Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Fuel convoy hit in eastern Afghanistan

KABUL — An Afghan police official says at least two private security guards have been wounded and two fuel tankers set on fire in eastern Afghanistan when militants attacked a supply convoy for NATO forces.

Provincial police spokesman Ghafor Khan says the two were injured in a battle Sunday near Jalalabad between the enemy combatants and private guards providing security for the convoy. He says other tankers were damaged along the highway, a main supply route between Pakistan and the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Original Story here

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Families awaiting Iraq Body ID

Update US Names Hostage Killed in Iraq Alec MacLachlan
Families waiting for Iraq body ID

(UKPA) – 26 minutes ago

The families of the British hostages kidnapped in Baghdad are facing an anxious wait to discover the identity of a body handed to Iraqi authorities.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was “deeply saddened” that the body, believed to be a hostage, had been passed to the British embassy in Baghdad.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the “distressing news” would not diminish the Government’s determination to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

It is understood that the body will be that of either Alan McMenemy or Alec MacLachlan, whose families were told by the Government six weeks ago they were “very likely” to be dead. The two were captured in 2007 along with fellow security guards Jason Swindlehurst and Jason Creswell, whose bodies were found earlier this year, and the man they were guarding, IT consultant Peter Moore.

Graham Moore, the father of IT contractor Peter, said he had been told that the body found was not that of his son.

He said: “I got a message from Leicestershire Police this morning and it is definitely not Peter. It’s back to how it was in June, it’s good news for us but bad news for one of the other families unfortunately. I understand the family has been informed but the name hasn’t been released yet.”

A Downing Street spokesman said a process was “now under way to urgently establish identity” of the body.

He said: “The Prime Minister is in close touch with the Iraqi prime minister about this case. He will leave no stone unturned in the Government’s efforts to secure the release of the remaining hostages. The Prime Minister’s thoughts are with their families at this extremely difficult time.”

The five Britons – Mr Moore and his four bodyguards – were seized by about 40 armed men wearing police uniforms at the finance ministry in Baghdad on May 29 2007. The bodies of Mr Swindlehurst, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and Mr Creswell, originally from Glasgow, were handed over to Baghdad officials in June.

The families of security guards Mr McMenemy, from Glasgow, and Mr MacLachlan, from Llanelli, south Wales, were told by the Foreign Office in July that their loved ones were “very likely” to have died.

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The battle over private security

The killing of two security contractors in Iraq has again raised the issue of governments’ inability to regulate the industry

Once again, it appears that a lapse in discipline by an individual has brought the spotlight back to bear on the world of private security contractors. It is a world on which everyone seems to have an opinion, but one bedevilled by an emotive past and present that often obscures the issues at the heart of the argument for and against their existence and use.

The timing of the latest security contractor horror story, as Danny Fitzsimons is arrested in Iraq on two murder charges, is ironic. Only last week, David Miliband announced that the British government’s large-scale use of private security contractors was here to stay, saying that they had an important role to play enabling government foreign policy. If that wasn’t enough to get people to sit up and listen, he went on to say that rather than attempt to regulate the industry the government proposed it regulate itself. It has taken the government seven years since a green paper on the subject in 2002 and much experience to reach these conclusions. They stem from the interventionist doctrine espoused by Tony Blair, the sub-war conflict scenarios that this doctrine either sought to address or inadvertently created and the inadequate resourcing of the UK’s participation.

The private security industry has expanded rapidly from a niche business providing private personal protection to a multibillion-dollar sector working directly or indirectly for national governments. Indeed, governments now rely heavily on the sector and it is arguable whether the US and UK reconstruction programme in Iraq or Afghanistan would be possible without it. The attraction of private contractors to government is obvious: flexibility, responsiveness, force multiplication and arguably, economy. Such advantages come at a price though. The part-privatisation of security, where unregulated contractors are perceived as another arm of an occupying country’s military presence, can lead to justified questioning of the legitimacy of those governments’ actions. This is particularly so in the case of contractor abuses, such as Blackwater’s killing of 17 Iraqi civilians while protecting a US state department convoy in Baghdad in 2007. Less sleep will be lost over contractors shooting each other while off duty, other than as an indicator of the volatility of this form of security solution.

Yet for all governments’ inclination and desire for regulation of the sector, attempts to formulate a regulatory regime have foundered on the multinational and multi-jurisdictional nature of the industry. At the heart of this issue is the problem of definition. In an echo of the old adage that one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist, today’s security contractor is one government’s “legitimate enabler” and another’s mercenary. The foreign secretary’s announcement that regulation is unfeasible and an industry code of conduct his preferred solution is simply an admission that no amount of international talk will produce a viable method of regulation.

Of course, such an admission lays Miliband open to the charge that abandoning any attempt to regulate the industry is a convenient way of continuing to resource security on the cheap while failing to protect the interests of those on the receiving end of contractor abuses. To some degree he has mitigated his stance by undertaking that the government will only employ contractors who sign up to the “stringent” proposed code of conduct. However, the British government falls far short of the measures taken by the US government, albeit belated, to try to ensure the accountability of contractors. These include extending US legal jurisdiction over contractors directly and indirectly funded by government.

International regulation of the security sector remains an unattainable goal and governments’ continuing dependence on security contractors is a reality. The British government, among others, will have to look hard at the way in which it employs and controls security contractors if it is to avoid damage to its foreign policy aims and this country’s reputation.

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Eyes Private Guards for Bases in Afghanistan

By RICHARD LARDNER (AP) – 11 hours ago

WASHINGTON — U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan may hire a private contractor to provide around-the-clock security at dozens of bases and protect vehicle convoys moving throughout the country.

The possibility of awarding a security contract comes as the Obama administration is sending thousands of more troops into Afghanistan to quell rising violence fueled by a resurgent Taliban. As the number of American forces grow over the next several months, so too does the demand to guard their outposts.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he wants to cut back on the use of contractors that now provide a wide range services to American troops in war zones, including transportation, communications, food service, construction, and maintenance. As recently as February, however, Gates called the use of private security contractors in certain parts of Afghanistan “vital” to supporting U.S. bases. A contract for the work also creates job opportunities for Afghans, he said.

But the use of private contractors in Iraq has been highly contentious. Since a September 2007 shooting of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad by guards employed by Blackwater (now Xe Services), critics have urged U.S. officials to maintain much tighter controls over hired guards.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that the Army published a notice July 10 informing interested contractors it was contemplating a contract for “theater-wide” armed security.

“The contract would provide for a variety of security services, to include the static security of compounds on which U.S. and coalition forces reside, and for the protection of mission essential convoys in and around forward operating bases located throughout Afghanistan,” the notice states.

No formal request for proposals has been issued. If the military decides to move ahead, a contract could be awarded by Dec. 1.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

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The Associated Press

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment