This is an interesting one that just popped up on my radar. I found it yesterday and posted it on Facebook, and I received multiple viewpoints on what is going on. Everything from it is all GardaWorld’s fault and Ménard is incompetent, to Gardaworld and Ménard is yet another victim of the Afghan legal system and corrupt officials.
For this deal, I was instantly reminded by the readership, as well as personally recalling all of Afghanistan’s past legal shenanigans. Doug mentioned the Bill Shaw story where he was thrown in an Afghan jail on false bribery charges. Trevor mentioned the other GardaWorld story of some contractors that got arrested because they had 30 AK’s on them. Funny that, contractors with guns in a war zone? Of course this story was related to the APPF scheme of seizing the weapons of companies–without paying those companies for said weapons.
Another story mentioned was the arrest of Michael Hearn of Global Strategies Group for not registering their weapons. Those weapons according to the company, were parts guns that were not serviceable, used to repair other AKs. I am sure there are other incidents that I am forgetting, but you get the idea. Kimberly Motley could probably add something to this conversation because of her extensive dealings with the Afghan legal system.
Some other stories of contractors wrongly thrown in Afghan jails include guys like Phillip Young, who thanks to Kimberly’s work, was set free. Another guy I have written about in the past was Robert Langdon, whom is still rotting away in prison.
The other interesting point on this story is Ménard’s background. Michael Yon was highly critical of this leader back when he was a general in the Canadian Arm Forces posted in Afghanistan. But even Michael’s current tone is one of being skeptical as to why he is in an Afghan jail.
I imagine the way this will work out is that he will stay in prison until the company or his family pays the fine. Hopefully he doesn’t stay in prison as long as Bill Shaw. Bill spent two years at Pul-e-Charkhi prison and was fined £16,185! Kimberly was also hot on this case and was instrumental in getting him released. –Matt
Edit: 02/19/2014- Daniel was released from detention. Story here.
Former Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard, the former head of Canadian forces in Afghanistan who now works for private security firm GardaWorld, was detained there since about Jan. 12.
By Allan Woods
Jan 29 2014
Former Canadian brigadier-general Daniel Ménard, who was fined and demoted for having a sexual relationship with a female subordinate, has been sitting in an Afghan jail for nearly three weeks, the Toronto Star has learned.
The former head of Canadian forces in the country, who now works for private security firm GardaWorld, was detained on or about Jan. 12. He was picked up by local authorities after leaving a meeting with Afghan government officials to discuss issues related to the development of Afghan security forces, Joe Gavaghan, a spokesman for the company, said in an interview Wednesday.
“He was leaving a meeting at the ministry office and a couple of officials approached him. They said, ‘We’ve got a problem with something and we’d like you to come with us to clear it up.’ Off he went and the next thing he knew he was going to be detained until they cleared it up.”
Ménard has not been charged with breaking any laws, Gavaghan said, adding the incident is based on an “administrative misunderstanding” related to its licence to operate in Afghanistan as a private security firm.
Gavaghan said the former commander of the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, based out of CFB Valcartier, appeared in a Kabul court Wednesday.
“This involves some kind of administrative issue with our operating licence. It was kind of a technicality. It’s been cleared up and we believe that the individual is going to be released very shortly,” Gavaghan said.
“Right now we’re just trying to do everything we can to make sure there’s no further complications or anything that would delay that.”
Calls and emails seeking information on Wednesday from the Afghan Embassy in Ottawa were not returned.
Ménard has been employed as managing director for Afghanistan by the global security firm GardaWorld since November 2011. Splitting his time between Kabul and the company’s Dubai headquarters, he oversees the GardaWorld’s operations across Afghanistan and manages its contracts with the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations and other companies, according to an online profile.
Canadian embassy officials in Afghanistan are being kept abreast of the situation, said Derek Burney, chairman of GardaWorld’s International Advisory Board.
Company officials in Dubai “have been in contact with the embassy, in fact as recently as (Tuesday) as far as I know, but I have no more detailed information on where matters stand other than that,” he said.
The Foreign Affairs ministry in Ottawa confirmed that “consular services are being provided to a Canadian citizen who has been detained in Afghanistan.”
The incident highlights the difficult and often antagonistic relationship that exists between security firms and the Afghan government, which is to take full responsibility for security in the country after the vast majority of international military forces pull out this year.
“Some companies, particularly from the U.S., have a cowboy reputation and unfortunately when that happens that kind of paints everybody with the same brush,” Gavaghan said.
“You need to be constantly sensitive to cultural differences, the way the company operates, how the government works and just try and do everything you can to be in compliance and have good relationship with all the people that you need to work with.”
In 2010, Ménard was relieved of his duties as commander of Canadian troops in Kandahar after revelations he was having an affair with a lower-ranked soldier.
He had already resigned from the army when he was convicted by a military court of fraternizing while deployed and trying to mislead investigators by asking a military chaplain to convince his lover, Master Cpl. Bianka Langlois, to lie on his behalf.
He was demoted to the rank of colonel and fined $7,000. Langlois, who pled guilty for her part in the affair, was fined $700.
“This happened in the worst place, at the worst time — in a theatre of operation,” said military judge Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d’Auteuil as he handed down the sentence.
Ménard and Langlois began their affair in 2008. While deployed to Afghanistan, the military charge sheet said that they had sexual relations between Nov. 15, 2009 and April 27, 2010.
Prior to this, Ménard was also courtmartialed for mishandling his assault rifle in March 2010, accidentally firing two rounds into the ground while boarding a military helicopter at Kandahar Airfield during a visit from his then-boss, retired general Walter Natynczyk, the former chief of defence staff.