Adam Hermanson 

Security contractor Adam Hermanson at the Swords of Qadisiyyah in Zawra Park, Iraq.

Death and Politics For Contractors–A Cautionary Tale

09/16/2009

     The other day I was watching a show called Democracy Now headlined by Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill, and I was appalled.  They had the family of Adam Hermanson on the show, and the supposed focus was the accidental death of Adam Hermanson in Iraq.  You would think the show would be centered on who did the electrical work that caused the death of this security contractor?  Or maybe even a focus on the lack of management and quality control by the contracting officers and construction company that was tasked with building Camp Olympia and it’s facilities?  But that wasn’t the case, and instead it was a disgusting display of politics.

    What the show presented was Adam’s family being used as pawns by both Amy and Jeremy. Or basically,  the family was being used in Amy and Jeremy’s overall goal of demonizing security contractors in this war. They spent the show ripping apart Triple Canopy, or Obama’s New Blackwater, and chose not to focus on how this accident happened and who was responsible. What an insult to the family and friends!

    Worse yet, every time Jeremy is on that show, Amy plugs his slanderous and poorly researched book about Blackwater.  And during this deal, he was completely cozying up to the family, and wrapping himself up in the death of the ‘poor victim’ of this accident, that happened to be a security contractor. pfftt

    But wait, isn’t that security contractor named Adam Hermanson, a mercenary and member of Obama’s Blackwater (Triple Canopy)? I am just curious on how all of a sudden Adam changes from a ‘blood thirsty, war mongering mercenary’ to victim who so desperately needs Scahill and Goodman to defend them?

    Lets take that a step further.  Would Jeremy or Amy have sat down with Adam when he was alive and have a beer with the guy? How about the family? Oh but love the security contractor when it is politically convenient and could potentially sell books.

    I know I would have liked to of hung out with Adam, because we probably would have known some of the same people.  I know I would have asked him about his contract, and his thoughts about the pay and everything…typical contractor conversation. I just wonder if Adam would have liked to have sat down with Jeremy and Amy, and do the same thing?

   Now if I was to sit down with Adam’s ghost, the conversation would have been a little different. I would have asked him what happened exactly.  Then I would have promised him that I would find out who was responsible for the poor electrical work and managing that work.  That is the least I could do.  I would also ask if he would want Amy and Jeremy to use his memory for political purposes and to sell books, and if he approved of this show.

   Would Adam want his good name associated with these folks that basically would have had nothing to do with him prior to his death? After all, according to these two, Adam’s service to country, both as a contractor and in the military was worthless.  All of the guys that Adam knew that died in the war, all died for a worthless and despicable cause, according Scahill and Goodman, and I wonder what Adam would have thought about that?

    That is what I kept thinking during this show, and it made me want to puke. It pissed me off, because I doubt that Adam would want to have his name associated with a group that certainly despised him and his sacrifice in this war.

     The other angle on this, is that Triple Canopy just lost a family member as well.  They owe it to the family and friends to get the story correct on what exactly happened. That requires an investigation, and that can be difficult to accomplish in some circumstances. It is important to remember that this is a war zone, and not some city in America. The family deserves to know what happened, but they also have to understand that it takes a little bit of work and time to put together exactly what happened in some cases. But I do agree that Triple Canopy should work as fast as possible to get the family all the information and help they need.  The security contracting community and Triple Canopy lost a comrade too, and we all would like to know what happened.

   Now if TC was responsible for the wiring, and they were covering things up to hide some kind of liability for such a thing, then of course they should be held accountable. But listening to Amy and Jeremy, you would think that Triple Canopy is already guilty, and that is politics.

     That brings up another point.  Scahill and Goodman both fueled the idea that Triple Canopy was trying to cover this up. Ok guys, then investigate that responsibly, and see where it goes.  Try being more journalist, than political hacks, and maybe my community and the family would have more respect for what you are doing.

    But instead of focusing on who actually built the facilities, they decided to focus on demonizing the security contracting industry. Is that journalism, or is that an agenda?  It would be like if someone got killed in a freak accident at a movie theater, and then going after the the victim’s employer because you don’t like their employer.  It is a strawman attack, and this bias and distraction does a huge disservice to the family and the memory of Adam.

     So lets talk about Camp Olympia.  According to the comments section at MsSparky’s blog (the Hermanson family has made comments there as well, so that is why it is relevant), the readers had some interesting points to make. I found out about this, just by typing ‘Camp Olympia, Iraq’, in a Google search, and it came up on the first page.

     For one, it is alleged that the First Kuwaiti Construction Company was the company that built up Camp Olympia.(says Sam) This is the same company that built the new Embassy compound in Baghdad.  There is even  a wikipedia page about the company that Jeremy and Amy could have visited, to learn more about the company and it’s history of faulty construction. I know Jeremy and Amy are aware of the construction problems at the embassy, so it is curious why they didn’t make the connection or even do a basic Google search about Camp Olympia?

    According to the wiki, the Washington Post wrote a critical article of the company, ‘both for the physical quality of their work, and for allegations of labor abuse which came to light in testimony given by former First Kuwaiti employees’.

     If I was Adam’s family, those are the folks I would be mad at if they were the ones that were responsible for the construction at the camp.  I would also be angry at the government for not monitoring the construction of the camp and applying some kind of quality control.

    Finally, and I want to leave the reader on this important note.  You should talk with your family about your final wishes if killed out there.(speaking to my fellow security contractors)  Your death, like in the case of Adam Hermanson, could be used by some morally and ethically corrupt individuals who are just trying to sell books and political agendas.

    If you are a family member of a contractor, it would also be wise to think what your loved one’s wishes would have been in regards to relations with the media.  Your actions can forever impact the memory and good name of your deceased loved one, and you need to be protective and respectful of that memory. And in the case of Adam Hermanson, I just don’t think he would have sat down and had a beer with Jeremy Scahill or Amy Goodman while he was alive, and I am pretty sure Adam would not have approved of those two using his good name to sell books and agendas.

    I could be wrong, and I apologize in advance if that is the wishes of Adam.  I am just looking at this, as if I was in Adam’s shoes. I am a security contractor and I have worked in these camps in Iraq. I have seen first hand the burned out trailers caused by electrical fires, and I am completely aware of accidental electrical deaths.  Believe me, I have showered in plenty of facilities that gave me pause.  But I also know enough about the system to put blame, where blame is due.  In the case of Adam Hermanson, the blame needs to be placed on who built the facility, and who was tasked with managing and monitoring that contract.

    Unfortunately, politics seems to be more important to the media these days, than respecting the memory of a security contractor or finding out the truth of what happened to him. –Matt