Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Archive for August, 2010

War Profiteering: Dead Soldiers’ Parents Sue Insurers Over Military Benefits

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 31, 2010

Prudential War Profiteers under US Government Program

The parents of six deceased U.S. soldiers are suing Prudential Financial, saying it paid paltry interest on military life insurance benefits while keeping more generous interest earnings for itself.

Five plaintiffs joined the original plaintiff Monday in the lawsuit, which was filed in July in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mass. It accuses Prudential of profiting from the dead soldiers’ policies with bookkeeping maneuvers and misrepresenting the way the beneficiaries could collect lump-sum payouts.

Their attorneys are seeking class-action status.

If granted, it could affect tens of thousands of beneficiaries who received payments under group life insurance policies for military members and veterans created by Congress and administered by Prudential.

A spokesman for the Newark, N.J.-based financial giant said Monday that while company officials cannot address the pending litigation, they strongly defend their handling of the money as responsible and deferential to the beneficiaries’ grief and needs.

The debate centers on Prudential’s use of what it calls Alliance Accounts. The accounts are similar to checking accounts and come with a booklet of drafts. Beneficiaries can write drafts to themselves up to the payout’s full amount, an option they can pick in lieu of 36 equal monthly installments.

Interest paid to beneficiaries who parked their money in Alliance Accounts in the last several years has ranged from 0.5 to 1.5 percent, according to the lawsuit.

But the plaintiffs say the checks are equivalent to an IOU, and that the money doesn’t actually sit in those accounts as of the time of the soldier’s death.

They allege Prudential holds the money in its $200 billion general account and earns 5 to 6 percent interest; moves it into an Alliance Account only when the beneficiary requests it; pays out at the lower interest rate; then keeps the difference.

Posted in Follow the Money | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Federal Judge Denies Defendants ArmorGroup’s and Wackenhut’s Motions to Dismiss False Claims Act Whistleblower Lawsuit Involving Fraudulent Practices at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 29, 2010

According to Debra S. Katz, counsel for Mr. Gordon, “this is an important victory for conscientious employees, like Mr. Gordon, who blow the whistle on fraudulent practices by defense contractors and wind up then paying the ultimate price.  The court’s decision today makes clear that such employees can bring federal claims under the False Claims Act to obtain redress.”

Debra S. Katz and Lisa Banks, attorneys at Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, along with Janet Goldstein and Robert Vogel at Vogel, Slade & Goldstein, LLP, represent James Gordon.

Judge Cacheris’ opinion is available at http://www.kmblegal.com/2010/08/27/court-denies-summary-judgment-in-false-claims-act-whistleblower-retaliation-suit-by-kmb-client-james-gordon-against-afghanistan-defense-contractor-armorgroup/.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ Judge James Cacheris of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has denied Defendants ArmorGroup North America (“AGNA”), ArmorGroup International, Wackenhut Services, Inc., and Cornelius Medley’s motions to dismiss whistleblower James Gordon’s lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act.

On September 9, 2009, Mr. Gordon, former Director of Operations of AGNA, filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit under the False Claims Act in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, charging that ArmorGroup management retaliated against him for whistleblowing, internally and to the United States Department of State (“DoS”), about illegalities committed by ArmorGroup in the performance of AGNA’s contracts with the United States to provide security services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and at the U.S. Naval base in Bahrain.

The Complaint charges that during Mr. Gordon’s seven-month tenure as Director of Operations, he investigated, attempted to stop, and reported to DoS a myriad of serious violations committed by ArmorGroup, including:

  • Severely understaffing the guard force necessary to protect the U.S. Embassy;
  • Allowing AGNA managers and employees to frequent brothels notorious for housing trafficked women in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act;
  • Endangering the safety of the guard force during transport to and from the Embassy by attempting to substitute company-owned subpar, refurbished vehicles from Iraq rather than purchasing armored escort vehicles as promised to DoS;
  • Knowingly using funds to procure cheap counterfeit goods from a company in Lebanon owned by the wife of AGNA’s Logistics Manager; and
  • Engaging in practices to maximize profit from the contract with reckless disregard for the safety and security of the guard force, the U.S. Embassy, and its personnel

In his Memorandum Opinion (August 27, 2010), Judge Cacheris noted that “Plaintiff alleges and Defendants offer no facts to dispute that Defendants … began to try to constructively discharge [Mr. Gordon] by ‘making [his] working conditions intolerable.'”  Judge Cacheris further noted that “Plaintiff alleges, and Defendants have not offered any evidence refuting the fact, that [Defendant] Medley excluded Plaintiff from management meetings, shunned him, and relegated him to a position of persona non grata in the office” and that “Medley made clear to Plaintiff by his behavior, and to other staff members by his direct boasts, that his priority was to force Gordon to quit.”  In denying Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, Judge Cacheris concluded that “there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding the continued nature and duration of the allegedly illegal acts Plaintiff was requested and required to participate in.”  The parties will now proceed into the discovery phase of the litigation.

Posted in Afghanistan, Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, False Claims Act, G4S, State Department, Wackenut, Whistleblower | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Michael Bradley, Civilian Contractor, Dead in Dubai

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 22, 2010

A Man is Found Dead in His Hotel Room KATV

55-year-old Michael Bradley was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai on Monday, after he failed to report to work at the Military Contractor Recon International.

According to Bradley’s wife, Debbie, the cause of death hasn’t been determined, and is awaiting an autopsy.

Bradley was retired from the U.S. army and had begun working for the Recon in  Afghanistan a year ago. He had recently returned home before leaving for a week to Dubai.



Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

State Department Says no more TCN PSD’s

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 19, 2010

ALCON,

·         The ADPM announced today that the DoS has finalized their decision to remove TCNs from PSD positions due to the requirement for secret clearances.

·         There will be a transition plan to replace TCN personnel with US as they arrive starting with the next PSS course graduation in November.

·         He will be talking with PMO to see if there are other positions elsewhere within the company.

·         If personnel have other opportunities and want to depart sooner, he will look into pro-rating bonuses.

John O’Ryan, PMP

Deputy PSD Commander

DynCorp International CIVPOL-Iraq

U.S. Department Of State

International Narcotics And Law Enforcement

LSA Butler, Bagdad, Iraq

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Dyncorp, Iraq, State Department | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Eysselinck vs Ronco Consulting: PTSD Injustice prevails

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 18, 2010

Eysselinck vs. Ronco Consulting/CNA at the DBA X Files

Texas Court Rules Iraq not Life Threatening

Eysslinck  Fifth Circuit Court Appeal  August 16, 2010

Guest Post by Marcie Hascall Clark

This case was apparently lost based on the opinion of an elderly retired psychiatrist paid for by CNA, the testimony of two Ronco Employee’s, Mike Hartling and Brandt Marshall (how’d that work out for you Brandt ?), who were coached on what to say before their depositions and told the same lies we were all told after his death, and a failure on the part of the claimants original counsel to properly represent the claim.  The Judge would not consider the testimony of Will Haynes as he found it to be unbelievable.  So who is believing you now Will ?

Tim Eysselinck worked for the same company as my husband, had the same job title, only he was deployed to Iraq following my husbands  repatriation via  Landstuhl and Walter Reed.   Certainly the job was dangerous as that is how my husband was so critically injured  ???

Iraq was extremely dangerous before Tim arrived.  Just Iraq, just being there.

In the weeks and days leading up to my husbands injuries  in July of 2003 he was shot at by the US Army, rescued by the Marines, woke up to bullet holes in his tents and vehicles,  and traveled roads where soldiers had been abducted and killed.  The only reason they were working the day he was injured is that he was told to work anyway  It was more important for them to work without security than to have it appear that the mission may not have been accomplished.

The world,  except possibly Judge Clement Kennington,  et al,  watched the safety and security in Iraq deteriorate before their eyes on television over the next six months that Tim worked there.   The Unclassified Safety and Security Reports available even before the Wiki Leaks spoke to the daily life threatening security situations.

In January of 2004, just a few months before Tim’s death,  he attended a conference  in Florida with fellow Ronco employees.  Some of these Ronco employees came to our home  following this conference to spend time with my husband who was still recovering.  While here they were discussing how odd Tim was acting and how he over reacted  to some of the conference topics was absurd.  I was later told by others who were in country with Tim that he was behaving strangely while still in Iraq.

Had there been any screening or concerns for mental health, or awareness of PTSD back then Tim’s behavior might have been recognized as  symptomatic of the life threatening condition that it turned out to be.  And today I doubt that anyone involved in this case from Kennington, to the three judges that just shot this appeal down, doubt that Tim was suffering from a mental condition brought on by his time in Iraq.

Once I learned that his widow had filed for death benefits based on PTSD I thought that this information might be important to her claim.  I emailed her attorney that I thought I had information important to her claim and would like to talk with him but he failed to respond.  I thought maybe I was too late but I was not.  I still have the email.

So while Judge Kennington, the BRB’s, and the Fifth Circuit in Texas found that working in Iraq for the last half of 2003 was not life threatening and that Tim Eysselinck’s widow and children do not deserve DBA death benefits because her first attorney did not file a claim based on Depression, which is a symptom of PTSD, rather than PTSD, they did choose to highlight the fact that he had two glasses of wine with dinner that evening.

Watch out for that second glass of wine guys it may just cause you to have an uncontrollable urge to put a gun to your head and pull the trigger.

Maybe they should put a warning on the bottles.

I hope that everyone realizes by now that if this claim were allowed to be started over again with all the available facts, the lies allowed to be fully countered, that Tim’s widow and his children would be receiving the benefits that Congress intended and the taxpayer paid for them to have.

We’d still recommend staying away from the Covington Cabal and the Fifth Circuit at all cost.  Move if you have to.  Certainly never allow your attorney to move your claim there because he lives there.  Your choice of attorney is extremely important as well.   If you lose your claim due to a lack of evidence you will never be allowed to present it.

Even if the whole world recognizes it as fact.

Thank you Birgit Eysselinck for your years of fighting this wretched biased system for all of us, for not accepting  pay offs from CNA to shut you up.

I apologize to you for the way my country has treated you, your children, and your husbands good name.

And that after his many years of service.  We should all be ashamed.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Defense Medical Examinations, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Iraq, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, OALJ, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, Ronco Consultilng, State Department, Suicide, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Up to 50 Afghan Security Guards Killed a Month

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 17, 2010

Afghan security firms denounce Karzai’s ban

KABUL — The Watan Group’s trained fighting force of 2,000 men, armed with rifles and rockets, battles daily to secure the most dangerous roads in Afghanistan so that critical supply convoys can reach U.S. and NATO troops across the country.

Up to 50 guards, paid about $600 monthly, are killed in Taliban ambushes each month, during fighting so fierce that the Afghan army and police often refuse to help, said brothers Ahmad and Rashid Popal, who own the company.

Now, Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants to do away with Watan Group and 51 similar firms, both foreign and domestic, which employ more than 30,000 guards working mostly for Western entities. Karzai, who calls the independent fighting forces “thieves by day, terrorists by night,” has set a four-month deadline to dissolve the companies and bring their work portfolio under his government’s control.

What will happen if Karzai gets his way? Transit routes will be impassable, foreign companies will leave Afghanistan, the economy will suffer, and — perhaps most ominously — the unemployed security guards will turn to the insurgency, the Popal brothers predicted.

“If you get rid of the guards, 60 to 65 percent of them will join the Taliban,” said Rashid Popal, Watan’s deputy chairman. “They won’t join the government [forces]. If you go and die for the government, they don’t take care of your family like we do. Their only alternative is the Taliban.”

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Injured Contractors | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

KBR convoy lead Kenneth “Taz” Lewis to be remembered

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 17, 2010

From MsSparky

In a recent email sent out by  KBR’s Employee Assistance Program:

We at the Employee Assistance Program would like to offer our condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of Kenneth Lewis Jr., the Convoy Lead known as “Taz” who passed away at COB Adder, on August 13, 2010.

Taz joined the KBR mission here in Iraq, early on – back in December of 2003 – and he will be deeply missed by those of us who knew him among the military and civilians serving in theater.

There will be a Memorial Service held at the Camp Adder Post Chapel on Friday August 20th at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend.  Cards for the family – as well as the American flag – will be available for signing after the service.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Iraq, KBR | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Intimidation Tactics by CNA Claims Adjusters and Third Party Medical Providers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 16, 2010

Disclaimer:  This post is regards those injured contractors who were so badly mutilated and incapacitated that they required home health care services after leaving the hospital.  Also those injured contractors in UK, South  Africa, and Australia that CNA calls their Tacticor Dogs on.  These abusive tactics are not limited to CNA, but today, we aim directly at them.  May they get what is due them.

We’re betting that none of you injured contractors or your  family members ever dreamed that in the event you or you loved one was injured in Iraq or Afghanistan that the Cost Cutting Risk Managers at CNA were going to attempt to control your life and your health care.

We have thoroughly read through the LHWCA and DBA and nowhere does it say that DBA Insurance is a HMO or any other kind of managed medical plan.  Nor does it say they can make medical decisions for you.

But trust that as soon as CNA is notified that you are injured you now have double trouble.  CNA now has control of your health care, not to mention your finances, under the pretense of being qualified to determine what kind of medical care you require.  Never mind what the doctor ordered.

If CNA is intimidating your wife and family by threatening to have you removed from your home because your family is questioning the health care and the third party medical provider about the services you are enduring

CALL AN ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY

This is a standard intimidation tactic used by CNA

You do not have to allow them into your home, you do not have to allow them in the examining room at the doctors office.  You may choose your own doctor, not Tacticor’s, not CNA’s.

You did not become their property, do not have to put up with their intimidation tactics and harassment.

Video, record, and email, no telephone calls that cannot be documented.

Remember, if you are this badly injured your death benefits, if your family ever gets them, are worth much less than your long term care…….

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Follow the Money, Hope that I die, Injured Contractors, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Why does the question of whether DBA attorneys take kickbacks come up so often?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 15, 2010

We’ll start this with our disclaimer:

We do not know if any Defense Base Act Plaintiff’s  attorneys  take financial kickbacks or any other possible kickback  from DBA insurance companies.  We just see the question come up often.

These are our own plaintiff’s attorneys that this question is being asked about.

Financial reward is likely the driving force behind the DBA insurance company defense attorney, though we suspect it is more a sport for a few of them.

But offering, or taking, a bribe to throw an injured contractor’s claim at a hearing or talk him into taking a much smaller settlement than he is entitled too,  would have disastrous legal implications for any attorney who were caught.  The insurance company would probably not miss a profit.

Never the less, this question remains a very hot topic.  One that many would be compelled to ask when researching the outcomes of claims of Injured War Zone Contractors and the Death Benefit Claims of those who did not survive.

If not for financial reward then what would drive an Attorney/Lawyer  to allow an insurance company to deny benefits to clearly maimed and/or mentally disabled persons without putting up the best fight possible utilizing every resource available to them?

The Reasonable costs of representing a claimant must also be paid by the insurance company and it is not the Insurance companies’ attorney who decides what legal costs will be paid, it is the Judge.

The lack of effort and resources put into most DBA Claimants cases saves the insurance companies billions of dollars without ever an outright exchange of dirty money necessary.

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, Misjudgements, Political Watch, Racketeering | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

WAR HAZARD RECOVERY: The Top Secret Cost of the Iraq and Afghnanistan Wars

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 10, 2010

$8 Trillion for Iraq and Afghanistan Wars does not include Veterans or Contractors Care

Contractors currently outnumber troops on both fronts with more on the way.

Never does a cost estimate  include the huge

DIRTY TOP SECRET WAR HAZARDS RECOVERY

Cost’s of the War Hazards Act to the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies, AIG, CNA, ACE/ESIS, Zurich.

Nor do they include the additional burden placed on the  VA system by Disabled Contractors who are denied benefits by the insurers.  These insurers who are falling over each other to take the huge premiums.

Further many of these Disabled Contractors and their families land in our social services systems to  “survive”.

How will we figure the cost of ruined lives, ruined families?

Veterans for Common Sense

August 5, 2010 (Chicago Tribune) – It’s a shame to let accountants spoil the charming romance of war, but sometimes they insist. Recently the Congressional Research Service reported that our military undertakings in Iraq and Afghanistan have marked an important milestone. Together, they have cost more than a trillion dollars.

That doesn’t sound like much in the age of TARP, ObamaCare and LeBron James, but it is. Adjusted for inflation, we have spent more on Iraq and Afghanistan than on any war in our history except World War II. They have cost more in real dollars than the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.

But we can only wish we were getting off so lightly. Neither war is over, and neither is going to be soon. The House just approved $37 billion in extra funding to cover this year, and the administration wants another $159 billion for 2011. That won’t be the final request.

Worse, the CRS figure is only part of the bill so far. It noted the sum doesn’t include the “costs of veterans’ benefits, interest on war-related debt or assistance to allies.” All of those will go on after these wars are over, which someday they may be.

Scholars Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia and Linda Bilmes of Harvard published a book in 2008 called “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” which gives a more realistic estimate. But that, too, is an understatement. They figure that when all long-run costs are factored in, the tab will be at least $5 trillion and could reach $7 trillion, or nearly twice as much as this year’s entire federal budget.

And that was two years ago. I asked Bilmes for an update, and she said some obligations, like veterans’ medical and disability compensation costs, “have exceeded our earlier projections.” Do I hear $8 trillion?

The beauty of the current conflicts, however, is that we can pretend we don’t have to pay for them. Unlike past wars, when taxes were raised to defray the cost, these have been financed with the help of borrowed funds. But eventually the astronomical bill will have to be paid. Read the entire Column here

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Follow the Money, Iraq, Racketeering, War Hazards Act, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ken McGonigle, British former policeman shot dead in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 9, 2010

A British former policeman has been shot dead in Afghanistan after an insurgent prisoner escaped a prayer room in an army base, grabbed a weapon and opened fire.

Ken McGonigle, 51, from Co Londonderry, was working for a security company training Afghan policemen when he was killed alongside two United States Marines.

Telegraph

The prisoner escaped from a prayer room on Saturday night and got hold of an AK-47 assault rifle at a base in the northern Musa Qala district of Helmand province.

Mr McGonigle’s father said his son had been the killer’s first victim and the two marines had later been killed. The prisoner was then shot dead himself.

“Kenneth was the first man he saw – he opened up and Kenneth hit the ground,” Joe McGonigle said.

A statement for Nato-led forces in Afghanistan said: “The prisoner escaped a room where he was observing prayer time, acquired a rifle and subsequently engaged Afghan and coalition forces.

“The Marines were killed while trying to subdue the prisoner. The prisoner was later shot and killed by small-arms fire. The incident remains under investigation.” Mr McGonigle’s wife, Gail, and the couple’s children, Ruth, Dale, Alex and Jimmy, were being comforted at their home in Magheramason.

He had been training Afghan police for the past three months working with the New Century security company and was due to return home at the start of September.

His father added: “Our hearts are broken. It is an awful thing to happen but there’s nothing we could do about it.

“He wanted to be out there, he loved it.”

He said: “He was very well-liked, he was a fella that if you met him once, you would want to meet him again, and everyone was treated the same. He was very popular here in the neighbourhood, at school and everywhere else.”

New Century which is headed by Tim Collins, the former British Army officer best known for his rallying speech to troops about to invade Iraq, described Mr McGonicle’s death as a “tragic, but isolated incident” and said it was under investigation.

A company statement added: “His presence and contribution will be sorely missed by everyone in the company and at the Nato training mission.

“Ken was a highly professional, deeply competent, well-admired and thoroughly committed colleague who made a material difference through his work.” Musa Qala held a British garrison until it was handed over to the American marines earlier this year.

A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Kabul said: “A British national who was working as a police mentor for the US contractor, New Century Consulting, was tragically shot and killed by an escaped insurgent.

“Two US marines were also killed in the incident.”

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

10 Medical Aid Workers Executed in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 8, 2010

Slain Workers Undaunted by Risks, Friends Say

Dr. Karen Woo

Dr. Karen Woo, 36, the lone Briton among the dead, gave up her job with a private clinic in London to work in Afghanistan. She was planning to leave in a few weeks to get married, friends said.

“She wanted the world to know there was more than a war going on in Afghanistan, that people were not getting their basic needs met. She wanted the ordinary people of Afghanistan, especially the women and children, to be able to receive healthcare.”

“Her motivation was purely humanitarian. She was a humanist and had no religious or political agenda,” her family said in a statement.

Tom Little

Team leader Tom Little, an optometrist from Delmar, New York, had been working in Afghanistan for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Libby, reared three daughters in Kabul, sticking it out through the Soviet invasion of the 1980s, and the vicious civil war of the 1990s, when Afghan warlords rained rockets on the city.

Little, 62, typically traveled with his wife, Libby, who was likely spared by her decision to stay at their upstate residence in Delmar, N.Y. Friends and supporters of the couple’s efforts were devastated

They were briefly expelled with other Western aid workers in August 2001 but returned after the Taliban were ousted from power three months later. Little supervised a string of hospitals and clinics offering treatment for eye diseases.

Dr. Thomas Grams

Dr. Thomas Grams, 51, quit his dental practice in Durango, Colorado, four years ago to work full-time giving poor children free dental care in Afghanistan and Nepal, said Katy Shaw of Global Dental Relief, a group based in Denver that sends teams of dentists around the globe.

Grams’ twin brother, Tim, said his brother wasn’t trying to spread religious views.

“He knew the laws, he knew the religion. He respected them. He was not trying to convert anybody,” Tim Grams said, holding back tears in a telephone call from Anchorage, Alaska. “His goal was to provide dental care and help people.”

Tim Grams said his brother started traveling with relief organizations to Afghanistan, Nepal, Guatemala and India in the early part of the decade. After he sold his practice, he started going several months at a time.

Grams had joined the nine other members of the International Assistance Mission’s group in Afghanistan on short notice, in part because he loved helping people who never had received dental care
before, she said.

About 10 years ago, Grams had volunteered to fix the teeth of Muslim torture victims. He found the work so fulfilling that he called to apply at Global Dental Relief in 2001.

Glenn Lap

Glen Lapp, 40, a trained nurse from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had come to Afghanistan in 2008 for a limited assignment but decided to stay, serving as an executive assistant at IAM and manager of its provincial eye care program, according to the Mennonite Central Committee, a relief group based in Akron, Pennsylvania.

After five months of Dari language training, Lapp began working with the National Organisation for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation.

“Where I was, the main thing that expats can do is to be a presence in the country,” Lapp wrote in a recent report to the Mennonite group. “… Treating people with respect and with love.”

Cheryl Beckett

Cheryl Beckett, the 32-year-old daughter of a Knoxville, Tennessee, pastor, had spent six years in Afghanistan and specialized in nutritional gardening and mother-child health, her family said. Beckett, who was her high school valedictorian at a Cincinnati-area high school and held a biology degree, had also spent time doing work in Honduras, Mexico, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

“Cheryl … denied herself many freedoms in order to abide by Afghan law and custom,” her family said.

The group’s attackers, her family said, “should feel the utter shame and disgust that humanity feels for them.”

Cheryl was a Pashto speaker who worked in a clinic in Pul-e Charkhi on the outskirts of Kabul. She is survived by her parents and 3 siblings.

Dan Terry

Dan Terry, 64, was another long Afghan veteran. A fluent Dari language speaker like his friend Little, Terry first came to Afghanistan in 1971 and returned to live here in 1980 with his wife, rearing three daughters while working with impoverished ethnic groups.

“He was a large, lumbering man – very simply a joyful man,” said his longtime friend Michael Semple, a former European Union official in Kabul. “He had no pretensions, lots of humility.”

In a Web posting, a friend, Kate Clark, recalled that in 2000, Terry was hauled off to jail by the Taliban for overstaying a visa.

“He went off good-naturedly, seeing it as a rare chance to have the time to learn Pashto,” Clark wrote on a website. “He was released from prison after a couple of weeks and then re-arrested after the authorities decided he had not served enough days. He arrived back to the prison to cheers from his fellow inmates, who were now newly found friends.”

Dan specialised in relating to local communities and liaising with aid organisations and the government to improve services in remote areas. Dan is survived by his wife, 3 daughters, and one granddaughter.

Brian Carderelli

25, Harrisonburg, Va. 
Brian Carderelli was a professional free-lance videographer who worked as a public relations manager for the International School of Kabul . Brian served a number of other organizations in Afghanistan active in development and humanitarian efforts throughout the nation.

He was recruited by the school shortly after he graduated from James Madison University in 2009.

“Brian quickly fell in love with the Afghan people and culture,” the school said in a statement. He had hoped to stay in Afghanistan another year, said school director John Brown.

Daniela Beyer

35, Chemnitz, Germany. Daniela was a linguist and a translator in German, English, and Russian. She also spoke Dari and was learning Pashto. She worked for IAM between 2007-2009 doing linguistic research and joined the eye camp so that she could translate for women patients. She is survived by her parents and 3 siblings.

Mahram Ali

50, Wardak, Afghanistan. Mahram Ali worked as a watchman at NOOR’s maintenance workshop since the end of 2007. He stayed guarding the vehicles in Nawa when the rest of the team walked over the pass into Nuristan. He leaves behind a wife and 3 children, at secondary school age and below

Jawed

24, Panjshir, Afghanistan. Jawed was employed as cook at the Ministry of Public Health’s Eye Hospital in Kabul and had been released from there in order to attend the Eye Camp. He leaves behind a wife and three children below school age. Besides being the team’s cook, he also assisted with the dispensing of eyeglasses. Jawed had been on several eye camps into Nuristan in the past, and was well loved for his sense of humour.

Posted in Afghanistan, NGO's | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Outrage grows over slaughter of aid workers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 8, 2010

The international community is widely condemning the recent attack by militants that left 10 aid workers dead in Afghanistan.

NATO’S International Security Force condemned the slaughter, calling it a “sad and tragic” attack.

“From an ISAF point of view, this is a very, very tragic incident,” spokesman Brig.-Gen. Josef Blotz said Sunday at a briefing in Kabul.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added her voice, condemning what she called a “despicable act of wanton violence” in a statement released Sunday.

The workers — six Americans, a German, a Briton and two Afghans — were shot to death in a remote region of northeastern Afghanistan. Their bullet-riddled bodies were found Friday.

Most of them were medical workers from the aid group International Assistance Mission. They provided eye care to Afghans.

Posted in Afghanistan, NGO's | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dr. Karen Woo, Executed in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 8, 2010

Karen Woo, 36, a surgeon from Stevenage was killed in Afghanistan

Tributes have been paid to a Stevenage doctor who was killed following an ambush by gunmen in Afghanistan.

Dr Karen Woo, 36, was one of 10 aid workers killed by insurgents while working for International Assistance Mission (IAM), a non profit-making Christian organisation. It is believed they were executed, while pleading for mercy returning to the capital Kabul after returning from a mission helping youngsters with eye problems.

A statement on the IAM website said: “This tragedy affects our ability to continue serving the Afghan people. We hope it will not stop our work that benefits more than a quarter of a million Afghans each year.”

As tributes poured in an unnamed quote in tribute to the Stevenage medic said: “She was a beautiful soul and had such a big heart. We will miss her in Kabul.”

Among posts on Facebook, her cousin Lorraine Nugent wrote: “My beautiful, brave, caring cousin Karen Woo has been killed delivering aid and medical care in Afghanistan. Why? She was there because she cared about others.’’

It is believed that Dr Woo was due to fly home to marry security contractor Mark Paddy Smith, a man she had met in Afghanistan, in a ceremony in Chelsea.

Her family have been too upset to comment on the tragedy. Her father Tehaun Woo, 67, an engineer, and mother Lynn, 66, a former nurse at Lister Hospital were believed to have been planning the register office wedding this week.

Reports suggest that Dr Woo and her colleagues, six Americans, a German doctor and two interpreters, were marched from their vehicles and shot on Friday. It is not known yet whether the atrocity was the work of the Taliban or the actions of robbers on what was thought to be a safe road back to the capital. Only one person, a Muslim in the convoy, is thought to have survived the attack. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Afghan death doctor ‘not preaching’

The family of a British doctor killed in Afghanistan have refuted claims that she was a Christian missionary.

Dr Karen Woo, 36, was among eight foreign aid workers executed by gunmen in an ambush in Kuran Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan province.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shootings. A spokesman said the team was killed because they were “preaching Christianity” and “spying for the Americans”.

However, in a statement, Dr Woo’s family said: “Her motivation was purely humanitarian. She was a Humanist and had no religious or political agenda. She wanted the world to know there was more than a war going on in Afghanistan, that people were not getting their basic needs met. She wanted the ordinary people of Afghanistan, especially the women and children, to be able to receive healthcare.

“She undertook this trek as a medical doctor, accompanying medical supplies and to provide treatment to people who lived in an extremely remote region who had little to no healthcare available. Her commitment was to make whatever difference she could. She was a true hero. Whilst scared, she never let that prevent her from doing things she had to do.”

Posted in Afghanistan | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Iraq suicide bomb kills UK contractor Aegis, Two Americans seriously injured,

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 6, 2010

Observer News

Attacker rammed bomb-laden car into convoy

A British security contractor was killed in Iraq today when a suicide bomber rammed a bomb-laden car into a convoy of four armoured SUVs in western Mosul.

Two other western contractors – believed to be Americans – and an Iraqi were seriously injured in the attack, while five passers-by suffered moderate wounds. All the contractors worked for the British company Aegis.

It is the first British fatality in Iraq in more than 12 months. Since the British Army withdrew from its garrison near the southern city of Basra in April last year, contractors – once regular targets of insurgent bombs – have been attacked far less frequently. Around 100 British officers remain in Iraq, helping to train the Iraqi Navy in the southern port of Umm Qasr.

However, Mosul has remained dangerous for contractors and the US military alike, with daily attacks on security forces and civilians reported for much of the past year.

As the US military prepares to withdraw its combat troops by the end of next month, heavily armoured and easily recognisable contractor convoys are set to present an increasingly attractive target to militants who see private security companies as an adjunct to the military.

An estimated 400 British contractors work in Iraq today, this is well down on the 2,000 plus who worked across the country during the height of the postwar chaos three years ago.

However the lure of reconstruction work stemming from the lucrative oil sector is expected to attract many more over the coming years.

Today’s blast took place near a bridge in western Mosul around 9am. The SUV was reportedly blown 40 metres into a nearby ravine. A second Aegis car was also reportedly damaged.

The officer in charge of operations in Mosul, Colonel Edan Ali, said he dispatched an Iraqi Army patrol to the scene, but it was kept at bay by contractors who would not let anyone near them.

“They were a company there for reconstruction,” he said. “The British flags on their cars were obvious.”

US forces evacuated the dead and injured by helicopter and closed the road. The British Embassy in Baghdad said it was providing consular assistance

Posted in Aegis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Iraq | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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