Archive for category Legal News

Legal News: AdvantFort And The MV Seaman Guard Ohio Incident

In 2013, one of AdvanFort’s vessels, the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, was transporting its security guards between missions when it was boarded by Indian Police and its crew arrested on suspicion of illegally possessing weapons and illegally taking on fuel.
Two years on and the men, who have spent months in Indian jails and been barred from leaving the country as legal arguments flow back and forth, claim they have been left high and dry by their employer.
The men, who each earned about £3,000 a month, have not been paid since their arrest and AdvanFort has also failed to pay any of their mounting legal costs, according to Lisa Dunn, the sister of detainee Nick Dunn.
A recent hotel bill of about £12,000 was left unpaid by the firm.
“These men are dealing with the consequences for something they haven’t done,” Ms Dunn said.

This is another legal story that needs to get out there. These men have been rotting away in an Indian jail while the trials and politics keep driving this thing. It is ridiculous. What is also ridiculous is how horribly AdvantFort has handled this. (See the quote up top) I imagine the former contractors and family will be pursuing legal action against the company after India finally lets them go. –Matt



Families of Britons facing Indian weapons charges speak out
19 October 2015
The families of British men facing trial in India on weapons charges have spoken out on the second anniversary of their arrest.
John Armstrong, from Wigton, Cumbria, and Nick Dunn, of Ashington, Northumberland, were among six Britons working as maritime security guards on a ship monitoring pirates.
The charges were dropped, but following an appeal by police the Indian Supreme Court ruled a trial must be staged.
It is due to begin shortly.
‘Remain positive’
The men were employed by American-based anti-piracy firm AdvanFort which charges clients up to £60,000 a time for armed guards to escort ships across a high-risk area between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea known as Pirate Alley.
The MV Seaman Guard Ohio was transporting its security guards between missions when it was boarded by police and its crew arrested on suspicion of illegally possessing weapons and illegally taking on fuel.
Mr Armstrong’s sister, Joanne Thomlinson, said: “We tried not to think about the second anniversary too much. I think it’s better to look forward and try to focus on the trial and remain positive.
“I don’t think we’ve got Christmas as a goal [for him to return home] in our heads. It’s difficult to put a timeframe on what’s happening.”
Mr Dunn’s sister, Lisa, told BBC Newcastle: “It affects us every single second of every single day and has done for two years.”

Story here.

AdvanFort accused of abandoning British men facing India trial
7 September 2015
AdvanFort is a maritime security firm that operates anti-piracy escorts in high risk areas
As six British maritime security guards prepare to face trial in India charged with illegal possession of weapons, the company they were working for is accused of abandoning them. But did AdvanFort put the men at risk of being arrested by breaching international laws?
AdvanFort is an American-based anti-piracy firm that charges clients up to £60,000 a time for armed guards to escort ships across a high-risk area between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea known as Pirate Alley.

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Legal News: Free Raven 23

Well it is good to be back home and I have been playing catch up on the latest news coming from the PMSC world.  On Facebook and Linkedin I have been able to connect with lots of great people and friends, and I have been getting some outstanding information from the community.

For my first post on the blog I found this outstanding organization being run by the friends and family of Raven 23 and I wanted to get their message out there. For those that do not know who Raven 23 are, here is a quick run down of what happened to them from their support website.

Paul Slough, Dustin Heard, Nick Slatten and Evan Liberty set out with 15 of their Blackwater teammates as part of Tactical Support Team Raven 23, to secure a busy square in Baghdad’s Red Zone. Blackwater, under contract with the U.S. Department of State, was responsible (among other things) for diplomatic security in the country of Iraq.

Raven 23 was responding to a distress call from another team which had been attacked on venue. In the distance, they could see the large plume of black smoke where a VBIED (vehicle-born improvised explosive device) had been detonated. They were to secure a route of egress through Nisour Square, which was a task they had completed numerous times previously; a seemingly straightforward task. Unfortunately, things haven’t been straightforward since.

After all four vehicles in the convoy had taken up their positions in the square, a white Kia lurched out of stopped traffic towards the convoy, and the security team used escalating force to stop the vehicle. They had to consider the risk of this vehicle also being a VBIED very seriously, as coordinated attacks were on the rise. There was a pattern developing where enemy forces would make an attack for the sole purpose of perpetrating a second, larger attack on responding forces. Eight team members, not including the four defendants, testified that they either perceived the white Kia to be a threat, or that they agreed that from other points of view in the convoy that it could be perceived a threat. No one should have been convicted of anything related to the white Kia based on this testimony alone, but that is only a fraction of the story.

The four vehicles were set up in a moon shape stretching along the southern side of the traffic circle. The third vehicle (the Command Vehicle), which contained three of the defendants (Liberty, Slatten & Slough) was facing directly into the south of the square, broadside to all oncoming traffic in that direction.

Almost simultaneously to the white Kia threat, the convoy began receiving incoming small arms fire (AK-47), disabling the Command Vehicle which subsequently had to be towed. The side of the vehicle was pock marked by the incoming fire, and a teammate in the vehicle behind began yelling that they were taking contact (fire) from people dressed as Iraqi Police. Whether or not they were actually employed as Iraqi Police we will never know, as IP uniforms are as readily available in the street markets of Iraq as fake designer bags are on the side streets of Washington, D.C.

All of the incoming fire, and the fact that it was coming from people dressed as Iraqi Police, was documented on the team’s contact logs. To believe that the team was not under attack would be to believe that multiple individuals either scripted the entire thing in advance or that they ad-libbed an entire attack while simultaneously participating in a one-sided gunfight, both of which are entirely ludicrous, and contrary to eyewitness testimony and physical evidence.

A complicated firefight ensued as the team hooked up a tow rope from one vehicle to the other, and tried to exit the circle to the north. The exit was made even more complicated by the fact that part of the circle was closed to traffic due to repairs being made from a VBIED just a few months prior. Eventually, almost ten minutes later, the team was able to exit the circle and return to the Green Zone.

What I wanted to share was the touching and impactful video that the friends and family put together, to present their side of the case.  To highlight the politics, and the inconsistencies presented by the prosecution. The full weight and force of the US government legal system was brought to bear on these men, and I feel it is only right to present their side of the whole deal.

If you feel like supporting Free Raven 23, I have provided some links to their website and FB page. From there you can sign petitions and donate money to help out the families.  –Matt



Website for Free Raven 23 here.

Facebook page for Free Raven 23 here.

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Legal News: Leahy, Price Reintroduce CEJA Bill

Interesting news on the legal front. The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act has been brought up before in the past to give DoJ the jurisdiction necessary to prosecute non-military related contractors. Which is a significant portion of US government contractors. This group would include DoS or ‘other government agency’ type contractors, and this legislation would close that gap. Currently the MEJA covers military related contractors.

Why this is important, and especially now, is that contractors currently work in countries where they are not covered by a SOFA or have immunity. They are basically at the mercy of the local judicial process.  CEJA, like MEJA, would give the US government jurisdiction over contractors that it hires for work in these countries that have no SOFA in place to cover them. Iraq is an example of such arrangement and WPS guys and embassy protection forces are there, currently working for DoS.  CEJA would give jurisdiction for prosecution to the US government.

In other words, if you ran into trouble, would you rather be tried in a US legal system or some overseas third world court run by corrupt officials?

Another point with the CEJA is that it further legitimizes the PMSC industry. It helps to take away that argument that we are somehow ‘above the law’ or untouchable. Clients of our services will benefit from having a protective force that can be held accountable.

It will also contribute to a speedier trial. Just ask the contractors involved with the Nisour Square incident, that have been in a legal mess for years. The legal jurisdiction has been a factor.

So we will see where this goes. One critique I do have in regards to this press release is the mention of Jamie Leigh Jones and her case. Whereas the jurisdictional questions about her case are valid to bring up, I find it disingenuous to not mention the fact that she lied about the whole thing.

To read up on the past issues with the CEJA, check out David Isenberg’s commentary on it over the years. Here is a copy of the latest bill and the Congressional Research Service wrote a report on the particulars of why a CEJA is the right thing to do. We will see how the committee treats this one. –Matt


Senator Patrick Leahy in a committee.


Leahy, Price introduce legislation to hold American contractors overseas accountable
News Release — Sen. Patrick Leahy

July 14, 2014
Contact:?Jessica Brady (w/Leahy) – 202-224-7703?Andrew High (w/Price) – 202-225-1784
Also helps lay groundwork for eventual preclearance arrangements in restoring Vermont-to-Montreal passenger rail service??WASHINGTON (MONDAY, July 14, 2014) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) renewed their partnership on bicameral legislation to provide accountability for American contractors and government employees working abroad.
The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA), which the lawmakers introduced Monday, would close a gap in current law and ensure that government employees and contractors working overseas can be prosecuted for criminal acts they commit abroad. The two lawmakers have worked together on the legislation for years.
The legislation allows the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute government contractors and employees for certain crimes committed overseas. Tragedies like the 2007 killing of unarmed civilians in Baghdad by private security contractors with Blackwater underscore the need for clear jurisdiction and trained investigative and prosecutorial task forces able to hold wrongdoers accountable. Four Blackwater guards involved in the Nisour Square shooting are currently on trial.
“The Blackwater trial is only just now under way, seven years after this tragedy, and the defendants continue to argue in court that the U.S. government does not have jurisdiction to prosecute them,” Senator Leahy said. “This bill would also provide greater protection to American victims of crime, as it would lead to more accountability for crimes committed by U.S. government contractors and employees against Americans working abroad.”

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Legal News: GardaWorld’s Daniel Ménard Thrown In Afghan Jail

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.”

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Books: Civilian Warriors, By Erik Prince

This is the much anticipated book by Erik Prince about his former company.  You can go to Amazon and pre-order, or wait until November and check out all of the various book stores and sites that Penguin Group is releasing it at.

One thing that has come up recently about the book is a lawsuit between Prince and one of his ghost writers. We will see how that turns out and how the book sells. –Matt

Pre-order the book here.

Edit: 12/17/13– Prince has been doing tons of interviews to promote his book. Probably the best one has been The Daily Show. Check it out.



Summary of Civilian Warriors
The founder of Blackwater offers the gripping, previously untold story of the world’s most controversial military contractor

Blackwater is one of the most misunderstood companies of our time. As Erik Prince, its founder and former CEO, writes:

“Hundreds of American citizens employed by private military contractors, or PMCs, would lose their lives helping our government wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, only to have their memory tarnished by the unfair and/or ignorant depiction of PMCs as profiteers, jackbooted thugs, or worse.”

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Legal News: Returning Wounded Contractors Face Second Battle, Against AIG

This is a good article in regards to the nitty gritty of dealing with DBA ‘potential’ pitfalls, if you get injured as a contractor. I say potential, because not all contractors have had these horror stories with DBA and their dealings with AIG.

But if you are having issues with DBA, then the cool thing about this story is it has identified one of the country’s best DBA claims lawyers–Gary Pitts. His firm would be a good resource if you are coming up against some problems with your claim. –Matt


After his rig bottomed out in a bomb crater, AIG made former KBR trucker David Boiles of Willis suffer through 14 months of agonizing back pain and sciatica before they authorized surgery.

Returning War Contractors Face Second Battle, Against AIG
Whatever your role in the U.S. war effort, if you were injured overseas, at least you’d be covered back home, right?
By John Nova Lomax
Wednesday, Nov 14 2012
Ever since that June day in 2010 when the roadside bomb detonated ten feet from the cab of his truck on a dusty road in Iraq, Terry Enzweiler has not been the same. He gets lost coming back from the same grocery store he’s shopped in hundreds of times; his daughter had to buy him a GPS to help him navigate his own neighborhood. He takes Xanax and Zoloft to combat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The Xanax stops me from jumping through the roof when a pencil falls on the floor,” he says.
Even medicated, his blood still curdles when he hears Arabic spoken on TV or drives through one of the Chicago area’s Muslim neighborhoods. He wore earplugs for much of the week leading up to and right through the Fourth of July. “Those half-sticks sound just like a .50-cal,” he says, referring to a type of heavy machine gun.
The chuck-chuck of helicopter blades terrifies him, as does the sight of his own 25-year-old son. In Iraq, 46-year-old Enzweiler, a recent client of Houston attorney Gary Pitts, saw a dead Iraqi child who looked just like his boy did 13 years ago. “My psychiatrist said it’s like a marriage where there’s been infidelity,” he says in a phone interview. “The wife forgives the husband. Two years later, she sees a blond woman in a blue dress. Two years prior, the other woman looked like that. So in the mind, the two images come together, and for absolutely no reason, you become furious, and your subconscious takes over. It’s the same thing now. When I see my son, I think of that kid. I saw some horribly gruesome stuff over there.”

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