Posts Tagged law

Call To Action: Support The Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act

Folks, this is a good one to pass around and get the word out. Glen Doherty was one of the four contractors killed at Benghazi back in 2012, and his family was not able to receive death benefits because of how DBA is structured.

Tell congress that you support this bill so that not only will Glen’s family get the benefits they deserve, but also any future families of deceased security contractors will receive the same death benefits.

Below is a summary of the bill with links to where you can read about it’s progress. I have also included a portal to a very easy to use online letter writing tool that can connect you with your representatives. And finally, I have included the latest news on the bill and who supports it. With any luck, we will have a majority, bipartisan support for this thing and it will become law. –Matt 

 

glen-doherty-175d78160d57ca2e

This undated photo provided by Mark and Kate Quigley shows Glen Doherty, who family members say died in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Four Americans were killed at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 along with U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Kate Quigley identifies Doherty as her brother, saying in a media interview he was a former U.S. Navy Seal. (AP Photo/Quigley Family Photo)

 

Write congress here.

 

Introduced in House (01/13/2015)

Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act

Amends the Defense Base Act with respect to payment of death benefits otherwise due a widow, widower, or surviving child of an individual employed at a military, air, or naval base outside of the United States who dies as a result of a war-risk hazard or act of terrorism occurring on or after September 11, 2001, when there is no person eligible for a death benefit under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Requires payment in such a case to:

a beneficiary designated by the deceased, or
the next of kin or the estate of the deceased under applicable state law if there is no designated beneficiary.
Requires benefits to be paid from the Employees’ Compensation Fund.

Congress.gov link here.
Govtrack.us link here.

US Sen. Ed Markey pushes bill to support family of Massachusetts man killed in 2012 Benghazi attack
By Shannon Young
December 09, 2015
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced legislation this week that seeks to ensure the families of federal contractors who died as the result of a war-risk hazard or terrorist act receive full death benefits.
Named after the Winchester, Mass. native and former Navy SEAL killed in the Libyan consulate attack in 2012, the “Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act” would fix an omission in federal law the bars families from receiving full benefits if a contractor was unmarried with no dependents at the time of his or her death, Markey’s office said.
The bill would modify the Defense Base Act of 1941 to allow payment of death benefits otherwise due to a surviving spouse or child to the surviving next of kin. According to the senator’s office it would specifically require payment to a beneficiary designated by the deceased or the next of kin or estate of the deceased under applicable state law. Benefits would be paid from the Employees’ Compensation Fund.

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Legal News: Senate Passes Key Defense Policy Bill Filled With Contractor Oversight Mechanisms

     The key thing here is that this bill was passed just in time to deal with DynCorp’s billion dollar contract.  Which is great.  I would certainly hope that the government would actually care about how this money is spent and that they get their money’s worth.  Although my view on the thing is that actions speak louder than words, and I will believe it when I see some actual adult supervision on this stuff.

     I really liked the last provision listed which “prohibits small arms contracts from being awarded on a sole source basis and require those contracts be awarded based on full and open competition in order to get the best weapons for our troops in combat.” Wow, that is cool! Hopefully this will open up things a little to all companies out there, and contribute to a truly innovative and vibrant competition that would result in getting the best possible weapons into the hands of the troops. –Matt

Senate Passes Key Defense Policy Bill with McCaskill Provisions

December 22, 2010

Senator’s provisions will improve healthcare and benefits for military, increase contracting oversight, and address F/A-18 shortfall.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill applauded the passage of a major defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2011, which was passed unanimously by the Senate this morning. The NDAA outlines funding levels for the Department of Defense (DoD) for the coming fiscal year and addresses major defense policy matters. When the bill passed the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCaskill, who serves as a member of the committee, was able to win inclusion of several important amendments in the bill that will help improve access to healthcare for the military and improve oversight of DoD contractors. Despite fairly significant changes to the bill before final passage, many of her measures were included in the final bill.

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Legal News: New Legislation–The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act

    Well, we will see how it goes.  I just hope that if this does pass through congress, that those who continue to use the argument that contractors are ‘above the law’ or immune, will finally shut up. We have the MEJA, UCMJ, SOFA’s and MOA’s of other countries and now they want to do CEJA? Phewww, and I am probably missing a few. Maybe the military, congress and countries should look at just enforcing what laws they already have on the books, as opposed to making up new ones all the time? But that would take leadership and effort.

    What I don’t want to see though, are laws that will endanger the lives of contractors or reduce their ability to properly defend  persons or property in this war. Or turn contractors into politically expedient targets of opportunity for unscrupulous politicians or agenda driven folks who could care less about the rights of individuals in my industry. Not to mention that our various enemies throughout this war, will use these laws to their advantage and create all and any situation that will force a violation of these laws.

     Overall, I support any laws that further legitimize this industry, but I am always wary of the final product and how that law is interpreted and used by all.  David Isenberg wrote a story about the CEJA as well, and you can check it out here. –Matt

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PRICE, LEAHY INTRODUCE BILL TO HOLD AMERICAN CONTRACTORS OVERSEAS ACCOUNTABLE UNDER U.S. LAW

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Washington, D.C. –  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) Tuesday introduced companion bills in the House and Senate to ensure accountability under U.S. law for American contractors and employees working abroad.  The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA) will close a gap in current law to make certain that American government employees and contractors are not immune from prosecution for crimes committed overseas.

The legislation follows efforts in previous Congresses by Leahy, Price and others, including then-Senator Barack Obama, to provide for prosecution of violations of U.S. law by Americans working overseas for the U.S. government.  Recent examples, including the violent rape of Jamie Leigh Jones, a contractor with Halliburton, while stationed in Iraq, and the killing of unarmed civilians in Baghdad by private security contractors with Blackwater, have further highlighted the need for this legislation.  Jones testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October.

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Legal News: Rep. David Price Introduces the Transparency and Accountability in Security Contracting Act (HR 2177)

   Wow, I caught this over at Private Military Herald, and thought it to be pretty cool.  Rep. David Price is introducing some legislation that I think is fantastic.  And please read below what his intentions are, because this is from his personal blog. His goal is not to shut us down, his goal is to find ways to better manage this industry, so we can go out there and do great things for this country and even for this world. Just read this passage from below, and tell me that isn’t motivating?

      As pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have surged, private vessels have increasingly sought protection from security contractors.  As the U.S. presence surges in Afghanistan, experts expect the presence of security contractors to surge as well.  And, as we struggle to confront genocide in Darfur, many have suggested using private contractors in place of U.S. or international troops.  It is critical that we have a regulatory regime in place to effectively manage and oversee security contractors now and in the future – whether in Afghanistan, Sudan, or on the high seas – and that’s why I recently reintroduced my Transparency and Accountability in Security Contracting Act  (H.R. 2177).

      That doesn’t sound like ‘PMC’s are not legitimate forces’ crazy talk or ‘abolish the bloodthirsty mercenaries’ talk, this actually sounds like…gulp…. should I say it?  Acceptance?  Oh say it isn’t so, and Max Weber is certainly rolling in his grave right now. lol  

     Seriously though, I think this is great and let’s see if it passes. In the comments section, I also mentioned that Incident Command would be a good one to throw in there as well, because then that would give us the ability to interact better in disaster relief operations nationally. PSC’s and PMC’s could also be registered in the Federal databases for disaster relief or national security related issues for that matter. I brought up the example of the Katrina Hurricane, and how PSC’s and PMC’s could have used Incident Command, but didn’t because it wasn’t mandated.  That if we were following the 2004 DHS mandate about such things, that effort could have been more organized and more efficient, which absolutely equates to saving lives when time is everything in those types of incidents.

   I also brought up the Federal Fire Services here in the US, and how they have organized and standardized fire fighting protocols for both the federal agencies and private industries involved.  I have talked about that here on FJ before, and this would be one way to implement the legislation outlined below. If any aides for Rep. Price are reading this, please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more, or use the search feature on FJ.  –Matt

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Better Oversight on Private Security Contractors (Rep. David Price)

May 1st, 2009

When I first started working to improve management and oversight of Private Security Contractors (PSCs) in 2004, observers described Iraq as a Wild West – a place where PSCs could shoot up buildings and people without any law enforcement in sight.  Indeed, between 2004 and 2007, there were numerous incidents in which rogue contractors attacked innocent civilians without any repercussion.  The infamous 2007 incident in which Blackwater contractors killed 17 civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square was the shocking coda to this era.

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History: U.S. Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 81-Piracy and Privateering

   So there you have it, a legal framework for how to deal with piracy or fire up the privateer machine to go after these Somali pirates.  It’s a little old, but blow off the dust and do a little tweaking, and these old laws could definitely be applied to this modern day scourge of piracy

   All kidding aside, if you really get into the language of these laws, you can totally get a feel for what that era was like back then.  It was part business, part warfare, and this was our attempt at regulating this massive industry back then.  Crude-yes, but at least they were rules to keep everyone in line.  Something we can certainly learn from. –Matt

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U.S. Code 

TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 81

CHAPTER 81—PIRACY AND PRIVATEERING

1651. Piracy under law of nations

Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.

1652. Citizens as pirates

Whoever, being a citizen of the United States, commits any murder or robbery, or any act of hostility against the United States, or against any citizen thereof, on the high seas, under color of any commission from any foreign prince, or state, or on pretense of authority from any person, is a pirate, and shall be imprisoned for life.

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Maritime Security: Pirate-Chasers Find Busting Brigands Is Easier Than Trying Them

   This article brings up some of the legal problems of chasing pirates.  What do you do with them, if you happen to capture one?  I say we send them all to Sherif Joe’s tent city in Arizona, after we figure out a legal mechanism to try them. They would look sharp in pink. lol –Matt

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Pirate-Chasers Find Busting Brigands Is Easier Than Trying Them 

By Gregory Viscusi

March 26 (Bloomberg) — The world’s navies have gotten better at catching Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Now they have to figure out how to bring them to justice.

European Union and U.S. naval forces have captured dozens of presumed brigands in recent months after beefing up their presence in the Gulf of Aden, the world’s most dangerous waters. Most have been let go or dumped on the shores of neighboring Somalia because of a lack of evidence or confusion over what jurisdiction can prosecute them.

“International law is very clear about giving any warship from any sovereign nation the right to suppress piracy in international waters,” said John Kimball, a maritime expert at law firm Blank Rome LLP in New York. “But it’s a messy burden. They need to be processed and given trials. Not many governments are willing to do this.”

Spurred by a spike in piracy last year, about 20 warships from 15 countries are patrolling the gulf between Yemen and Somalia, and nearby waters. Pirates assaulted 165 ships last year, seizing 43 of them for ransom, with 10 boats taken in November alone. Only five ships have been seized so far this year, and only one this month.

Since last August, when international naval forces began aggressively patrolling off Somalia, 127 presumed pirates have been apprehended and then released, according to the U.S. Navy. Another 35 are awaiting trial in Europe or Kenya, and 91 were handed over to authorities of Somalia’s various entities. At least three have been killed in gun battles with French and British commandos.

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