They Died Defending a Far Off Piece of Real Estate

I repost this blog every October 3rd, in memory of my brother-in-law and good friend who were killed in Iraq on this day in 2006.  They were assessing how to repair a power station that had been blown up by insurgents in order to restore power to people in a northern Iraqi town.

I think about you guys every day and am humbled that brave men would pay the ultimate sacrifice to protect sheep amongst wolves.

October 4, 2006 is a day I will never forget, I remember waking up and my phone had so many messages that my text and VM boxes were full.  “Alex Popovic have you heard about K2 and Bear?”  “Alex have you spoken to K2 or Bear?”  Alex, Bear and K2 were both in the same vehicle and were killed by insurgents in Iraq (I didn’t even know they were working together)…….what the heck, I collapsed on the floor.  What I’m about to share has never been made public, it’s important to know who these men were, how they lived and what one individual did to get them home.

Guy Barattieri was my brother-in-law, a West Point graduate and Army Special Forces Major, he was also a Police Officer in Seattle (our lives were eerily similar), with a wife and newborn.

guy

Bear had just gotten in country in Iraq when he was tasked with assessing a Power Plant that had been attacked with K2, a retired Marine Lt. Col and legend, both were working as contractors for a Private Security Company, not Blackwater.

I used to joke with Bear that he graduated last in his class at West Point, was first to get promoted to Captain and make it through Special Forces selection as an officer followed by leading SF teams.  He in turn would jab me for being an enlisted Force Reconnaissance Marine. The picture at the bottom, with our wives, was right before I left for Scout/Sniper School as a young Force Reconnaissance Marine and before Bear left to attend Special Forces Qualification Course or “Q” course.  We were both in our pipeline training.

rod-richardson

Rod Richardson (left),was a retired Marine Lt. Colonel, who enlisted in the early 1970’s, went to Vietnam, served, came back and became an officer, he retired in 1994.  I had the pleasure of meeting him several times, he was a mentor and friend.  Rod got his call sign “K2” because he scaled the 2nd largest mountain in the world, not once but twice, known as K2, the only taller peak being Mt. Everest.  During the Iraq war, K2 worked as a contractor and men would stumble over one another to work for him.  As an officer in the Marine Corps, Rod was instrumental in developing what was known as Special Operations Training Group or SOTG to us Marines, it was so ahead of it’s time that it’s still used today in training young MARSOC Marines. During his last several years as an officer he disappeared working for a 3 letter agency, everyone in the government and Washington D.C knew of K2, he retired quietly to Reno, coming out of retirement after 9-11 to help fight the Global War On Terror. He’s the stuff legends are made of.

The day they were killed Bear and K2 were struck by what’s called an EFP or Explosivley Formed Projectile, an IED more deadly than conventional road side bombs.  They were manufactured in Iran and formed a molten hot projectile from copper that could cut through any armor.  When they were hit, the front of their armored vehicle was vaporized, the two Peshmerga milita driving them were never found.  Bear riding behind the driver with his arm up holding the handle of their SUV was cut in half, but remarkably was still alive, K2 was blown out of the vehicle and died from the over pressure.  Bear lived for several hours in an army hospital in Iraq before succumbing to his wounds.  The company they were working for didn’t know how to repatriate the bodies back to the U.S and to their families, they lay in limbo in Iraq.

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At that moment an individual came to the rescue that to this day not many people know about. Erik Prince, the owner and founder of BlackWater USA stepped in a had the bodies flown to Dover AFB Delaware on his dime (even though they didn’t work for Blackwater), he even offered his private jet to get the bodies home in case there was any delay or problems, “whatever it takes” he said, get them back.  My best friend escorted both bodies back.  I attended K2’s funeral in a small Oklahoma town, the church was so full that people overflowed into the street, he was laid to rest in a small non-descript cemetery and Bear was laid to rest in Seattle.

Take a moment to remember these men who died protecting real estate somwhere; I will be raising my glass to you two tonight and will forever remember both of you. Semper Fi

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Las Vegas Gunman Stephen Paddock & His Deadly Attack; Something No One Identified

Today marks the bloodiest and most deadly day in U.S. history, when a gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock opened fire on concert goers from the 32nd floor at Mandalay Bay Hotel, as of this writing 58 are dead and over 500 have been wounded.

The shooting which occured just as country singer Jason Aldean was finishing his set at about 10pm demonstrated that it was thought out, planned and calculated.

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Las Vegas Gunman Stephen Paddock

Paddock who checked into the hotel September 28th chose to shoot into a crowd of approximately 18,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival Concert from an elevated position across the street.  He was literally shooting at fish in a fish bowl.

As a former US Marine Scout/Sniper and Force Reconnaissance Marine, I’ve been around my fair share of gunfire in Iraq and the Middle East and just about every other dump around the world.

One thing grabbed my attention immediately after watching numerous videos over and over was the gunfire, not that it was automatic but rather it’s consistency.

Now I maybe wrong, and time will tell as over the next several days as we learn more about this lunatic and the events as they unfold, but lets take a look at what I’m talking about.

If you listen to the video you’ll hear what sounds like fully automatic gunfire, as compared to semi-automatic fire which requires the trigger to be pulled everytime one wants the weapon to fire.

Take a listen to the video below and you’ll hear what we call the cyclic rate increase and decrease in intensity, which indicates to me that this weapon/s was somehow altered or enhanced to enable it to shoot as fast as possible.

I’m sure one things for sure that will come out of this and that’s a call to somehow further erode good Americans’ second right amendment.  This attack proves that there’s almost nothing that could be done to prevent this tragedy when a warped and twisted mind chooses to do something like this and plans methodically.

Perhaps increased security could have prevented this, but how difficult is that in a place like Las Vegas?  One thing that needs to change given attacks by ISIS and evil people like this idiot is our security posture, much like it did after 9-11.

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ESPN, Extra Stupid Political Network Has Become a Far Left Mouthpiece For Democrats

What if I told you there used to be a TV network that was devoted to sports?  What if I went further and said it was on 24 hours a day and covered almost every sport and globally?  Most guys would probably have a huge grin on their face and the wives/girlfriends would have a frown developing right?

Go back to September 7, 1979 and such a network was born aptly named Entertainment and Sports Programming Network or ESPN.  Small trivia tidbit, it was founded by Bill Rasmussen who’s son was a young out of work sports announcer, Scott Rasmussen; yes that Scott Rasmussen from Rasmussen political polls that he’s known for today.

espn logoSo what happened to ESPN, and how did it get so divested from being the leader in sports announcement and all thing sports related to a mouth piece for politics and spewing personal political views?  Lets take a look.

If I asked you who’s the most liberal, far left whack job that came from ESPN you’d either know immediately or you’d say “I have no idea.”  For those that know, the most far left, what I’d call alt left is Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann worked as a sportscaster for ESPN from 1992-1997.  He was kicked off the air for making political contributions to Raul Grijalva  (D), AZ, and got dropped from MSNBC in 2011, you know you’re a whack job when MSNBC drops you.  He’s now got a YouTube channel aptly named “The Resistance.”

Is there a double standard though at ESPN regarding its reporters who have conservative views or use social media to express those?

Remember Curt Schilling was fired from ESPN for comparing extremism in the Muslim world to Nazi Germany in 1940.  In an email statement sent to the Washington Post ESPN said “ESPN is an inclusive company.”

Schilling was discovered to have donated $250 to Ben Carson’s presidential campaign and listed his employer as “ESPN (Not Sure How Much Longer)” and, under “Occupation,” he wrote, “Analyst (For Now Anyway).”  Did he know something was brewing or that a certain culture prevailed at ESPN?

Then there’s Sage Steele, a veteran basketball ESPN analyst who ripped NFL players like Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem.

ESPN set up a new set of guidelines “recognize[ing] connection between sports, politics.”  We are living in unique political times” ESPN public editor Jim Brady said. OK, then why the double standard for your ultra left employees versus their conservative counterparts?

Steele, who is biracial and married to a white man doesn’t parse words about being Christian and conservative and often spoke about black on black racism.  Case in point:  The Root, a black publication, posted a story headlined: “Twitter Rejoices After Learning ESPN Analyst Sage Steele Is Out.”

Brit McHenry, a staunch conservative, suggested she was fired from ESPN for that very reason.  She was one of approximately 100 employees let go in April of this year.

“I mean I’ve been openly Conservative… look how that ended up…” McHenry wrote in response to a tweet slamming ESPN for arguing it’s not liberal.  This coming at a time that has been widely debated, even inside Bristol.

In the week following the layoffs, SportsCenter” anchor Linda Cohn agreed with a radio host who wondered whether ESPN’s politics was hurting its ratings and thus its capacity to pay its employees’ salaries.

Over the past several years ESPN has lost over 13 million cable and satellite subscribers.  That’s over a billion dollars in revenue that’ll never be recouped. So why then would they marginalize themselves even further, by alienating conservatives and rewarding its far left leaning correspondents like Olbermann?

He’s not the only one though, ESPN anchor, Jemele Hill went on a Twitter rant just yesterday, calling President Trump a “white supremacist” and saying “Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime,” –forcing the network to issue a statement denouncing the comments.Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 8.16.47 AM

Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists,” she said at the start of her tirade.

“The height of white privilege is being able to ignore his white supremacy, because it’s of no threat to you,” Hill added. “Well, it’s a threat to me.”

Unlike Schilling, it appears that Hill will be allowed to keep her job — leading many to call ESPN out for what they believe is a massive double standard.

In the words of Michael Jordan “Republicans buy sneakers too.”  Maybe ESPN should stop pretending that it’s capitulated to the left and become embroiled in politics instead of sports and applying a double standard to its employees.  If the public believed they are fair and impartial maybe they wouldn’t be losing a billion dollars a year.

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Subway $5 Footlong Lawsuit Gets Tossed by Judge

I used to own several Subway Franchises and actually did very well with my business model I chose and how I operated them.  Some have even called me a Subway Sandwich Shop Commando (and even blogged that I had a Silver Star and Purple heart which I don’t), perhaps because of my Force Recon and Scout/Sniper background, combined with my business choices after I got out of the military but more on that later.

Recall that several years ago, a teenager from Australia posted a photo on Facebook with a tape measure next to a footlong sandwich that showed the sandwich only being 11 inches long.  Well it went viral as you can imagine and caused a PR nightmare for Subway.Subway eat fresh

Subway stated it would take steps to ensure it’s rolls would be at least 12 inches long and settled in a lower court, the suing attorneys made $520,000 in fees.  As a former Subway Franchisee, I can tell you our bread came frozen in boxes that we had to thaw out overnight, then proof and cook.  We had no control over the lengths of the frozen sticks of dough and perhaps this was a quality control item, it was beyond my control as a store owner.

In this case Theodore Frank, the director of the Center for Class Action Fairness, ojbected to the settlement stating that the class in the lawsuit recieved “negligible to no relief.”

The judge in the case, Judge Diane Sykes agreed with him saying no one benifitted but the attonreys in the suit and on Friday threw out the class-action lawsuit.

Alex Popovic Carrot Top Subway Sandwich picture

Alex Popovic with Carrot Top One Of His Regulars At His Subway Store (2006)

She noted that “after the settlement – despite the new measuring tools, protocols, and inspections – there’s still the same small chance that Subway will sell a class member a sandwich that is slightly shorter than advertised.”

Finally, some clear minds prevailed in the justice system and stated the obvious…..duh…..as the judge said, Subway customers “know this is a matter of common sense,” that some sandwiches will be smaller and others bigger than the advertised footlong.

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Nexus Consulting Group Alexandria, Owned by Kevin Doherty Doesn’t Pay Employees. His Friend Marko Christobal Hailed Him as a Reputable Company

As previously mentioned in a blog piece I wrote here, I used to own a very, very successful Private Security Company (PSC) and had landed some of the largest private sector security contracts with several of Europe’s largest shipping companies.  By 2011 during the height of Somali Pirate attacks against ships transiting in and around the Gulf of Aden, Greyside Group protected hundreds of millions of dollars of cargo and ships.

Kevin Doherty Nexus Consulting

Kevin Doherty Nexus Consulting Group

The old adage “all’s fair in business and war” held true during this time in the business world and particularly with regards to our direct competitors.  One of our competitors, Nexus Consulting Group Alexandria was constantly pulling less than ethical business practices and we actually sent them a cease and desist and almost sued them.

Kevin Doherty, Nexus’ founder CEO or whatever the hell his title was, along with his friend Marko Christobal, started this whole stolen valor claim circulating around the internet about me.  Let me be clear, I’ve never been awarded a Silver Star or Purple Heart.  Here’s my actual bio and not the BS cirulating around 2 other blogs and the internet.

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Negative Reviews of Nexus Consulting Not Paying Monies Owed to Employees

Over the last several months I’ve been contacted by Marines and other service members who worked for Kevin Doherty, the one man show of Nexus Consulting Group, who called to ask me if my old security company Greyside Group was still open and looking for employees?  I just receieved a message from a former employee of Nexus Consulting who is owed $19,800.00 by Doherty.

This brings the total, that I’ve been made aware of, that he owes backpay to men who served in High Risk Areas come in at a whoping $80,000.00+.  Check out the unbeliveable dismal reviews, or just look at the above picture,  for Nexus and Kevin Doherty from people who worked for him.

Then there’s his butt buddy, Marko Christobal, and self procalimed Google God, who’s held podcasts for him, blogged for him and even worked for him after he was let go from Greyside Group as it’s CTO, I sued him and 3 other individuals after their failed takeover of my company.

The ironic thing is Kevin Doherty actually published and spoke about hiring a “reputable” security provider as if he was some industry voice and Subject Matter Expert discussing how many industry participants were operating fly by night operations.  It’s really reputable to owe almost, if not more than, six figures back pay to former employees huh, you scumbag!

I guess going out personally on transits while you’re the CEO to save the company money in order to stave off the bleeding from the monies it owed to several contractors didn’t work.  I have personally been contacted by Law Enforcement sources and several former employees.  The chickens have come to roost my friend.  Some very interesting things are about to happen to you and your buddy Marko, so don’t try and avoid the process server/s.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 8.08.57 AMIn the end Nexus Consulting Group Alexandria, ended up being nothing than a personal slush fund for Kevin Doherty who did so by squandering monies owed to good men, veterans mind you and fellow Marines, who put their lives on the line for you and your company you scumbag bottom dweller.

Yep, you see Kevin Doherty was a POG Marine, who screwed over other Marines including fellow Recon and Scout/Sniper brothers, along with another fellow Marine (Marko Christobal) who vouched up and down, even blogged for about how Kevin and Nexus were the tip of the spear ethically and business wise.  These two assclowns have had a propensity for unethical practices and generally being huge shitbags.

Any shipping companies thinking of using Nexus or if you have any questions regarding their operations please contact me.  As for a reputable company operating in Anti-Piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Somalia, Nexus/Nexus Consulting Group Alexandria was by far one of the worst and most dishonest companies that worked in the Anti-Piracy and Private Security industry.

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Congress Doesn’t Have ObamaCare So Why Should We The People?

Congress has long been dysfunctional, on both sides of the aisle (20% approval rating), and actually just like Senator McCain said upon his return from brain cancer treatment to vote on repealing Obama Care “We keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle,” McCain said, and whose no vote failed the repeal. “Why don’t we try the old way of legislating in the Senate?”

You know that may actually work when necessary to come to a consensus through compromise in order to pass laws and enact legislation. However, Congress also passed laws to bypass what the rest of us common folk are forced to live with, namely Affordable Care Act aka Obama Care.

Here’s how it went down. Late at night in March 2010 in its rush to enact the Obamacare bill, Congress voted itself out of its own employer-sponsored health insurance coverage—aka Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Section 1312(d)(3)(d), hidden deep in the thousands and thousands of pages, required members of Congress (and staff) to enroll in the new health exchange system. Ok but where’s the scam? Keep reading and I’ll explain it.

ObamaCareBy doing this the House and Senate had quietly taken a “Congressional waiver” from the administration that puts them above the law that was specifically amended to include Congress. The law says, “the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff … shall be health plans that are – (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).”  In essence Congress was required by law to be treated like any other citizen and purchase Obamacare.  Got it?  They had to leave the one plan they were in and were forced to take Obamacare.

Realizing what they had done, congressional leaders sought desperately to get fatter taxpayer subsidies in the Obamacare exchange system. From 2010 to 2013, House and Senate leaders schemed to get extra taxpayer subsidies—past “the Tea Party rabble”—without a lot of noise, and secure a nice, quiet “administrative” remedy from the Obama administration and Obamacare.

Their hopes centered on a compliant Office of Personnel Management, the agency that administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, providing the unauthorized relief. No recorded votes. No ugly floor fights.

So, on Aug. 7, 2013, just as Congress was getting out of town for the August recess, the Office of Personnel Management ruled that members of Congress and staff enrolled in the exchange program would get Federal Employees Health Benefits Program subsidies, even though they were no longer in the program. There’s the scam folks right there!

In a second iteration of its rule-making, the Office of Personnel Management declared that Congress and staff were eligible to enroll in the Washington, D.C., “SHOP” Exchange, a health insurance exchange reserved for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The exchange offers special insurance subsidies to participating small businesses. Congress declared itself a small business.

The problem was, of course, that Congress is not a “small business,” at least under any clinically sane definition of the term, and no section of the Affordable Care Act provided for any congressional exemption from the ban on large employer participation in the SHOP exchanges. It’s hard to imagine a more arbitrary ruling. Do you see the problem here they faced? Congress with all its members and staffers totaled over 13,000 people yet someone from Congress submitted affidavits fraudulently; they declared themselves a business with less than 50 employees (15 in the House and 15 in the Senate). FOIA requests to find out who signed and pledged that Congress only had 30 employees have gone unheeded and no-one knows which congressman/s submitted the affidavit.

And here’s how they got around it.  Members of Congress and their designated “official office” staff are insured through the District of Columbia’s small business exchange — but they receive a one-of-a-kind subsidy from their employer (us taxpayers) of up to $12,000, or about 70% of their premiums via the old Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Could you use $12,000 a year to help with your premium? I bet you and your family could!

Congressmen from both sides schemed and falsified documents that designated Congress as a small business with less than 15 employees, and in the process got all the money from OPM to subsidize (using taxpayers money) to pay their huge premium’s that we’re all forced to live with. After all remember what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) said, “we have to pass the act to see what’s in it.” They knew it was one of the worst pieces of legislation and while it covered millions, many millions more simply couldn’t afford the high premiums. But why should they care their plan is called “Gold Level” Obamacare.

Ask any Congressman whether they have Obamacare like us and they’ll all answer, “why yes we do.” What they won’t tell you though is that we taxpayers pay their high premiums, and therein lies the problem they’re liars and cheats.

On that note, Senator McCain’s recent and tragic brain cancer diagnosis is requiring him to be seen at the Mayo Clinic right here in Scottsdale and down the street from my house. Why though would a disabled veteran simply not use the VA healthcare System us other disabled veterans are forced to use? Or, how is he able to get such expensive care by using Obamacare? It’s because us taxpayers are paying for it.

Many people have complained about the disconnect between Washington D.C. and mainstream America. And you wonder why hashtags and sayings such as “drain the swamp” and why a billionaire businessman has got more support than you and the media combined. Shame on every one of you bottom dwellers from both sides of the aisle.

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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Found Guilty of Criminal Contempt of Court

After almost a month of deliberation by U.S District Judge Susan Bolton, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now a convicted criminal.  The immigration policies that led him to be nicknamed “America’s toughest Sheriff” also led to his demise.

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(Photo: Hannah Gaber/The Republic)

The judge ruled against Arpaio’s defense and rejected the notion that the order requiring him to stop his signature immigration round-ups was unclear and that the violations were uninteded.

The sentencing phase will begin Oct. 5, and the misdemeanor carries a maximum of 6 months prision and 3 years probation plus fines.

You can bet the former Sheriff will exhaust every legal means appealing the verdict.

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OJ Simpson Paroled, I Give Him 5 Years Till He Goes Back To Prison

I used to be cop for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department after I got out of the Marine Corps right before 9-11.   Actually, the morning of 9-11 we just started firearms training and there was talk we were going to get deputized early during that fog of war.

This said, my Sergeant that took over my squad when he became a newly minted Sergant came from the dark world of undercover work.  He was a cuban who looked like he was Italian and worked deep, deep undercover for all the Fed cases in the valley when it came to major drug interdiction.  He did it for almost 9 years and led a double life i.e. his assumed identity the feds gave him and his real life were the thing movies are made of.

O.J. Simpson arrives for his parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Centre in Lovelock

Picture courtesy of CBS news

Ok, so what’s this got to do with OJ….fast forward 5 years after I left the department and that Sergeant was now the Sergant in charge of the robbery division.  He’s the one who got called out to the casino after OJ Simpson robbed people at gunpoint and kidnapped them (held them against their will).  I remember him calling me, “Pop, we got the Juice and he’s fucked.”

Today I watched the same guy get paroled after 9 years for that crime, try to explain that it wasn’t him but others, and try to downplay what he did that day.  Much like during his trial, you know the one where he almost cut his wife’s head after slashing her throat as his kids slept in the bedroom and stabbed her male companion over 20+ times, but that got him off?  Florida I’d be seriously worried if this guy moved in anywhere within 5 miles of where you live.

Remember what this nut job said today.  I’ve basically led a conflict free life.  Really?  You’re whole life has been marred by nothing but conflict.  I guess beating on women is cool and that’s what tough guys do right?  Until you can’t beat on her anymore then you slit her throat so violently that you almost sever her head.

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Nicole Brown Simpson After Beating By OJ Simpson

Simpson, is the worst of the worst sociopaths and narcissists.  He’s out on parole, but the terms and conditions of that parole place restrictions on his actions while outside of prison.  He’s the type of guy that can not step on his own d**k.  I give him 5 years before he’s back in prison for parole violation.  I’m not a betting man, OK, actually I am and have been barred from 4 casinos in Vegas for supposedly counting cards (which isn’t illegal in Vegas), who’s willing to bet me otherwise?

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Tough Prognosis For Senator John McCain

There’s a time for politics and time for compassion.  Tonight is a time for compassion and prayers for an American warrior Senator John McCain, war hero, Congressman and Senator for the state of Arizona for the past 36 years.

Senator John McCain Alex Popovic blogJust days after having a small blood clot removed from above his left eye, otherwise known as a “keyhole” craniotomy, which involves a small incision to remove the clot from the left frontal lobe, McCain’s doctors at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix announced that brain cancer has now been diagnosed for the 80 year old Senator.

McCain who was a prisoner of war for 6 years and survived some of the most brutal torture and conditions after being shot down in Vietnam and while a prisoner is one tough SOB who can overcome this.

At a time when Washington D.C. and politics has become so divisive maybe we can come together to wish the Senator the best and hope for a speedy recovery.

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The Dark Side Of Contracting Overseas Featured In Spotter Up

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Alex Popovic In Northern Iraq

Please check out my latest blog piece over at Spotter Up.  In it I discuss the impact on contractors that are injured overseas while operating in High-Risk Areas such as Iraq or Afghanistan.  I personally went through the ordeal after being injured in Iraq and I discuss what to expect, key terms such as DBA (Defense Base Act), Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and Average Weekly Wage (AWW).

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