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Posts Tagged ‘Paul McGuigan’

Will the Exclusive Remedy continue to condone murder or will G4S/ArmorGroup finally be held responsible for the murders of Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare?????

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 30, 2012

WARNINGS ABOUT KILLER OF SCOT WENT UNHEEDED  October 1, 2012

ArmorGroup put the gun in his hand knowing that he was troubled

CONTROVERSIAL security firm G4S ignored warnings not to employ an armed guard in Iraq who went on to murder two of his colleagues, it has been claimed.

Danny Fitzsimons was sentenced to at least 20 years in an Iraqi prison last year for killing Scot Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in Baghdad in 2009.The parents of Paul McGuigan, 37, have now called for G4S ArmorGroup to face criminal charges for failing to heed the warnings and sending Fitzsimons to Iraq.Now a new BBC Scotland documentary has revealed that G4S was warned not to employ Fitzsimons, who was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and had been fired by a previous security contractor for punching a client.It emerged that a whistleblower sent two e-mails to the London-based company, which operates as Armorgroup in Iraq, expressing concerns that Fitzsimons’ unstable behaviour made him unsuitable to be handling weapons in a war zone.
The first e-mail, revealed in tonight’s BBC Scotland Investigates: Britain’s Private War programme, reads: “I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public. I am speaking out because I feel that people should not be put at risk.”And in a second e-mail, sent as 32-year-old Fitzsimons was about to start work in Baghdad, the whistleblower adds:“Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust.
“I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing.”Paul McGuigan’s mother, Corinne Boyd-Russell, from Innerleithen, in Peebleshire, said: “Fitzsimons fired the bullets. But the gun was put in his hand by G4S ArmorGroup.“I want G4S to be charged with corporate manslaughter and be held accountable for what they did.”The parents of Fitzsimons were also shocked to hear about the existence of the e-mails.Mother Liz Fitzsimons, from Manchester, said: “The people who we feel are responsible, who we hold responsible for putting that gun in Danny’s hand, are without a shadow of a doubt G4S.”The news comes just months after the UK Government was forced to call in 1,200 troops to police the Olympic Games venues after G4S failed to provide enough staff.

The firm recently won a £20million contract to manage the electronic tagging of Scottish offenders.

A spokesman for G4S said: “Although there was evidence that Mr Fitzsimons falsified and apparently withheld material information during the recruitment process, his screening was not completed in line with the company’s procedures.

“Our screening processes should have been better implemented in this situation, but it is a matter of speculation what, if any, role this may have played in the incident.”

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, G4S, Hope that I die, Iraq, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Ronco Consulting, State Department, UK Contractor killed, Wackenut | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ArmorGroup’s Danny Fitzsimons faced charges for assault prior to being so negligently deployed

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 26, 2011

“If people start to recognise PTSD and do something about it, then at least some good has come out of this horrendous situation. Danny doesn’t deserve this. He has been let down by us, the Army and he has been let down by the ArmourGroup.”

Criminal Behavior and PTSD: An Analysis

A Middleton man jailed in Iraq for murdering two colleagues had been due to appear in court at home accused of assaulting an Asian man on a train.

Rochdale Online  April 26, 2011

But the family of security contractor Danny Fitzsimons said it is evidence that he is suffering form post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The 31-year-old was jailed for 20 years last month after shooting ArmorGroup colleagues Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare in Baghdad in August, 2009.

His family said the ex–paratrooper, who served eight years in the forces, was tormented by his experiences in Kosovo and Iraq and should never have been given clearance to work for the security firm.

In April the same year, Fitzsimons was convicted of a public order offence after he fired a flare gun into the air to scare off teenagers causing trouble outside his flat in Middleton.

He was due to be sentenced at Bolton Crown Court and also appear on the assault charge.

Stepmother Liz Fitzsimons said: “There were youths climbing all over the roof of the flat he lived in. He went and tried to warn them off. He just got laughed at and a lot of abuse. That’s when he went back in the flat and got this flare gun.

“Any normal person not suffering from PTSD would have just phoned the police.”

She said of the assault on the train: “That wasn’t a racist attack. He felt threatened. There were three of them.”

Mrs Fitzsimons said the offences would not have happened if Danny had received support for his condition.

She said: “I feel very strongly that we have let him down because we did not know the severity of his illness. If we had known, we would have helped him so much. He is now in an Iraqi jail not getting treatment for PTSD. There is treatment available, but not in Iraq.”

She stressed the family’s sadness that two men had lost their lives but said: “If people start to recognise PTSD and do something about it, then at least some good has come out of this horrendous situation. Danny doesn’t deserve this. He has been let down by us, the Army and he has been let down by the ArmourGroup.”

PTSD and the Law

Please see the original here

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, G4S, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

ArmorGroup Security Guard Danny Fitzsimons escapes Death Penalty on PTSD diagnoses

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 28, 2011

Danny Fitzsimons avoids death penalty and lawyers press for reduced sentence to be served in UK

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s director, said: “If G4S had done the proper checks and risk assessments when Danny applied to work with them, they would have quickly seen that he was suffering from serious PTSD, a consequence of loyally serving his country.

People with PTSD can have “heightened levels of physiological arousal,” such as elevated heart rates even though they are not in real danger, Baldwin said.

“Because they feel unsafe, they’re more likely to be triggered into a defense state that might get them out of a traumatic experience that isn’t really happening,” he said.

“During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger,” Baldwin said. “You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.” from Learning to Live Again

The Guardian UK Monday February 28, 2011  12:50 GMT

Danny Fitzsimons leaves the Iraqi court where he received a 20-year jail sentence for murder. Immunity for foreign contractors was lifted in 2009. Photograph: Karim Kadim/AP

A British former soldier has been jailed for 20 years by the supreme court of Iraq for the murder of two fellow security contractors, becoming the first westerner to be convicted in the country since the 2003 invasion.

The family of 31-year-old Danny Fitzsimons expressed relief that he had escaped the death penalty and asked Iraqi authorities and the UK government to ensure his safety in prison. Defence lawyers indicated they would try to get the term reduced.

Before his conviction and sentencing in a hearing lasting less than 30 minutes, there had been talks over whether he could be transferred to a British prison. Fitzsimons’s family and campaigners fear for his safety if he is moved outside Baghdad’s Green Zone to the city’s Rusafa prison.

Fitzsimons, from Middleton, Manchester, was accused of shooting fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in Baghdad, colleagues with the UK security firm ArmorGroup, part of G4S, after an argument in the Green Zone in August 2009. He was also accused of wounding an Iraqi guard while fleeing. The incident happened within 36 hours of his arrival in the city. He had worked in the country before.

Fitzsimons admitted shooting the men but claimed it was in self-defence. The colleagues had been out drinking and the other two tried to kill him during an altercation, he said. Fitzsimons claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Please read the entire story here

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

ArmorGroup Security Contractor Danny Fitzsimons Must Wait To Hear Death Sentence Verdict

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 20, 2011

Iraqi judges presiding over the trial of a British security contractor accused of murdering two colleagues have adjourned proceedings once again

According to Fitzsimons’ legal team, the request for more reports is a sign the judges are taking the issue of PTSD seriously.

Ursula Errington, Sky News correspondent

The adjournment in the trial of Danny Fitzsimons was called so judges could consider more evidence relating to the former paratrooper’s psychological state.

Mr Fitzsimons admits shooting former Royal Marine Paul McGuigan and Australian ex-airman Darren Hoare in August 2009 after the three private security contractors had been on a whisky-drinking binge.

But he says he did only so in self-defence after the two men attacked him.

He also maintains he suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility, but not guilty to murder.

Judges will reconvene on February 28 after ordering further reports on how traumatic experiences may have effected him.

According to Fitzsimons’ legal team, the request for more reports is a sign the judges are taking the issue of PTSD seriously.

The 30-year-old, from Rochdale, is the first Westerner to be tried in Iraq since immunity for foreign security workers was lifted in 2009.

If convicted of murder he could face the death penalty.

His legal team are likely to appeal to Iraqi authorities to allow him to serve any prison sentence back in the UK.

Fitzsimons believes “(I’m) a dead man” if he is moved from his cell inside the Green Zone to Baghdad’s Russaffa prison.

As a former British soldier turned private security contractor, he thinks he may be a target for other inmates.

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, G4S, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Danny Fitzsimons to be sentenced but for ArmorGroup it is business as usual

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 19, 2011

Danny Fitzsimons

In only a matter of hours , barring further delays,  Danny Fitzsimons will face sentencing for shooting and killing Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan in ArmorGroup’s living quarters in the Green Zone.  A possible death sentence

The first Contractor to be tried in the Iraqi Courts under Iraqi Jurisdiction.

Lucky for ArmorGroup.

Under Iraqi Jurisdiction there was no formal inquiry into who armed a man with several psychiatric diagnoses,  a criminal record,  pending weapons charges, known drug and alcohol problems, who was fired from two other security companies and was considered to be a problem among his peers.

Under US or UK law ArmorGroup would bear some responsibility for arming a man this whacked.  Maybe even be considered accessory to the murders.

Negligence of this nature occurs as a matter of rule with some Contract Companies.  Like Armorgroup did,  just under bid the contract so you can win it.   The solution then is to under staff, over work, refuse to provide the necessary equipment that was contracted  for, and put any warm body in place without vetting them to ensure that they are who and what they claim to be.

Darren Hoare

How many accidents, injuries, and deaths have occurred due to negligence of this nature?

We will never know.  Very few incidents are publicized.

Contractors with psychiatric meltdowns are spirited away and promoted or dumped on their families.  The victims of the melt downs are paid to keep them from filing a Defense Base Act Claim.

Deaths and Injuries of many foreigners are never filed on because they and their families do not know they are due benefits.  Defense Base Act Claim filings are the only numbers kept.

Paul McGuigan

All accidents in the warzones are the fault of no one due to the DBA’s Exclusive Remedy and dead men tell few tales when no real unbiased investigation is required.

There has been a very vocal outcry from the families and friends of Paul McGuigan and to a lesser extent Darren Hoare regarding what a bad man Danny Fitzsimons is and how they cannot wait to see him hung.  We get these comments on our blogs as well as witness them in recent media coverage.

But there is an odd abscence of them laying any blame where it us undoubtedly deserved upon the negligence of ArmorGroup for arming Danny Fitzsimons and putting their loved ones in his path.

Confidentiality?

Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan paid for this negligence with their lives.

The families of all involved have paid dearly and always will.

Danny Fitzsimons will soon pay for his actions, as well as every wrong done by every Contractor to the Iraqi people.

Danny Fitzsimons is to the Iraqi’s what Raymond Davis is the Pakistani’s.

Danny Fitzsimons is Blackwater in their eyes.

Armorgroup continues to guard the US Embassy in Kabul despite having the low bid contract “taken away”.

Posted in Armorgroup, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Exclusive Remedy, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ArmorGroup Security Contractor Danny Fitzsimons Trial

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 23, 2011

We ask again why ArmorGroup is not on trial for endangering the lives of everyone they exposed to an armed Danny Fitzsimons

Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare are dead because of ArmorGroup’s negligence in failing to Vet a mentally ill employee with a pending weapons charge in England,  previous convictions, and known alcohol and drug problems.

And who paid the families of the dead?  The Defense Base Act Exclusive Remedy relieved ArmorGroup of responsibility despite negligence but the DBA does not pay when alcohol is involved.

Danny Fitzsimons discharged from Army with PTSD

Danny Fitzsimons:  The War Inside Your Head

“Upon arrival, he was given an M4 rifle, a pistol and a bullet-proof vest which he set down in his room before meeting with an old friend he had made during a previous tour in Iraq, where he worked with three different firms before joining ArmorGroup.

Fitzsimons and his friend, another ArmorGroup security guard who was identified only as Kevin, bought two bottles of whiskey before settling in Kevin’s trailer in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone to chat over drinks.”

Daniel Fitzsimons denies murder of two colleagues in Iraq

British security contractor Daniel Fitzsimons tells Baghdad court he is guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility

British security contractor accused of murdering two colleagues in Iraq has given his first courtroom account of the drunken night that has left him facing a possible death sentence.

Daniel Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, told a criminal court in Baghdad today that he was not guilty of murdering Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in August 2009, but was guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, after he responded to taunts from both men.

Fitzsimons claims he was watching a DVD with a colleague from his army days, Kevin Milson, when McGuigan joined them. Fitzsimons had returned to Baghdad just over 24 hours earlier, following two previous tours with other security companies. He said he did not know McGuigan, but claimed intra-military tensions soon played out between them.

“Paul was with the marines and I was with the Parachute Regiment and as everyone knows there is rivalry between the two,” he said. “He started to insult me and insulted two friends of mine who had died in Iraq. I punched him in the nose and said ‘come on, fight me’.”

Fitzsimons’s testimony was similar to an account he gave to the Guardian in March last year. He claims to have been provoked, first in Milson’s room and then, later, in his own cabin, where he had returned to use the internet.

“I had been on the internet for an hour and then slept and then my door crashed in,” he said. “I saw Paul McGuigan and the Australian man, Darren Hoare. They kicked me in the face with their sandals. They wanted to kill me. It was shameful for a soldier.

“Paul took my M4 [assault rifle] from beside my bed and pointed it at me. He said ‘I am going to kill you’. I raised my pistol and shouted to Paul twice to put down his weapon, but he did not respond. Then I made my decision, as an old soldier, as a trained soldier, I shot him twice in the chest and a third time in his face as he fell.

“The Australian then tried to fight me for the pistol. He went for the trigger and tried to turn the pistol to my neck. He was shouting that he was going to kill me. He was much bigger than me. I pulled the trigger and put two, maybe three bullets in his chest.”

Fitzsimons had been diagnosed in Britain with post-traumatic stress disorder, but the Iraqi court is yet to decide whether that will be used in his defence. Iraqi medical experts have twice found that Fitzsimons was suffering no particular emotional disorder at the time of the killings.

The judge, Ali Yousef, questioned Fitzsimons on forensic evidence prepared for a coroner, which said powder burns were absent from Hoare’s body, not supporting Fitzsimons’s account of a close contact struggle during which fatal shots were fired from a short range.

Fitzsimons said: “I think the evidence was manipulated by the security company. The crime scene was changed.”

Salam Abdul Kareem, a lawyer for the victims’ families, urged the court to hand down the maximum sentence, which is death by hanging, or life imprisonment. “He did not stop shooting until all 14 bullets were finished,” he said.

McGuigan’s relatives and former fiancee in Britain have strongly challenged Fitzsimons’s version of events, claiming McGuigan was executed.

The case was adjourned until 20 February, when a verdict is expected.  Please see the original here

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, G4S, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Danny Fitzsimons from Death Row in Iraq: Left to rot

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 1, 2010

UPDATE: His murder trial was scheduled to begin at Baghdad’s Central Criminal Court on Wednesday (Aug 4) but was adjourned again while psychiatric tests are carried out on the defendant. A new trial date is expected in mid-September, a spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.

Danny Fitzsimons, once a member of the Parachute Regiment – a hero. Now he sits in a cell on Iraq’s Death Row facing death by hanging.

Editor’s note:  G4S and Armorgroup have accepted no responsibility, nor will they be prosecuted for so negligently arming a man as mentally ill as Mr. Fitzsimons.   Negligence that resulted in the deaths of two men, one seriously injured, children orphaned, women widowed, and families bereft.  Negligence that doomed Mr Fitzsimons to this hell as well as he did by his own hand.

Mirror.co.uk News

Soldier-turned-mercenary Danny Fitzsimons is awaiting trial in Baghdad for shooting dead two men and wounding a third.

But speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, he insists he is the victim of a terrible injustice and begs the Government to secure his release and bring him home.

He says he killed his victims in self-defence as he battled terrible mental trauma from the nine years he spent serving in Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.

Fitzsimons, 30, from Middleton, Manchester, says: “I know my actions that night have caused a lot of pain to the relatives of the dead men. To their families and children I am truly sorry. I believe I need to be in a mental hospital in Britain and not in an inhumane dungeon in Baghdad. Many ex-soldiers like me are left to fight our demons alone.

“I stand little chance of a fair trial in Iraq and the psychiatric assessment here was a joke. Bring me home and let me get the help I so desperately need. I chose my life and stand by it but I don’t believe I deserve to be left to rot. Please don’t let me hang in Iraq.”

Fitzsimons shares his cockroachand rat-infested cell at Karadat Maryam police station with 17 other prisoners.

He says: “I’m being fed by some of my jail mates. Without them I would not have proper food or be able to take water.

“They don’t let us in the yard for air or sun and it’s like living in an oven in the cell. It is overrun with cockroaches and rats and filth.”

Fitzsimons was in Iraq as a military contractor working for British private security firm ArmorGroup, who he says took him on without carrying out a full medical assessment. Had the truth emerged, they would have found out he was discharged from 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment after being diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

He also had alcohol problems and was facing criminal charges for brandishing a flare gun at children outside his flat in Middleton. On his third visit to Iraq, last August, he was drinking with two fellow mercenaries when a row started. Fitzsimons says he punched Scottish ex-Royal Marine Paul McGuigan, 37, before the two made up. But he says later that night Paul and the second man, Australian father-ofthree Darren Hoare, also 37, attacked him. He says: “The two men came into my room with clear intention of doing me harm and attacked me in my bed in a drunken rage.” He says they threatened to kill him with an M4 assault rifle and he shot them three times with a Glock pistol. As he fled he shot an Iraqi security guard in the leg. He says: “I did exactly what I’ve been trained to do since 1996. I acted in self-defence to save my life.”

Paul’s fiancée Nicola Prestage disagrees, saying it was “an unprovoked attack”. Fitzsimons, who has been locked up for a year, is due to go before a judge on Wednesday for a trial date to be set. Iraqi doctors are assessing his mental health.

Clive Stafford Smith, of Human rights charity Reprieve, said: “It is unfathomable ArmorGroup would dispatch him and arm him in a war zone without proper screening.”

A spokesman for ArmorGroup admitted Fitzsimons’ screening was not completed in line with their procedures but added: “We received two separate medical documents which certified that Mr Fitzsimons was fit to work in Iraq. It has subsequently come to light that the most recent of those documents was forged – we have reason to believe it was forged by Mr Fitzsimons.”

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, Interviews with Injured War Zone Contractors, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Armorgroup security guard Danny Fitzsimons to face court in Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 13, 2010

A British security guard facing the death penalty for murder in Baghdad has been declared mentally fit for trial in a ruling that paves the way for him to face court in August.

Note:  Danny Fitzsimons was diagnosed with PTSD, drug and alcohol problems, and had a firearms charge pending when Armorgoup hired him to work as a PSC in Iraq

See Also Danny Fitzsimons

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent
Published: 3:19PM BST 13 Jun 2010

The trial of Danny Fitzsimons, who is accused of murdering two colleagues in a drunken rampage, will open on August 4 unless further medical reports contradict the assessment.

Judge Ali Abbas al-Yousif of the Baghdad central criminal court said yesterday Mr Fitzsimons had been adjudged by doctors to be mentally normal and fit to stand trial.

(Maybe they took John Dorland Griffith over to do the dirty work)

But he also allowed an appeal by Mr Fitzsimons’s lawyers for a second opinion, allowing a re-examination by a second panel of doctors.

Mr Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, was working for ArmorGroup, a private security division of G4S, the former Group 4 Security, last August when he shot two colleagues and an Iraqi interpreter.

The two dead men were Paul McGuigan, 37, a Briton, and Darren Hoare, 37, an Australian, with whom he had been drinking in a bar in Baghdad’s “Green Zone” foreign enclave. He wounded the interpreter as he tried to run away.

Mr Fitzimons has claimed self-defence, but his lawyers are also arguing that he was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his years of military service in Iraq.

He had previously been fired from another security company after it was decided he was too unstable and had been given a suspended sentence for firearms charges in the previous November. Mr Fitzsimons was facing further charges after brandishing a gun at a gang of teenagers outside his flat in Bolton.

If he is convicted, he faces the death penalty, though lawyers say it is more likely that he would receive life in prison, and at some time be transferred to serve his sentence in Britain.

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Briton in court over Iraq murders

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 6, 2010

A British security contractor who could face the death penalty over the murder of two colleagues in Iraq is due to appear in court.

Former paratrooper Danny Fitzsimons, 29, is accused of shooting dead fellow ArmorGroup employees Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare, both 37, in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone in August last year.

His family says he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his experiences serving with the Army in the former Yugoslavia and as a private security guard in Iraq.   Original here

Posted in Armorgroup, Exclusive Remedy, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan, Beyshee Velez and Lucas Trent Vinson

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 19, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We post regular updates here about Danny Fitzsimons and the deaths of Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan.

We’d like the family members of those involved in this tragedy to understand that our deepest sympathies over your losses are with you.  We are not attempting to paint a picture of innocence or guilt.

We do however feel it is important to continue hammering out the fact that these tragedies were preventable.

Only one month after the deaths of Darren and Paul, Spec Beyshee Velez, at the end of his third deployment in the war zone,  shot and killed Lucas Trent Vinson, a Civilian Contractor, while in a suspected psychotic episode.

Neither the military nor the Contractor Companies have fully acknowledged the dangers of  PTSD and other mental conditions caused by war zone stress.  The murders of these contractors make it clear that the dangers run well beyond the tortured mind of the beholder.

Nor do they accept responsiblity for their negligence in failing to prevent these deaths.

Boots on the ground, warm bodies with guns they can bill for, win out over the value of human life.

The Defense Base Act’s Exclusive Remedy enables this negligence for the contract company.

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Danny Fitzsimons Trial in Iraq Postponed

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 18, 2010

Trial of British Contractor in Iraq postponed

The trial of a British security contractor accused of fatally shooting two colleagues has been postponed for a third time.

Danny Fitzsimons appeared briefly in an Iraqi court Thursday, only to be told to return on April 7.

It’s the third time the court hearings have been pushed back since Fitzsimons first appeared before a judge last November.

His lawyer, Tariq Harb, told The Associated Press that the latest delay was requested by the victims’ attorneys. It was not immediately clear why.

Fitzsimons is accused of shooting two colleagues, a Briton and an Australian, during a fight in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone last summer.

All three men were working for the British security firm ArmorGroup Iraq.

See also Danny Fitzsimons

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Danny Fitzsimons: The cost of violence

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 30, 2010

Is a British former soldier about to be tried in Iraq over the shootings of two colleagues a cold-blooded killer or the victim of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Jonathan Owen talks to Danny Fitzsimons

It is three in the morning and pitch black. Danny Fitzsimons is standing in the darkness of a filthy toilet – hiding from his guards – next to the jail cell he shares with 13 men. The 29-year-old former Paratrooper turned mercenary has spent the past five months in the Karabat Maryam police station in Baghdad, after allegedly shooting dead two of his colleagues and seriously wounding an Iraqi guard.

“When I sleep I have nightmares, so I sit up and stay awake because I’m scared,” he says, whispering into a mobile phone. He thinks it best not to say how he obtained it. In a hoarse, hushed voice he tells of terrible things he claims to have seen during his years in the Army and then as a mercenary.

He swears, appropriately enough, like a trooper: he is on edge, with good reason. His life is in the hands of the Iraqi authorities: the usual punishment for murder is the death penalty. Hanging is the preferred method.

“I hallucinate constantly,” he says. “It’s compounded by this place. There’s nowhere to escape to. Back home, I’d just get smashed: I’d just blot it out. But out here there’s nothing I can do.” What he must do is convince an Iraqi court that these hallucinations are reason enough not to execute him if he is found guilty of killing his two former colleagues. Earlier this month an Iraqi judge ruled that psychiatric reports be produced on Mr Fitzsimons prior to the start of the trial. These will be done over the next two weeks.

His trial will also highlight the issue of military veterans, many of whom – traumatised as they are by what they have seen in battle – find it hard to get work on “civvy street” and end up taking well-paid work as soldiers for hire.

According to Mr Fitzsimons, he is one of many: “There are thousands of mercenaries out here, private military guys like myself who are suffering from the same thing that I am… It’s rife.”

Veteran private security operatives claim the sheer number of security companies now operating in Iraq has driven down wages and the quality of personnel. Mix these factors into a cocktail of weapons and alcohol and the only surprise is that there are not more tragedies.

Read the full story here

Posted in AIG and CNA, Department of Labor, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Danny Fitzsimons Denies Being Murdering Psycho

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 21, 2010

A former British soldier charged with killing two security guards in Iraq angrily denied during a court appearance that he was “murdering psycho”.

Daniel Fitzsimons was sent for psychiatric evaluation minutes after the start of his trial in Baghdad on charges shooting dead fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare after a drunken brawl while all three were working as private contractors in the Iraqi capital. An Iraqi, Arkan Mehdi Saleh was injured in the same incident.

Mr Fitzsimons had been treated for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in the UK before he went to Iraq as a security guard. His family back in England said he will be entering a ‘not guilty’ plea on grounds of self-defence.

After the hearing Mr Fitzsimons, 29, told journalists  “When my side of the story gets out, the people who have labelled me as a murdering psycho will be eating humble pie.”  He claimed that he had been goaded and threatened by the men and opened fire to protect himself. “They came in to wind me up?? Those fuckers came to my room to do me in and they tried to do me in.”  Continue Reading here

Posted in PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Danny Fitzsimons to receive psychiatric evaluation

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 21, 2010

BAGHDAD — The trial of a British security guard accused of shooting dead two colleagues in Baghdad was on Thursday adjourned to next month to allow a psychiatric evaluation of the defendant, a lawyer said.

The hearing was set for February 18 “to allow time to prepare a medical evaluation” of Danny Fitzsimons, said a lawyer at the court who was familiar with the case but did not want to be identified.  Full article here

Danny was diagnosed as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and in May 2008 he was told that PTSD was:

“having an impact on his day to day life and he use[d] drugs and alcohol to combat that and escape from those experiences.”

Despite this, in 2009 Danny was hired by ArmourGroup in August and sent out to Iraq without conducting a full medical. This despite Human Resources Director, Christopher Beese stating in September 2004:

“It seems extraordinary that the doorman of a night club … may have to be vetted and licensed while the same man can be equipped with a rifle, an armoured vehicle and be engaged to protect diamond concessions for a foreign regime in a clear breach of the public interest and perhaps even in contravention of human rights [but he] needs no such regulation.”

Within 36 hours of his arrival, the incident which saw Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare die took place.

Posted in PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Danny Fitzsimons expected in Court in Baghdad

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 21, 2010

Briton in Iraq court over killings

A former British soldier accused of murdering two colleagues during a drunken row in Iraq is due to appear at a Baghdad court.

Former paratrooper Daniel Fitzsimons, 33, is accused of shooting fellow British private security guard Paul McGuigan, 37, and Australian Darren Hoare, 37, after a row in a bar inside a compound in the Iraqi capital in August last year.

Fitzsimons, originally from Rochdale, Lancashire, and the two other men were working for the British private security firm ArmorGroup.

Interior ministry spokesman Major General Abdul-Kareem Khalaf said Fitzsimons could face the death penalty or life imprisonment if convicted of murder.

A spokesman at the UK’s Baghdad embassy confirmed Fitzsimons was appearing in court, but was unable to give further details.

Family and friends have said Fitzsimons is suffering mental torment from the things he witnessed while serving eight years in the British Army, including tours of duty during the Balkans conflict and in Iraq.

His lawyers, John Tipple and Nick Wrack, were attempting to have him extradited back to the UK to face any charges.

Posted in PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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