Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Archive for January, 2012

AIG Spending $153 million on Shariah just fine

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 31, 2012

“even the district court had to concede that after cash-strapped AIG received billions of dollars in taxpayer money … it provided two of its SCF [Shariah-compliant} subsidiaries with at least $153 million.”

WND January 30, 2012

The decision from a federal judge who suggested $153 million of U.S. taxpayer money spent supporting Islamic Shariah really isn’t anything really worth mentioning has been appealed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and oral arguments have been scheduled April 20 in Cincinnati.

The case was filed against Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and others and is over the nation’s bailout with taxpayer money of AIG insurance, which operates multiple companies promoting Shariah-complaint insurance products, the same Shariah that serves as Islamic religious law and calls for cutting hands off thieves and execution for leaving Islam.

The specific lawsuit was filed on behalf of taxpayer Kevin J. Murray over the bailout, which has involved billions of taxpayer dollars. It’s being handled by Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi of the American Freedom Law Center.

At the district court level, the case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff, who ruled that the case needed yet to prove that “the diverted funds were not de minimus in relation to the total amount…”

Read “The Stoning of Soraya M.” – the true story that inspired the movie

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines de minimus as “so minor as to merit disregard,” but the plaintiffs attorneys noted in their appeal brief that “even the district court had to concede that after cash-strapped AIG received billions of dollars in taxpayer money … it provided two of its SCF [Shariah-compliant} subsidiaries with at least $153 million.”

The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. government’s takeover and financial bailout of AIG was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

According to the legal team, “Specifically, at the time of the government bailout (beginning in September 2008 and continuing to the present), AIG was (and still is) the world leader in promoting Shariah-compliant insurance products. Shariah is Islamic law, and it is the identical legal doctrine that demands capital punishment for apostasy and blasphemy and provides the legal and political mandates for global jihad followed religiously by the world’s Muslim terrorists.”

The legal team is arguing that, “By propping up AIG with taxpayer funds, the U.S. government is directly and indirectly promoting Islam and, more troubling, Shariah.”

See the original and read more here

Posted in AIG and CNA, Follow the Money, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

US-owned Chartis Insurance cancels private death and disability insurance policies of 3000 Australian soldiers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 29, 2012

The Telegraph January 30, 2012

A FOREIGN insurer has left taxpayers with a $2.1 million bill after cancelling the private death and disability insurance policies of 3000 soldiers, including many serving in Afghanistan

US-owned company  ( AIG) Chartis Insurance received a discretionary grant of $2.1 million from Defence last year so that the policies could be honoured until August this year, documents show. The grant was based on deployed force numbers and the number of Chartis policyholders in the ADF

The company said that as a result of a smaller than expected insurance pool and high cancellation and payout rates it would have to cancel two of the three types of policies it offers with 60 days notice.

“Approximately 3000 ADF members held Chartis insurance products, with a strong probability that many of the existing policyholders were and are currently deployed,” Defence said.

“Chartis stated in September 2010 it could not continue to incur significant losses and advised Defence that it intended to cancel policies, giving 60 days notice, irrespective of the time the policy has been owned or if the member is currently deployed in an area of operations or within Australia.”

Defence signed a funding deed last May to ensure policies affected by the decision would be secure.

“The grant ensured that extant policies will be honoured by Chartis until August 2012 providing sufficient time for policy holders to make alternative arrangements in light of the commercial decision taken by Chartis,” Defence said.

Chartis Australia chief executive Noel Condon denied the company had cancelled policies but admitted that because of the high number of claims during 2010 it had reduced the maximum payout figure from $750,000 to $250,000.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Chartis | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Defense Base Act Mileage Reimbursement Rates Effective January 1, 2012

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 26, 2012

GSA Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rates

The GSA Reimbursement Rates apply to Defense Base Act Claimants.  Check the archives below to be certain you have not been underpaid by CNA

Modes of Transportation Effective/Applicability Date Rate per mile
Airplane* January 1, 2012 $1.29
Automobile
If use of privately-owned automobile is authorized or if no Government-owned automobile is available. January 1, 2012 $0.51
If Government Owned Automobile available January 1, 2012 $0.19
Motorcycle January 1, 2012 $0.48

* Airplane nautical miles (NMs) should be converted into statute miles (SMs) or regular miles when submitting a voucher using the formula (1 NM equals 1.15077945 SMs). You can also use the link to BoatSafe.com (a non-government website) to assist you in converting NMs to SMs or SMs to NMs.

For calculating the mileage difference between airports, please visit the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inter-Airport Distance web site.

Previous motorcycle rates
Effective Date Rate per mile
January 1, 2011 $0.48
January 1, 2010 $0.47
January 1, 2009 $0.52

The following are previous privately owned automobile rates:

Previous automobile rates
Effective Date Rate per mile
January 1, 2011 $0.51
January 1, 2010 $0.50
January 1, 2009 $0.55
August 1, 2008 $0.585
March 19, 2008 $0.505
February 1, 2007 $0.485
January 1, 2006 $0.445
September 1, 2005 $0.485
February 4, 2005 $0.405
January 1, 2004 $0.375
January 1, 2003 $0.360
January 21, 2002 $0.365
January 22, 2001 $0.345

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Defense Base Act Average Weekly Wage through 9-30-2012

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 26, 2012

National Average Weekly Wage

National Average Weekly Wages (NAWW), Minimum and Maximum
Compensation Rates, and Annual October Increases (Section 10(f))

These apply to Defense Base Act Claimants at the time of award. 

PERIOD NAWW MAX MIN

PERCENT INCREASE

10/01/2011 – 09/30/2012 $647.60 $1,295.20 $323.80 3.05%
10/01/2010 – 09/30/2011 $628.42 $1,256.84 $314.21 2.63%
10/01/2009 – 09/30/2010 $612.33 $1,224.66 $306.17 2.00%
10/01/2008 – 09/30/2009 $600.31 $1,200.62 $300.16 3.47%
10/01/2007 – 09/30/2008 $580.18 $1,160.36 $290.09 4.12%
10/01/2006 – 09/30/2007 $557.22 $1114.44 $278.61 3.80%
10/01/2005 – 09/30/2006 $536.82 $1073.64 $268.41 2.53%
10/01/2004 – 09/30/2005 $523.58 $1,047.16 $261.79 1.59%
10/01/2003 – 09/30/2004 $515.39 $1,030.78 $257.70 3.44%
10/01/2002 – 09/30/2003 $498.27 $996.54 $249.14 3.15%
10/01/2001 – 09/30/2002 $483.04 $966.08 $241.52 3.45%

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Hostages Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted Rescued from Somali Pirates by US Navy SEALS

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 25, 2012

U.S. Navy Seals free American and Dane hostages from pirates in Somalia after being kidnapped in October.

See Also Somali Pirates Demand 50m Kroner for Demining Workers

Malta Today January 25, 2012

An American and a Dane were rescued by U.S. helicopters after being held hostage by pirates in Somalia.

The two hostages were working for the Danish Demining Group (DDG), a refugee council, and were kidnapped in October in the semi-autonomous Galmudug region.

American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted were rescued in a rare raid into the Horn of African nation by the helicopters in an attempt to free foreign captives.

Nine pirates were killed and five captured during the rescue operation according to Galmadug’s president, Mohamed Ahmed Alim who added that he was negotiating to secure the release of an American journalist kidnapped on Saturday.

Alim said attacks on pirate bases were very rare and thanked the U.S. for their intervention because pirates were considered the mafia in the region.

Two teams of U.S. Navy Seals landed by helicopter after a gun fight with the kidnappers and took the freed hostages to an undisclosed location

Please see the original here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contracotrs Detained, Contractors Kidnapped | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

James Scott Ozier Killed in AAR Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 25, 2012

A North Fayette Township man was killed last week in a helicopter accident in Afghanistan

See 3 Americans killed in Afghanistan Helicopter Crash

James Scott Ozier, 30, was one of three employees of Palm Bay, Fla.-based AAR Airlift Group who died on Jan. 16 while conducting operations for the U.S. Department of Defense in Helmand Province.

Officials for AAR, which provides airlift services for military and humanitarian operations, said Tuesday they would not comment on Ozier or the circumstances of the accident, but they issued a statement saying the company is cooperating with authorities investigating the incident

The company took out a full-page advertisement in today’s Times to commemorate Ozier, who they identified as the crew chief on the mission.

In the company’s statement, it said all three killed on Jan. 16 were crew members. An unrelated helicopter crash in the same province killed six people on Jan. 19.

Ozier, formerly of Tuscaloosa, Ala., was buried Tuesday in Sylvania Hills Memorial Park in Daugherty Township

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

A Military Cutback We Can’t Afford: Fighting Tropical Diseases

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 21, 2012

Leishmaniasis at The Iraq Infections

“In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans”

Barbara Herwaldt, CDC, on Leishmaniasis

Contractors will be even less likely to be diagnosed and/or treated timely or effectively despite the possibility you can transmit this to your family

Peter Hotez & James Kazura at The Atlantic

In recent months, many politicians and presidential hopefuls have called for budget reductions, and many have specifically targeted military spending for cutbacks. Unfortunately, even programs proven to be cost effective are vulnerable to cuts. Medical research for our troops is no exception to this rule — programs such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) often find themselves low on the priority list despite their crucial role in saving the lives of our troops on the battlefield and here at home.

One important area of research is tropical medicine. During World War II and the Vietnam War, more than one million service members acquired tropical infections such as malaria, dengue fever, hookworm, and typhus, and many of these diseases continued to plague our veterans after they returned home. Today, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still face formidable tropical disease threats, especially from a disease transmitted by the bite of sand flies known as leishmaniasis, which can cause a disfiguring ulcer in one form, and a serious systemic condition that clinically resembles leukemia in another. In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans.

WRAIR’s leishmaniasis diagnostic laboratory is the only one of its kind in the world, so each time funding is slashed our military loses considerable expertise and capabilities in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this devastating disease. For example, in the years prior to the Gulf War, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was officially decommissioned and all research was halted. Only after cases of leishmaniasis among U.S. forces exposed to sand-fly bites in the Iraqi desert were the remaining leishmaniasis experts at WRAIR quickly assembled and tasked with making up for lost time. In 2002, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was again dissolved only to be urgently activated once more with the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The interruptions to the WRAIR leishmaniasis program are part of much larger budget cuts across all of WRAIR’s tropical infectious disease research programs. There is no end to the irony of such cutbacks given that they coincide with the activation in 2008 of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), charged with fighting the war on terror across the African continent. Today, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of cases of tropical diseases anywhere in the world. Many of these tropical infections, such as river blindness and African sleeping sickness, have been shown to destabilize communities and may actually promote conflict in the region.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Injured Contractors, Iraq, Leishmaniasis, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ron Paul only Presidential Candidate not influenced by Insurance Company Money

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 19, 2012

from the Health Care Renewal blog

Addressing threats to health care’s core values, especially those stemming from concentration and abuse of power. Advocating for accountability, integrity, transparency, honesty and ethics in leadership and governance of health care.

US Presidential Candidates’ Financial Relationships with Health Care Organizations

As the leadership of the large field of Republican candidates for the US Presidency shifts, different candidates come in for increased media scrutiny. Recently, reporting about former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum focused on his financial relationships with a health care organization. Senator Santorum, however, is only the candidate with ties to health care organizations to come into the spotlight most recently. We will review the report on Santorum, and then summarize the publicly known relationships of the other candidates.

Please go here to read about each candidates connections to the people who are bleeding you to death

 

Posted in Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Follow the Money, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Todd Walker, Contractor, Pilot, killed in AAR Helicopter Crash Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 19, 2012

A Rice Lake couple says their son has been killed in a helicopter crash while working in Afghanistan.

Darrell and Jan Walker say their 48-year-old son, Todd, worked for AAR Airlift. He was conducting operations for the U.S. Department of Defense when the chopper crashed in Helmand Province Monday. All three crew members died. There were no other passengers.

The Walkers say Todd transported ammunition and dignitaries, moved troops from base to base and delivered mail to remote areas in Afghanistan. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (http://bit.ly/zCyjiR ) says he was a 1981 graduate of Rice Lake High School. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Rice Lake Native dies in Afghanistan helicopter crash

Todd Walker of Arkansas packed a lot of life into his 48 years.

The 1981 Rice Lake High School graduate fought forest fires, worked in emergency medical services out of Duluth, Minn., and scouted schools of tuna in the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean – all from his perch as a helicopter pilot.

On Monday, however, Darrell and Jan Walker of Rice Lake received a phone call that their son had died in Afghanistan. The company Todd worked for, Wood Dale, Ill.-based AAR Airlift, reported that a helicopter carrying a crew of three employees, including Todd, was involved in an accident in Helmand Province at about 10:45 a.m. Monday.

The team was conducting operations for the U.S. Department of Defense, according to a news release. All three crew members died; there were no other passengers.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. The terrorist group Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility, Jan Walker said, but that has not been substantiated. Marjan Haqmal, police chief of Nad Ali district in Helmand Province, told The Associated Press the Russian-made aircraft probably went down because of a technical malfunction.

Todd transported ammunition and moved troops from base to base in Afghanistan. He also transported dignitaries, his mother said, and delivered mail to remote areas of the country,

“We’re very proud of him,” she said.

Todd also is survived by a wife and three kids, who were scheduled to arrive late Wednesday in Rice Lake. His body was slated to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware at about the same time, Jan Walker said. She said it will take a few days for him to arrive in Rice Lake. Services will be at Red Cedar Community Church will conduct services.

Jan said one of her son’s passions was arguing about politics.

“(But) mainly I’ll remember his love for hunting and love for the Packers,” she said.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Michael Clawson, Pilot, Contractor, killed in Afghan Helicopter Crash

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 18, 2012

Helicopter crash in Afghanistan claims life of area man

January 18, 2012

A Clay County helicopter pilot was killed this week in a crash in Afghanistan.

Michael Clawson, who worked for AAR Airlift of Chicago, was in Afghanistan doing work for the U.S. Defense Department.

Clawson leaves a wife and five children, said Father John Bamman, OFM Conv., of St. Joseph’s University Parish, where Clawson and his family attended worship services in Terre Haute.

The crash happened in southern Afghanistan on Monday morning. Two other people were killed, all employees of AAR Airlift, which is a unit of Wood Dale, Ill.-based AAR Corp.

NATO forces reportedly have secured the area of the crash and were attempting to determine what happened, according to news reports.

Funeral arrangements are pending this morning

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Defense | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Court OKs AIG’s $450 million workers comp settlement

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 17, 2012

A good recovery, but the settlement leaves a potential $550 million in unrecovered funds

Rueters December 27, 2011

A federal judge has approved American International Group Inc’s (AIG.N) $450 million settlement with rival insurers to end litigation accusing AIG of underreporting premiums on workers’ compensation policies.

AIG will make the payment after rivals accused it of understating its market share in workers compensation to state insurance regulators, allowing it to shortchange state insurance pools by making lower contributions. Rivals claimed the understatements dated back to the 1980s.

Many states require firms that sell workers compensation insurance to also fund pools to cover injuries for workers at companies that cannot obtain coverage on the open market, in some cases because their jobs are too risky.

District Judge Robert Gettleman in Chicago approved the AIG settlement on December 21, calling it “fair, reasonable, and adequate.”

Final approval will take effect when Gettleman issues an opinion addressing a variety of issues in the case, the judge wrote.

Liberty Mutual Group had opposed the settlement, saying it concealed the true nature of AIG’s underreporting and the resulting damages.

A Liberty Mutual spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

AIG last December agreed to pay $146.5 million in fines, taxes and assessments in a settlement with all 50 U.S. states over alleged workers compensation reporting errors.

The case is Safeco Insurance Co of America et al v. American International Group Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 09-02026

Hat Tip to John Gelman at Workers Compensation blog

Posted in AIG and CNA | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

3 Foreign Nationals (Americans) killed in AAR Afghan Helicopter Crash

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 16, 2012

Three American private contractors working for the Defense Department were killed when their helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan on Monday, their company said. The contractors’ company, AAR Airlift, said that there were no other passengers on the helicopter and that the cause of the crash was not yet known

James Scott Ozier  Todd Walker  Michael Clawson

AAR Press Release via MsSparky

AAR Airlift Reports Helicopter Accident in Afghanistan

WOOD DALE, ILLINOIS (January 16, 2012) – AAR Airlift, an operating unit of Chicago based AAR CORP. (NYSE: AIR) reports that a helicopter carrying a crew of three employees was involved in an accident in Helmand Province, Afghanistan at approximately 10:45 a.m., local time, January 16, while conducting operations for the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Company has confirmed that there were three crew member fatalities. The families of all three crew members have been contacted. The Company reports that no passengers were aboard the aircraft at the time of the accident.

Company officials are working closely and cooperating fully with authorities in Afghanistan and stateside. A recovery effort is underway and the cause of the accident is unknown. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

The Company is focused on its employees and their families. A dedicated hotline has been set up for employees and family members at (321) 837-2427 for updates and support information

Update from Monsters and Critics

Kandahar, Afghanistan – A civilian helicopter crashed in the southern Afghan province of Helmand Monday, killing all three foreign nationals on board, the authorities said.

A security official who confirmed the three deaths, but could not verify the nationalities of the victims, said: ‘The helicopter was completely destroyed by the impact and subsequent fire.’

The Russian-made helicopter belonged to the US-based ARR airlift company, a contractor for NATO’s operations in Afghanistan.

Dozens of Russian-built cargo helicopters are used by contractors working for the NATO-led coalition.

The coalition relies heavily on helicopters or airdrops to deliver food and other supplies to remote outposts in order to avoid using roads that are frequently mined by the insurgents. Transport aircraft are also frequently used for airdrops to isolated bases.

Associated Press  January 16, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — A civilian helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan on Monday, killing all three people on board, an Afghan official said.

Marjan Haqmal, police chief of Nad Ali district in Helmand province, said the Russian-made aircraft probably went down because of a technical malfunction.

NATO confirmed that a civilian helicopter crashed Monday in southern Afghanistan. It said the site of the crash has been secured and that coalition forces are trying to gather more information about what happened.

The alliance did not provide information about casualties

Please see the original and read more here

ASN Aircraft Accident 141912 Aviation Safety Network updates

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Flexing Muscle, Baghdad Detains U.S. Contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 15, 2012

“While private organizations are often able to resolve low-level disputes and irregularities, this issue is beyond our ability to resolve,” the International Stability Operations Association, a Washington-based group that represents more than 50 companies and aid organizations that work in conflict, post-conflict and disaster relief zones, said in a letter on Sunday to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Doug Brooks, president of the organization, said in a telephone interview that the number of civilian contractors who have been detained was in the “low hundreds.” He added in an e-mail on Sunday, “Everyone is impacted, but the roots have more to do with political infighting than any hostility to the U.S.”

The New York Times January 15, 2012

BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities have detained a few hundred foreign contractors in recent weeks, industry officials say, including many Americans who work for the United States Embassy, in one of the first major signs of the Iraqi government’s asserting its sovereignty as a result of the American troop withdrawal last month

The detentions have occurred largely at the airport in Baghdad and at checkpoints around the capital after the Iraqi authorities raised questions about the contractors’ documents, including visas, weapons permits, and authorizations to drive certain routes. Although no formal charges have been filed, the detentions have lasted from a few hours to nearly three weeks.

The crackdown comes amid other moves by the Iraqi government to take over functions that had been performed by the United States military and to claim areas of the country it had controlled. In the final weeks of the military withdrawal, the son of Iraq’s prime minister began evicting Western companies and contractors from the heavily fortified Green Zone, which had been the heart of the United States military operation for much of the war.

Just after the last American troops left in December, the Iraqis stopped issuing and renewing many badges, weapons licenses and other authorizations. The restrictions created a curious sequence of events in which contractors were being detained for having expired documents that the government would not renew.

The Iraqi authorities have also imposed new limitations on visas, a new twist on a longstanding issue for foreigners in Iraq in which the rules for gaining approval appear to change every few months. In some recent cases, contractors have been told they have 10 days to leave Iraq or face arrest in what some industry officials call a form of controlled harassment.

Earlier this month, Iraqi authorities kept scores of contractors penned up at Baghdad’s international airport for nearly a week until their visa disputes were resolved. Industry officials said more than 100 foreigners were detained; American officials acknowledged the detainments but would not put a number on them.

Latif Rashid, a senior adviser to the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, and a former minister of water, said in an interview that the Iraqis’ deep mistrust of security contractors had led the government to strictly monitor them. “We have to apply our own rules now,” he said.

Private contractors are integral to postwar Iraq’s economic development and security, foreign businessmen and American officials say, but they remain a powerful symbol of American might, with some Iraqis accusing them of running roughshod over the country.

An image of contractors as trigger-happy mercenaries who were above the law was seared into the minds of Iraqis after several violent episodes involving private sector workers, chief among them the 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square when military contractors for Blackwater killed 17 civilians.

Iraq’s oil sector alone, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the government’s budget, relies heavily on tens of thousands of foreign employees. The United States Embassy employs 5,000 contractors to protect its 11,000 employees and to train the Iraqi military to operate tanks, helicopters and weapons systems that the United States has sold them.

The United States had been providing much of the accreditation for contractors to work in Iraq, but after the military withdrawal, that role shifted to the Iraqi bureaucracy around the time when the government was engulfed in a political crisis and when Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, fearing a coup, was moving tanks into the Green Zone.

The delays for visa approvals have disrupted the daily movement of supplies and personnel around Iraq, prompting formal protests from dozens of companies operating in Iraq. And they have raised deeper questions about how the Maliki government intends to treat foreign workers and how willing foreign companies will be to invest here.

“While private organizations are often able to resolve low-level disputes and irregularities, this issue is beyond our ability to resolve,” the International Stability Operations Association, a Washington-based group that represents more than 50 companies and aid organizations that work in conflict, post-conflict and disaster relief zones, said in a letter on Sunday to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contracotrs Detained, Defense Base Act, Iraq, Political Watch, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Halliburton, KBR win appeal of Fisher vs Halliburton on Exclusive Remedy Clause of Defense Base Act

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 12, 2012

The Defense Base Act’s Exclusive Remedy “A License to Kill”

The Exclusive Remedy was intended to be trade off to keep injured contractors from having litigate with their employers when they are injured.  As it turns out the employers are off the hook and the injured contractors fight for years for medical care and lost wages from private insurance companies, AIG, CNA, ACE

AIG has fought the survivors and families of those killed like they were common criminals for the death, medical, and lost wages that were to be provided “forthwith”.

And don’t think something like couldn’t happen to you, your only one bomb or one sniper away.

Bloomberg  January 12, 2012

KBR Inc. (KBR) and its former corporate parent, Halliburton Co. (HAL), won’t face a jury on claims they sent unarmed civilian convoy drivers into an Iraqi battle zone in 2004, knowing the workers would be injured or killed, an appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans today ruled the drivers’ claims were blocked by the Defense Base Act, a U.S. law that shields military contractors from lawsuits. The drivers were attacked and injured because of their role in support operations for the U.S. Army, which is covered under that statute, the judges said.

“Coverage of an injury under the DBA precludes an employee from recovering from his employer,” even if the worker claims the company was “substantially certain” the injuries would occur, U.S. Circuit Judge Priscilla R. Owen said in a 30-page ruling by the panel.

KBR, a Houston-based government contractor, was sued in 2005 by the families of seven drivers killed while working inIraq for the largest U.S. military contractor. The company appealed a 2010 lower-court ruling that jurors could weigh the companies’ actions without second-guessing the actions of the Army.

Unarmed Civilians

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller, who presided over the case in Houston federal court, refused to dismiss Halliburton, which spun off KBR as a separate company in 2007. Miller had also ruled that the companies couldn’t name the military as a co-defendant in the lawsuits, so the Army wasn’t required to defend its actions.

The drivers and their families claimed KBR officials fraudulently recruited workers for safe jobs in Iraq and intentionally sent unarmed civilians into a recognized combat zone in April 2004. KBR’s military-supply contract gave company officials the right to refuse assignments deemed too dangerous for civilians, according to the complaints.

KBR and Halliburton argued that they weren’t liable because they couldn’t refuse Army orders to dispatch the fuel convoys under terms of their multibillion-dollar supply contract with the U.S. military. The convoys were attacked at a time when Iraqi insurgents were escalating the fight against U.S. troops that had taken over the country to oust dictator Saddam Hussein.

The case is Fisher v. Halliburton, 10-20202, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, Iraq, KBR, Political Watch | 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

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