PDA

View Full Version : Blackwater Heavies Sue Families of Slain Employees for $10 Million


Fishpicker
06-10-2007, 10:06 AM
from Alternet (http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/53460/)

The following article is by the lawyers representing the families of four American contractors who worked for Blackwater and were killed in Fallujah. After Blackwater refused to share information about why they were killed, the families were told they would have to sue Blackwater to find out. Now Blackwater is trying to sue them for $10 million to keep them quiet.

Raleigh, NC -- The families of four American security contractors who were burned, beaten, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and their decapitated bodies hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River on March 31, 2004, are reaching out to the American public to help protect themselves against the very company their loved ones were serving when killed, Blackwater Security Consulting. After Blackwater lost a series of appeals all the away to the U.S. Supreme Court, Blackwater has now changed its tactics and is suing the dead men's estates for $10 million to silence the families and keep them out of court.

Following these gruesome deaths which were broadcast on worldwide television, the surviving family members looked to Blackwater for answers as to how and why their loved ones died. Blackwater not only refused to give the grieving families any information, but also callously stated that they would need to sue Blackwater to get it. Left with no alternative, in January 2005, the families filed suit against Blackwater, which is owned by the wealthy and politically-connected Erik Prince.

Blackwater quickly adapted its battlefield tactics to the courtroom. It initially hired Fred F. Fielding, who is currently counsel to the President of the United States. It then hired Joseph E. Schmitz as its in-house counsel, who was formerly the Inspector General at the Pentagon. More recently, Blackwater employed Kenneth Starr, famed prosecutor in the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, to oppose the families. To add additional muscle, Blackwater hired Cofer Black, who was the Director of the CIA Counter- Terrorist Center.

After filing its suit against the dead men's estates, Blackwater demanded that its claim and the families' existing lawsuit be handled in a private arbitration. By suing the families in arbitration, Blackwater has attempted to move the examination of their wrongful conduct outside of the eye of the public and away from a jury. This comes at the same time when Congress is investigating Blackwater.

Over 300 contractors have been killed in Iraq with very little inquiry into their deaths. The families claim that Blackwater is attempting to cover up its incompetence, its cutting of corners in favor of higher profits, and its over billing to the government. Due to lack of accountability and oversight, Blackwater's private army has been able to obtain huge profits from the government, utilizing contacts established through Erik Prince's relationships with high-ranking government officials such as Cofer Black and Joseph Schmitz.

In addition to assembling its litigation troops, Blackwater also stonewalled the families concerning any information about how the men were killed. Over the past two and a half years, Blackwater has not responded to a single question or produced a single document. When the families' attorneys, Callahan & Blaine, obtained a Court Order to take the deposition of a former Blackwater employee with critical information about the incident, Blackwater quickly re-hired him and sent him out of the country. When the witness returned to the United States more than a year later, the families obtained another Court Order for his deposition. Blackwater again prevented them from taking his deposition by seeking the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office to block the deposition under the guise that he possibly possessed national secrets. Following an investigation, the U.S. Army reported that the witness had no secret information and that it had no objection to the deposition.

Blackwater has now lifted this atrocity to a whole new level by going on the offensive and suing the families for $10 million. The families now find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun as Blackwater, armed with a war chest and politically-connected attorneys, is aggressively litigating against them. Blackwater has also threatened to hold the administrator of the estates personally liable to scare him into abandoning his position, and has threatened the families' attorneys as well.

The families are simply without the financial wherewithal to defend against Blackwater. By filing suit, Blackwater is trying to wipe out the families' ability to discover the truth about Blackwater's involvement in the deaths of these four Americans and to silence them from any public comment. In February, the families testified before Congress.

However, Blackwater's lawsuit now seeks to gag the family members from even speaking about the incident or about Blackwater's involvement in the deaths. This is a direct attack to their free speech rights under the First Amendment.

"I initially took this case because it was the right thing to do in helping the families find closure by discovering the events surrounding their loved ones deaths, " said Daniel J. Callahan, attorney for the families. "I have found the evidence concerning Blackwater's involvement in the deaths to be overwhelming and appalling. Even more disturbing though is the callous nature in which Blackwater has not only concealed the truth, but also outright sued to force the families to stop pursuing the case and to silence them." Blackwater has spent millions of dollars and hired at least five different law firms to fight the families, rather than meeting and addressing what should be Blackwater's top priority -- the safety and well being of the mothers, wives, and children left behind. Blackwater has said that it will not pay one red cent to assist or console the surviving families, but instead has counter sued for $10 million.

Without help, Blackwater will succeed in avoiding scrutiny for its conduct, escaping accountability for its actions, and silencing the families of the four Americans killed in Fallujah. A defense fund has been established by which the public is able to donate money to assist the families with litigation costs and expenses.

Donations can be sent to the estates' trust account, payable to "C&B ITF Blackwater Victims Defense Fund," c/o Callahan & Blaine, 3 Hutton Centre Drive, Ninth Floor, Santa Ana, California 92707. Donations may also be made securely online through PayPal by going to blackwatervictims.com. All donations will be kept confidential and anonymous.

:cuss:

Adept Havelock
06-10-2007, 11:58 AM
A Company that makes money off supplying mercenaries (err..."private contractors) acting like this? What a shock. (Yes, I'm prejudiced against mercs. If you're going to fight for your nation, put on it's uniform. JMO.)

Good luck to the families.

patteeu
06-10-2007, 12:58 PM
Alternet is a joke.

Regardless of the merits of this story, the reporter failed to include at least one key fact in his story. What are the grounds for Blackwater's countersuit? The motivation may well be to keep the families silent, but without knowing the basis for the suit, the reader has no way to judge that conclusion.

Bob Dole
06-10-2007, 01:11 PM
A Company that makes money off supplying mercenaries (err..."private contractors) acting like this? What a shock. (Yes, I'm prejudiced against mercs. If you're going to fight for your nation, put on it's uniform. JMO.)

Good luck to the families.

So the mercenar, er private contractors are good. The company paying the private contractors is bad.

Got it.

Pitt Gorilla
06-10-2007, 01:29 PM
Alternet is a joke.

Regardless of the merits of this story, the reporter failed to include at least one key fact in his story. What are the grounds for Blackwater's countersuit? The motivation may well be to keep the families silent, but without knowing the basis for the suit, the reader has no way to judge that conclusion.You read this story and this is what you took from it?

trndobrd
06-10-2007, 04:27 PM
The following article is by the lawyers representing...





You had me at 'hello'.

Direckshun
06-10-2007, 05:45 PM
You read this story and this is what you took from it?
He's right.

It may strike a reaction in your gut to hear "Blackwater suing to keep their families quiet" but it doesn't make a lick of sense without hearing a basis for the suit.

Adept Havelock
06-10-2007, 07:48 PM
So the mercenar, er private contractors are good. The company paying the private contractors is bad.

Got it.


I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion...The families of the mercs are the only thing I commented positively on.

Enjoy your misapprehension.

patteeu
06-10-2007, 09:22 PM
He's right.

It may strike a reaction in your gut to hear "Blackwater suing to keep their families quiet" but it doesn't make a lick of sense without hearing a basis for the suit.

Thanks. I did make one pretty big mistake though. I completely missed that this was written by the lawyers for the families (the very first sentence, no less). That explains why it is so biased and other than the fact that they printed it, alternet didn't deserve my thought that it editorial bias. OTOH, Alternet is still a joke based on past experience, IMO.

Saggysack
06-11-2007, 05:11 AM
A Company that makes money off supplying mercenaries (err..."private contractors) acting like this? What a shock. (Yes, I'm prejudiced against mercs. If you're going to fight for your nation, put on it's uniform. JMO.)

Good luck to the families.

Mercenaries are hired to kill. Attack targets and such.

PDC's are hired to protect. Defend targets and such.

How many raids have you seen PDC's leading? How many combat operations have you seen them involved in. None.

Bob Dole
06-11-2007, 05:50 AM
I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion...The families of the mercs are the only thing I commented positively on.

Enjoy your misapprehension.

If you're pulling for the families, aren't you by definition pushing against their opponent in the lawsuits (Blackwater)?

Maybe there's a win-win here that you'd care to point out.

You know, it sucks that they died, and it really sucks the way it played out. But the victims knew damned good and well the risk they were assuming when they accepted the $9k per month job. It was a calculated risk, and they lost.

Move on.

Fishpicker
06-11-2007, 08:26 AM
If you're pulling for the families, aren't you by definition pushing against their opponent in the lawsuits (Blackwater)?

Maybe there's a win-win here that you'd care to point out.

You know, it sucks that they died, and it really sucks the way it played out. But the victims knew damned good and well the risk they were assuming when they accepted the $9k per month job. It was a calculated risk, and they lost.

Move on.


<object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/DeOM9L-yoZE"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/DeOM9L-yoZE" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>

:rolleyes:

Cave Johnson
06-11-2007, 09:30 AM
You know, it sucks that they died, and it really sucks the way it played out. But the victims knew damned good and well the risk they were assuming when they accepted the $9k per month job. It was a calculated risk, and they lost.

I'm not sure how much familarity you have with this case, but the families are alleging that Blackwater violated their own protocols (or contract) by requiring the mercs to perform missions with inadequate personnel.

"The fact that these four Americans found themselves located in the high-risk, war-torn city of Fallujah without armored vehicles, automatic weapons and fewer than the minimum number of team members was no accident," the lawsuit said. "Instead, this team was sent out without the required equipment and personnel by those in charge at Blackwater."

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11772

You're entitled to your opinion, but it's certainly within their right to sue for Blackwater's violation of the terms of their employment.

Cochise
06-11-2007, 09:35 AM
You know, it sucks that they died, and it really sucks the way it played out. But the victims knew damned good and well the risk they were assuming when they accepted the $9k per month job. It was a calculated risk, and they lost.

Move on.

Exactly, it does suck, but they knew the risks.

Adept Havelock
06-11-2007, 10:54 AM
Mercenaries are hired to kill. Attack targets and such.

PDC's are hired to protect. Defend targets and such.

How many raids have you seen PDC's leading? How many combat operations have you seen them involved in. None.

Sorry, to me a hired gun is a hired gun. In a war zone if you aren't wearing a National uniform you're a mercenary (and IMO, largely a POS). No matter how you dress up the term... :shrug:

They wanted higher pay than they could find in service to their nation, they paid the price. For them, I really don't have much sympathy.

That said, if the company violated it's own agreements with the mercs, from my POV the family members do have a case. I do feel sad for them.

JMO

Simply Red
06-11-2007, 11:03 AM
BEEN STANDIN' AROUND SUCKING ON MY BIG OL' CHILIDOG!!

Nightwish
06-11-2007, 11:25 AM
As rare as it is that I ever agree with anything patteeu says (other than about music), I would also like to hear the grounds for Blackwater's 10M lawsuit before jumping to conclusions about their motives.

Logical
06-11-2007, 09:52 PM
As rare as it is that I ever agree with anything patteeu says (other than about music), I would also like to hear the grounds for Blackwater's 10M lawsuit before jumping to conclusions about their motives.
Here you go: (sorry about the lack of paragraphs, if you go to the website it is properly formatted)

http://starbulletin.com/2007/01/20/business/story02.html

RALEIGH, N.C. Private security contractor Blackwater USA is seeking $10 million from the attorney representing the estates of four employees killed and mutilated in Iraq, arguing their families breached the security guards' contracts by suing the company for wrongful death. A frenzied mob of insurgents ambushed Paauilo resident Wesley J.K. Batalona, Scott Helvenston, Jerko "Jerry" Zovko, and Michael R. Teague in March 2004 as they escorted a supply convoy through Fallujah, Iraq. The insurgents burned and mutilated the guards and strung two of the bodies from a bridge. The gruesome scene, caught on camera and broadcast worldwide, prompted the U.S. military to launch a three-week siege of Fallujah. The families said yesterday that Blackwater also has asked a federal court to move the dispute into arbitration, having failed so far in its ongoing efforts to have the lawsuit dismissed. Arbitration is necessary "in order to safeguard both (Blackwater's) own confidential information as well as sensitive information implicating the interest of the United States at war," attorneys for Blackwater Security Consulting, a unit of Moyock-based Blackwater USA, wrote in a petition filed December 20. Dan Callahan, a California-based attorney representing the families, called the claim "appalling." "This is a shock-and-awe tactic," Callahan said yesterday. Blackwater's attorneys declined to comment. The four families, represented by estates administrator Richard Nordan, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Blackwater in January 2005 in state court. Family members argue Blackwater broke contractual obligations and used cost-saving measures that ultimately led to the deaths of the four men. Blackwater's counterclaim for $10 million specifically names Nordan and not the estates or the men's families. "The $10 million is a scare tactic," said Katy Helvenston, mother of Scott Helvenston. "I'm not concerned about that at all because the whole thing's a farce. It's just another excuse to delay."

Fishpicker
06-11-2007, 10:30 PM
Here you go: (sorry about the lack of paragraphs, if you go to the website it is properly formatted)

http://starbulletin.com/2007/01/20/business/story02.html

RALEIGH, N.C. Private security contractor Blackwater USA is seeking $10 million from the attorney representing the estates of four employees killed and mutilated in Iraq, arguing their families breached the security guards' contracts by suing the company for wrongful death. A frenzied mob of insurgents ambushed Paauilo resident Wesley J.K. Batalona, Scott Helvenston, Jerko "Jerry" Zovko, and Michael R. Teague in March 2004 as they escorted a supply convoy through Fallujah, Iraq. The insurgents burned and mutilated the guards and strung two of the bodies from a bridge. The gruesome scene, caught on camera and broadcast worldwide, prompted the U.S. military to launch a three-week siege of Fallujah. The families said yesterday that Blackwater also has asked a federal court to move the dispute into arbitration, having failed so far in its ongoing efforts to have the lawsuit dismissed. Arbitration is necessary "in order to safeguard both (Blackwater's) own confidential information as well as sensitive information implicating the interest of the United States at war," attorneys for Blackwater Security Consulting, a unit of Moyock-based Blackwater USA, wrote in a petition filed December 20. Dan Callahan, a California-based attorney representing the families, called the claim "appalling." "This is a shock-and-awe tactic," Callahan said yesterday. Blackwater's attorneys declined to comment. The four families, represented by estates administrator Richard Nordan, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Blackwater in January 2005 in state court. Family members argue Blackwater broke contractual obligations and used cost-saving measures that ultimately led to the deaths of the four men. Blackwater's counterclaim for $10 million specifically names Nordan and not the estates or the men's families. "The $10 million is a scare tactic," said Katy Helvenston, mother of Scott Helvenston. "I'm not concerned about that at all because the whole thing's a farce. It's just another excuse to delay."


good find... I've been looking for a while. if anyone is intersted in hearing what the families have to say, just look up Iraq for sale on google video. the(se) families are featured in the film.

Saggysack
06-11-2007, 11:19 PM
Sorry, to me a hired gun is a hired gun. In a war zone if you aren't wearing a National uniform you're a mercenary (and IMO, largely a POS). No matter how you dress up the term... :shrug:

They wanted higher pay than they could find in service to their nation, they paid the price. For them, I really don't have much sympathy.

That said, if the company violated it's own agreements with the mercs, from my POV the family members do have a case. I do feel sad for them.

JMO

And you are wrong. Frankly, it's an insult to put these guys in the same breath as mercenaries. Both have completely different mission objectives.

Who exactly do you think would be required to provide convoy and on site security of reconstruction efforts if it wasn't for these private contractors? The military would. So what you propose is to take PDC's out of the equation and put an even bigger strain on our already stretched thin military because of your far fetched idea what a mercenary is, or isn't. Great strategy.

patteeu
06-12-2007, 06:34 AM
Private security contractor Blackwater USA is seeking $10 million from the attorney representing the estates of four employees killed and mutilated in Iraq, arguing their families breached the security guards' contracts by suing the company for wrongful death.

It's hard to know whether this is a bogus claim or not without knowing more about the contracts that the Blackwater employees sign. I guess we'll have to rely on the court to do what is right here.

Blackwater's counterclaim for $10 million specifically names Nordan and not the estates or the men's families.

It appears that there is a difference of opinion about something that should be very clear here. Someone is lying.

Adept Havelock
06-12-2007, 09:44 AM
And you are wrong. Frankly, it's an insult to put these guys in the same breath as mercenaries. Both have completely different mission objectives.



Show me a single definition of "mercenary" in a dictionary, any dictionary, that supports your contention that the term depends solely upon "mission objectives", and I'll reconsider it.

Until you can I'll rely upon what words actually mean. A gun for hire in a war zone is a merc. Don't like it? Take it up with the folks at Oxford. :shrug:

Maybe if we weren't relying on private security contractors (making outrageous salaries compared to a soldier, eating a goodly chunk of the military budget) to do the military's job, more funds would be available to increase the size of the standing military so it wouldn't be so over-stretched.

And yes, IMO, PDC=Mercs=POS who won't put on his nations uniform in a war zone in order to make a few extra bucks.

Sorry that doesn't sit well with you.

carlos3652
06-12-2007, 10:14 AM
Show me a single definition of "mercenary" in a dictionary, any dictionary, that supports your contention that the term depends solely upon "mission objectives", and I'll reconsider it.

Until you can I'll rely upon what words actually mean. A gun for hire in a war zone is a merc. Don't like it? Take it up with the folks at Oxford. :shrug:

Maybe if we weren't relying on private security contractors (making outrageous salaries compared to a soldier, eating a goodly chunk of the military budget) to do the military's job, more funds would be available to increase the size of the standing military so it wouldn't be so over-stretched.

And yes, IMO, PDC=Mercs=POS who won't put on his nations uniform in a war zone in order to make a few extra bucks.

Sorry that doesn't sit well with you.

You do understand that the mercs were part of the army/marine/navy at one point in time, and they still want to serve their country...

Not all mercs are bad... So they get paid more, so what, they are probably doing higher risk missions than the regular guys....

Mercs are also fighting the bad guys.... (maybe for more money) but they are still doing the nasty stuff...

unlurking
06-12-2007, 10:23 AM
Show me a single definition of "mercenary" in a dictionary, any dictionary, that supports your contention that the term depends solely upon "mission objectives", and I'll reconsider it.

Until you can I'll rely upon what words actually mean. A gun for hire in a war zone is a merc. Don't like it? Take it up with the folks at Oxford. :shrug:

Maybe if we weren't relying on private security contractors (making outrageous salaries compared to a soldier, eating a goodly chunk of the military budget) to do the military's job, more funds would be available to increase the size of the standing military so it wouldn't be so over-stretched.

And yes, IMO, PDC=Mercs=POS who won't put on his nations uniform in a war zone in order to make a few extra bucks.

Sorry that doesn't sit well with you.

Sorry, you are WAY off base here.

READ THE ARTICLE. The men were sent out WITHOUT automatic weapons, WITHOUT armored vehicles, and WITHOUT the appropriate level of men. If you want to compare them to someone, compare them to RENT-A-COPS. These are simply well-trained/payed security guards.

When any civilian that owns a handgun is just as well armed as these guys, you really can't call them mercs.

Adept Havelock
06-12-2007, 11:15 AM
You do understand that the mercs were part of the army/marine/navy at one point in time, and they still want to serve their country...

Then let them do it in uniform, or as a civilian employee of that government. Not as a company gun for hire. :shrug:


Not all mercs are bad... So they get paid more, so what, they are probably doing higher risk missions than the regular guys....

Mercs are also fighting the bad guys.... (maybe for more money) but they are still doing the nasty stuff...


Not all mercs are bad people, but the very concept or mercenary soildiers is corrupting to the military and governments that use them, IMO. Not to mention the funds it draws off that could be ultilized to increase the force of legitimate soldiers.

I have to wonder how it would affect the morale of some soldier on convoy duty to realize that the merc is making 10 times what he is for doing the same job?

Sorry, you are WAY off base here.

READ THE ARTICLE. The men were sent out WITHOUT automatic weapons, WITHOUT armored vehicles, and WITHOUT the appropriate level of men. If you want to compare them to someone, compare them to RENT-A-COPS. These are simply well-trained/payed security guards.

When any civilian that owns a handgun is just as well armed as these guys, you really can't call them mercs.

I read the article. Perhaps you didn't read all my posts on the subject. I support the families lawsuit, provided the merc. company actually broke it's agreements with the guys it sent out armed like mall rent a cops. As I told Saggysack, if you can provide a dictionary definition that states a "merc" is definied by the type of weapons they carry (as you allege) or the mission assigned (offensive only, per saggysack), I'll reconsider. Until then, I'll continue to consider any hired gun in a war zone to be just another merc.

Once again, JMO. :shrug:

unlurking
06-12-2007, 11:34 AM
Then let them do it in uniform, or as a civilian employee of that government. Not as a company gun for hire. :shrug:




Not all mercs are bad people, but the very concept or mercenary soildiers is corrupting to the military and governments that use them, IMO. Not to mention the funds it draws off that could be ultilized to increase the force of legitimate soldiers.

I have to wonder how it would affect the morale of some soldier on convoy duty to realize that the merc is making 10 times what he is for doing the same job?



I read the article. Perhaps you didn't read all my posts on the subject. I support the families lawsuit, provided the merc. company actually broke it's agreements with the guys it sent out armed like mall rent a cops. As I told Saggysack, if you can provide a dictionary definition that states a "merc" is definied by the type of weapons they carry (as you allege) or the mission assigned (offensive only, per saggysack), I'll reconsider. Until then, I'll continue to consider any hired gun in a war zone to be just another merc.

Once again, JMO. :shrug:

Dictionary definition?

How about the definitions laid down by the Geneva Convention? Or does a 100 year old British academic definition hold more weight. Yes it's Wikipedia, but this seems to pretty well validated...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercenary

The situation during the Occupation of Iraq 2003 shows the difficulty in defining what is a mercenary soldier. While the United States governed Iraq, any U.S. citizen working as an armed guard could not be defined a mercenary, because he was a national of a Party to the conflict (APGC77 Art 47.d). With the hand-over of power to the Iraqi government, some would say that unless they declare themselves residents in Iraq, i.e. a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict (APGC77 Art 47.d), they are mercenary soldiers, if one does not consider the United States to be a party to the U.S. Occupation of Iraq. However, those who acknowledge the United States to be a party to the conflict would insist that U.S. armed guards cannot be called mercenaries (APGC77 Art 47.d). If no trial of accused mercenaries occurs, allegations evaporate in the heat of accusations and counter-accusations and denials. Coalition soldiers in Iraq supporting the interim Iraqi government are not mercenaries, because they either are of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict or they have been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces (APGC77 Art 47.f).

Or do you believe the US is NOT a party in the conflict?!

banyon
06-12-2007, 11:56 AM
It's hard to know whether this is a bogus claim or not without knowing more about the contracts that the Blackwater employees sign. I guess we'll have to rely on the court to do what is right here.



It appears that there is a difference of opinion about something that should be very clear here. Someone is lying.

I agreed with your first post that I wanted to hear the basis for their counterclaim too, but now that I've heard it, it is absolute BS.

You can't waive your right to a wrongful death claim in a contract. That is almost the definition of an unconscionable contractual term. If the contract has a severabilty clause, then you can enforce the rest of the contract. If not the entire contract is void.

Adept Havelock
06-12-2007, 02:08 PM
Dictionary definition?

How about the definitions laid down by the Geneva Convention? Or does a 100 year old British academic definition hold more weight. Yes it's Wikipedia, but this seems to pretty well validated...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercenary



Or do you believe the US is NOT a party in the conflict?!


Of course the US is a party to the conflict. Apparently the modern Dictionary (and I'm talking about recent ones, not 100 years old... I'm really not sure where you pulled that from, but whatever) and the Geneva Convention disagree.

From what I read there, I (for the sake of argument) could be hired by someone to go over there as a member of a group like the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade" of the Spanish Civil War, engage in combat operations, and still not be considered a merc simply because I'm an American citizen. Seems a bit odd to me.

One last time: If you are a hired gun in a war zone, and not wearing your nation's military uniform, to me you are nothing but a merc. I have nothing but respect for Soldiers (who serve their nation) and little but contempt for mercs (who IMO serve only their wallets, i.e. themselves), or PDC, or whatever other euphemism they cook up. I have my reasons, some of which I've shared above. I believe the mercenary ideal to be corrupting to a military, and by extension, the government that controls it. :shrug:

I'd much rather see the monies spent on "PDC" and such put into expanding the size of the US military. I think we'd be better off in the long run.

Personally, I think the reason most people dislike that term and create euphemisms like "PDC" is they recognize the negatives associated with mercenaries, and don't want to admit their government is involved (even in a limited way) with that.

Granted, it's JMO.

BucEyedPea
06-12-2007, 03:11 PM
I support Adept Havelock on this regarding mercenaries.
I'm very disturbed by this trend.

IIRC these are not just protecting contractors and we're spending quite a lot and it's expanding. If it was just to protect contractors....let them hire them as part of their services and fees.

The danger as I see it, and I believe there is evidence to support this pov, is that when our military are not citizens ( I believe citizen militias should be a part of our armed forces too and less of a standing army.) it can make it easier for govt to turn them on the people. So long as our military are made up of the people ( no foreigers and aliens too) then our freedom and security from govt abuse is more ensured, because they are less likely to turn on the people.

IMO a very troubling trend.

BucEyedPea
06-12-2007, 03:15 PM
If the contract has a severabilty clause, then you can enforce the rest of the contract. If not the entire contract is void.

Just asking...since your the lawyer. I've read in my contract law book I use for business guidance only, that even without a severability clause courts will only void out the illegal portions, or portions that violate public policy not always the entire contrac.

banyon
06-12-2007, 03:30 PM
Just asking...since your the lawyer. I've read in my contract law book I use for business guidance only, that even without a severability clause courts will only void out the illegal portions, or portions that violate public policy not always the entire contrac.

Sometimes, there's a lot of judicial discretion in cruddily drafted contracts. Judges can choose to fill in the gaps with contextual clues, custom between the parties, or throw the whole thing out.

Friggin' activist judges! :)

Anyway, if I were a judge, this particular provision is so noxious IMO that it taints the remainder of the contract as a bad faith attempt to avoid their responsibilities.

Saggysack
06-13-2007, 04:03 AM
Show me a single definition of "mercenary" in a dictionary, any dictionary, that supports your contention that the term depends solely upon "mission objectives", and I'll reconsider it.

Until you can I'll rely upon what words actually mean. A gun for hire in a war zone is a merc. Don't like it? Take it up with the folks at Oxford. :shrug:

Maybe if we weren't relying on private security contractors (making outrageous salaries compared to a soldier, eating a goodly chunk of the military budget) to do the military's job, more funds would be available to increase the size of the standing military so it wouldn't be so over-stretched.

And yes, IMO, PDC=Mercs=POS who won't put on his nations uniform in a war zone in order to make a few extra bucks.

Sorry that doesn't sit well with you.

You want a definition? If that is what you want, we all could be called mercenaries. How does this one sound? 1. working or acting merely for money or other reward; venal. Which would make you just as much as a POS, as those you claim are.

How about using just a little bit of common sense. A mercenary will fight for money, regardless of what side of the fence their employer is on. How many of these guys that work in Iraq as PDC's would work for Al-Qaida for some cash. I'm betting not a damn one. But go ahead and have a damning view of those willing to put themselves in harm's way for your fellow citizens trying desperately not to be killed while reconstructing the damage our defense industry has been a part of.

patteeu
06-13-2007, 06:11 AM
I agreed with your first post that I wanted to hear the basis for their counterclaim too, but now that I've heard it, it is absolute BS.

You can't waive your right to a wrongful death claim in a contract. That is almost the definition of an unconscionable contractual term. If the contract has a severabilty clause, then you can enforce the rest of the contract. If not the entire contract is void.

That makes sense.

banyon
06-13-2007, 08:34 AM
That makes sense.

Wait, I thought people who disagreed with you were delusional. :p

patteeu
06-13-2007, 10:51 AM
Wait, I thought people who disagreed with you were delusional. :p

Too often they are, but I don't remember you being one of them. At least not very often. :p

trndobrd
06-13-2007, 06:31 PM
You can't waive your right to a wrongful death claim in a contract. That is almost the definition of an unconscionable contractual term.


Care to point me in the direction of some caselaw on that? Waivers for wrongful death claims seem to be fairly common. I would guess, for someone going to work in a combat zone, very common and not the least bit unconscionable.

trndobrd
06-13-2007, 06:47 PM
IIRC these are not just protecting contractors and we're spending quite a lot and it's expanding. If it was just to protect contractors....let them hire them as part of their services and fees.



That's generally how it works. Contractors will bid on contracts, say repairing oil pipelines, knowing that they will have to hire their own security. Essentially, a subcontract.

In other instances, contractors will bid with U.S. Military security support as part of the contract. It just depends on the contract military requirements. Contractor convoys with U.S. Military security escorts is a common example.

U.S. agencies do directly hire some private security, but not a lot. Usually it is either a case of an agency not wanting a direct military presence in dealing with local nationals, an area where there is little or know military presence, or for individual/VIP protection which is a different skill set from what the military has.

banyon
06-13-2007, 08:00 PM
Care to point me in the direction of some caselaw on that? Waivers for wrongful death claims seem to be fairly common. I would guess, for someone going to work in a combat zone, very common and not the least bit unconscionable.

Actually after a little research, it appears there is a pretty wide split on this issue.

According to NJ it would not be binding on the heirs, since they did not sign it and heirs are not even determined until the time of death.

Here's the NJ case:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2004/04/14/41223.htm

According to California, if the waiver includes a waiver of the defendant's negligence, then that is a defense that can be used against the heirs.

http://online.ceb.com/calcases/CA3/203CA3d589.htm


It's a fairly interesting issue. I think in this case a good argument could be made for either procedural or substantive unconscionability.

trndobrd
06-14-2007, 05:09 AM
Actually after a little research, it appears there is a pretty wide split on this issue.

According to NJ it would not be binding on the heirs, since they did not sign it and heirs are not even determined until the time of death.

Here's the NJ case:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2004/04/14/41223.htm

According to California, if the waiver includes a waiver of the defendant's negligence, then that is a defense that can be used against the heirs.

http://online.ceb.com/calcases/CA3/203CA3d589.htm


It's a fairly interesting issue. I think in this case a good argument could be made for either procedural or substantive unconscionability.

Unconscionability is derived from old concepts of equity. Unless there is a specific statutory prohibition of wrongful death claims or a ruling that such waivers are per se unconscionable, I think the unconsionability argument is very weak. Keep in mind, these aren't assembly line workers, librarians or delivery drivers that happened to meet a wholly unexpected demise during the course of their employment. These individuals knowingly and personally assumed a great deal of risk by accepting employment in a known combat zone. They also received considerable compensation for assuming that risk.

Duck Dog
06-14-2007, 07:37 AM
Sorry, to me a hired gun is a hired gun. In a war zone if you aren't wearing a National uniform you're a mercenary (and IMO, largely a POS). No matter how you dress up the term... :shrug:

They wanted higher pay than they could find in service to their nation, they paid the price. For them, I really don't have much sympathy.

That said, if the company violated it's own agreements with the mercs, from my POV the family members do have a case. I do feel sad for them.

JMO

They were security guards you dip shit. I suppose you call all civilians helping out with the war POS, eh?

BucEyedPea
06-14-2007, 01:39 PM
Keep in mind, these aren't assembly line workers, librarians or delivery drivers that happened to meet a wholly unexpected demise during the course of their employment. These individuals knowingly and personally assumed a great deal of risk by accepting employment in a known combat zone. They also received considerable compensation for assuming that risk.
I don't understand the legal part...but I certainly agree with this part, especially the part I bolded. They knew full well what they were going into and one must assume they are responsible adults in making that decision. They are responsible for their own choices.

As for compensation, I know a guy on another football board who is in Iraq working for Halliburton....he was a cop. All he does is inventory, while living in the Green Zone eating lobster and steak ( as he claims) for something like $200k per year tax free.

banyon
06-14-2007, 01:54 PM
I don't understand the legal part...but I certainly agree with this part, especially the part I bolded. They knew full well what they were going into and one must assume they are responsible adults in making that decision. They are responsible for their own choices.

As for compensation, I know a guy on another football board who is in Iraq working for Halliburton....he was a cop. All he does is inventory, while living in the Green Zone eating lobster and steak ( as he claims) for something like $200k per year tax free.

Unfortunately, that's not tax-free for the rest of us. :(

banyon
06-14-2007, 02:14 PM
Unconscionability is derived from old concepts of equity. Unless there is a specific statutory prohibition of wrongful death claims or a ruling that such waivers are per se unconscionable, I think the unconsionability argument is very weak. Keep in mind, these aren't assembly line workers, librarians or delivery drivers that happened to meet a wholly unexpected demise during the course of their employment. These individuals knowingly and personally assumed a great deal of risk by accepting employment in a known combat zone. They also received considerable compensation for assuming that risk.

I understand your position and can see why CA picked that way. NJ didn't, so I think there are two points of view on this.

I guess I think there are two viable positions you could take on this.

trndobrd
06-14-2007, 04:48 PM
I don't understand the legal part...but I certainly agree with this part, especially the part I bolded. They knew full well what they were going into and one must assume they are responsible adults in making that decision. They are responsible for their own choices.

As for compensation, I know a guy on another football board who is in Iraq working for Halliburton....he was a cop. All he does is inventory, while living in the Green Zone eating lobster and steak ( as he claims) for something like $200k per year tax free.


I believe the first $70k is tax free.