Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Military Contractor Whistleblowers Videotaped ‘Animal House On Steroids’ In Afghanistan

Excessive Partying In Kabul Illustrated In Lawsuit Brought By Ex-Employees

CBS New York  October 18, 2012

Some former military contractors have blown the whistle on ex-colleagues for drinking and partying while in Afghanistan.

Employees of Jorge Scientific, a company that provides security for U.S. personnel operating in a war zone, videotaped some private defense contractors drunk and high on drugs at a residential villa in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The video shows co-workers wrestling and one private contractor passed out. He had to be tended to in order to keep from choking on his own vomit. A medic summoned to help appears to be nodding off as well and an empty syringe is seen at his feet, the video shows.

In another scene, their supervisor is shown staggering around a roaring bonfire in an open courtyard loudly bringing attention to what is supposed to be a secret location, CBS 2′s Lou Young reported.

The video is part of a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two ex-employees.

“It was an intelligence mission we were on. We were the security portion of the mission and there were some days some of those guys couldn’t get up out of bed. They were still so messed up from night prior, from the partying,” whistleblower John Melson told Young in a recent interview. “Many times, Kenny and myself were the only two sober personnel in the house.”

Melson and Kenny Smith said they were fired from their jobs at Jorge Scientific for objecting to the behavior they partially documented in the video.

The two said the video shows precisely the type of unsupervised activity that is making U.S. soldiers a target in Afghanistan, Young reported.

“The Americans definitely didn’t set a good image in that location. We had Afghan generals next door to us, special police all around us. Everyone was complaining about the behavior,” Smith told Young.

Please read more here

October 19, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Lawsuits, Private Military Contractors, Vetting Employees, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UN tribunal finds ethics office failed to protect whistleblower

James Wasserstrom, an American diplomat, was fired and then detained by UN police after raising suspicions of corruption

The Guardian  June 27, 2012

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, has unsuccessfully sought to curb the UN’s dispute tribunal’s jurisdiction. Photograph: Sandro Campardos/Keystone

A landmark case brought by a former United Nations employee against the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has cast light on what activists describe as a pervasive culture of impunity in an organisation where whistleblowers are given minimal protection from reprisals.

James Wasserstrom, a veteran American diplomat, was sacked and then detained by UN police, who ransacked his flat, searched his car and put his picture on a wanted poster after he raised suspicions in 2007 about corruption in the senior ranks of the UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik).

The UN’s dispute tribunal has ruled that the organisation’s ethics office failed to protect Wasserstrom against such reprisals from his bosses, and that the UN’s mechanisms for dealing with whistleblowers were “fundamentally flawed”, to the extent the organisation had failed to protect the basic rights of its own employees.

The case was directed against Ban as being directly responsible for the actions of the ethics office.

Of the 297 cases where whistleblowers complained of retaliation for trying to expose wrongdoing inside the UN, the ethics office fully sided with the complainant just once in six years, according to the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a watchdog organisation in Washington.

Please see the original and read the entire story here

June 27, 2012 Posted by | United Nations, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FDA secretly monitored private emails of whistleblowers, lawsuit alleges

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Secretly monitored the private emails of staff scientists and doctors who complained to Congress that the agency was approving dangerous medical devices for public use, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the staff members.

Infosecurity January 31, 2012

The current and former employees, who work for an FDA office that approves medical devices, told Congress that the agency was approving medical devices that in fact posed risks to patients.

In response, the FDA began surveillance of the employees’ personal email accounts, which they accessed from government computers, to monitor their communication with congressional staffers, according to a lawsuit filed by the employees. They allege that the information gained from the monitoring was used to harass and, in some cases, dismiss them.

In the lawsuit, the employees allege that FDA managers violated the Constitution by taking their private emails “without due process or just compensation”, conducting unlawful searches and seizures, as well as violating their rights to free speech and association.

The Washington Post has published a large dossier of letters, emails, and memos obtained by the FDA during their surveillance of the employees.

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Government Contractor, Politics, Whistleblower | , , | 1 Comment

Investigators conclude that Air Force illegally punished Dover morgue workers who blew whistle

Washington Post  January 31, 2012

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators have concluded that Air Force officials at the military mortuary in Dover, Del., illegally punished four civilian workers for blowing the whistle on the mishandling of war remains.

The Office of Special Counsel said in a report released Tuesday that they have recommended to the Air Force that it discipline the three officials who allegedly retaliated against the whistleblowers. The three were not identified by name. It said one is an active-duty military member and the other two are civilians.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said in a written statement that he has appointed a two-star general to review the findings and take “appropriate action.” Donley said reprisals against whistleblowers are unacceptable.

Donley said he and the Air Force’s top officer, Gen. Norton Schwartz, “believe strongly there is no place for reprisal in the Air Force. Reprisals against employees are unethical and illegal and counter to Air Force core values.”

In an earlier investigation report released last November, the Office of Special Counsel said it had found “gross mismanagement” at the Dover facility, where small body parts of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan were lost on two occasions. The Air Force said at the time that it took disciplinary action — but did not fire — three senior supervisors there for their role in the mismanagement. The reprisal accusations were a separate matter and were investigated by the Special Counsel under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

The three disciplined in connection with the earlier Special Counsel included Air Force Col. Robert Edmondson, who commanded the Dover mortuary at the time of the incidents, and two civilian supervisors — Trevor Dean and Quinton Keel

Please see the original and read more here

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PMC Sexual Violence: It’s Still a Problem

David Isenberg at Huffington Post   January 30, 2012

Also see at David’s blog The PMSC Observer

In one of those rare, “perfect storm” of coincidences, three events converge to provide the topic for this column. First, the latest issue of the in-house magazine, the arriviste named “Journal of International Peace Operations,” published by ISOA, a PMSC trade group, is devoted to the topic of “Women & International Security.”

Since ISOA, like any good trade group, generally tries to dismiss any criticism of its member companies, as being the ravings of liberal hacks in pursuit of a “spicy merc” story, it is interesting to note that the very first article in the issue states:

Companies need to adopt institutional measures to prevent and address cases of misconduct. Appropriate gender training for PMSC personnel, alongside training in international humanitarian law and human rights law – as recommended by the Montreux Document on PMSCs -will help to create a more gender-aware institution, thus preventing human rights abuses and reputation loss. Having clear rules of behaviour and mechanisms to punish individuals responsible for human rights violations will benefit the host populations, individual companies and the industry as a whole.

Second, the recent release in the UK of last year’s movie, The Whistleblower, a fictionalized version of the involvement of DynCorp contractors in sex trafficking and slavery in Bosnia back in the nineties, serves to remind us that despite DynCorp’s rhetoric over the subsequent years not nearly enough has changed.

For those whose memories have faded, employees of DynCorp were accused of buying and keeping women and girls as young as 12 years old in sexual slavery in Bosnia. Perhaps even more shocking is that none of those involved have ever been held accountable within a court of law. The United States subsequently awarded DynCorp a new contract worth nearly $250 million to provide training to the developing Iraqi police force, even though the company’s immediate reaction to reports of the crimes was to fire the whistle-blowers.

As an article in the Jan. 29, Sunday Telegraph noted:

Most disappointing of all was what happened next: several men were sent home, but none was punished further. No future employer will know what these men were guilty of. I asked DynCorp if its guidelines had become more stringent since 2001 and was sent its code of ethics. It states that ‘engaging in or supporting any trafficking in persons […] is prohibited. Any person who violates this standard or fails to report violations of this standard shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.’ So nothing has changed.

By the way, from a strictly observational viewpoint, given other problems DynCorp has had over the years since that took place, from dancing boys in Afghanistan to the recent settling of an EEOC suit regarding sexual harassment of one of its workers in Iraq, DynCorp is the Energizer Bunny of sexual harassment; it just keeps giving and giving and giving; doubtlessly reporters around the world are grateful.

Please read the entire post here

January 30, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Balkans, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, DynCorp, Human Trafficking, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Politics, Private Military Contractors, Safety and Security Issues, Sexual Assault, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corporate Whistle Blower Center Urges U.S. Contractor Employees in Afghanistan and Iraq to Step Forward for Huge Rewards if They Can Prove Massive Fraud

Press Release  September 6, 2011

The Corporate Whistle Blower Center is urging employees of major U.S. federal contractors, or subcontractors, that have been defrauding the US taxpayer in Afghanistan, or Iraq to step forward, for what could be enormous rewards, provided they can prove it. An independent panel investigating wartime spending estimates that as much as $60 billion has been lost to waste and fraud over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan. In its final report to Congress, the Commission on Wartime Contracting said the figure could grow larger as U.S. support for reconstruction projects and programs wanes and Iraq and Afghanistan are unable to sustain the schools, medical clinics, roads and power plants already built with American tax dollars. The Corporate Whistle Blower Center says, “In actuality we are pretty sure in many cases the schools, power plants, or medical clinics were never completed, and in other instances we know federal subcontractors gouged the U.S. government, and the taxpayers on everything from over inflated fuel, or food prices, to pretty much you name it. As long as you can prove it, and the amount exceeds two million dollars, there can be huge rewards for this type of information, as long as its substantial proof, and credible. If you possess this type of information please call us at 866-714-6466, because we would welcome the chance to explain the federal whistleblower reward programs to you.”

http://CorporateWhistleBlowerCenter.Com

September 6, 2011 Posted by | Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, Wartime Contracting, Whistleblower | , , , | Leave a comment

G4S Staff on deportation flights played ‘Russian roulette’ with lives

Paul Lewis and Mathew Taylor at the Guardian UK

The inaugural flight to Afghanistan should have been a showcase for a multinational company vying for the lucrative contract to deport foreign nationals on behalf of the British government.

See G4s-Securicor Training Film here

The plane heading to Kabul on 26 January 2004 had been chartered by a company that would go on to become part of the world’s largest private security firm – G4S. Its cargo included refused asylum seekers in handcuffs. A number had their legs bound with tape and had been placed in the first-class cabin.

But according to new evidence some of the guards on that flight, recruited to supervise the deportation, had not completed a full training course, and they included a number of inexperienced prison staff. Some had not even received Home Office accreditation.

Shocking details about that flight and dozens more are contained in previously unseen evidence to parliament obtained by the Guardian. The documents reveal how G4S employees spent several years raising concerns about the potentially lethal methods being used on refused asylum seekers.

The most disturbing technique involved bending deportees over in their seats and placing their head between their legs. The procedure became known within the company as “carpet karaoke” because it would force detainees, struggling for breath, to shout downwards toward the floor.

Although an apparently successful method of keeping disruptive detainees quiet, it can lead to a form of suffocation known as positional asphyxia.

Its alleged use is documented in written testimony by four G4S whistleblowers, submitted to the home affairs select committee in the aftermath of the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan who died on a British Airways flight from Heathrow in October last year.

The cause of Mubenga’s death remains unknown. Passengers on BA flight 77 reported seeing three guards heavily restraining the 46-year-old, who they said had been bent over and complained of breathing difficulties before his collapse. Police later arrested the guards in connection with the death and recently extended their bail until next month.

Please read the entire article here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, G4S, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment