Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Posts Tagged ‘Xe’

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

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 5, 2012

Another Defense Base Act PTSD failure.

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

Doug Robinson at Deseret News  June 5, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 31, 2012

WHY HAVE I NOT RECEIVED THE DEFENSE OF FREEDOM MEDAL?

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

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

WHO IS HOLDING YOUR MEDAL HOSTAGE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Denies Blackwater’s Motion for Arbitration

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 23, 2012

Law Offices of Scott J Bloch  May 23, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 21, 2011

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

Washington DC  September 21, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read full PRESS RELEASE Amended Complaint against Xe Blackwater here.

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:

Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290

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

Blackwater/Xe Services Hires Former Counsel for AIG

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 6, 2011

This speaks for itself:

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

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

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

Read more here

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

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

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 27, 2011

by Bill Sizemore at The Virginian Pilot  June 27, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Please see the details and background at The Virginian Pilot

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

Injured Blackwater Xe war contractor approved for treatment by AIG

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 16, 2011

Bravo to Kevin Graman for exposing AIG’s  dangerous “risk management” practices.

We too hope it is not too late for Jennifer as it has been for so many who have come before her.

A Big Salute to you both !!

Kevin Graman The Spokesman Review  June 16, 2011

A Spokane-area woman who was injured by an enemy mortar explosion while working as a helicopter mechanic in Afghanistan has received approval from a government-contracted insurance company to receive the treatment her doctors say she needs.

Jennifer Barcklay, 40, of Chattaroy, was been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after the September 2009 attack at a forward operating base in eastern Afghanistan, where she was employed by Blackwater, the private defense security contractor now known as Xe Services.

On Wednesday, she was told that Chartis WorldSource, the giant insurance company once known as American International Group, AIG, would cover the cognitive rehabilitation therapy recommended by eight medical providers in Spokane.

“This is bittersweet,” Barcklay said. “I’m hoping it’s not too late.”

It has been more than a year since Barcklay’s providers first began recommending comprehensive cognitive rehabilitation, which is more effective the sooner it is begun. It is not offered locally.

She continues to endure seizures, memory loss, headaches, tremors and problems with her balance that prevent her from returning to work.

“Frankly, I am appalled at how many obstacles have been placed in the way of her receiving the treatment she needs,” Spokane neuropsychologist Winifred Daisley wrote the insurer on Barcklay’s behalf.

A nurse contracted by Chartis to manage Barcklay’s case was unexpectedly terminated in October after notifying the insurer that her patient was approved for treatment at the Centre for Neuro Skills in Bakersfield, Calif.

Under the Defense Base Act of 1941, defense contractors must provide medical and disability insurance for their workers in war zones. The premiums are included in the companies’ contract with the Department of Defense.

There were nearly 56,000 such claims for injuries or deaths from the start of the Iraq war to 2009. That year, a congressional investigation found that insurance companies have been slow to approve claims for injuries despite receiving millions in premiums from the federal government.

Another World War II-era law, the War Hazards Compensation Act, reimburses the employer or insurer for injuries or death to a worker caused by an act of war. The insurer is reimbursed by the taxpayers for 100 percent of the claim, plus 15 percent for administrative costs.

Chartis’s approval of Barcklay’s treatment followed a letter from the U.S. Department of Labor, recommending that she be allowed to go to the Centre for Neuro Skills.

The letter also was critical of an independent review of Barcklay’s medical records by a Chartis-contracted neuropsychiatrist in Rhode Island who appeared to diagnose the patient’s condition as psychological rather than physiological without examining her.

Please see the original story at The Spokesman Review

Posted in AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Medical Examinations, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Follow the Money, Hope that I die, Interviews with Injured War Zone Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ex Blackwater worker gets 37 months in Afghan’s death

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 14, 2011

Bill Sizemore The Virginian Pilot  June 14, 2011

NORFOLK  A former Blackwater contractor from Virginia Beach was sentenced to 37 months in prison today for involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 shooting death of a civilian in Afghanistan.

Christopher Drotleff is the first contractor for the Moyock, N.C.-based security company now known as Xe Services to get prison time for killing a civilian in a war zone. A second man, Justin Cannon of Corpus Christi, Texas, has been convicted in the same case and faces sentencing later this month.

The two were charged with murder and tried twice. Their first trial, in September, ended in a hung jury. The manslaughter convictions in their March retrial appeared to be a compromise verdict.

Drotleff and Cannon were working for Paravant, a Blackwater subsidiary, providing weapons training for the Afghan army under a Defense Department subcontract when their two-vehicle convoy became involved in a traffic accident in Kabul, the Afghan capital, in May 2009.

They were off duty at the time and had been drinking, according to testimony.

Fareed Haji Ahmad, driving home from dinner with a co-worker, approached the scene in his Toyota Corolla and offered to help, he testified. He became confused, he said, when three men waved him on but a fourth told him to stop.

When he drove off, Drotleff and Cannon opened fire on the retreating vehicle, according to testimony. Ahmad’s passenger, Romal Mohammad Naiem, was killed.

A pedestrian, Rahib Mirza Mohammad, out walking with a friend and a dog, was also shot in the back of the head and died a month later. The contractors were acquitted of charges in his death.

Neither Drotleff nor Cannon testified in the case. Their attorneys argued that the two men believed themselves to be under attack.

Please read the entire story here

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

Blackwater Gets ‘Too Big To Fail,’ Hires AIG Castoff

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 13, 2011

Nothing says, “We’re through with scandal!” quite like hiring a former executive from one of the country’s leading economic bloodsuckers.

by Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room

Blackwater — sorry, Xe Services — really wants to turn the PR page from the bad old days of Nisour Square, when the infamous private security firm’s guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians. It’s no longer owned by Erik Prince, who may be involved in yet another shady mercenary firm. It’s on a hiring spree for new executives. And that’s kind of the problem.

Xe’s new owners, USTC Holdings, aren’t exactly bringing in scandal-free talent to run Xe v.2.0. On Monday, they announced Xe’s new “Chief Regulatory & Compliance Officer,” a new position for the company, will be Suzanne Folsom, most recently of insurance giant AIG.

Yes, the woman in charge of making sure the world’s most infamous private security firm is in compliance with U.S. laws and regulations is a veteran of the insurance giant that helped plunge the country into financial chaos. The public bailed out AIG to the tune of $182 billion. Folsom — then as now, regulatory compliance chief for a scandal-plagued firm — got a golden parachute reportedly worth $1 million.

 

Nor is Folsom the only such example. Xe’s new CEO is Ted Wright, hired June 1 to run the company after helming North American operations for military services giant KBR. Among KBR’s recent hits: kidnapping Filipinos to work for the company in Iraq; confining its Iraq workers to “windowless warehouses“; and locking a woman employee in isolation after she was gang-raped — by other KBR employees.

Then there’s the fact that Xe brought on former Attorney General John Ashcroft, the face of the Patriot Act, as its ethics chief. (Though it has to be noted that Ashcroft, gravely ill, bravely resisted an effort by the Bush White House to improperly extend a warrantless surveillance program. Respect.)

Representatives for USTC Holdings have yet to respond to requests for comment. We’ll update if and when they do.

There’s been a lot of talk for years about Blackwater’s effort to rebrand itself as a squeaky clean company. Hiring from AIG and KBR doesn’t exactly scream Good Corporate Citizen. It does, however, suggest that the company knows how to get what it wants from the government — with impunity.  Please see the original here

See Also

Posted in AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Xe | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Army vet battling private insurer for coverage she feels is due

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 13, 2011

“The American Psychiatric Association has a very specific and rigid stance against psychiatrists rendering diagnoses on patients they have not examined.”

Injured as contractor in Afghanistan but denied specialized therapy at home

Kevin Graman The Spokesman Review  June 13, 2011

A highly trained helicopter mechanic sits in her Chattaroy home and wonders what will come next: another debilitating brain seizure or the therapy she hopes will help her recover from injury as a result of a mortar explosion 20 months ago in Afghanistan.

Jennifer Barcklay says she is being denied the specialized inpatient medical treatment her doctors believe is her only hope for a normal life.

“These are war crimes, using taxpayer dollars to profit from injuries incurred by people fighting for our freedom,” Barcklay says.

Although she is a U.S. Army veteran, Barcklay, 40, was injured as a civilian working for Blackwater, the private security contractor now known as Xe Services. She and thousands of other civilian employees injured in the defense of their nation have had to navigate an often unresponsive private insurance system.

Xe’s insurance carrier has so far denied Barcklay expensive inpatient treatment known as cognitive rehabilitation therapy, which was recommend by eight Spokane area physicians and mental health care providers.

She suffers from traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, for which thousands of U.S. soldiers are receiving care in military or Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. Like many of them, she continues to endure seizures, memory loss, headaches, tremors and problems with her balance that prevent her from returning to work.

Under the Defense Base Act of 1941, defense contractors must provide medical and disability insurance for their workers in war zones. The premiums are included in the companies’ contract with the Department of Defense.

There have been nearly 56,000 such claims for injuries or deaths from the start of the Iraq war to 2009. That year, a congressional investigation found that insurance companies had collected $1.5 billion in premiums, while they paid out about $900 million in compensation and expenses.

Another World War II-era law, the War Hazards Compensation Act, reimburses the employer or insurer for injuries or death to a worker caused by an act of war. The insurer is reimbursed by the taxpayers for 100 percent of the claim, plus 15 percent for administrative costs. From 2003 to 2010, the federal government paid more to insurers for expenses, $19.7 million, than it paid in compensation, $12.1 million, to claimants under the act.

More than three-quarters of the Defense Base Act claims were handled by American International Group, which was rescued in 2008 by the U.S. government in the largest corporate bailout in history.

An AIG subsidiary, Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania-Chartis WorldSource, took months to authorize a neurological evaluation for Barcklay. Now Chartis is refusing to pay for her inpatient treatment.

“Frankly, I am appalled at how many obstacles have been placed in the way of her receiving the treatment she needs,” Spokane neuropsychologist Winifred Daisley wrote in a December letter to Chartis case manager Debra Ragan.

Marie Ali, a Chartis spokeswoman, said she could not comment on individual claims but that the company “is committed to handling every claim professionally, ethically and fairly.”

“We provide the highest level of service to our insureds, which includes the prompt adjudication and payment of claims.”

A spokesman for Xe Services said, “The company has worked diligently with the insurance provider to help ensure Ms. Barcklay receives the level of care and treatment she needs.”

Please read the entire story here

See Also

More Than 70 Members of Congress Demand Cognitive Treatment for Troops With Traumatic Brain Injuries

by T Christian Miller from his series at ProPublica Brain Wars

Posted in AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Medical Examinations, Department of Labor, Independent Medical Examinations, Injured Contractors, Interviews with Injured War Zone Contractors, PTSD and TBI, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Class Action Tax Misclassification filed against Xe, Formerly Blackwater

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 7, 2011

Scott Bloch blasts Blackwater on behalf of thousands of former employees who were mistreated and denied employee benefits, unemployment and other withholding based on a fraudulent misclassification as independent contractors.

Mercadante et al vs Xe Services, LLC et al

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

WASHINGTON, DC (June 7, 2011) –

Since 2007, Blackwater Industries, which has changed its name to Xe Services, has employed over 10,000 personal security specialists to perform operations in Iraq and Afghanistan under lucrative contracts with departments of the United States Government including the State Department and CIA.

While employing these individuals, many of whom are decorated veterans of the armed services including Special Forces, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Blackwater sought to avoid millions of dollars in taxes, withholding, and payments of benefits to these employees by classifying them improperly as independent contractors.

Yesterday, Scott Bloch filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of four former security specialists, who were injured while working for Blackwater, in order to recover their payment of social security, unemployment insurance, and unpaid benefits and state and local withholding and unemployment insurance, and other unspecified damages.  The action is brought on their own behalf and thousands of others who have worked for Blackwater and its newly named Xe Services.

The action seeks $60,000,000 in damages and punitive damages, as well as additional amounts as proved for the class of specialists.

“These brave individuals who worked in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghani Enduring Freedom, deserve better than to be turned away without health insurance, pension benefits, unemployment benefits, and other withholding afforded to Blackwater’s other
employees,” said Scott Bloch.

According to the lawsuit, the United States treasury loses billions of dollars annually to misclassified employees.     Under the commonlaw and the IRS 20 questions put out in 1987 pursuant to a regulation, Blackwater was obliged to classify these individuals as employees if Blackwater had the right to control the employees’ actions, manner of performing duties,  hours, training, equipment, whether the duties of the employees go to a core function of the employer or are duties that are consider ancillary to the main purpose of the company, and other factors.

The lawsuit states that Blackwater provided their equipment, including weapons issued by the government, training, and control over employees’ duties, manner of performing their security  duties, operations they went on, protection details and other duties.

“These veterans were actually given diplomatic passports and classified as employees of Blackwater to the United States government in the contracts as they procured insurance required for employees, and also represented to the State Department that they were
employees,” said Bloch in a statement upon filing, “yet when it came to paying taxes, paying  their employer portion of social security and Medicare taxes that all Americans expect their employers to pay, they simply claimed they were independent contractors.”

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

In addition, claims the suit, the United States Congress previously held hearings under the Oversight and Government Reform committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, Chair, which determined that Blackwater and its related companies misclassified employees in order to avoid millions of dollars in taxes. In addition, the IRS prior to making the determination on the plaintiff in this suit, had ruled on behalf of other Blackwater security specialists, and related job titles, that Blackwater had misclassified these employees who performed services under contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and covers individuals from all over the United States and some Americans living abroad, including all former and current Blackwater and Xe employees and so-called independent contractors.

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:
Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290

Law Offices of Scott J Bloch Website

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Political Watch, State Department, Taxes, Xe | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Blackwater Contractor in Iraq Cannot Exclude Compensation Under § 112

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 1, 2011

From Tax Professor Blog

The Tax Court yesterday held that a Florida man who earned $98,400 in 2005 working for Blackwater (since renamed Xe) providing security services to the U.S. Army in Iraq could not exclude the compensation from income under § 112 as “combat zone compensation of members of the Armed Forces.

Holmes v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2011-26 (Jan. 31, 2011).

The Tax Court concluded that the taxpayer did not serve in the Armed Forces of the United States but instead was a private citizen hired by and paid by a private company (Blackwater). The Tax Court refused to impose a penalty because the taxpayer relied on an IRS memorandum wrongly stating that civilian personnel in direct support of combat zone military operations qualified for the § 112 exclusion. (Hat Tip: Bob Kamman.)  Please see the original here

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Taxes | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Afghan Suicide Bomb targets ExPats at Kabul Grocery

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 28, 2011

The American embassy said: “Numerous innocent Afghan and international civilians were killed and wounded in this senseless act.

Afghan intelligence officials said four Filipinos and two Afghans were confirmed among the dead when a lone gunman opened fire, threw at least one grenade and then detonated his explosive harness.

Number of killed raised to nine

The powerful blast killed at least 8 people including three western women who were shopping in the store at the time and injured six.

Sayed Kabir Amiri, the Kabul hospitals chief, said five people were treated in emergency rooms and eight others admitted. At least three foreign men, he added, were among the injured.

Kabul Suicide Bomber Targets Western Diplomats

Afghan intelligence officials said four Filipinos and two Afghans were confirmed among the dead when a lone gunman opened fire, threw at least one grenade and then detonated his explosive harness.

Women and a child were among those killed.

The Taliban immediately took responsibility in a text message claiming it had targeted the chief of the Blackwater security contracting firm.

The 2.30pm (10am GMT) blast struck Finest Supermarket in the relatively secure central Wazir Akbar Khan district which is popular with embassies.

The shop is across the road from the fortified British embassy compound and is frequented by expats for its range of Western groceries. Witnesses said the shop was full of foreigners on what is the Afghan weekend.

Posted in Afghanistan, Blackwater | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Two American Civilian trainers killed in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 20, 2010

Suspected Afghan army trainer opens fire on fellow instructors

former Lawton police officer is one of the latest civilian casualties in Afghanistan after he was killed along with another civilian and an Afghan soldier by another reported Afghan soldier near Kabul in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif Tuesday.

Charles Buckman, 39, was killed Tuesday after the shooter, a suspected Afghan army trainer, turned his weapon during a training exercise at a shooting range.

The shooter also died in the incident, and two other service members one Afghan and the other a member of international coalition forces were wounded, a statement from NATO‘s International Security Assistance Force said.

The company these trainers worked for is MPRI.

by Joshua Partow  Washington Post  July 20,  11:07

KABUL — A suspected Afghan army trainer on a shooting range in northern Afghanistan opened fire on his fellow instructors Tuesday, killing two American civilian trainers and one other Afghan soldier before being killed himself, NATO officials said.

Few details were immediately available about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, and NATO officials said they had started a joint investigation into the incident with the Afghan Ministry of Defense. The name of the contractor that provided the U.S. trainers was also not disclosed.

The shooting, which also wounded one NATO soldier and one Afghan soldier, took place on a range as part of a routine weapons proficiency class at the Regional Military Training Center’s eight-week Afghan army basic training course at Camp Shaheen. Across the country, about 20,000 Afghan National Army trainees are currently involved in such a course, NATO officials said.  Read the entire story here

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

Iraq to seize security contractors’ heavy weapons

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 17, 2010

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq will seize heavy weapons from foreign security firms and expel within days ex-Blackwater contractors still in the country, Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said on Wednesday.

See Also  Iraq confiscates arms in private security crackdown

The decision follows Iraqi government outrage at the dismissal by a U.S. court of charges against Blackwater Worldwide guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

It also comes ahead of a parliamentary election on March 7 in which Bolani is running at the head of his own coalition against a slate headed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Bolani said he had “ordered that the heavy weapons used by some of the foreign security firms be collected.” Speaking to Reuters at a campaign event, he gave no further details and did not clarify whether that included licensed weapons.

He reiterated that he had ordered all former employees of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, to be kicked out of Iraq.

“We gave them a deadline to leave Iraq. It will expire in the next few days,” he said. He declined to say what would happen to former Blackwater workers if they did not leave or how the Interior Ministry knew if someone had worked for Blackwater in the past.

He said most former employees had left when the company lost its license to operate last year. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh had previously said there was no official order expelling former Blackwater workers.

The Blackwater incident in 2007 came to symbolise for many Iraqis the impunity from prosecution in Iraq enjoyed by foreign security contractors after the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Their immunity from prosecution was lifted last year under a U.S.-Iraqi security pact that gave Iraq back its sovereignty.

Since then, Iraqi security forces and foreign contractors have come close to blows at checkpoints as Iraqi troops make clear to heavily armed foreigners that Iraqis are now in charge.

The decision by a U.S. federal court in December to dismiss charges against the Blackwater security guards accused of killing the civilians produced an immediate crackdown by Iraqi police on the operations of security contractors in Iraq.

Maliki’s government has hired U.S. lawyers to prepare a law suit against Blackwater.

The guards said they shot in self-defense in the incident, which occurred during some of the worst sectarian violence in Iraq. The U.S. government is appealing the dismissal. Original Story here

Posted in Blackwater | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: