2 Indians among 5 foreign guards killed in attack in Kabul

2 Indians among 5 foreign guards killed in attack in Kabul

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Last Updated at 19:04 IST

Two Indians were among five foreign guards killed in a Taliban suicide attack in Kabul yesterday.

Both Indians were employed as security guards with American company DynCorp, official sources told PTI. Continue reading

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Who’s Guarding Whom? Private Security Contractors and the Need for Government Action

Who’s Guarding Whom? Private Security Contractors and the Need for Government Action

Posted: Updated:

Coauthored by Nicole Vander Meulen

The Department of Defense spent about $160 billion on private security contractors (PSCs) for various services in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2007-2012, and contractor personnel made up over 50 percent of the U.S. presence in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This is a growing and major global industry, where rules aren’t developing fast enough to cover the myriad of services provided by these companies.

Private security contractors employed by the U.S. government abroad, for example, have been implicated in serious human rights violations, ranging from destruction of property to torture and human trafficking. Two examples of this have been in the news again recently: the Blackwater shooting in Nisour Square and the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib. Continue reading

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$2.89 Million DOD-Funded Facility Never Used & Not Maintained

Today, SIGAR released two reports.  The first is an inspection of the Gereshk Cold and Dry Storage Facility in Helmand, Afghanistan, which has never been used and is not being maintained. The $2.89 million facility was funded by the DOD's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO).

Among the report's findings:

--Potential investors told TFBSO that the Afghan district governor had asked for money from the investors and the construction contractor before leasing the property.

--SIGAR's multiple requests to visit the facility were denied due to security concerns.  

--Construction was completed in May 2013 -- 243 days after the required date of completion.

Inspection Report: http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/inspections/SIGAR-14-82-IP.pdf 

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sigarhq/sets/72157645817902434/ Continue reading 
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Another Whistleblower Speaks Out: Air Force Contract Fraud

Another Whistleblower Speaks Out: Air Force Contract Fraud

July 18, 2014

 

Looking for a new hero? Meet former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tim Ferner, who exposed millions in U.S. government contract fraud, and paid the price for his patriotism.

 

Contract Fraud with Your Money

Tim Ferner blew the whistle on a contract-steering scam involving a middleman in Florida and an engineering company hired to develop anti-terrorism techniques.

Tim Ferner suspected the scam in 2007 when his superiors at the Coalition and Irregular Warfare Center downplayed his concerns about how contracts were being doled out. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), received those contracts.

Ferner tried to go through military channels to stop the fraud he witnessed, Instead of helping, his superiors made his life difficult, even threatening to deploy him to Afghanistan while he was undergoing cancer treatment. Ultimately, he was fired from his job as Chief of Staff for the Coalition and Irregular Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base and relegated to a menial position. With channels closed off and retaliation underway, the case went to court. Continue reading

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A Primer on Legal Developments Regarding Private Military Contractors

A Primer on Legal Developments Regarding Private Military Contractors

By
Friday, July 18, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Recent events again have raised the issue of accountability for alleged human rights violations by Blackwater, the most notorious of the private contractors deployed by the United States in the Iraq war. On June 11, trial finally got underway of four Blackwater guards accused of shooting indiscriminately into traffic in Nisour Square in Baghdad, in 2007—and killing 17 civilians. Just days later, the New York Times reported that two weeks before the shooting, a Blackwater manager had threatened the life of the State Department investigator who was looking into the firm’s operations in Iraq. According to the Times, rather than sanction its contractor, the State Department instead sent its investigator packing. The newly released report from the investigator sums it up: “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law.”

As Iraq plunges into civil war, and as recriminations fly about why the U.S. didn’t leave a residual force when it withdrew, those with long(ish) memories surely will recall: a major reason Iraq refused to accept immunity for leftover U.S. soldiers was the country’s earlier experience with military contractors, who had been granted broad legal protections. Under rules issued by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, contractors couldn’t be prosecuted in Iraqi courts. While such immunity is standard for military personnel, it is also typically accompanied by a regular system of reporting and accountability for those who commit crimes. But military contractors in Iraq weren’t subject to equivalent procedures and generally managed to escape prosecution. For example, the contractors accused of participating in torture at Abu Ghraib have never been prosecuted, although the junior military personnel involved were court martialed. Even Nisour Square – the most high-profile of such cases – has taken seven years to come to trial, in large part due to missteps by the government.

Reports of contractor misconduct, and concern that such incidents would undermine the legitimacy of using contractors, together galvanized the international community to address the regime governing contractors in war zones and other areas of instability. By and large, these remain a work in progress. Here is a short primer for Lawfare readers on recent international legal developments regarding contractors. Continue reading

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SIGAR review of USAID’s cancelled Afghanistan reconstruction contracts

SIGAR published a review of USAID’s cancelled Afghanistan reconstruction contracts since 2008.  The review shows that over $237 million has been disbursed for these contracts and that USAID’s termination of some contracts seems to relate to inefficient or ineffective pre-award planning.

Cancelled Contracts Review: http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/special%20projects/SIGAR-14-73-SP.pdf

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Witnesses Testify Against Ex-Blackwater Colleagues in Case of 2007 Iraq Killings

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National Desk; SECTA

Witnesses Testify Against Ex-Blackwater Colleagues in Case of 2007 Iraq Killings

The New York Times
By MATT APUZZO
16 July 2014

WASHINGTON — As a line of Blackwater armored trucks pushed through heavy traffic away from the smoking wreckage of Nisour Square in Baghdad one day in 2007, a turret gunner waved his arms, telling nearby Iraqis to get down. He was warning them about the threat of his own American convoy.

”At this point, my teammate’s been firing wildly, and I don’t want these kids to get shot,” the gunner, Matthew Murphy, recalled recently. ”And I don’t want anybody else to get shot.” Continue reading

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The Historical Background as Factor Favoring the Occurrence of Mercenaries and the Contemporary Role of Mercenarism in the Context of International Law

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Normative Power under Contract? Commercial Support to European Crisis Management Operations

International Peacekeeping

Volume 21, Issue 1, 2014

Normative Power under Contract? Commercial Support to European Crisis Management Operations

Normative Power under Contract? Commercial Support to European Crisis Management Operations

Francesco Giumelli* & Eugenio Cusumano

pages 37-55

  • Published online: 07 Mar 2014

Abstract

The increasing privatization of military and stability operations has received considerable scholarly attention. Existing scholarship, however, has largely focused on the privatization of state foreign policy, overlooking the empirical analysis of international organizations’ use of commercial actors in the conduct of crisis management operations. The present study fills this gap by investigating the role of commercial contractors in supporting European Common Security and Defence civilian and military missions. By doing so, the article intends to advance the empirical knowledge of the privatization of foreign policy activities and the scope, determinants and future prospects of EU reliance on commercial actors for CSDP crisis management operations.

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Determining the Status of Private Military Companies Under International Law: A Quest to Solve Accountability Issues in Armed Conflicts

Determining the Status of Private Military Companies Under International Law: A Quest to Solve Accountability Issues in Armed Conflicts

P.R. Kalidhass

Jawaharlal Nehru University – Centre for International Legal Studies (CILS)

June 29, 2014

Amsterdam Law Forum, Volume 6, Spring 2014

Abstract:

Private Military Companies are one of the newest non-state actors in the international scene operating around the globe in different situations as private entities carrying out public works. But their role and responsibility is unknown in international law. To hold them accountable for any violation of legal rules during armed conflicts it is essential to determine their legal status under international law. In the absence of their recognition as a distinctive category of persons under international humanitarian law, inferences could be drawn by reference to other defined categories of persons, namely, combatants, mercenaries and civilians. Based on such inferences the present article examines accountability related issues for any contravention, by civilian-contractors, during armed conflicts. Continue reading

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