PMCs taking the offensive?

Potentially very significant story in this week’s ‘Sunday Express’

Secret Army

Ex-SAS mercenaries hired by US to fight insurgents in Iraq

By James Murray

British special forces veterans are fighting a secret war against insurgents in Iraq. The former SAS troops along with ex-Gurkhas and other British Army veterans are hired through security firms by the United States Defence Department.

Their duties are essentially to guard key personnel and to ride shotgun on convoys through the hostile territory of northern Iraq. But in 2004 and 2005, the heavily armed civilians, commanded by former US officers, were sent out on patrols, that often involved them in firefights with the insurgents, a well-placed source has alleged.

Now questions are being asked about whether these "security consultants" are going beyond that role and acting as a military force. (Sunday Express, 12 March 2006)

Murray’s article does not identify the PMC involved, which he refers to as ‘Company X.’ However his spread includes a piece on former SAS member Julian Davies, who was working for Global Risk Strategies (now Global Strategies Group).

The Sunday Express allegation remind me very much of a comment that the South African mercenary Cobus Claassens made about Tim Spicer’s Aegis company.

THE USG [US Government] needs an organ that is from outside the US, far less acountable, and already tainted, albeit slightly, with a whiff of dirty tricks. And that is the crux of the matter. The powers that be want mercenaries, for mercenary activity. Dirty stuff doable, non-accountable and at no extra cost to boot!! I am sure that Tim will recruit as many non-US citizens as he can, which will lessen the body-bag impact on the US voter population. And I can tell you now there will be layers to the onion, somewhere hidden in Tim’s set-up will be groups, teams, actions that will have nothing to do with defensive operations or man-guarding. Tim, with Aegis, will be controlled by whomever holds the purse strings. Therefore they will do whatever is required, otherwise they get canned. (quoted in The Market for Force: the Consequences of Privatising Security, by Deborah D. Avant.)

Incidentally, Cobus Claassens is one of the interviewees in the Documentary Shadow Company.






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