Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Posts Tagged ‘Blackwater’

PTSD Casualty-Hidden war zone scars claim another soldier/civilian contractor’s life

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 5, 2012

Another Defense Base Act PTSD failure.

McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35

Doug Robinson at Deseret News  June 5, 2012

Dale McIntosh stands with children in Central America. McIntosh did private security work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dale McIntosh was no stranger to death. When it wasn’t everywhere around him, it was a constant threat, something that kept him literally looking over his shoulder for months at a time.

A former Marine, he hired himself out as a privately contracted bodyguard in the Middle East, where he lived on the edge and saw and did things so terrible that it haunted him. He survived firefights, ambushes, exploding cars, road mines, snipers and rocket-propelled grenades. In the end, he escaped without any wounds, or at least none we could see.

When he returned, he seemed to be the Dale that his friends remembered — charming, gregarious, warm, outgoing — but inside, he was hurting and disturbed. McIntosh brought demons home with him.

In 2006, I wrote a lengthy profile about McIntosh, then a student at Westminster who took time off from his studies to pursue quick money and an adrenaline fix in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the postscript: McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35

After graduating from Utah State, Dale served five years in the Marines — part of it in special ops — but felt unfulfilled because he never saw action. He compared it to being an athlete who never got in the game. Eager to use his military skills and see action, he signed on to do private security work. At the time, there was a big demand for security firms, the most famous and controversial of which was Blackwater. With a shortage of manpower, the U.S. government hired the firms to protect American interests and personnel in the Middle East. They were largely ungoverned by law, which did not make them popular at home or abroad. McIntosh spent six months in Afghanistan, five months in Iraq, two months in Bosnia and then another two months in Iraq before returning to Utah in the fall of 2005.

Doug Robinson has written at length about his friend Dale.  Please read the entire story here

 

Posted in Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Iraq, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, PTSD and TBI, Veterans, Xe | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ex-Blackwater executives finger CIA in weapons trial

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 2, 2012

Cross Posted from Civilian Contractors

Several other lawsuits filed by Contractor Employers will expose the extent to which Civilian Contractors were actually working for the CIA and the State Department in capacities that are not known to the public.

It is known that Ronco Consulting has worked for/with the CIA via the State Department .

The Virginian Pilot  June 2, 2012

Five ex-Blackwater executives, facing federal firearms charges in connection with a gift of weaponry to a Middle Eastern monarch, have come up with a new explanation for how it occured:

It was a CIA operation.

In court papers filed last month in Raleigh, the defendants say the gift of five guns to King Abdullah II of Jordan during a royal visit to Blackwater’s Moyock, N.C., headquarters in March 2005 was requested, directed and authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Attorneys for the five have filed declarations from two retired CIA officials, including a former Jordan station chief, who say they are familiar with the circumstances of the king’s visit and would be willing to testify about it.

The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s a new wrinkle in a case that dates to April 2010, when the five security company executives were indicted on a variety of felony firearms charges. One key section of the indictment involved King Abdullah’s 2005 visit to Moyock, during which the monarch was presented a Bushmaster M4 rifle, a Remington shotgun and three Glock handguns.

Please read the entire article here

Posted in Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Misjudgements, Political Watch, Ronco Consulting, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Defense of Freedom Medal Held Hostage by The Defense Base Act

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 31, 2012

WHY HAVE I NOT RECEIVED THE DEFENSE OF FREEDOM MEDAL?

The Defense of Freedom Medal is an award held to be the equivalent of the Purple Heart and is awarded to Civilian Contractors injured in the war zones. 

One question we get here repeatedly is why have I not received the Defense of Freedom Medal?   The question comes from severely disabled Civilian Contractors wounded in horrific explosions and insurgent attacks.

WHO IS HOLDING YOUR MEDAL HOSTAGE?

The company you work for is responsible for requesting  that you receive the medal and providing the documentation that you have indeed suffered a qualifying injury.

As all Injured War Zone Contractors know the minute you must file a Defense Base Act Claim you are automatically placed in an adversarial relationship with your employer.   Your Employer and the Defense Base Act Insurance Company are considered equal entities in the battle you have entered for your medical care and indemnity.

Your Employer is required to assist the insurance company in denying your claim.  Under the War Hazards Act the Employer/Carrier must prove to the WHA Tribunal that they have diligently tried to deny your claim.

It appears that your Defense of Freedom Medals could be held hostage by your Employers due to the adversarial relationship the Defense Base Act has created.

When KBR, DynCorp, Blackwater, Xe, et al, provide documentation of your injuries to the DoD they have just admitted that you are indeed injured and to what extent.

Specific information regarding injury/death: Description of the situation causing the injury/death in detail to include the date, time, place, and scene of the incident, and official medical documentation of the employee’s injuries and treatment. The description must be well documented, including the names of witnesses and point of contact (POC) for additional medical information, if needed.

These admissions sure would make it hard for Administrative Law Judges like Paul C Johnson to name them as alleged.   ALJ Paul C Johnson has yet to award benefits to a DBA Claimant in a decision based on a hearing.

KBR who can never seem to find their injured employees medical records holds the key to the Defense of Freedom Medal.

Certainly there are other lawsuits outside of the DBA that the withholding of this information is vital too.

For those of you who still give a damn after being abused by so badly simply because you were injured-

The Defense of Freedom Medal may find you many years down the road once an Administrative Law Judge says you were injured.

We recommend that you contact your Congressional Representative or Senator and have them request this Medal if you qualify for it and would like to have it.

If you are still litigating your claim it SHOULD serve to legitimize your alleged injuries.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense of Freedom Medal, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, Racketeering, War Hazards Act, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Judge Denies Blackwater’s Motion for Arbitration

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 23, 2012

Law Offices of Scott J Bloch  May 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC (May 23, 2012) – Blackwater Industries, which changed its name to Xe Services, and now has changed it yet again to Academi LLC, lost its initial bid to have the $240 million suit for employee misclassification sent to arbitration and dismissed from federal court in Washington, D.C.

Scott Bloch filed an amended complaint (see link above) in the class action lawsuit on behalf of four former security specialists, who were injured while working for Blackwater, in order to recover their payment of social security, unemployment insurance, and unpaid benefits and state and local withholding and unemployment insurance, and other unspecified damages. The action seeks $240,000,000 in damages for lost benefits, overtime, treble damages and punitive damages, as well as additional amounts as proved for the class of specialists.

The court has rejected that motion filed by Blackwater and required it to file another motion to determine if the same Plaintiffs agreed to have an arbitrator determine if the agreements were unconscionable, procured by duress, fraud and undue influence.

“Blackwater acted illegally and unconscionably toward these brave individuals,” said Bloch. ”Through their fraud as pointed out in the Amended Complaint, they avoided overtime for security workers who worked sometimes 12-16 hours a day 6 days a week. They were forced to sign agreements they never read and were not given time to read and not given copies, which took away valuable rights and were unlawful in their terms. Now the court has rejected their initial motion and required Blackwater to seek the same relief if they can prove that the Plaintiffs who never were allowed to read the original agreements agreed to have an arbitrator determine whether they properly agreed to anything. We continue to assert the illegality of the agreements and the actions of Blackwater.”

Read Xe’s Arbitration Bid Denied in Misclassification Suit here.

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Follow the Money, Taxes, Xe | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Consequences of Pursuit of Profit: All Protected by DBA’s Exclusive Remedy at the expense of the US taxpayer

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 7, 2012

That dispute led to the under-equipment and under-preparation of the security team on which the four Blackwater employees died.   Their deaths led the military to launch an invasion of Fallujah.

So here it is: A contract dispute led to a major development in a major war of the United States – and that is Paul’s point.

David Isenberg at PMC Observer

Reduced to its essentials every argument and debate about the use of private military and security contractors comes down to two words; outsourcing and privatization. The argument is simply whether they are good and bad.
Personally I think that, like most other things, the answer is maybe. Hey, if you want absolutes take up physics.

But lately, partly I suppose, in response to the predictable quadrennial Republican party blather about the glories of the free market – cue the inevitable segue into why America needs a purported businessman like Mitt Romney to “fix America” – my repressed academic side has been pondering the pitfalls of privatizing the battlefield.

Before going any further let me acknowledge the contribution and sacrifice of PMSC personnel. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has so much depended on such an unacknowledged few.

That said, let’s turn to one of the iconic contractor moments of the U.S.involvement in Iraq; the killing of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah in 2004.

Last year law professor Arthur J. Jacobson of Yeshiva University publishedan article in the  Cardozo Law Review.   The occasion was a symposium in honor of Paul R. Verkuil, who is on the Cardozolaw school faculty. Verkuil is author of the 2007 book Outsourcing Sovereignty: How Privatization of Government Functions Threatens Democracy And What We Can Do About It.

In his article, Outsourcing Incompetence: An Essay in Honor of Paul Verkuil Jacobson provides some detail regarding that tragic day that is not appreciated by the public.  I realize the following quote is long but it is necessary to appreciate the true impact of what happened.

The four Blackwater employees who were dismembered and mutilated in Fallujah, where they ended up while guarding a convoy, is a grim reminder of how the military must react to contractor actions. The Marines had to secure that city after that gruesome event, which was not in their plans beforehand.

Paul’s conclusion about the Fallujah incident is ineluctable. The Department of Defense, it appears, outsourced to Blackwater a task that it regarded as amenable to outsourcing, rather than as an inherent government function. Were the Department of Defense to offer a justification of this decision, they would argue that providing security to a supply convoy is akin to an ordinary civilian security operation – like night watchmen at a construction site or armed guards accompanying an armored car – and is thus distinguishable from combat, which, as most today would probably agree, is
an inherent government function.  But the reality of a theater in combat does not permit so fine a distinction to be drawn.  The Blackwater employees had necessarily to engage in combat, and their defeat drew the Marines into a combat operation they had neither desired nor planned. Contracting with Blackwater to provide security for convoys thus wound up diverting the United States military from operations they had in fact planned, and calling into question the competence of a military that could so unwittingly be the cause of its own distraction.

Paul’s Blackwater story is bad enough. The real story is worse. I asked Erik Wilson, a captain in the United States Marine Corps and a first-year law student at Cardozo, to look into the Fallujah incident a little more closely. Here is what he found.

The U.S. Army did not hire Blackwater directly. The prime contract, part of the Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), was between the Army and Halliburton. It was a contract to supply Camp Ridgeway, an Army base near Fallujah.

Halliburton then subcontracted the supply contract to KBR, and KBR subcontracted it to ESS. It was ESS that hired Blackwater to provide security for the convoys to Camp Ridgeway. Four subcontracts connect, or separate, Blackwater from the ultimate recipient of its services. That looks like an awfully long chain of subcontracts. But things were not so simple.

Let’s start with the top of the chain. It was actually KBR’s predecessor, Brown & Root, and not Halliburton, that had the first LOGCAP contract with the Army. This was back in the 1990s, at the beginning of the LOGCAP program. In 2002, Halliburton created KBR (merging two of its subsidiaries, Brown & Root and M.W. Kellogg), and replaced the former Brown & Root as the prime contractor. Halliburton was thus the prime contractor at the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. The LOGCAP contract Halliburton signed at that point, known as LOGCAP III, was the second renegotiation of the initial LOGCAP contract between the Army and Brown & Root. Halliburton’s role under LOGCAP III was only to guarantee KBR’s services, and the Army and other federal auditing agencies dealt directly with KBR, not with Halliburton. Halliburton was involved in LOGCAP III only because it owned KBR. Thus, after Halliburton divested itself of KBR in 2007, KBR once again became the prime contractor in the LOGCAP IV contract, which is just now coming into
effect.

Now let us consider the bottom of the chain. ESS did not hire Blackwater directly. It hired Blackwater through a proxy company, Regency Hotel and Hospital Company of Kuwait. What happened was this: Regency and Blackwater had submitted a joint proposal to replace ESS’s existing private security contractor, Control Risks Group. Once Regency/Blackwater won the contract, they renegotiated it to make Regency ESS’s subcontractor and, in turn, make
Blackwater Regency’s subcontractor. Apparently Blackwater wanted this arrangement so it could get exclusive credit for the successful security operations.

The presence of Regency in the chain is important because a dispute erupted between Blackwater and Regency about the armoring of the vehicles to be used in protecting the convoys. According to Captain Wilson, Blackwater used its
subcontractor status to “blackmail” Regency, saying that Regency now had to provide weapons, armor, and other supplies, and that Blackwater would not supply them. The apparent aim of this strategy was to get Regency either to pay for Blackwater’s supplies or default on their contract, which Blackwater would try to take over at an increased profit once Regency was no longer in the way. Captain Wilson believes that Blackwater probably could not have gotten the security contract on its own and that it teamed with Regency for credibility, then tried to cut Regency out.

Partially as a result of this dispute between Regency and Blackwater over equipment funding, the Blackwater team was extremely underequipped and underprepared for the March 31, 2004, mission in which four Blackwater employees died.

I want to pause here in telling the story to make a comment. Outsourcing government tasks to a firm in the private economy subjects those tasks to the push and pull of the economy. I do not have the illusion, and neither does Paul, that elements of the bureaucracy are without their own motivations and distortions, but when you sign up with the private economy, you agree to participate in the private economy’s motivations and distortions. Let’s be blunt. There was a dispute between Regency and Blackwater over who would pay to armor the security for the convoys. That dispute led to the under-equipment and under-preparation of the security team on which the four Blackwater employees died. Their deaths led the military to launch an invasion of Fallujah. So here it is: A contract dispute led to a major development in a major war of the United States – and that is Paul’s point.

Please go to David’s blog and read the entire post

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, KBR, Misjudgements, Political Watch, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

IRS Targets US Expats

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 12, 2012

Updates to our ExPat Tax Page

For years companies like Blackwater and Ronco Consulting  have Misrepresented their employees as Consultants or Independent Contractors to the IRS to escape having to pay Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes.

Thank you Blackwater and Ronco Consulting

At the same time these same companies represented these same consultants and Independent Contractors to be employees for the purpose of purchasing the mandated Defense Base Act Worker’s Comp Insurance.  Even going so far as to have contractors sign new backdated employment contracts AFTER they were injured.

Fraudulent activity of this nature has garnered the full attention of the IRS to the Contract Employee much more so than it has the Contract Company.  Blackwater even continued to do this after the IRS busted them.

Bob Powers of Power Tax sends us this and asks that we warn all ExPats to be prepared.

Pursuant to an IRS internal memo Memorandum Number: AM2009-0003

This link IRS  has an important note regarding the definition of a foreign tax home (which is necessary to claim the Sec 911 benefit).

The IRS has been using this in somewhat of a distorted way to deny the FEIE to contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan,, not only those who have families in the U.S., but also single people who left home, joined the military and then were hired as contractors.

If they did not plan in advance and take all the steps necessary to show that their abode was in a foreign country and not in the U.S. they are disallowing the exclusion.

Many have had inexperienced tax preparers or did their own tax return and the case dragged on so long that they lost their administrative appeals rights and facing a substantial tax bill plus penalties cannot afford a good tax attorney to take it to Tax Court.

As a result, the IRS is using their muscle to claim that these workers were living on a base and had no contact with the local community and therefore their “abode-which is not clearly defined anywhere) was in the U.S.

This is the quote from the IRS page:

Tax Home
Your tax home is the general area of your main place of business, employment, or post of duty, regardless of where you maintain your family home.
Your tax home is the place where you are permanently or indefinitely engaged to work as an employee or self-employed individual. Having a “tax home” in a given location does not necessarily mean that the given location is your residence or domicile for tax purposes.

If you do not have a regular or main place of business because of the nature of your work, your tax home may be the place where you regularly live. If you have neither a regular or main place of business nor a place where you regularly live, you are considered an itinerant and your tax home is wherever you work.

You are not considered to have a tax home in a foreign country for any period in which your abode is in the United States . However, your abode is not necessarily in the States while you are temporarily in the United States .

Your abode is also not necessarily in the United States merely because you maintain a dwelling in the United
States , whether or not your spouse or dependents use the dwelling.

“Abode” has been variously defined as one’s home, habitation, residence, domicile, or place of dwelling. It does not mean your principal place of business. “Abode” has a domestic rather than a vocational meaning and does not mean the same as “tax home.”
The location of your abode often will depend on where you maintain your economic,
family, and personal ties.

Example 1.
You are employed on an offshore oil rig in the territorial waters of a foreign country and work a 28-day on/28-day off schedule. You return to your family residence in the United States during your off periods. You are considered to have an abode in the United States and do not satisfy the tax home test in the foreign country. You cannot claim
either of the exclusions or the housing deduction.

Example 2.
For several years, you were a marketing executive with a producer of machine tools in Toledo , Ohio . In November of last year, your employer transferred you to London , England , for a minimum of 18 months to set up a sales operation for Europe . Before you left, you distributed business cards showing your business and home addresses in London .

You kept ownership of your home in Toledo but rented it to another family. You placed your car in storage. In November of last year, you moved your spouse, children, furniture, and family pets to a home your employer rented for you in London .

Shortly after moving, you leased a car and you and your spouse got British driving licenses. Your entire family got library cards for the local public library. You and your spouse opened bank accounts with a London bank and secured consumer credit. You joined a local business league and both you and your spouse became active in the
neighborhood civic association and worked with a local charity.

Your abode is in London for the time you live there. You satisfy the tax home test in the foreign country.

Note that the IRS agents examining these returns are not seasoned international agents and their internal directive is to disallow the exclusion regardless of the taxpayer’s defenses and force it to go to Tax Court.

We recommend you check out Power Taxes pages before you deploy.

U.S. Expatriate Tax & Business Solutions

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, Political Watch, Ronco Consulting, Taxes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Blackwater settles Nisoor Square lawsuit

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 6, 2012

Charlotte lawyers sought damages in six deaths and injuries in 2007 incident that sparked debate over use of private security contractors.

Charlotte Observer January 6, 2012

Ali Kinani

The security firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by six victims or their families in the Sept. 16, 2007 shootings in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, an incident that remains a flashpoint over the use of private contractors in war.

Charlotte law firm Lewis & Roberts represented the vicitims and announced the undisclosed settlement in a statement this evening.

“With respect to the Iraqi families and individuals who were plaintiffs in this lawsuit (it) provides them with compensation so they can now bring some closure to the losses they suffered,” the statement reads.

The lawsuit was the last active civil suit stemming from the incident, in which five Blackwater guards were accused in 14 deaths.

It was the second confidential settlement with the company’s corporate successor, Arlington-Va.-based Academi announced Friday, days after the final U.S. troops left Iraq.

A federal appeals court ended a lawsuit over an episode that produced one of the more disturbing images of the war: the grisly killings of four Blackwater security contractors and the hanging of a pair of their bodies from a bridge in Fallujah.

Families of those victims reached a confidential settlement with the company’s corporate successor, Arlington, Va.-based Academi, and the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit last week. The settlement was first reported Friday by The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Iraq | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Families of dead Blackwater Contractors Settle Suit

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 6, 2012

Bill Sizemore The Virginian Pilot  January 6, 2012

Seven years after it was filed, what could have been a landmark lawsuit over battlefield accountability in an era of privatized warfare has been quietly laid to rest.

As a result, the security company formerly known as Blackwater has avoided a public examination of the bloody event that catapulted the company to worldwide attention and changed the course of the Iraq war.

The lawsuit was filed in January 2005 by the families of four Blackwater guards killed in a convoy ambush in Fallujah, Iraq, in March 2004. In what became an iconic image of the war, the four were shot and dismembered, and two of the bodies were strung from a bridge while a crowd of Iraqis cheered and chanted.

Televised images of the gruesome scene were flashed worldwide, prompting a devastating retaliatory assault on the city by U.S. forces that fanned the flames of the Iraqi insurgency.

The security company, now known as Academi, reached a confidential settlement with the families last week.

Two sources who insisted on anonymity said the company agreed to a total payout of $635,000 – a mere fraction of the legal fees in the long-running case, let alone the $30 million in claims and counterclaims at stake.

The settlement is in keeping with an aggressive makeover effort by Academi’s current owners, who bought the company from founder Erik Prince a year ago and are doing their best to distance themselves from allegations of lawless behavior at Blackwater, from the streets of Baghdad to the executive suite in Moyock, N.C.

Beyond any financial considerations, the Fallujah victims’ families never got what they always said they wanted most: an opportunity to hold the company publicly accountable for their loved ones’ deaths.

The four men – Wesley Batalona, Scott Helvenston, Michael Teague and Jerry Zovko – were traveling in two Mitsubishi SUVs, escorting a convoy of flatbed trucks to pick up kitchen equipment from a U.S. military base.

Please read the entire article here

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, Iraq, Misjudgements, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Contractors also lost in the Iraq War

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 25, 2011

Letter at The Daily Advance Elizabeth City NC  December 24, 2011

Kudos for your recent editorial regarding the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. You captured the ambiguity that Americans experience as the troops come home. On the one hand, we are thankful for those who have safely returned.

On the other hand, we can not help but wonder if the sacrifice in lives and treasure was justified — particularly given the initially erroneous and changing justifications for the war from the Bush administration.

I take issue, however, with your reporting of American casualties. In addition to the thousands of servicemen who lost their lives or suffered devastating wounds, there were hundreds if not thousands of contractors who were also casualties of the conflict. Accurate figures hard to come by — apparently as a deliberate policy of the U.S. State Department in order to avoid public scrutiny of our extensive use of contractors in this war.

Some might argue that contractors, who were in Iraq for economic reasons, are somehow less patriotic and less deserving of our concern than our military heroes. However, the reality of our voluntary military in conjunction with the dismal job market in recent years has no doubt led many young people to enlist, at least in part, for economic reasons. This is not to question the patriotism of those in the military but to point out that economic issues ultimately led many of our people to wind up in Iraq — and many did not come back alive and many came back severely wounded and scarred.

Many of those contractors are our friends and neighbors — employed by Academi — formerly known as Blackwater and headquartered in Moyock. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our fellow citizens who served in Iraq whether military or contractor — in spite of our lingering doubts about why we were there.

DAVID G. GARRATY

Currituck

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Injured Contractors, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Injured War Contractors Sue Over Health Care, Disability Payments

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 27, 2011

T Christian Miller ProPublica September 27, 2011

Private contractors injured while working for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan filed a class action lawsuit [1] in federal court on Monday, claiming that corporations and insurance companies had unfairly denied them medical treatment and disability payments.

The suit, filed in district court in Washington, D.C., claims that private contracting firms and their insurers routinely lied, cheated and threatened injured workers, while ignoring a federal law requiring compensation for such employees. Attorneys for the workers are seeking $2 billion in damages.

The suit is largely based on the Defense Base Act, an obscure law that creates a workers compensation system for federal contract employees working overseas. Financed by taxpayers, the system was rarely used until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most privatized conflicts in American history.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians working for federal contractors have been deployed to war zones to deliver mail, cook meals and act as security guards for U.S. soldiers and diplomats. As of June 2011, more than 53,000 civilians have filed claims for injuries in the war zones. Almost 2,500 contract employees have been killed, according to figures [2]kept by the Department of Labor, which oversees the system.

An investigation by ProPublica, the Los Angeles Times and ABC’s 20/20 [3] into the Defense Base Act system found major flaws, including private contractors left without medical care and lax federal oversight. Some Afghan, Iraqi and other foreign workers for U.S. companies were provided with no care at all.

The lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind, charges that major insurance corporations such as AIG and large federal contractors such as Houston-based KBR deliberately flouted the law, thereby defrauding taxpayers and boosting their profits. In interviews and at Congressional hearings, AIG and KBR have denied such allegations and said they fully complied with the law. They blamed problems in the delivery of care and benefits on the chaos of the war zones

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Follow the Money, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, Ronco Consultilng, spykids, State Department, T Christian Miller, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Defense Base Act Class Action Lawsuit

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 26, 2011

Today  Injured War Zone Contractors and Scott Bloch filed a

Class Action Lawsuit

against the

Defense Base Act Insurance Companies

and some Employers.

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, Zurich,

on behalf of thousands of former employees,

for

unlawful, fraudulent and bad-faith mistreatment of

injured employees and their families  

Brink Vs. CNA et al

The Defense Base Act Compensation blog and it’s contributors invite you to

Join our Class Action here

The truth will be exposed

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 democractic 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 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

Posted in Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Dyncorp, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, Ronco Consultilng, State Department, Suicide, Toxic Exposures, USAID, Veterans, Wackenut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower, Xe, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Statement Concerning Filing of Amended Class Action Tax Misclassification Against Xe Services (formerly Blackwater) on Behalf of Personal Security Specialists for Loss of Benefits and Withholding, Expenses, Penalties, and Treble Damag

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 21, 2011

Scott Bloch files Amended Complaint against  Blackwater on behalf of thousands of former employees for unlawful, fraudulent and unconscionable treatment of employees in fraudulent misclassification as independent contractors

Washington DC  September 21, 2011

 Since 2007, Blackwater Industries, which has changed its name to Xe Services, has employed over 10,000 personal security specialists to perform operations in Iraq and Afghanistan under lucrative contracts with departments of the United States Government including the State Department and CIA. While employing these individuals, many of whom are decorated veterans of the armed services including Special Forces, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Blackwater sought to avoid millions of dollars in taxes, withholding, and payments of benefits to these employees by classifying them improperly as independent contractors.

Yesterday, Scott Bloch filed an amended complaint in the class action lawsuit on behalf of four former security specialists, who were injured while working for Blackwater, in order to recover their payment of social security, unemployment insurance, and unpaid benefits and state and local withholding and unemployment insurance, and other unspecified damages. The action is brought on their own behalf and thousands of others who have worked for Blackwater and its newly named Xe Services. The action seeks $240,000,000 in damages for lost benefits, overtime, treble damages and punitive damages, as well as additional amounts as proved for the class of specialists.

The suit also states that one of the representative plaintiffs already had a determination from the IRS that Blackwater misclassified him as an independent contractor. “The IRS already determined in the case of one of my clients that he should have been classified as an employee,“ said Bloch. “Now thousands of people will have to file amended returns. Thousands of people will likely be entitled to benefits they were denied due to the misclassification, including payment of their employer share of pension, health and disability insurance premiums, and other plans that Blackwater filed with the government for its employees, promising it would not discriminate against those employees as they did here.”

“Blackwater made hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers and hired thousands of former veterans of military service and police officers. They also had in their ranks Federal Agents, such as current employees of the FBI on leave of absence. They were hired as security specialists in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Bloch. “It is a grave injustice to them who were mistreated and left without any health insurance or other benefits for their families, and left to fend for themselves in paying into Social Security and Medicare. They laid down their lives to protect dignitaries and carry out duties in support of wars for America, and they deserve better than this. Many of these same men risked their lives to protect everyone from the President of the United States to U.S. Senators, Congressman, U.S. Diplomats, to Foreign Presidential & Diplomatic Figures in one of the most dangerous places on the planet.”

One of the Plaintiffs guarded such dignitaries as the just assassinated Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani as well as current Secretary of State and then Senator Hillary Clinton.

“Blackwater acted illegally and unconscionably toward these brave individuals,” said Bloch. ”Through their fraud as pointed out in the Amended Complaint, they avoided overtime for security workers who worked sometimes 12-16 hours a day 6 days a week. They were forced to sign agreements they never read and were not given time to read and not given copies, which took away valuable rights and were unlawful in their terms.”

Read full PRESS RELEASE Amended Complaint against Xe Blackwater here.

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:

Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Follow the Money, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Civilian Contractor or Mercenary? Who do you work for, What is your job?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 19, 2011

Guest  Commentary September 19, 2011

In response to Civilian Contractor or Mercenary?

Wow.. that pretty much proves everyone (Our Government and News Sources) have been misleading the public doesn’t it?

“(F) Hs not been sent by a State which is not a party to the conflict on official duty”

Well the US Govt sent most of the guys and most of the guys were in the military, active or reserve

“(D) is neither a national of a party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a party to the conflict”

Well, if you are working for your own Govt.. it is clear your not a Mercenary!!

A mercenary is someone who works for a “Foreign Govt”. Most had govt orders and some had Diplomatic Passports. Explain that one!!!

You need to ask yourself why our own Government would allow such a misconception to continue on for so long?

I will tell you why.. remember the Blackwater shooting in September 2007 they so widely publicized? Well if they admitted it was really a diplomatic mission from the State Department that was involved, how would that look diplomatically?? I will tell you.. not very good. So they blame it on an “Evil Private Company” that is scolded and is “Put out of business” so the other countries think we are being tough… then that company opens under another name and all the workers are seamlessly transferred over and continue working.. Hummm

Lets take a closer look.. really what is the difference between a US Soldier and a “Contractor”

1) Volunteered for service: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

2) Received payment for services: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)
by the US govt directly or indirectly
(“did it for money, or Country”)

3) US Govt provided weapons and
equipment: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

4) Had to sign a contract to Join: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

5) Had to have a US Govt Security
Clearance: US Soldier (Not Required) Contractor (YES)

6) Took orders from the US Govt: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

7) Had to take an Oath and swear
allegiance to the US Govt: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)
8) Was paid directly or indirectly
by US Tax payers: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

9) Had a term of enlistment or contract: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

10) If wounded in a war zone would be
medically evac’d by the US Govt: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

11) could carry a loaded firearm
anywhere including inside the
US Embassy: US Soldier (Some) Contractor (YES)

12) Provided medical care by the
Military Hospitals inside the
war zone: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

13) Have full access to Military
APO/AFO mail system: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

14) Traveled by US Military Aircraft: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

15) Officially conducted offensive
operations: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (NO)

16) Officially conducted defensive
operations: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

17) Had access to Military Commissary
PX/BX and health and welfare
privileges: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

18) Had the ability to detain anyone
suspected of committing a crime or
threat against US or coalition forces: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

19) Authorized by the US Govt the use
of deadly force: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

20) Authorized the use of Deadly force
against fellow Americans in the event
a dignitary (Diplomat, Congressman
Senator or Presidential figure) was
in imminent danger: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

I can go on and on… So can you please tell me the difference?? Most of you out there are probably now realizing that you have been in the ether, and now are beginning to realize it, someone didn’t tell us the truth!!!

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Mercenary, Political Watch, State Department, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Blackwater/Xe Services Hires Former Counsel for AIG

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 6, 2011

This speaks for itself:

Wherever Suzanne Folsom goes, it seems that trouble swirls around her. But it is the breadth of her experiences that led Xe Services—the private security company and military contractor formerly called Blackwater Worldwide—to hire her as its first chief regulatory/compliance officer and deputy general counsel.

Folsom embraces the idea of rebuilding shaky companies. Before this job, she battled compliance demons at the troubled American International Group, Inc., and weathered a scandal that cost her boss his job at the World Bank Group.

It didn’t hurt that Folsom has strong political ties. She has served as chief of staff to the co-chairman of the Republican National Committee; private secretary to Queen Noor in Amman, Jordan; special assistant to former First Lady Barbara Bush during the 1988 presidential campaign; Bush family liaison to the 1988 U.S. Presidential Inaugural Committee; and a behind-the-scenes leader for the 1984 and 1988 Republican national conventions.

Read more here

Posted in AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Follow the Money, Political Watch, Xe | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

2nd ex-Blackwater worker Justin Cannon gets 30 months for manslaughter

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 27, 2011

by Bill Sizemore at The Virginian Pilot  June 27, 2011

A second former Blackwater contractor was sentenced to prison for involuntary manslaughter today in the 2009 shooting death of a civilian in Afghanistan.

Justin Cannon of Corpus Christi, Texas, was sentenced to 30 months by U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar.

A Virginia Beach man, Christopher Drotleff, received a 37-month sentence earlier this month for his actions in the same incident.

The two were charged with murder and convicted of the lesser charge in March after an earlier trial ended in a hung jury. They are the first contractors for the Moyock, N.C.-based security company now known as Xe Services to get prison time for killing a civilian in a war zone.

Cannon and Drotleff were working for a Blackwater subsidiary providing weapons training to the Afghan army under a Defense Department subcontract.

Please see the details and background at The Virginian Pilot

Posted in Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Xe | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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