Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Private Army Formed to Fight Somali Pirates Leaves Troubled Legacy

The New York Times  October 4, 2012

Eric Prince

WASHINGTON — It seemed like a simple idea: In the chaos that is Somalia, create a sophisticated, highly trained fighting force that could finally defeat the pirates terrorizing the shipping lanes off the Somali coast.

But the creation of the Puntland Maritime Police Force was anything but simple. It involved dozens of South African mercenaries and the shadowy security firm that employed them, millions of dollars in secret payments by the United Arab Emirates, a former clandestine officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, and Erik Prince, the billionaire former head of Blackwater Worldwide who was residing at the time in the emirates.

And its fate makes the story of the pirate hunters for hire a case study in the inherent dangers in the outsourced wars in Somalia, where the United States and other countries have relied on proxy forces and armed private contractors to battle pirates and, increasingly, Islamic militants.

That strategy has had some success, including a recent offensive by Kenyan and African Union troops to push the militant group Al Shabab from its stronghold in the port city of Kismayu.

But with the antipiracy army now abandoned by its sponsors, the hundreds of half-trained and well-armed members of the Puntland Maritime Police Force have been left to fend for themselves at a desert camp carved out of the sand, perhaps to join up with the pirates or Qaeda-linked militants or to sell themselves to the highest bidder in Somalia’s clan wars — yet another dangerous element in the Somali mix.

Please read the entire story at the The New York Times

October 5, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Maritime Security, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

American detained for two months in United Arab Emirates speaks out

(CNN) -- A 23-year-old Nevada man detained for more than two months in the United Arab Emirates said Monday he’s not sure how much more prison time he could face if convicted, but he’s prepared for the outcome of a judge’s decision.

Nicholas Moody, who had served in Iraq and then Afghanistan as part of the California and then Nevada National Guards, was arrested September 29 during an 18-hour layover in Abu Dhabi while heading back from his job as a private security contractor in Iraq, his family said. Moody is charged with possession of weapons accessories — parts that could accompany a gun, though no firearm itself — which is illegal in the UAE.

Moody went to court on Monday expecting to hear his verdict, but was told the verdict will be given on December 13, Moody said.

In a phone conversation with CNN on Monday, Moody said his ordeal has been harrowing.

“The uncertainty — not knowing — is the worst part,” said Moody, who has been out on bail since Wednesday.

He described his prison experience as “not very clean,” with little to no privacy and “too much time to think.”

“I was just wondering what could happen,” Moody said. “I didn’t know when it was going to end.”

UAE authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

The U.S. State Department confirmed last month that Moody was detained, saying that U.S. consular officers visited him on September 30, October 6 and November 10.

“During those visits, he conveyed he was being treated fairly,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the case.”

Mahmood Azmeh, an attorney for Moody, was not immediately available for comment Monday.

In November interview, Moody’s mother, Lorina Moody, said she was still coming to grips to how he landed in jail.

“Our son is the type of individual who would not have willingly broken the law,” said Lorina Moody of Susanville, California.

“It seems so ironic that a man who, after serving our country in two combat zones … is the one who got pulled aside,” she said.

After graduating from high school in 2005, Nicholas Moody enrolled in the California National Guard and, for a time, served in Iraq, according to his mother. He later moved to Reno, intending to attend the University of Nevada campus there, and joined the Nevada National Guard. Nicholas Moody became an inactive Guardsman when he took his latest job in Iraq with a security company, which Lorina Moody declined to name.

Nicholas Moody said Monday that the accessories he was carrying were not dangerous. The items included a pistol grip, a buttstock, a plastic front grip, a single-point sling adaptor, a buckle from a single point sling, a cleaning kit and an armorer’s wrench.

“They are not weapons themselves, and cannot be assembled into a weapon,” he said.

Moody said he did not know the items were illegal. He said they were in his possession because he had recently resigned his position in Iraq and the items were his personal property.

But Moody said he is respectful of the UAE and its laws.

“The rules are the rules, so whatever the judge rules … I will accept,” he said.

“My lawyers and I have done the best we can,” he added.

More than 2,000 people have expressed support to “Help Bring Nick Moody Back Home” on Facebook.

Moody said the outpouring of support for him is “humbling.”

“I still remain hopeful,” Moody said. “I’m hoping there’s a still a chance that this will be resolved in time to make it home to spend Christmas with my family.”  Please see the original at CNN

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions | , | Leave a comment

Security contractor from Nevada locked up in UAE for 7 weeks

Former Nevada Soldier Arrested Overseas

LAS VEGAS The family of a former Nevada soldier being held the past six weeks in an Abu Dhabi jail is fighting for the veteran’s release.
While waiting to board a flight home on Sept. 29, Nicholas Moody, 23, was arrested in the Middle Eastern country for what the nation’s officials said were accessories to firearms.
His family said those accessories were not ammunition or anything that could build a firearm.
His mother, Lorina Moody, said she reached out to the U.S. Embassy, but was told they couldn’t be of much assistance.
When she reached out to her congressman, Rep. Dean Heller, she said “I was told politely, but firmly, that the limitations of their office are such that they could request a health and welfare check for my son.”
Nicholas Moody was working as a private contractor in Iraq, providing security for the U.S. government, his family said.
Moody is permitted a 10 minute phone call every two weeks, his mother said. “When I have spoken to my son, it’s clear to me he is holding up very well,” Lorina Moody said.
“He’s very level headed and an outstanding person and is handling himself well in the conditions he’s in.”
She said the company he used to work for is also not helping.
Nicholas Moody’s aunt, Bobbi McLaughlin of Laughlin, Nev., said the family is turning to the public for the young man’s release. LINK: Help Bring Nick Moody Home

“We just need a letter to a congressman,” McLaughlin said. “It’s simple stuff but if enough people do it, you might.”

(CNN) — A security contractor from Nevada has been locked up for seven weeks in the United Arab Emirates, his mother said Thursday, as his family seeks answers about what landed him in prison and how long he’ll remain there.

Having served in Iraq and then Afghanistan as part of the California and then Nevada National Guards, Nicholas Moody, 23, was working for a private security contractor when he stopped over in Abu Dhabi, his mother Lorina Moody told CNN. He was arrested on September 29, during an 18-hour layover while heading back from Iraq, for carrying firearms accessories — parts that could accompany a gun, though no firearm itself — which is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, his mother said.

“Our son is the type of individual who would not have willingly broken the law,” said Moody, of Susanville, California. “Now, we’re caught in a situation where we don’t [know] where to turn to. We don’t really have any way of knowing what’s going to happen to him.”

The U.S. State Department confirmed that Nicholas Moody has been detained, saying that U.S. consular officers visited him on September 30, October 6 and November 10.

“During those visits, he conveyed he was being treated fairly,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the case.”

Nicholas’ family, meanwhile, is hoping for action. Lorina Moody said she’s talked to her son briefly two weeks, the last time on November 11. Only recently did the family find an English-speaking lawyer, and he has only been able to talk to Nicholas twice.

While she has been assured Nicholas is doing well, Lorina Moody said she’s still coming to grips to how he landed in jail.

After graduating from Susanville’s Lassen High School in 2005, Nicholas enrolled in the California National Guard and, for a time, served in Iraq, according to his mother. He later moved to Reno, intending to attend the University of Nevada campus there, and also joined the Nevada National Guard.

Nicholas became an inactive Guardsman when he took his latest job in Iraq with the security company, which Lorina Moody declined to name. According to CNN affiliate WTVN, he was carrying a front grip and cleaning kit for a gun and other items he needed as an armed guard when he was caught.

“It seems so ironic that a man who, after serving our country in two combat zones … is the one who got pulled aside,” Lorina Moody said.

While ceding that the parts he was carrying might constitute a crime in the UAE, she said she did not feel what Nicholas has gone through so far — including limited contact with his family, lawyer and the U.S. government, as well as little understanding of the possible sentence — exceeds what he deserves.

Lorina Moody said she initially kept the matter private, so as not to “inflame the situation.” But, heeding the advice of her son’s lawyer in the Persian Gulf country, she’s taken the cause public in recent days — reaching to out the media and setting up a Facebook page.

Nicholas’ next court date is November 29, though his mother said she’s not sure what could happen to him — whether he’ll be sentenced to time served, be compelled to spend months or years more in prison or have to pay a fine.

Until then, she’s talking and hoping for the best. She describes her contact with U.S. officials so far as “courteous,” but “minimal.” And she hopes getting Nicholas’ story out there will help his cause.

“I understand” the limits on what officials can do, she said. “But I am this man’s mother, and that is not enough.”

Please read the original story here

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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