The Center for Grassroots Oversight

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Profile: Vinnell Corporation

Vinnell Corporation was a participant or observer in the following events:

Destruction at the Saudi National Guard training center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.Destruction at the Saudi National Guard training center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [Source: CNN]Two truck bombs kill five Americans and two Indians in the US-operated Saudi National Guard training center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaeda is blamed for the attacks. (Kugler 8/19/2002) The attack changes US investigators’ views of the role of bin Laden, from al-Qaeda financier to its leader. (Miller, Stone, and Mitchell 2002, pp. 150) The Vinnell Corporation, thought by some experts to be a CIA front, owns the facility that has been attacked. (Cobain 5/14/2003)

The May 12, 2003, Riyadh suicide bombings, which left 35 dead, targeted several housing compounds for Westerners, include one for Vinnell Corporation employees (see May 12, 2003). (Vinnell had a large contract to train Saudi forces.) Some former Vinnell employees, who are predominantly former American servicemen, will later allege in interviews and court documents that the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), the elite force which protects the royal family, colluded with the bombers to facilitate the attacks. They claim that an exercise organized by the National Guard removed most security staff for the day of the bombing, suggesting foreknowledge. They also claim that warnings were ignored and that security was inexplicably lax. (Hollingsworth 5/16/2004) They will then sue Vinnell and Saudi Arabia for negligence. (Hollingsworth 5/8/2005)

It is reported that over 1,000 civilian private contractors have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of hostilities in those countries. An additional 13,000 have been wounded. The casualty figures come from the Department of Labor. Civilians work in a number of areas in Iraq, from providing security and servicing weapons systems, to more mundane tasks such as logistics, construction, truck driving, and maintenance (see April 4, 2007). (Debusmann 3/7/2004) Roughly one contractor dies for every four members of the armed forces. But despite the risks, Americans are lining up for jobs in the two war zones, lured by the prospects of high pay and, for some, adventure. As of the end of April 2007, 224 of the killed contractors were US citizens. (Debusmann 3/7/2004)


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