Blackwater mercenaries face justice for bloodbath in Baghdad that caused 14 civilian deaths

Blackwater mercenaries face justice for bloodbath in Baghdad that caused 14 civilian deaths

Four employees await the verdict of a US court for 2007 killings

Sunday 31 August 2014

It has been seven years since guards with the worldwide security firm Blackwater turned Baghdad’s Nisour Square into a shooting gallery, killing 14 local civilians “without cause”, sparking fury around the globe and plunging the United States into a spasm of soul-searching over what it had wrought in Iraq. This week as the world is once again focused on Iraq, at last justice will be done – or attempted.

That is the burden placed on a jury in a federal court in Washington DC, which since June has been hearing testimony in the trial of four Blackwater employees who were in the square when the conflagration started. “The jurors’ job is a search for truth,” US Attorney Anthony Asuncion asserted in his closing argument on Wednesday. Continue reading

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Exclusive: British company faces investigation for accepting Guantanamo contract

Exclusive: British company faces investigation for accepting Guantanamo contract

Human rights group says G4S’s role could make it complicit in abuses at the US prison

Sunday 31 August 2014

The British security company G4S has been reported to the Government for accepting a multi-million pound contract to service America’s Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which contains the notorious prison for terrorism suspects.

The world’s largest security firm may have broken international guidelines by signing the £70m contract, under which it agreed to provide “janitorial services” to the prison in south-east Cuba that houses 149 inmates not charged with any offence, campaigners said. Continue reading

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French, Spanish, Serb…Volunteers Join Pro-Russian Rebels

French, Spanish, Serb…Volunteers Join Pro-Russian Rebels

Saturday, 30 August 2014
 

European volunteers are streaming into Ukraine to join the fighting on both sides. While Kiev’s forces are beefed up with mercenaries from private military companies, Europeans have also come to defend the rebel Donbass region of their own free will.

One of the latest reinforcements of anti-Kiev troops in Eastern Ukraine are four French ex-serviceman who have come to fight this war, thousands of kilometers from home.

“It’s our war. It’s everybody’s war, it’s every European’s war,” Guillaume, a French fighter in Ukraine defending the Donbass region, told media. Continue reading

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Militarized police are everywhere: “When police officers are armed and trained like soldiers, it’s not surprising that they act like soldiers”

Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 11:15 AM EST

Militarized police are everywhere: “When police officers are armed and trained like soldiers, it’s not surprising that they act like soldiers”

First, we outsourced war to Blackwater and others. Now, they’re training our police. No wonder we have Ferguson

Militarized police are everywhere: "When police officers are armed and trained like soldiers, it's not surprising that they act like soldiers" (Credit: Reuters/Steve Nesius)

By the time President Obama announced the withdrawal of Ameri­can troops from Iraq, PMSCs [private military and security companies] were in line to collect billions of dol­lars in contracts for at least another five years. They included SOC, Inc. (the firm with the extensive training site in Nevada, whose con­tract to safeguard the Baghdad embassy would bring in nearly $1 bil­lion), Triple Canopy (a five-year $1.53 billion contract for embassy security), ArmorGroup, Control Risks Group, DynCorp, Erinys, and Aegis. And as always, there were many smaller firms working as subcontractors, though these were not listed on the government’s Baghdad Embassy website. What was noted on the site, however, was a rather big caveat: “The U.S. government assumes no responsi­bility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms whose names appear on the list.” Continue reading

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Chinks in PMSC Armour?

Chinks in PMSC Armour?

Published on August 29, 2014 by

armed guards2

The collapse of GoAGT has led to renewed scrutiny of the marsec industry. 

Chinks Appear in the Maritime Security Armour

An Op-Ed piece by Simon Biggs, ASKET Ltd.

Recently, we have seen the catastrophic failure of several larger and seemingly more robust private maritime security companies (PMSCs). PMSCs that have continued to promote their reliability and professionalism up until the day they collapsed, they will certainly not be the last as the industry goes through its greatest test to date. Continue reading

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The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism

In Orange County, Calif., the probation department’s “supervised electronic confinement program,” which monitors the movements of low-risk offenders, has been outsourced to a private company, Sentinel Offender Services. The company, by its own account, oversees case management, including breath alcohol and drug-testing services, “all at no cost to county taxpayers.”

Sentinel makes its money by getting the offenders on probation to pay for the company’s services. Charges can range from $35 to $100 a month.

The company boasts of having contracts with more than 200 government agencies, and it takes pride in the “development of offender funded programs where any of our services can be provided at no cost to the agency.”

Sentinel is a part of the expanding universe of poverty capitalism. In this unique sector of the economy, costs of essential government services are shifted to the poor. Continue reading

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Chairman’s Column – a note from Erik Prince

Africa Monitor


fsgteam | August 28, 2014

Chairman’s Column – a note from Erik Prince

Eni and Repsol have evacuated expatriates from Libya in the face of escalating violence in Tripoli, on the heels of Total pulling out its foreign staff as the worst fighting in six months rocked the capital. Ten Chinese construction works kidnapped by Boko Haram in Cameroon in May are still being held in captivity. Attacks by al-Shabaab along Kenya’s coast have left at least 60 dead, and the violence shows no signs of slowing.

The litany of challenges literally overwhelms the daily newscast: from civil wars uncorked by departed past dictators to strife caused by religious extremism, corruption and just plain criminal gangsters.  Africa is a continent that is undoubtedly on the rise, and the opportunities that exist to invest in frontier projects are unparalleled. But the economic transformation underway and the influx of foreign capital are affecting political landscapes across the continent, unleashing seismic geopolitical changes. Countries like Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Kenya, Libya, and others are grappling with unresolved issues of inequality, marginalization, radicalization, and power-sharing that have simmered and remained relatively dormant—until now. From al-Shabaab in the East to Boko Haram in the West, foreign companies and African governments alike are dealing with increasingly complex security environments. Many of these African governments, from Cameroon to Mali to South Sudan, are working hard to continually attract much-needed investment into their burgeoning economies, but the daunting security challenges they face are at times beyond their limited capacity to effectively address.

I fundamentally believe in the nexus between economic development, peace and stability, and security. They are inextricably intertwined: you cannot have sustainable economic development without a stable, secure environment, and sustainable economic development in turn reinforces stability and long-term prospects for peace within a country.  The majority of human beings want the dignity of a job, not to be a dependent on aid. Violence and instability have robbed many individuals in the fragile states in Africa of that dignity, reducing them to a dependency that becomes institutionalized and traps them in a future with little opportunity, which breeds resentment and fuels the conditions for extremism that is on the rise in the Sahel and Magreb. These fragile countries in Africa have been historically trapped in a vicious cycle of instability and poverty. Corruption and despair give way to an embrace of radicalism brutality.  Giving investors the confidence to break that cycle to the mutual benefit of both their corporate profitability and the socioeconomic development of their host country has been difficult.

Underdeveloped countries are hindered by a lack of necessary infrastructure, transport, and logistics that enable them to not only provide adequate state services but also the kind of supply chain networks and market access companies need to flourish. The infrastructure and logistics in countries like South Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, and others are often unreliable, inadequate, and at times prohibitively expensive. Unless companies can function with the knowledge their assets, operations, and most importantly, personnel, are safe in volatile areas, it becomes difficult to encourage them to be frontier investors in a region. As it exists right now, there are severe gaps in the provision of these kinds of expeditionary logistics solutions that can serve governments, companies, and NGOs in Africa.

FSG was created to be that missing link. It was created to provide a self-supporting ecosystem of services that create the necessary pre-conditions for success in Africa.  An expeditionary construction and engineering division that can build anything from roads to ports to airstrips in even the most inaccessible, remote terrains. A safety and security team that provides, among other services, aeromedical evacuations, contingency planning, evacuation and employee field training so personnel and assets can operate safely.  A logistics division that uses innovative technologies and operational models tailored to the supply chain challenges of the region to ensure an efficient flow of goods and provision of services. And an aviation division that provides professional transport solutions, enabling the movement of people and assets to anywhere on the continent. We endeavor to be the first into an area and the last to leave. We don’t aspire to be the low cost provider, but ultimately the low risk provider. The most reliable partner a customer can expend upon.

All of this is done with a deep, nuanced understanding of the geopolitical landscape in which we operate. Our research team closely monitors the security and political situation in our areas of operation and the impact of global security events on those areas, and that awareness and analysis informs our understanding of the risks and opportunities that exist in these rapidly evolving, complex environments. The FSG Africa Monitor (www.fsgroup.com/africamonitor) serves as an information-sharing platform curating news and commentary about the continent and providing proprietary analyses via our bi-weekly reports. These reports will not only be a source of news, but aim to ignite a dialogue between the leaders of FSG and other thought-leaders in the private and public space working on these multi-faceted challenges. I encourage you to sign up for the Africa Monitor to be part of the conversation and learn more about my company’s activities across the continent. Going forward, I will inform you through these reports of my ongoing understandings and views on critical developments in the security field.

 

Erik Prince

August 5, 2014

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Blackwater trial: Defense attorney says Iraqi police ‘scrubbed scene’

Blackwater trial: Defense attorney says Iraqi police ‘scrubbed scene’

 

This June 11, 2014, file photo shows former Blackwater Worldwide guard Nicholas Slatten leaving federal court in Washington after the start of his first-degree murder trial. Slatten and three other Blackwater Worldwide guards are on trial for the killing of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in Nisoor Square in Baghdad, bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe.
Cliff Owen/AP
By Pete Yost

The Associated Press
Published: August 28, 2014
Blackwater 060914AP

This Sept. 25, 2007 file photo shows an Iraqi traffic policeman inspects a car destroyed by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq. After years of delays, four former guards from the security firm Blackwater Worldwide are facing trial in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe. Whether the shootings were self-defense or an unprovoked attack, the carnage of Sept. 16, 2007 was seen by critics of the George W. Bush administration as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong. A trial in the nearly 7-year-old case is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Wednesday, barring last-minute legal developments.
Khalid Mohammed/AP

WASHINGTON — A defense attorney told a federal jury Wednesday that Iraqi national police removed evidence that would prove Blackwater security guards were being fired on by insurgents, prompting the guards to return fire in shootings that killed or wounded over 30 Iraqi civilians. Continue reading

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Is America’s Second Contractors’ War Drawing Near?

Is America’s Second Contractors’ War Drawing Near?

Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security
Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security Courtesy Simon & Schuster

Four years ago this Sunday, President Barack Obama declared the end of the Iraq war. So much of that fight and our current involvement in the Middle East is carried out by a privatized military. Here’s why that matters Continue reading

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Bashir Najib National Transportation Services

Bashir Najib National Transportation Services

B-408308.21: Aug 20, 2014

View Decision (PDF, 6 pages)

Contact:

Ralph O. White
(202) 512-8278
WhiteRO@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Bashir Najib National Transportation Services (BNN), of Kabul, Afghanistan, protests the U.S. Transportation Command’s (USTRANSCOM) award of multiple contracts pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. HTC711-13-R-R002, for commercial trucking services in Afghanistan. BNN protests that the agency did not evaluate proposals using a “plug” number for certain security services, and that the agency improperly failed to provide BNN an opportunity to lower its pricing to account for changes in security costs.

We dismiss the protest. Continue reading

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