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Bagram Contractor Owes $2.9M in Mercenary Suit

(Courthouse News) – KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –  January 22, 2013 – A defense contractor accused of sending mercenaries to loot equipment for Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan owes $2.9 million, a jury ruled.      MAKS General Trading & Contracting Co., a Kuwait company, won the verdict after a three-week trial against Tenessee-based EODT Technology.

The federal complaint alleged that EODT hired MAKS as a subcontractor in 2009 to provide security and build temporary homes for U.S. troops in a construction compound in Kabul.

MAKS said it was halfway through its job when EODT “deployed a team of paramilitaries equipped with assault weapons” to steal 90 homes in a “military-styled invasion.”

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Nurturing a toxic culture and other news

…the toxic culture of the military allows “open and blatant sexual harassment to occur on a daily basis,” and retaliates against its opponents…

…While the military claims a zero-tolerance policy and touts systematic reforms regarding rape and sexual assault, “this rhetoric has failed to change the misogynistic culture of the Army and has not resulted in any meaningful reform or reduction in sexual assaults”… – Military Accused of Nursing Culture of Rape & Retaliation

Halliburton senior vice-president and six others nabbed in prostitution sting
Clifford Pugh – (Culture Map) – October 12, 2012 –  A Halliburton senior vice president and six others were arrested Thursday in an undercover prostitution sting in north Harris County. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office vice unit focused on suspects soliciting sex online and set up the sting operation from a motel located off I-45 and FM 1960.

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Maybe This is Why the PMSC Industry is Supposedly Cost-Effective

David Isenberg – (Isenberg Institute of Strategic Satire) – May 15, 2012 – Continuing on with the topic of worker exploitation let’s turn to a recently published, and unfortunately overlooked, article “Cheap help from Uganda” published in Le Monde diplomatique in France.. The article’s subtitle “Slaves To The Private Military In Iraq” pretty much tells you what the article is about.

The article recounts how private security firms won lucrative contracts to supply support staff and security guards to back up US forces in Iraq. The firms recruited Ugandans and pushed them to the limit, on low pay and no benefits.

Of course, this is hardly the first time this has happened. I noted in my book that in in September 2007, a Nevada-based private security ?rm called SOC-SMG started recruiting in Namibia. People there needed jobs, but when news spread about the risks they’d face in Iraq, there was public outcry, and in October Namibia kicked the company’s offcials out of the country.

Still, that episode is useful to recall because SOC-SMG is also mentioned in the Le Monde article.

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Feds remain quiet about probe of defense contractor EOD Technology (EODT)

Josh Flory – (KnoxNews) – October 12, 2011 – It has been 10 months since federal agents raided an East Tennessee defense contractor, and so far the case hasn’t resulted in charges or indictments. That doesn’t mean the government has given up on the case, though.

In December, federal agents targeted EOD Technology with a raid at the company’s facilities in Lenoir City and Roane County, removing paperwork and escorting occupants of the buildings to their vehicles.

The same week, a government official indicated the raid was related to EOD Technology’s work in Iraq. Stuart Bowen, the government’s special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said the Army’s criminal investigation division had helped put the case together and that his agency also works closely with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

At the time, Bowen said “This is not the first, and it won’t be the last, time that we work with those agencies as well as (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to hold accountable those who have taken advantage of the chaotic situation in Iraq for their criminal, personal benefit.”

Since then, the government has had little to say about EODT, but a former government prosecutor from North Carolina said it’s not unusual for a case to take this long.

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Vodka Butt-Shot Contractor (ArmorGroup) STILL Guarding the Kabul Embassy

A spokeswoman for watchdog group POGO said hazing at a camp for security guards went "well beyond partying."

ArmorGroup caused an international scandal and lost its State Department contract. Why’s the company still protecting one of America’s most dangerous diplomatic outposts?

By Daniel Schulman – MOJO – Thu Feb. 17, 2011 – More than a year has passed since the State Department decided to drop its contract [1] with the security firm protecting the US embassy in Kabul, following an international scandal featuring drunken debauchery [2] fit for a Van Wilder flick. But the company that introduced the world to vodka butt-shots is still on the job—and it doesn’t seem to have plans to stand down anytime soon. Long after the expiration of its initial contract, in fact, ArmorGroup North America is currently hiring [3] more guards to protect the Kabul embassy.

The firm sparked controversy in September 2009, when a Washington-based watchdog group sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [4]highlighting a list of violations by the company, from a chronic guard shortage to the hiring of personnel who couldn’t speak English and would be unable to communicate with their colleagues in an emergency. But the most shocking charges concerned what the Project on Government Oversight [5] called a “Lord of the Flies environment”—hazing and wild partying depicted in a series of graphic photographs [6] showing members of the Kabul embassy security force drunk, half-naked, and engaged in an array of NSFW behavior. Read the remainder of this entry »