives strongly denied yesterday that its problems in Afghanistan had implications for the security of Australian missions in other parts of the world.

“Operating in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq is very different to the operations that companies such as G4S would have in other countries around the world,” a spokesman for G4S told The Australian.

“G4S has complete confidence in the integrity of its employees who provide security at Australian diplomatic missions.”

When asked about its contracts with G4S, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to discuss G4S specifically, but said it took the responsibility of protecting its staff and visitors at Australian embassies abroad “extremely seriously”.

DFAT said decisions about which private security companies were employed to protect Australian embassies was made by each individual embassy.

G4S was one of several security firms in Afghanistan to be criticised last week by the Afghan government for unspecified offences.

In 2009, dozens of employees from G4S’s Afghan subsidiary ArmorGroup — responsible for protecting the US embassy in Kabul — were accused of misconduct including nudity, drinking and urinating on each other.

A G4S spokesman said G4S had a clearly defined ethical policy and was subjected to external audits on a regular basis.

He said the group had recently been the founder signatory of a new international code of conduct that covered recruitment, vetting and training of staff, and the use of force, including handling firearms.

Please see the original here

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Follow the Money, G4S, Iraq, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Darren Hoare Tribute, Danny Fitzsimons self defense plea

Accused’s self-defence plea in Iraq murder trial

by Amy Corderoy at The Sydney Morning Herald

AN AUSTRALIAN contractor killed in Iraq by one of his colleagues has been remembered as a ”great bloke” and a sorely missed father, and the man standing trial for his murder says he acted in self-defence.

A tribute page set up by Darren Hoare’s wife, Molly-Joe, is regularly updated by family and friends remembering their friend. On Friday Mrs Hoare wrote to her husband: ”I really need your shoulder to cry on.”

But the British man on trial for his murder, Danny Fitzsimons, 30, argued on Sunday that he was acting in self-defence when he shot Mr Hoare and another man, Paul McGuigan, after an alcohol-fuelled argument in August 2009. Mr Fitzsimons told Karkh criminal court in west Baghdad the two men 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. // <![CDATA[//

Mr Fitzsimons said the men had attacked him after a drunken brawl in which he had punched Mr McGuigan.

Mr Fitzsimons – who submitted a psychiatric report to the trial saying he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder – has pleaded not guilty. He also told the court he did not think he was being given a fair trial.

A former team-mate from Mr Hoare’s AFL football club, Peter Johnson, 47, said Mr Hoare and his wife were well-loved and respected members of the Curra Swans football club, and local community.

The trial had been adjourned until February 20 as the court had sought clarification over Mr Fitzsimons’s psychiatric report, his lawyer, Tariq Harb, said.

January 24, 2011 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , | 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

Danny Fitzsimons from Death Row in Iraq: Left to rot

He was once a member of the Parachute Regiment – a hero. Now he sits in a cell on Iraq’s Death Row facing death by hanging.

Editor’s note:  G4S and Armorgroup have accepted no responsibility, nor will they be prosecuted for so negligently arming a man as mentally ill as Mr. Fitzsimons.   Negligence that resulted in the deaths of two men, one seriously injured, children orphaned, women widowed, and families bereft.  Negligence that doomed Mr Fitzsimons to this hell as well as he did by his own hand.

Mirror.co.uk News

Soldier-turned-mercenary Danny Fitzsimons is awaiting trial in Baghdad for shooting dead two men and wounding a third.

But speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, he insists he is the victim of a terrible injustice and begs the Government to secure his release and bring him home.

He says he killed his victims in self-defence as he battled terrible mental trauma from the nine years he spent serving in Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.

Fitzsimons, 30, from Middleton, Manchester, says: “I know my actions that night have caused a lot of pain to the relatives of the dead men. To their families and children I am truly sorry. I believe I need to be in a mental hospital in Britain and not in an inhumane dungeon in Baghdad. Many ex-soldiers like me are left to fight our demons alone.

“I stand little chance of a fair trial in Iraq and the psychiatric assessment here was a joke. Bring me home and let me get the help I so desperately need. I chose my life and stand by it but I don’t believe I deserve to be left to rot. Please don’t let me hang in Iraq.”

Fitzsimons shares his cockroachand rat-infested cell at Karadat Maryam police station with 17 other prisoners.

He says: “I’m being fed by some of my jail mates. Without them I would not have proper food or be able to take water.

“They don’t let us in the yard for air or sun and it’s like living in an oven in the cell. It is overrun with cockroaches and rats and filth.”

Fitzsimons was in Iraq as a military contractor working for British private security firm ArmorGroup, who he says took him on without carrying out a full medical assessment. Had the truth emerged, they would have found out he was discharged from 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment after being diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

He also had alcohol problems and was facing criminal charges for brandishing a flare gun at children outside his flat in Middleton. On his third visit to Iraq, last August, he was drinking with two fellow mercenaries when a row started. Fitzsimons says he punched Scottish ex-Royal Marine Paul McGuigan, 37, before the two made up. But he says later that night Paul and the second man, Australian father-ofthree Darren Hoare, also 37, attacked him. He says: “The two men came into my room with clear intention of doing me harm and attacked me in my bed in a drunken rage.” He says they threatened to kill him with an M4 assault rifle and he shot them three times with a Glock pistol. As he fled he shot an Iraqi security guard in the leg. He says: “I did exactly what I’ve been trained to do since 1996. I acted in self-defence to save my life.”

Paul’s fiancée Nicola Prestage disagrees, saying it was “an unprovoked attack”. Fitzsimons, who has been locked up for a year, is due to go before a judge on Wednesday for a trial date to be set. Iraqi doctors are assessing his mental health.

Clive Stafford Smith, of Human rights charity Reprieve, said: “It is unfathomable ArmorGroup would dispatch him and arm him in a war zone without proper screening.”

A spokesman for ArmorGroup admitted Fitzsimons’ screening was not completed in line with their procedures but added: “We received two separate medical documents which certified that Mr Fitzsimons was fit to work in Iraq. It has subsequently come to light that the most recent of those documents was forged – we have reason to believe it was forged by Mr Fitzsimons.”

Please read the very relevant comments on this post

or by Clicking here to go to the Defense Base Act Comp blog

August 1, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Oversight, G4S, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hang on a minute G4S

If Danny Fitzsimons faces the death penalty in Iraq due to Iraq’s version of what mental illness entails G4S, Armorgroup walks away unscathed despite their negligence in hiring a mentally ill man with drug and alcohol problems and a pending firearms charge  knowing he would be carrying weapons.

Due to the Defense Base Acts Exclusive Remedy, which relieves them of all  liability for injuries or deaths,  these companies can get away with murder.  If these contract companies were not allowed to work outside of US Laws on US Government contracts they would be considered responsible for the deaths of Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan.

The families of those killed just might have a chance if he were tried in a UK or US Court, as long as it’s not the DoL’s Administrative System.

From Reprieve  Hang on a minute G4S

G4S, you’re one of the world’s largest private security firms, and not long ago one of your companies hired a man with serious mental health problems, packed him off to Iraq, and gave him a rifle.

Now he’s facing execution because he’s accused of using that gun to kill two men.

The least you can do is pay his legal costs, so that he can get a fair trial in Iraq. He shouldn’t have been there, and he shouldn’t have been armed.

So far, you have offered the equivalent of four seconds of your annual turnover to ‘help’ him out. His lawyers in Iraq say that a fair trial will cost you only one minute of your annual turnover. Surely that’s a cost worth paying for justice for an employee that you put in harm’s way?

Danny Fitzsimmon’s trial in Iraq has been adjourned until 13 June to allow him to be tested by the Psychiatric Medical Committee in Baghdad’s Al Rashad Mental Hospital.

G4S, can you spare a minute between now and then to help out your man?

June 13, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracing, Contractor Corruption, G4S, Iraq, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Danny Fitzsimons, Armorgroup PSC, Iraqi trial delayed over mental health dispute

A British security guard facing the death penalty for murder in Baghdad has been declared mentally fit for trial in a ruling that paves the way for him to face court in August.

Note:  Danny Fitzsimons had been diagnosed with PTSD and drug and alcohol problems before being hired by Armorgoup to go to Iraq and carry a gun.

Danny Fitzsimons discharged from Army with PTSD

See Also Danny Fitzsimons

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent Telegraph UK
Published: 3:19PM BST 13 Jun 2010

The trial of Danny Fitzsimons, who is accused of murdering two colleagues in a drunken rampage, will open on August 4 unless further medical reports contradict the assessment.

Judge Ali Abbas al-Yousif of the Baghdad central criminal court said yesterday Mr Fitzsimons had been adjudged by doctors to be mentally normal and fit to stand trial.

But he also allowed an appeal by Mr Fitzsimons’s lawyers for a second opinion, allowing a re-examination by a second panel of doctors.

Mr Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, was working for ArmorGroup, a private security division of G4S, the former Group 4 Security, last August when he shot two colleagues and an Iraqi interpreter.

The two dead men were Paul McGuigan, 37, a Briton, and Darren Hoare, 37, an Australian, with whom he had been drinking in a bar in Baghdad’s “Green Zone” foreign enclave. He wounded the interpreter as he tried to run away.

Mr Fitzimons has claimed self-defence, but his lawyers are also arguing that he was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his years of military service in Iraq.

He had previously been fired from another security company after it was decided he was too unstable and had been given a suspended sentence for firearms charges in the previous November. Mr Fitzsimons was facing further charges after brandishing a gun at a gang of teenagers outside his flat in Bolton.

If he is convicted, he faces the death penalty, though lawyers say it is more likely that he would receive life in prison, and at some time be transferred to serve his sentence in Britain.

AP at AJC Atlanta

BAGHDAD — Lawyers for a British security contractor accused of fatally shooting two colleagues are fighting a medical report stating he is mentally able to stand trial

The legal appeal has postponed the trial of Danny Fitzsimons until August 4.

Baghdad criminal court judge Ali Abbas al-Yousif said Sunday that doctors found Fitzsimons’ mental condition normal.

But al-Yousif said a second panel of doctors will conduct another examination in response to Fitzsimons’ appeal.

Fitzsimons is accused of shooting two colleagues, a Briton and an Australian, during a fight in Baghdad’s Green Zone last summer and then wounding an Iraqi while fleeing.

All three men were working for the British security firm ArmorGroup Iraq.  Original Story here

June 13, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, G4S, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trial adjourned of Danny Fitzsimons, former soldier accused of murder in Iraq

Danny Fitzsimons to undergo psychiatric tests after being charged with killing two fellow security contractors in Baghdad

The trial of a British security contractor accused of murdering two colleagues in Iraq has been adjourned for two months so he can undergo psychiatric tests.

Former paratrooper Danny Fitzsimons, 29, is charged with shooting dead fellow ArmorGroup employees Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare, both 37, in Baghdad’s green zone in August last year.

Fitzsimons, who could face the death penalty if he is convicted, appeared at the central criminal court in Baghdad for a pre-trial hearing today.

Reprieve, a legal charity supporting Fitzsimons, said his case was adjourned until 13 June, apparently so he could be examined by a psychiatric team at Baghdad’s Al Rashad psychiatric hospital.

In a detailed account of the killings given to the Guardian earlier this month, Fitzsimons admitted shooting both men dead but insisted he acted in self-defence.

Fitzsimons said he shot McGuigan, a former Royal Marine from Innerleithen in Scotland, three times when McGuigan allegedly pointed an assault rifle at him.

He said Hoare, from Australia, was killed during a fight that followed. All three men had been contracted to work as guards for ArmorGroup, a British security company.

Fitzsimons – who faces two counts of murder and one of the attempted murder of an Iraqi guard – and his lawyers claim he acted in self-defence and was suffering from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder after a previous tour of Iraq and service in the military in the former Yugoslavia.

His lawyers, who are aware of his admission to the Guardian, claim he should never have been allowed to work for a security company given his condition and record. This defence is disputed by relatives of McGuigan, who say Fitzsimons is trying to escape justice by concocting a story of a drunken fight when none occurred.

Fitzsimons has admitted his recollection was at points “blotchy” because of heavy drinking and claimed McGuigan and Hoare had been harassing him throughout the evening.

Fitzsimons said in a statement issued through Reprieve: “I miss my family very much but I’m grateful for the support I have been getting from home, particularly from my former comrades who know a bit about what we all went through. I know that this has been a tragedy and hurt a lot of people besides myself.”

He is understood to be the first westerner facing trial on murder charges in Iraq since an agreement giving foreign workers immunity was lifted.

The shootings took place in the early hours of 9 August last year, within 36 hours of Fitzsimons’s arrival in Baghdad to work for ArmorGroup.

It emerged after the killings that Fitzsimons had a conviction for firearms offences and was facing a possible jail term in Britain for firing a flare gun to scare off children on 1 April last year.

His family said he had suffered from alcoholism and depression and was a damaged individual who should never have been given a job as an armed security guard in Iraq.

They fear his mental state has deteriorated while awaiting trial, and are appealing for him to be allowed to serve any sentence he is given in Britain. Original Story here

April 7, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Briton in Court Over Iraqi Murders

A British security contractor who could face the death penalty over the murder of two colleagues in Iraq is due to appear in court.

Former paratrooper Danny Fitzsimons, 29, is accused of shooting dead fellow ArmorGroup employees Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare, both 37, in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone in August last year.

His family says he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his experiences serving with the Army in the former Yugoslavia and as a private security guard in Iraq.  Original Here

April 6, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Danny Fitzsimons insists Iraq killings were in self defence

• Security contractor admits shooting two men dead
• Text messages to Guardian detail events of August

The Guardian

Martin Chulov in Baghdad

Daniel Fitzsimons before a court appearance in Iraq. Photograph: Amar Karim/AFP/Getty Images

A former British soldier facing the death penalty in Iraq for allegedly murdering two fellow security contractors has given his first detailed account of the killings to the Guardian, admitting to shooting both dead but insisting he acted in self-defence.

Daniel Fitzsimons sent a series of messages to this newspaper detailing the events of last August in Baghdad’s green zone that led him to become the first foreigner to face justice in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Fitzsimons told the Guardian that he shot one of the men, former Royal Marine Paul McGuigan, from Innerleithen in Scotland, three times as McGuigan allegedly pointed an assault rifle at him.

He says the second victim, Darren Hoare, from Australia, was killed during a fight that followed. All three men had been contracted to work as guards for the British security firm ArmorGroup.

Fitzsimons – who faces two counts of murder and one of the attempted murder of an Iraqi guard – and his lawyers claim he acted in self-defence and was suffering from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder following a previous tour of Iraq and service in the military.

His lawyers, who are aware of his admission to the Guardian, claim he should never have been allowed to work for a security company given his condition and record.

This defence is disputed by relatives of McGuigan, who say Fitzsimons is trying to escape justice by concocting a story of a drunken fight when none occurred.

Fitzsimons disclosed his version of the events of 8 August last year through a series of text messages. In the first, he reveals he was with a group using the internet in a colleagues’ room. The meeting spiralled into a series of drunken brawls.

Fitzsimmons wrote that he was “drinking Grants whiskey” and “chatting on MSN to friends in country and back home. Paul McGuigan came into the room, pissed out of his skull. He was being a knob, having a go at me and slating some of my pals. I had enuf [sic] and punched him once on the nose. He was shocked and didn’t retaliate … We shook hands. I held a towel to his bloody nose. Drank more. Started on me again, telling me to punch him again. He was unstable, not me. This went on, hot and cold. Darren came in …”

Fitzsimons said he, McGuigan and Hoare had made numerous visits to each other’s rooms throughout the night, with tensions escalating each time. He claims the evening spilled over into violence when both men came to his room after he passed out from drinking half a bottle of whiskey.

“Paul punched me repeatedly,” his texts say. “I fought savagely to get out of bed. Managed to get out, but ended up on the floor being stomped on. I lost consciousness for a few seconds. Heard Paul shout: ‘We’re going to fucking kill you, you little ….’ I was getting it from both of them.”

“Paul grabbed my M4, which I had been scattered away from my assault vest and armor. He cocked the weapon. I pulled the glock from my vest chambered a round. Paul had already told me he was gonna kill me now he had my M4 in his shoulder. I shot him three times in the chest. After the first shot he was still standing. I double tapped and put a further two into him. he was dead before he hit the ground. In slow motion I saw the life leave his body.”

He said Hoare then “went for the glock” and a struggle ensued. “We were like animals …The booze had rushed rnd my body so quick coz of the fighting. The exact events at this point are blotchy at best. I remember blackness then madness. I know I fought for control of the pistol with Darren and I know I gained control and he was shot at point blank I’m sure. We were literally wrapped together arms and legs. Fighting and biting when the shots were fired.”

Fitzsimons had only been in Iraq for three days on a third tour as a private security contractor since leaving the British army. He had spent seven months in prison in 2007 on a charge of being in possession of illegal ammunition. He had been receiving psychiatric treatment since 2004, when he was still in the army. He was consulted again in May 2008 and June 2009, with a psychiatrist confirming his condition had worsened each time. The last diagnosis was made two months before he was hired to return to Iraq.

Clive Stafford Smith, director of the charity Reprieve, which is helping with Fitzsimons’ defence, told the Guardian: “As a British soldier, in the service of his country in Kosovo, Danny came across the dissected body parts of a young boy who had been bringing the troops bread, floating in the water supply. After this and other horrors, it is hardly surprising that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. It is unfathomable that ArmorGroup would dispatch him to a war zone without a proper screening, and one must wonder who ultimately bears the greatest responsibility for the tragedy that followed.”

Fitzsimons’s account of the night is at odds with a statement provided by McGuigan’s former fiance, Nicola Prestage, who claims shespoke to McGuigan via webcam for most of the night from 5:30pm. “We eventually said goodbye and logged off at 12.03am,” she said in a statement. “Paul was murdered at approximately 1.15am in an unprovoked attack.”

The confession also appears to conflict with the account ofJohn Pollard, the British coroner who received McGuigan’s body in the UKa month after the incident. He said: “There were no injuries on his body which might have revealed he had been involved in a physical altercation.”

In response to questions by the Guardian, ArmorGroup said: “We confirmed publicly on 15 September that, in this particular case, although there was evidence that Mr Fitzsimons falsified information during the recruitment process, his screening was not completed in line with the company’s procedures.

“We received two separate medical documents which certified that Mr Fitzsimons was fit to work in Iraq. It has subsequently come to light that the most recent of those documents was forged – we have reason to believe it was forged by Mr Fitzsimons.”

Prestage continued: “The fact they were not shot from close range rules out any notion of self-defence. Paul was sat on one side of the room on a chair and Darren was sat on the other side of the room on a bed. Paul was shot through the heart, the chest and through the mouth, and Darren was shot from behind, through his legs and through his temple.

Three weeks later, without the man I loved, I gave birth to his daughter, a beautiful baby girl who will never see her daddy, or receive a cuddle from him. I live a life sentence every minute of every day without Paul, and not fully enjoying our daughter. Everything she does is tinged with sadness knowing her daddy will never get to experience her.

“Can I claim I have PTSD living through this? I think not.”

Fitzsimons has been sent by a Baghdad court for further psychiatric evaluation. His trial will resume on 7 April.

March 20, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Briton Held After Contractors Killed In Iraq

Darren HoareLAC Darren Hoare and SGT Charlie Kearnan patrol near Baghdad International Airport in 2003. Photo: Photo by CPL Darren Hilder.

Christine Kellett

August 10, 2009 – 7:41AM

A former Queensland airman working in Iraq as a private security contractor has been killed during a drunken shootout in Baghdad’s Green Zone, officials say.

It is believed Amberley man Darren Hoare, 37, and a British colleague with private security firm ArmourGroup, Paul McGuigan, were allegedly shot dead by a fellow security guard, also from Britain, after drinking alcohol during the early hours of this morning.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have yet to confirm the identity of the dead men, though it is understood Mr Hoare was a former Leading Aircraftman based at the Amberley RAAF base west of Brisbane before joining the UK-based security firm.

ArmourGroup provides risk consultancy, mine removal and security training in war zones, according to ArmourGroup’s website. It also operates out of Afghanistan.

Baghdad military spokesman Qassem Atta said alcohol was being investigated as a factor in this morning’s shooting.

“The (alleged) perpetrator arrived yesterday from abroad. They drank a lot and afterwards there was a dispute, then he took his weapon and killed the two men,” Atta said.

“After that he went outside of the trailer and he shot an Iraqi and injured him in the leg. Security forces surrounded him and he gave himself up,” he said, adding the man was under arrest with Iraqi police.

The injured Iraqi was also an employee of ArmorGroup, he said.

Iraqi authorities charged the contractor with murder over the shooting.

A DFAT spokesman said the deceased man’s family had been notified in Australia.

“Consular staff are liaising with the man’s employer and the local police who are investigating the crime,” the spokesman said.

Mr Hoare served in Iraq with the Australian Air Force and is pictured on its website warning about heat stress in the desert.

It was the second incident in less than three months involving contractor killings in the Green Zone and the suspected gunman could be the first Westerner to face an Iraqi trial on murder charges since a new security pact took effect on January 1.

“Their next of kin have been informed and we are supporting them as much as we can in these tragic circumstances,” company spokesman Patrick Toyne-Sewell said in the statement.

A spokesman for the British Embassy, Jawad Syed, confirmed the shooting and said two Britons “believed” to be employees of ArmorGroup were arrested by the Iraqis over the shooting.

The British Foreign office also said in a statement two Britons were being held.

Foreign security contractors are a common sight in Iraq, working as protection forces for foreign companies, embassies and even US bases.

The role of private security guards came under intense scrutiny over a deadly shooting of civilians in Baghdad in 2007 involving employees of the US company Blackwater, since renamed Xe.

An Iraqi investigation found that 17 civilians died and 20 were wounded when Blackwater guards opened fire with automatic weapons while escorting an American diplomatic convoy through Baghdad’s Nisur Square.

The incident led the Iraqi government to revoke the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by private contractors.

The Iraqi government banned the company in January and it ended its operations in the country in May.

In June this year five Americans working for a security company in Baghdad were cleared of suspicion over the fatal stabbing of 60-year-old US citizen James Kitterman.

The Green Zone, which was handed back to Iraqi control in January, was the site of the Coalition Provisional Authority government set up after the 2003 US-led occupation that overthrew executed dictator Saddam Hussein.

The area is home to foreign embassies and Iraqi government offices.

brisbanetimes.com.au with AFP             Original Story here

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment