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Colombian ex-soldiers in Iraq pay dispute (Blackwater)

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Barrett808 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:49 AM
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Colombian ex-soldiers in Iraq pay dispute (Blackwater)
Colombian ex-soldiers in Iraq pay dispute
By Andy Webb-Vidal in Caracas
Published: August 21 2006 03:00 | Last updated: August 21 2006 03:00

Dozens of former Colombian soldiers deployed in Baghdad as security guards are engaged in a pay dispute with their employer Blackwater, a US private military company contracted in Iraq by the State Department.

The dispute erupted in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone after 35 Colombians learned that their salaries amounted to a quarter of the $4,000 (3,120, 2,126) they allege they were offered by recruitment agents in Bogot acting for Blackwater.

Mostly seasoned counter-insurgency troops, the Colombians allege that they were given their contracts barely hours before departing Bogot or en route to Iraq and only then realised that they would be paid $34 per day. "We were tricked by the company into believing we would make much more money," one former Colombian army captain, who asked not to be identified and who returned from Iraq two weeks ago, told the Financial Times.

The 35 Colombians stationed in the Green Zone jointly signed and sent a letter to Blackwater on June 9, a copy of which was obtained by the FT, demanding they receive a salary of $2,700 a "in line with their compatriots", or be repatriated. Because Americans and Britons usually earn salaries in the order of $10,000 in Iraq, the much lower pay offered to Colombians is likely to prompt accusations of exploitation and discrimination, one US security consultant said.

But Chris Taylor, a spokesman for Blackwater, said that the pay disagreement had arisen due to an overlapping change in contractual terms, and that the company, based in Moyock, North Carolina, had responded to the complaints. "There was a change in contract, one contract expired, another task order was bid upon, and so the numbers are different," he said. "Every single Colombian signed a contract for$34 a day before they went over to Iraq."

(more)

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/25aa01a2-30b1-11db-9156-0000779...

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:52 AM
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1. $34/day to risk their lives? And who knew Columbians have/had
been recruited? And what the hell is an 'overlapping change in contractual terms'?

Sounds like discrimination and exploitation to me.
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:56 AM
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2. "overlapping change" sounds suspiciously like bait & switch
a sales tactic long established as illegal within the civilized world.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:00 AM
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3. wow...Blackwater playing fast and loose
with their promises and financial obligations? well, I'm SHOCKED!

I guess there really is no honor among theives--At least the Colombians get to have their complaints heard in court :sarcasm:
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:48 PM
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4. ttt one time
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 06:41 PM
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5. Ah, just one of the drawbacks of "private military enterprises".
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 06:49 PM by Dover
These mercenaries can quit or demand more money, dispute their fees etc.. And my guess is that you don't want to piss these rogue murderers-for-hire off. They have no more loyalty to the corporations who hire them, than the corporations have to them or to the citizens of whatever country they reside in.

Of course that's just a minor problem compared to all the other issues which make it unworkable.

Private armies operating outside of national and international laws should be disbanded immediately along with wet dreams of corporate global governance.
It's a very dangerous precident on all fronts. But one thing it has done is make it clear who is really behind these 'wars for profit'... U.S. and other citizens should not be forced to fight for corporations and corporations should not be allowed to dictate policy or hire their own armies. These corporate behemouths have become bigger and richer than many countries and are a tremendous threat to global initiatives and peace.
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zreosumgame Donating Member (862 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 06:42 PM
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6. Why those poor widdle Death Squaddies!
Gee, maybe they should go to the HQ of Blackwater and 'lodge a protest' there?
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