October 25, 2012
Voluntary Today, Involuntary Tomorrow
Another Successful Flush by Wackenhut G4S
Will the last Ronco Consulting Corporation Employee out please close the lid ?
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 25, 2012
October 25, 2012
Voluntary Today, Involuntary Tomorrow
Another Successful Flush by Wackenhut G4S
Will the last Ronco Consulting Corporation Employee out please close the lid ?
Posted in Afghanistan, Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, G4S, Iraq, Ronco Consulting, State Department, Taxes, Wackenut | Tagged: Armorgroup, Demining, G4S, injured war zone contractors, Landmines, Riff, Riffing, Ronco, Ronco Consulting, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Wackenhut | Leave a Comment »
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.
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: AGNA, Armorgroup, ArmorGroup North America, Civilian Contracotor, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Casualty, Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare, Defense Base Act, Exclusive Remedy, G4S, Iraq, Paul McGuigan, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd, Ronco, Ronco Consulting, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Vetting Employees, Whistleblower, WSI | Leave a Comment »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 31, 2012
WHY HAVE I NOT RECEIVED THE DEFENSE OF FREEDOM MEDAL?
The Defense of Freedom Medal is an award held to be the equivalent of the Purple Heart and is awarded to Civilian Contractors injured in the war zones.
One question we get here repeatedly is why have I not received the Defense of Freedom Medal? The question comes from severely disabled Civilian Contractors wounded in horrific explosions and insurgent attacks.
WHO IS HOLDING YOUR MEDAL HOSTAGE?
The company you work for is responsible for requesting that you receive the medal and providing the documentation that you have indeed suffered a qualifying injury.
As all Injured War Zone Contractors know the minute you must file a Defense Base Act Claim you are automatically placed in an adversarial relationship with your employer. Your Employer and the Defense Base Act Insurance Company are considered equal entities in the battle you have entered for your medical care and indemnity.
Your Employer is required to assist the insurance company in denying your claim. Under the War Hazards Act the Employer/Carrier must prove to the WHA Tribunal that they have diligently tried to deny your claim.
It appears that your Defense of Freedom Medals could be held hostage by your Employers due to the adversarial relationship the Defense Base Act has created.
When KBR, DynCorp, Blackwater, Xe, et al, provide documentation of your injuries to the DoD they have just admitted that you are indeed injured and to what extent.
Specific information regarding injury/death: Description of the situation causing the injury/death in detail to include the date, time, place, and scene of the incident, and official medical documentation of the employee’s injuries and treatment. The description must be well documented, including the names of witnesses and point of contact (POC) for additional medical information, if needed.
These admissions sure would make it hard for Administrative Law Judges like Paul C Johnson to name them as alleged. ALJ Paul C Johnson has yet to award benefits to a DBA Claimant in a decision based on a hearing.
KBR who can never seem to find their injured employees medical records holds the key to the Defense of Freedom Medal.
Certainly there are other lawsuits outside of the DBA that the withholding of this information is vital too.
For those of you who still give a damn after being abused by so badly simply because you were injured-
The Defense of Freedom Medal may find you many years down the road once an Administrative Law Judge says you were injured.
We recommend that you contact your Congressional Representative or Senator and have them request this Medal if you qualify for it and would like to have it.
If you are still litigating your claim it SHOULD serve to legitimize your alleged injuries.
Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense of Freedom Medal, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, Racketeering, War Hazards Act, Zurich | Tagged: Administrative Law System, ALJ Paul C Johnson, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense of Freedom Medal, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Discovery, Dyncorp, G4S, Halliburton, injured war zone contractors, KBR, Purple Heart, Ronco Consutling, Wackenhut, Xe | 3 Comments »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 26, 2011
Today Injured War Zone Contractors and Scott Bloch filed a
Class Action Lawsuit
Defense Base Act Insurance Companies
and some Employers.
Scott Bloch files complaint for $2 billion against major government contractors like
KBR, Blackwater/Xe, DynCorp, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting
and the global insurance carriers
AIG, CNA, ACE, Zurich,
on behalf of thousands of former employees,
unlawful, fraudulent and bad-faith mistreatment of
injured employees and their families
The Defense Base Act Compensation blog and it’s contributors invite you to
The truth will be exposed
Since 2003, top government contractors like Blackwater, KBR, DynCorp, CSA/AECOM and ITT have been perpetrating a fraud on their employees and on the American public. The silent warriors who work for these companies, many of them decorated former military service members, have been injured, mistreated and abandoned by the contracting companies and their insurance carriers who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums.
“It is a grave injustice,” Bloch said, “to those who rode alongside American soldiers, including Iraqi and Afghani Nationals, to be case aside without the benefits of the law. We are supposedly trying to bring them the rule of law. We are supposedly trying to encourage them in democractic institutions. We are the ones asking them to believe in justice and individual rights. This is a travesty to all Americans and those around the world who look to America for an example of humanitarian aid and proper treatment of workers.”
This is a lawsuit for damages in the amount of $2 billion to remedy the injuries and destruction caused to the lives, finances and mental and physical well being of thousands of American families and others whose loved ones were injured while serving America under contracts with the United States. It seeks an additional unspecified amount to punish the companies who made massive profits while causing this harm to people unlawfully and maliciously and working a fraud on the American public who paid them.
“This abusive and illegal scheme by the defendants has been allowed to go on for too long. We are talking about loss of life, suicide, loss of homes, marriages, families split up, “ Bloch said, “and the culprits are the large government contractors who should have treated their employees better, and the mega-insurance companies who were paid a hefty sum to make sure the employees were taken care of with uninterrupted benefits in the event of injuries in these war zones.”
This complaint is filed due to actions and omissions of defendants, in conspiracy with others, and individually, to defeat the right of American citizens and foreign nationals to receive their lawful benefits and compensation under the Defense Base Act (“DBA”), as it adopts the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).
The lawsuit explains that those sued engaged under the RICO statute in an enterprise of fraudulent and or criminal acts to further their scheme to defeat the rights of individuals who have been injured or suffered occupational diseases, and death, while on foreign soil in support of defense activities under the DBA. These acts were perpetrated repeatedly through bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, using telephones, faxes, and United States mail .
“These are heroes, decorated by America’s Armed Services,” said Bloch. “Some of the foreign contractors were decorated special forces soldiers from their countries who assisted the United States in combating threats. The sheer disregard for human dignity and law is reprehensible and deserves punishment. These families and many others who have been harmed need treatment, need compensation, need redress of the wrongs that have been perpetrated by these huge companies and insurance carriers for the last 10 years. They have earned $100 billion per year on the backs of these people, with the blood of these plaintiffs and those whom they represent.”
The was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and covers individuals from all over the United States, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and other counties.
Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:
Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290
Posted in Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Dyncorp, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, Ronco Consultilng, State Department, Suicide, Toxic Exposures, USAID, Veterans, Wackenut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower, Xe, Zurich | Tagged: ACE, AIG, Blackwater, Blackwater/Xe, CNA, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Workers Compensation, Department of Labor, Dyncorp, G4S, injured war zone contractors, ITT, KBR, Ronco Consulting, Scott Bloch, Wackenhut, Zurich | 15 Comments »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 7, 2011
WASHINGTON – Armor Group North America Inc. (AGNA) and its affiliates have paid the United States $7.5 million to resolve allegations that AGNA submitted false claims for payment on a State Department contract to provide armed guard services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Justice Department announced today. The settlement resolves U.S. claims that in 2007 and 2008, AGNA guards violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) by visiting brothels in Kabul, and that AGNA’s management knew about the guards’ activities. The settlement also resolves allegations that AGNA misrepresented the prior work experience of 38 third country national guards it had hired to guard the Embassy, and that AGNA failed to comply with certain Foreign Ownership, Control and Influence mitigation requirements on the embassy contract, and on a separate contract to provide guard services at a Naval Support Facility in Bahrain.
The settlement resolves a whistleblower suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit was initially filed under seal by James Gordon against AGNA, ArmorGroup International plc, G4S plc and Wackenhut Services Inc. under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals, called “relators”, to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of a settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant. Mr. Gordon will receive $1.35 million of the settlement proceeds. During 2007 and early 2008, Mr. Gordon was employed by AGNA, as its director of operations.
Posted in Armorgroup, State Department, Whistleblower | Tagged: AGNA, ArmorGroup North America, False Claims Act, G4S, James Gordon, Michael O'Connell, Wackenhut Services, Whistleblower | Leave a Comment »
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.”
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.
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.”
Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, G4S, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: Armorgroup, Assault Charges, Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare, Defense Base Act Exclusive Remedy, G4S, Paul McGuigan, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd | 1 Comment »
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
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: Armorgroup, Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare, G4S, Iraqi Jurisdiction, Paul McGuigan, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd | 6 Comments »
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.
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: Armorgroup, Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare, G4S, Paul McGuigan, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 23, 2011
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.
“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.”
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: Armorgroup, ArmorGroup Vetting Employees, Contractor Casualties, Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare, G4S, Kevin Milson, Mental Health, Paul McGuigan, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd, Schizophrenia | 9 Comments »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 29, 2010
Danny Fitzsimons was hired by ArmorGroup to carry a gun despite having been diagnosed with PTSD, being in trouble with the law, and posting on Facebook about “The War Inside His Head”. ArmorGroup should be on trial here too.
The trial of a British security contractor charged with killing two of his colleagues last year opened Wednesday in Baghdad with testimony from a guard who said the contractor shot him.
Danny Fitzsimons, who attended the hearing, is the first Western contractor on trial in an Iraqi court since a 2009 U.S.-Iraqi security agreement lifted immunity for foreign contractors.
Iraq pressed hard for foreign contractors to be accountable for their actions after armed contractors employed by the North Carolina-based Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Xe, opened fire at a Baghdad intersection in September 2007, killing 17 civilians.
Fitzsimons is charged with two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of two contractors, a British and an Australian, during an argument last year inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. He is also charged with an attempted murder of an Iraqi guard working for a British security firm.
Fitzsimons could receive the death penalty if convicted.
The trial opened with a testimony of the Iraqi guard who claims Fitzsimons shot him in the leg.
Arkan Mahdi Saleh, an Iraqi guard at the security firm ArmorGroup that also employed the defendant and the two slain men, told a three-judge panel that he saw Fitzsimons with a pistol before he was shot.
“I was standing at a guard post when I heard some movements behind me,” said the 33-year old Saleh. “When I turned back to check, I saw Fitzsimons with a pistol in his hand and aiming at me,” Saleh, identifying the defendant as the man who shot him.
Two other witnesses took the stand on Wednesday, confirming much of Saleh’s account of the shooting. One said he saw Saleh lying wounded on the ground.
Fitzsimons appeared in court clean shaven, wearing a beige shirt, jeans and sneakers. He stood behind a wooden fence with two security guards closely watching him.
After hearing the eyewitness testify, the defendant asked a judge for permission to speak. The request was refused.
“I got a lot to say,” Fitzsimons told his lawyer, Tariq Harb, after the court adjourned and the guards were handcuffing him for the trip to prison.
One of the judges, presiding over the 45-minute hearing, read written testimonies of three foreign security contractors who have left Iraq since the fatal incident.
None of the three testified to witnessing Fitzsimons shoot his two colleagues and the Iraqi guard. They wrote in their statement they saw the group of three foreign contractors drinking and quarreling inside one of the caravans where they lived. Please see the original here
From the Huffington PostMurder Trial for British Contractor Opens in Iraq
BAGHDAD — The trial of a British security contractor charged with killing two of his colleagues in Iraq last year has opened in Baghdad.
Danny Fitzsimons is the first Westerner to go on trial in an Iraqi court since a 2009 U.S.-Iraqi security agreement lifted immunity for foreign contractors. Fitzsimons attended Wednesday’s hearing.
He has been charged with shooting and killing two contractors – a British and an Australian national – during a June 2009 argument inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and then wounding an Iraqi while fleeing.
All three men were working for the British security firm ArmorGroup Iraq.
The trail was adjourned until Jan. 23.
The trial of a security contractor from Manchester charged with killing two of his colleagues in Iraq last year has opened in Baghdad.
Danny Fitzsimons, from Middleton, Manchester, is the first Westerner to go on trial in an Iraqi court since a 2009 US-Iraqi security agreement lifted immunity for foreign contractors.
He was at Wednesday’s hearing which adjourned the trial until January 23.
He has been charged with shooting and killing two contractors — a British and an Australian — during an argument inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in June last year and then wounding an Iraqi while fleeing.
All three men were working for the British security firm ArmorGroup Iraq.
Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, G4S, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: Armorgroup, Baghdad, Danny Fitzsimons, G4S, Iraq, Murder Trial, ptsd | Leave a Comment »
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:
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: AGNA, Armorgroup, ArmorGroup North American, Debra Katz, Dept of State, False Claims Act, G4S, Michael O'Connell, US Embassy in Kabul, Wackenhut, Whistleblower | Leave a Comment »
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.
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: Armorgroup, Civilian Casualties, Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare, G4S, Paul McGuigan, ptsd | 3 Comments »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 13, 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: Armorgoup, Civilian Contractor, Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare, Death Penalty, Defense Base Act Exclusive Remedy, G4S, Iraqi Court, Murder Charges, Paul McGuigan, ptsd | 3 Comments »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 21, 2010
A MASSIVE roadside bomb that killed an ex-soldier in Iraq was big enough to destroy a tank.
David Hughes, 31, died instantly alongside two Iraqi colleagues when their armoured vehicle was targeted by insurgents in the Al Hillah region, south of Baghdad, last May.
The former Queen’s Dragoon Guards was working for a civilian company providing protective security to American construction workers in the war-torn country when the incident happened.
Recording a verdict of unlawful killing at an inquest yesterday, North west Wales coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones said someone hiding alongside the dirt road had triggered the bomb.
He said: “In effect David Hughes was murdered by someone hiding in the fields or drainage ditches. By whom we cannot say.
“We are hearing more about deaths of this sort on a daily basis and dozens of similar inquests will be held throughout the country for the foreseeable future. It is probably something politicians might like to look at.”
Mr Jones added he considered the equipment issued to David and his colleagues was probably of a higher standard than similar equipment issued to British soldiers. “But this bomb caused a huge explosion and was capable of penetrating the armour plating of a battle tank,” he said.
David, from Cae Mur, Caernarfon, spent more than 12 years in the Army but left in 2007. He worked for private security company G4S Secure Solutions in Afghanistan before transferring to the company’s Armorgroup business in Iraq.
Colleague Chris Powell, from Burton-on-Trent, told the hearing at Caernarfon they were escorting three Americans from Al Hillah to Baghdad.
Former Paratrooper Mr Powell said: “There were five Toyota Landcruisers in the convoy. These are armour plated and we were all armed. David was travelling as lead scout in the first vehicle. His job was to report anything he thought suspicious.
“There was no target indicator, just two schoolgirls walking about 150 yards ahead of us. As we came to a bend the vehicles slowed and then there was a massive explosion.”
Fearing an ambush Mr Powell called for help from his colleagues and US military forces. He escorted the Americans to a safer area before returning to the scene.
He said the vehicle had been blown off the road into a field. One of the Iraqis was found on the road and another near the vehicle. David was found inside the vehicle.
“The explosion hit the right hand side of the vehicle and David, sitting on that side, took the full force of the blast,” he added.
They saw no one who could have activated the bomb and they did not stay in the area after the bodies had been airlifted to a Baghdad hospital.
Christopher Beese, of G4S Risk Management Ltd, said the bomb had penetrated the armour plating and exploded inside the vehicle.
He suggested the high explosive used may have been from unexploded bombs or shells fired by American forces during the war in Iraq. “These devices are relatively easy to make, but while rudimentary are highly effective,” he said.
Hundreds of David’s former Army colleagues and friends attended his funeral in Caernarfon. His heartbroken girlfriend Mim Bradshaw, a 23-year-old nurse, described David as her “mister perfect”.
His brother Andrew said: “We’ll never forget him. My wife Karon and I had our first child last summer just a few days before his birthday. We have named him David Sean in his honour.”
Another brother, Darren, added: “He joined up in 1996. Since then he’s been everywhere on exercises and operations. He was in the peacekeeping force in Bosnia and with Nato in Kosovo.”