Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Helpers in a hostile world: the risk of aid work grows

Some 242 aid workers were killed in 2010, up from 91 a decade before. Is ‘humanitarian space’ shrinking, or are aid groups spreading out to more conflict zones than before?

Christian Science Monitor February 10, 2012

American contractor Greg Ock recounts how he was kidnapped, while driving to the clinic where he works, and held hostage in Nigeria. John Bazemore/AP

Aid workers may be an idealistic sort, but they’re not naive. They know the risks of crossing oceans or pressing through to remote areas to build tent cities, run feeding stations, or treat the sick in what are by definition the most dangerous and least hospitable corners of the planet.

In the decade since Sept. 11, those risks have only increased as members of the US military and other government agencies have joined the ranks of those doing humanitarian aid work.

In 2010, some 242 aid workers were killed, up from 91 a decade before, according to a survey by Humanitarian Outcomes, underscoring how many attacks on aid workers have become intentional, rather than a side effect of war. It’s an environment in which the Navy SEALs may be called upon for help, as they were in the recent rescue of two aid workers from the grip of Somali kidnapping gangs.

Yet while individual cases – in a Yemeni town, a region of Sudan, a district of Somalia – may give the impression that aid groups are on the retreat, the reverse is true. Humanitarian aid budgets by donor nations have grown 10-fold between 1998 and 2008. And while the work has become much more dangerous, aid workers are honing their ability to negotiate with unsavory regimes and find new paths to achieve traditional humanitarian goals.

Among the first aid groups to go into conflict zones or disaster areas, and the last to leave, is Doctors Without Borders, known primarily by its French name, Médecins Sans Frontières. But even MSF has had its staffers expelled from Sudan and Sri Lanka and pulled its staff from aid camps in some of the neediest sections of Somalia and the northern Kenyan border because of attacks in recent years.

Please read the entire story here

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractors Held, Contractors Kidnapped, Contractors Missing, Humanitarian Assistance, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Somalia: ICRC Suspends Aid Deliveries

IRIN January 12, 2012

NAIROBI, 12 January 2012 (IRIN) – One of the few aid agencies excluded from a ban imposed by Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia has suspended food and seed distributions to 1.1m people in the south and centre of the country after local authorities repeatedly blocked its deliveries.

“The suspension will continue until we receive assurances from the authorities controlling those areas that distributions can take place unimpeded and reach all those in need, as previously agreed,” said Patrick Vial, the head of the ICRC delegation for Somalia, in a statement released on 12 January.

Without specifically mentioning Al Shabaab, which controls most of the region, the ICRC said deliveries intended for 240,000 people in the Middle Shabelle and Galgaduud had been blocked since mid-December 2011.

“We are actively seeking the cooperation of the local authorities to restore conditions that will allow the resumption of the suspended activities as soon as possible,” Vial said

Please read the entire article here

January 12, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Humanitarian Assistance, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defense Base Act Class Action

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

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

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

WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2011)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Changing Landscape of Humanitarian Aid

The mobilization of resources to a humanitarian disaster zone is as much political as it is logistical. Recent conflicts have called into question the neutrality principle to which humanitarian actors traditionally adhere. But delivering assistance in times of crisis depends largely on gaining access to reliable resources and information – often from biased actors.

By Cynthia Schweer for ISN Insights

As the media continues to roll out scenes from Japan and Libya, the complexity of delivering humanitarian aid in times of crisis – be they natural or man-made – is abundantly clear. Each year, approximately 500 disasters kill an average of 75,000 people and affect nearly 200 million more. In 2009, the international community contributed a total of $15.1 billion to humanitarian efforts through government and private channels.

The alleviation of human suffering during humanitarian crises is largely an exercise in the efficient and rapid mobilization of material resources and human capacity. As a logistical exercise, humanitarian efforts require the synchronized delivery of human resources and both durable and perishable goods in difficult and uncertain environments. But the complexity is more than merely logistical. While resource mobilization has obvious human and economic implications, humanitarian efforts often have less evident political implications. Access to and allocation of resources and information is contingent on the cooperation of those wielding power.

Changing landscape

Prior to the 1990s, relief work was confined to a relatively small number of organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), operating according to widely held principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality. These organizations were allowed to operate in ‘safe zones’ because of their perceived independence from political and military motivations. However, this philosophy has come under scrutiny in the last two decades, as both the scale and complexity of crises have increased, while, at the same time, the number and variety of organizations have proliferated, creating a cacophony of players and motivations.

Please read the entire publication here

 

June 30, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, NGO's, Politics | , | Leave a comment