Officially, the US war in Iraq is over. On December 18, 2011, the last of our US war fighters crossed the border into Kuwait and all that remains are approximately 150 U.S. troops attached to training and cooperation missions at the U.S. embassy located in what was once known as the International Zone/Green Zone in Baghdad.
Although the vast majority of civilian contractors have left Iraq, most were employed by KBR under the LOGCAP III contract, there are still 1000’s of Americans, and citizens from other countries still employed in Iraq by US government contractors such as Triple Canopy, Dyncorp International and KBR under its LOGCAP IV contract.
Since US troops began exiting Iraq earlier this year, there has been a disturbing trend regarding civilian contractors. It appears the Iraqi government has been arresting and detaining US contractor employees at will.
Recently three security contractors, US Army veteran Alex Antiohos of West Babylon, New York, National Guardsman Jonas March of Savannah, Georgia, and Mark Fisher of Fiji were released by Iraqi army forces Tuesday after being held since December 9. They were working for a security firm named Triple Canopy, when Iraqi Ministry of Defense officials rejected paperwork prepared on their behalf by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. Republican Rep. Peter King of New York and the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security has demanded a full report on the episode.
The New York congressman said he was concerned that U.S. military authorities had not been notified by the U.S. Embassy that the men were being held and that embassy representatives had not visited the men when he learned about it from Antiohos’ wife last week.
“We’re going to have thousands of contractors over there, including many Americans. Can the Iraqis just take them off the street and hold them? This is a terrible precedent. We have to get to the bottom of this,” says King. Read the remainder of this entry »