PCI, 1114 Brandt Drive, Tallahassee FL 32308


Abu Ghraib
Management and Training

August 6, 2011 AP
The ringleader of Abu Ghraib detainee abuses was released from jail Saturday after serving 6 1/2 years at Ft. Leavenworth military prison. Army Spc. Charles Graner, 42, kicked off an international incident after photos showing him and soldiers under his supervision abusing Iraqi detainees were released in 2004. Graner was convicted of offenses that included ordering prisoners to masturbate while soldiers took photos, stacking naked detainees into a pyramid and knocking out a prisoner with a punch to the head. His release to the supervision of a parole officer shocked Iraqis. "He was charged with a crime that shocked the international community, and then he was released," Hana Adwar, an Iraqi human rights activist, told the Associated Press. "I believe that such an act is an attempt to deceive and blind the Iraqi nation," Adwar said. Seven other members of Graner's 372nd Military Police Company, including Pfc. Lynndie England, mother of a child he fathered while on deployment, and Spc. Megan Ambuhl, who he married after his conviction, also pleaded guilty or were convicted of prisoner abuse. Christopher Graveline, a former Army prosecutor, said Graner was a manipulative bully with bad-boy charisma in his 2010 book "The Secrets of Abu Ghraib Revealed". Graner, who worked as a private corrections officer before his stint as an Army reservist, will finish his obligation to the Army in 2014, said an Army spokeswoman.

October 28, 2005 Macon Telegraph
Abu Ghraib means different things to different people. For the people of Iraq, it is where tens of thousands of family members died in Saddam Hussein's death house or were tortured under his regime. Around the world, it is the scene of the infamous prisoner abuse scandal that led to U.S. soldiers doing time for war crimes. For retired Macon firefighter John Wood, it is now home. Before beginning his role as a civilian firefighter working for Wackenhut Services LLC, Wood spent two weeks at Camp Victory near Baghdad, Iraq, to get acclimated to the heat. The prison-turned-military base is home now to some 5,000 detainees, U.S. soldiers and a multinational force that operates a combat supply hospital, Wood said. "It just blew me away," Wood said of his arrival at Abu Ghraib. "I didn't know what to expect, and when I got there, it was beyond my worst expectation."

May 22, 2004 Albuquerque Journal
A senator has made a Department of Justice review critical of operations at the Santa Fe County jail part of the ongoing controversy over America's management of prisons in Iraq.  A Department of Justice review in March 2003 had harsh words for management of the Santa Fe County jail by Utah-based Management and Training Corp., criticizing MTC's medical care for inmates and concluding some conditions violated their constitutional rights.  Former New Mexico corrections secretary O. Lane McCotter is an MTC executive and was named by Attorney General John Ashcroft to help rebuild Iraq prisons last year.  McCotter's role in Iraq prisons-- including at Abu Grhaib, where abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel has sparked a scandal-- has come under congressional scrutiny.  Senator Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., in particular, is making an issue of McCotter's work in Iraq and why he was chosen to go there. A statement provided by Schumer's office reviews McCotter's employment history, including his resignation as Utah prison director in 1997 after a mentally ill inmate died after spending 16 hours strapped to a chair.  Schumer's news release also calls attention to the Justice report criticizing MTC's management of the Santa Fe County jail, and notes that the New Mexico Corrections Department also raised concerns about the jail.  "While McCotter's company was under state and Department of Justice investigation, Attorney General Ashcroft selected him to serve as one of four civilian advisers to oversee the reconstitution of Iraqi prisons," Schumer noted.  "Why Attorney General Ashcroft would send someone with such a checkered record to rebuild Iraq's corrections system is beyond me," Schumer said. 

May 21, 2004 Miami Herald
Although several cases of prisoner abuse by civilians in Iraq have been referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution, the FBI has not yet been asked to investigate any of them, Director Robert Mueller said Thursday.  What Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee seemed to indicate that the probe into whether independent contractors or CIA officers killed prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan is moving more slowly than on the military front, where one soldier has already been court-martialed and others have been charged. While the faces of military police have been splashed all over the news, the names of almost all civilians involved -- employees of other government agencies and civilian contractors -- were deleted from Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba's report on the abuse at Abu Ghraib.  Mueller also said lawyers for the Justice Department and Defense Department are wrestling with jurisdictional issues. Any crimes at the prison would have been committed on foreign soil against foreign citizens, creating complicated legal questions.  Also Thursday, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called for a Justice Department probe into two members of a U.S. group sent to Iraq in May 2003 to help with the reconstruction of Abu Ghraib. Lane McCotter, a former corrections chief in Utah, and John Armstrong, who led the prison system in Connecticut, were part of a team picked by Attorney General John Ashcroft and others in the Bush administration.  

May 21, 2004 NY Times
The use of American corrections executives with abuse accusations in their past to oversee American-run prisons in Iraq is prompting concerns in Congress about how the officials were selected and screened. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General John Ashcroft questioning what he described as the "checkered record when it comes to prisoners' rights" of John J. Armstrong, a former commissioner of corrections in Connecticut. Mr. Armstrong resigned last year after Connecticut settled lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the families of two Connecticut inmates who died after being sent by Mr. Armstrong to a supermaximum security prison in Virginia. In his letter, Mr. Schumer requested that the Justice Department conduct an investigation into the role of American civilians in the Iraqi prison system. Another official, Lane McCotter, who was forced to resign as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an incident in which a mentally ill inmate died after guards left him shackled naked to a restraining chair for 16 hours, was dispatched by Mr. Ashcroft to head a team of Americans to reopen Iraq's prisons. After his resignation in Utah, Mr. McCotter became an executive of a private prison company, the Management and Training Corporation, one of whose jails was strongly criticized in a Justice Department report just a month before the Justice Department sent him to Iraq. 

May 12, 2004 The Nation
In 1997 a 29-year-old schizophrenic inmate named Michael Valent was stripped naked and strapped to a restraining chair by Utah prison staff because he refused to take a pillowcase off his head. Shortly after he was released some sixteen hours later, Valent collapsed and died from a blood clot that blocked an artery to his heart. The chilling incident made national news not only because it happened to be videotaped but also because Valent's family successfully sued the State of Utah and forced it to stop using the device. Director of the Utah Department of Corrections, Lane McCotter, who was named in the suit and defended use of the chair, resigned in the ensuing firestorm. Some six years later, Lane McCotter was working in Abu Ghraib prison, part of a four-man team of correctional advisers sent by the Justice Department and charged with the sensitive mission of reconstructing Iraq's notorious prisons, ravaged by decades of human rights abuse. While McCotter left Iraq shortly before the current scandal at Abu Ghraib began and says he had nothing to do with the MPs who committed the atrocities, his very presence there raises serious questions about US handling of the Iraqi prison system. It's bad enough that the Justice Department picked McCotter--whose reputation in Utah was at best controversial and at worst disturbing. But further, the Justice Department hired him less than three months after its own civil rights division released a shocking thirty-six-page report documenting inhumane conditions at a New Mexico jail, run by the company where McCotter is an executive. Then, on May 20, in a case of unfathomable irony, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that McCotter, along with three other corrections experts, had gone to Iraq. The very same day, Justice Department lawyers began their first negotiations with Santa Fe County officials over the extensive changes needed at the jail to avoid legal action. 

May 11, 2004 AP
A former New Mexico corrections secretary helped to reopen an Iraqi prison that is now the center of a prisoner abuse controversy. O.L. "Lane" McCotter, who was corrections secretary from the late 1980s to the end of 1990, was in Baghdad from May to September last year overseeing the reconstruction of the Abu Ghraib prison. The prison is where pictures were taken of naked Iraqi prisoners piled on top of one another and positioned by American soldiers in pretend sex acts. McCotter said his primary duty in Iraq was to evaluate the structural status of the prisons. McCotter's tenure in this state ended with some controversy. In October 1988, a court-appointed prison monitor accused state prison officials of erasing a portion of a videotape of a prison disturbance to cover up acts of brutality against inmates. McCotter left New Mexico to run the Utah Corrections Department. But he resigned in 1997, two months after a mentally ill inmate died after spending 16 hours strapped to a restraining chair. After that incident, McCotter went to work for a Utah-based private prison company, Management & Training Corp., which operates the Santa Fe County jail. 

May 10, 2004 Salt Lake Tribune
The Abu Ghraib prison, where U.S. military police were photographed abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners, was rebuilt under the supervision of two former Utah Department of Corrections directors.  Gary DeLand and O. Lane McCotter say they were told the project -- financed with money confiscated within Iraq -- would not be used to detain prisoners of war.  McCotter has first-hand experience with controversy over how prisoners are treated. He resigned as Utah prison director in May 1997, within two months after a mentally ill inmate died after spending 16 hours strapped naked to a restraining chair.

May 5, 2004 Seattle Times
The reports of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners during interrogations are both horrifying and depressing. Fortunately, there is a clear and proper legal response. Those accused will be court-martialed and, if found guilty, they will be punished.  But the story, sadly, does not end there. It now appears that this deeply disturbing episode — in which Iraqi prisoners were beaten, sexually assaulted and forced to perform simulated sexual acts, among other things — may have involved not only soldiers but also private contractors hired as interrogators.  That private contractors are interrogators in U.S. prison camps in Iraq should be stunning enough. This is incredibly sensitive work and takes our experiment with the boundaries of military outsourcing to levels never anticipated. But even more outrageous is the fact that gaps in the law may have given them a free pass so that it could be impossible to prosecute them for alleged criminal behavior.  To not only pay contractors more than our soldiers but also give them a legal free pass is unconscionable.  More broadly, the United States must re-examine which military and intelligence roles are appropriate for outsourcing and which are not. For the roles that we do choose to outsource, we must close the gaps in the law.

May 2, 2004 The Observer
Photographs of American and British troops humiliating prisoners could change the public mood across the world. But the coalition has brushed aside similar complaints for six months.  Also pictured is Staff Sergeant Ivan 'Chip' Frederick, a tall, muscular man, a corrections officer in a Virginia prison.  Frederick, a reservist, occupies a unique position in the scandal as - in his ever more vocal justification of his behaviour - he has provided the most coherent insight into how soldiers turned to abusers in a country they went to liberate.  Frederick blames the US army for its lack of direction from above and says that he will plead not guilty to any charges made against him. 'We had no support, no training whatsoever,' he told CBS's 60 Minutes. 'I kept asking my chain of command for certain things ... like rules and regulations. And it just wasn't happening.'  Frederick makes clear that the abuse was not only for pleasure but was regarded as part of interrogations led by US intelligence and private contractors in the prison.

October 16, 2003 AP
A remote-controlled bomb tore apart an armored vehicle in a U.S. diplomatic convoy Wednesday, killing three American security guards and wounding a fourth in the first deadly attack on a U.S. target in the Palestinian territories. The attack, on a convoy of U.S. Embassy diplomats entering Gaza to interview Palestinian candidates for a Fulbright scholarship, was a dramatic departure from typical militant operations, which usually target Israeli soldiers and civilians. It was almost certain to lead to greater U.S. pressure for a Palestinian crackdown on militant groups.  The State Department identified the slain Americans as John Branchizio, 36; Mark T. Parson, 31; and John Martin Linde Jr., 30 -- all employees of DynCorp, a Virginia-based security firm. The wounded American was initially treated at a Gaza hospital before being transferred to a hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.

Private Security
ArmorGroup, Blackwater, DynCorp, Global Strategies, Group 4, Unity Resources Group
Oct 22, 2014
WASHINGTON — Four former Blackwater Worldwide security contractors were convicted Wednesday on charges stemming from a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq. Federal court jurors found one defendant guilty of murder and three others of manslaughter and weapons charges, roundly asserting that the shooting was criminal. The defendants showed little emotion as the lengthy verdict was read. Seventeen Iraqis died when gunfire erupted on Sept. 16, 2007 in the crowded Nisour Square in Baghdad. The shooting inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad and helped solidify the notion that Blackwater, America’s largest security contractor in Iraq, was reckless and unaccountable. The former contractors said that they were ambushed by insurgents and that civilian deaths were the unfortunate, unintended consequences of urban warfare. The defendants were Blackwater guards. One of them, Nicholas A. Slatten, who the government said fired the first shots, was convicted of murder. The others — Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty and Paul A. Slough — were convicted on manslaughter and firearms charges. Why the case of four Blackwater guards, accused of murdering 17 Iraqis in Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007, took so long to reach a verdict. Video by Quynhanh Do on Publish Date August 27, 2014. Photo by Michael Kamber for The New York Times. Jurors in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia began deliberating on Sept. 2. They faced a complicated verdict form that ran 16 pages and required them to consider charges against each contractor for every victim. They asked few questions and offered no hints about their discussions. The Nisour Square shooting, like the Abu Ghraib prison abuses and the massacre by Marines of 24 Iraqis in Haditha, was a low point in the Iraq war. Blackwater came to symbolize American recklessness abroad and became a flash point in the debate over whether the United States had become too reliant on contractors in war zones. The shooting occurred when four Blackwater armored trucks responded to a car bombing. The Iraqis were killed when Blackwater contractors fired into the crowd using machine guns and grenade launchers. Since then, Iraqis have been skeptical that a United States court would rule against Americans for shooting Iraqis. That suspicion grew as the case suffered repeated setbacks, often of the government’s own making, over many years. There was evidence that State Department officials had gathered shell casings after the shooting to try to protect Blackwater. Then, State Department investigators gave the contractors limited immunity. In 2009, a judge threw out the charges, citing the Justice Department’s mishandling of evidence. An appeals court later reinstated the case. The Iraqi government had wanted to prosecute the Blackwater contractors in Baghdad, but the American government would not allow it. Manslaughter carries a sentence of up to 15 years per count, or up to eight years for involuntary manslaughter. The firearms charge carries a mandatory 30-year prison term. Murder carries up to life in prison. The trial, which lasted more than two months, painted a gruesome picture of the shooting incident as several witnesses traveled from Iraq to testify. An Iraqi traffic officer demonstrated for jurors how a woman had cradled her dead son’s head on her shoulder, shortly before her own death. A father sobbed uncontrollably as he testified about the death of his 9-year-old son. And witnesses from inside the Blackwater convoy described their former colleagues as firing recklessly. “I’ve seen people completely unarmed, people doing nothing wrong, get shot,” Matthew Murphy, a former Blackwater contractor, testified. He called the Nisour Square shooting “the most horrible, botched thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” But the details of the shooting were heavily disputed. The defendants, backed up by some of the government’s own witnesses, said insurgents had attacked the convoy with AK-47s assault rifles. Several witnesses testified that they had seen or heard AK-47 fire. Radio logs showed that the convoy had reported incoming fire. A radiator line on a Blackwater truck was ruptured, and photos showed it pocked with what defense lawyers said were bullet holes. The trial amounted to an epilogue in the story of Blackwater, a company whose fortunes grew with America’s war on terrorism. It began as a police- and military-training facility in rural North Carolina and became one of the country’s richest security contractors. It protected American diplomats, conducted clandestine raids alongside C.I.A. officers and loaded bombs on Predator drones. But public outrage over the shooting, coupled with congressional hearings and a lengthy Justice Department investigation, ultimately led to the company’s demise. It lost its contracts and was renamed, sold and renamed again.

Oct 7, 2012 Southern Reporter
A BORDERS MSP has vowed to support an Innerleithen mother who has accused a private security firm of corporate manslaughter following her son’s death in Iraq, writes Kenny Paterson. Security guard Paul McGuigan, 37, originally from Peebles, was shot dead by fellow G4S worker Danny Fitzsimmons in 2009. It is now maintained that the multi-national company were warned that Fitzsimmons had previous convictions, including an outstanding charge for a firearms offence. And medical records also appear to show the former paratrooper had been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder. However, he was still employed and sent to Baghdad to work as a security contractor – and within hours of arriving had murdered former Marine Mr McGuigan, as well as Australian guard Darren Hoare. Fitzsimmons was found guilty of murdering both men in 2011 in an Iraqi court and is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence. Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, now plans to meet with Mr McGuigan’s mother, Corinne Boyd-Russell, to discuss the case. Ms Grahame told TheSouthern: “The additional evidence that has come forward seems to show the warnings set out to G4S about the man they employed who went on to kill Mr McGuigan went unheeded. “I want to find out whether there is an issue of corporate culpability by the employer.” Ms Grahame, a qualified solicitor, said as the offences took place in Iraq, the Crown Office cannot take any action. “However, I hope the relevant authorities will look into this matter,” she added. “There may also be a case for putting pressure on the Iraqi authorities to look into the company’s role. “It appears the company were clearly warned about the mental instability of Mr Fitzsimmons. “Mrs Boyd-Russell will be inundated at the moment, but I wish to speak to her as soon as possible about the case. “This is a traumatic case for everyone, not just Mr McGuigan’s family, but the parents of Mr Fitzsimmons. They are also the victims. “I am sure if the security company had taken the appropriate steps in vetting Mr Fitzsimmons, Mr McGuigan would be alive today.”

October 26, 2010 The Age
PRIVATE soldiers now guarding Australian diplomats in Baghdad shot one of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's bodyguards by mistake three years ago and then failed to report it to coalition forces, a document released by WikiLeaks reveals. The accidental shooting is only the latest in a series of incidents involving military contractor Unity Resources Group, which was last year awarded a $9 million contract to guard the Australian embassy in Baghdad. Unity is also fighting lawsuits filed in the US by the families of two Baghdadi women, Genevia Antranick and Marou Awanis, who were shot dead by Unity staff several months before the bodyguard's wounding. The company, owned by several former Australian army soldiers, also notched up 38 shootings in Iraq between 2005 and 2007, according to a book published last year, Big Boy Rules. In all those cases, Unity investigated itself and found its use of force justified. The shooting of the bodyguard was revealed at the weekend when it was released - along with almost 400,000 other secret US military reports - by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The incident occurred on December 23, 2007, when Unity guards, then working for the US government's foreign aid arm, USAID, attempted to enter Baghdad's Green Zone. President Talabani's bodyguard was in a truck behind the Unity guards. When his vehicle got too close they fired at the truck's tyre. A bullet ricocheted and hit the bodyguard, the US report states. Unity then left the scene without rendering first aid or reporting the incident, as required to do. ''Unity group did not file an initial report until we contacted the organisation,'' the report records. In a response to questions by The New York Times - which has had access to the WikiLeaks documents for some months - a Unity official named Jim LeBlanc said the bodyguard's vehicle had presented itself ''in a profile consistent with the behaviour of a suicide attacker''. Unity was unaware that the bodyguard had been injured, Mr LeBlanc said, but co-operated fully with the investigation. All Unity members were cleared to return to work as a result of the investigation, he said.

October 16, 2010 The Age
THE security company guarding Australia's Baghdad embassy has been involved in at least 39 shootings - likely dozens more - and has fostered ''a culture of lawlessness among its employees'', according to a landmark legal claim filed against the company in the US. Unity Resources Group, a Dubai-based security firm, was granted a $9 million-a-year contract with Australia in 2009, despite being responsible for the shooting deaths of an Australian man and two Baghdadi women in separate incidents in 2006 and 2007. In the 2007 incident a group of Unity guards returning to base after dropping a ''client'' off, fired on a car being driven by Marani Manook. Between 30 and 40 rounds hit the car, which also carried Ms Manook's friend Genevia Antranick, and two other people. Both Ms Manook and Ms Antranick were killed. Now Ms Antranick's father, Jalal Antranick Askander, is filing a civil claim in a Washington DC court against Unity and the company they were employed to protect, a shadowy US research and development organisation, RTI International. ''Defendants have created and fostered a culture of lawlessness among their employees and agents, encouraging them to act in defendants' financial interests and at the expense of the lives of innocent bystanders,'' the civil claim states. ''Defendants have acted with evil and malicious intent in promoting their business interests at the expense of innocent human life. Defendants have earned, and continue to earn, huge profits from the war in Iraq.'' Liberal senator Russell Trood, who has been following the Unity issue, says the new suit raises more questions about whether the company should have been given the multimillion-dollar contract. ''I have concerns about awarding a contract to a company that has a long history of, if not lawlessness, then certainly a long history of allegations being made about its behaviour,'' Senator Trood said. ''Is the [government] aware of the current proceedings? And what did they do to determine that Unity was a fit and proper organisation to be awarded the contract in light of the US proceedings?'' The Defence Department was unable to respond to the claims yesterday. The US civil claim was filed in late August by Washington-based human rights lawyer Paul Wolf. He said trying to deal with Unity had been an exercise in frustration. ''I don't know where their office is. We've seen lots of different addresses,'' he said. Ms Antranick's father said his family was devastated by the loss of a daughter and sister, and felt Unity had acted in a ''reckless, irresponsible, and inconsiderate'' manner. ''Many private security firms act recklessly and are unanswerable to [Iraqi] law,'' Mr Askander said.

August 29, 2010 Huffington Report
The most important word in the phrase private security contractors is "private." If and when someone working for a PSC does something wrong the company, depending on the offense, may very well fine him, ship him home, and fire him. But they will do nothing more. They can't, as they rightfully point out, because they are, after all, a private company and processes like arrests, prosecutions, convictions and incarceration are something the state reserves to itself. Well, okay, not necessarily incarcerations, as anyone familiar with the Corrections Corporation of America will know, and I'll skip over the obvious old joke about the best legal defense money can buy, but that is another story. A classic example of this happened back in December 2006 when an off-duty Blackwater employee, Andrew J. Moonen, who had been drinking heavily, tried to make his way into the "Little Venice" section of the Green Zone, which houses many senior members of the Iraqi government. He was stopped by Iraqi bodyguards for Adil Abdul-Mahdi,the country's Shi'ite vice president, and shot one of the Iraqis. Officials say the bodyguard died at the scene. Although Mahdi wanted the man turned over to the Iraqi government, that did not happen. Blackwater fired the contractor and fined him $14,697--the total of his back pay, a scheduled bonus, and the cost of his plane ticket home. However, less than two months later he was hired by another private contractor, Combat Support Associates (CSA),to work in Kuwait, where he worked from February to August of 2007. Because the State Department and Blackwater kept the incident quiet and out of Moonen's personnel records, CSA was unaware of the December incident when it hired Moonen. Blackwater subsequently acknowledged that the guard had done wrong but said there was little Blackwater could do about it. As Erik Prince of Blackwater said in a congressional hearing: PRINCE:(From tape) Look, I'm not going to make any apologies for what he did. He clearly violated our policies . . . we fired him, we fined him, but we as a private organization can't do any more. We can't flog him, we can't incarcerate him. That's up to the Justice Department. We are not empowered to enforce U.S. law. Nine months later a congressional report revealed that the guard was so drunk after fleeing the shooting that another group of guards took away the loaded pistol he was fumbling with. Furthermore, the acting ambassador at the United States Embassy in Baghdad suggested that Blackwater apologize for the shooting and pay the dead Iraqi man's family $250,000, lest the Iraqi government bar Blackwater from working there. According to the report, Blackwater eventually paid the family $15,000 after an embassy diplomatic security official complained that the "crazy sums" proposed by the ambassador could encourage Iraqis to try to "get killed by our guys to financially guarantee their family's future. Now it is true that PSC and private military contractors have to act, at least theoretically, in accordance with all sorts of laws both nationally and internationally, as well as regulations and directives from government departments (State and Defense in the case of the United States) as well as lots of contract language spelled out in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR). Still, without the political will of the United States to act there can be no individual criminal accountability.

August 19, 2010 The Age
THE Australian security firm that shot dead an Australian academic and two Iraqi women in Baghdad will now guard the government's embassy in the city. Unity Resources Group, a Dubai security firm created in 2000 by a retired SAS commander, has been granted a $9 million-a-year contract to provide "security services" in Baghdad. In a strange twist, that contract will mean Unity will be guarding the same embassy that investigated it in 2006, after it shot dead Professor Kays Juma, an Australian-Iraqi who was working at a Baghdad university. Unity defended its actions at the time, saying its staff thought Professor Juma, an Australian permanent resident, was a suicide bomber. The Iraqi government later labelled the company "reckless". The revelation comes as new figures show Australia has spent at least $25 million on private platoons of bodyguards and security guards in Afghanistan and Baghdad since 2006. The new Baghdad contract will mean the government will be paying private security firms about $14 million a year for security services at two embassies. The figures come from contracts between the Department of Foreign Affairs, Unity and another global security firm, Control Risks Group.

June 13, 2010 The Telegraph
The trial of Danny Fitzsimons, who is accused of murdering two colleagues in a drunken rampage, will open on August 4 unless further medical reports contradict the assessment. Judge Ali Abbas al-Yousif of the Baghdad central criminal court said yesterday Mr Fitzsimons had been adjudged by doctors to be mentally normal and fit to stand trial. But he also allowed an appeal by Mr Fitzsimons's lawyers for a second opinion, allowing a re-examination by a second panel of doctors. Mr Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, was working for ArmorGroup, a private security division of G4S, the former Group 4 Security, last August when he shot two colleagues and an Iraqi interpreter. The two dead men were Paul McGuigan, 37, a Briton, and Darren Hoare, 37, an Australian, with whom he had been drinking in a bar in Baghdad's "Green Zone" foreign enclave. He wounded the interpreter as he tried to run away. Mr Fitzimons has claimed self-defence, but his lawyers are also arguing that he was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his years of military service in Iraq. He had previously been fired from another security company after it was decided he was too unstable and had been given a suspended sentence for firearms charges in the previous November. Mr Fitzsimons was facing further charges after brandishing a gun at a gang of teenagers outside his flat in Bolton. If he is convicted, he faces the death penalty, though lawyers say it is more likely that he would receive life in prison, and at some time be transferred to serve his sentence in Britain.

October 11, 2009 Weekly Standard
There seems no end to contractor abuse scandals in countries fighting terrorism or undergoing "nation-building." The latest to be reported in the media involves ArmorGroup North America, a private security firm guarding the American embassies in Iraq and Afghanistan. It began in Baghdad on August 9, when an ArmorGroup employee shot two of his colleagues dead. The victims were Darren Hoare, 37, an Australian, and Paul McGuigan, 37, a Briton and ArmorGroup executive. The alleged killer, Daniel Fitzsimons, 33, is also British. ArmorGroup North America is owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc., a Florida-based company, which is a division, in turn, of a Danish enterprise, G4S, that advertises itself as the world's largest security company. The shootings reportedly occurred late at night, inside the ArmorGroup compound in Baghdad's international area known as the Green Zone. Fitzsimons, according to a Baghdad source who declined to be named, is said to have shot his coworkers because they claimed he was homosexual. After killing them, he shot an Iraqi, Arkhan Mahdi, in the leg, then was arrested by Iraqi police (who now patrol the Green Zone). Fitzsimons faces a possible death sentence. He will be the first foreigner employed in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 intervention to be held to account under Iraqi law. Fitzsimons says he cannot remember the incident. According to the London Sunday Times, Fitzsimons was seen on an earlier occasion injecting Valium and morphine into his leg while already drunk. Another trail of misconduct has led to an uproar in Kabul, where 16 U.S. embassy guards provided by ArmorGroup were fired in early September for alleged drunkenness and for forcing those under their control to engage in deviant and humiliating behavior. U.S. press coverage of the Fitzsimons case has been minimal, and even the contractors' misbehavior in Kabul, although documented by video, has mostly been handled with discretion by the print media. The New York Times mentioned "lurid details" and "lewd conduct" at weekly parties hosted by embassy guards. The Kabul carousing was disclosed when the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released a report on September 1. More information emerged in a suit filed September 9 by James Gordon, a New Zealander and former operations director of ArmorGroup North America. Gordon says he is a "whistle-blower," forced out of his job after warning company executives and the U.S. Department of State about the situation at the embassy. According to the New York Times, the POGO report stated that victims of "deviant hazing" included Afghans, whose conservative Muslim culture left them especially repelled by such behavior; those who refused to submit were dismissed from their jobs. The report described a "'Lord of the Flies' environment." Fitzsimons, the accused Baghdad shooter, has been treated in the British media as a case of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his prior military service in Iraq and the Balkans. But it would be a mistake to blame such dissolution on the stress of war alone. The Green Zone syndrome of alienation from the local population, as chronicled by critics of the Iraq war, is a ubiquitous feature of life among foreign administrators in conflict and post-conflict areas across the globe. Sex trafficking and corruption of locals have become prominent wherever operations are conducted by transnational bureaucracies like the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) along with the attendant ranks of nongovernmental organizations and private contractors. I have observed similar patterns in the Balkans for a decade.

January 7, 2007 Chicagoist
On Wednesday it was discovered that an Orland Park firefighter was arrested for felony theft for falsely claiming he was fighting for the military in Iraq. Lawrence Masa was actually working for a private security firm in Iraq and was being paid quite well. During this time Masa made approximately $190,000 as a firefighter and $200,000 as a private security worker. Yesterday, Steven Slawinski, a Lemont Firefighter, was accused of the same crime. Slawinski, a friend of Masa, is charged with Felony theft for falsely claiming he was fighting for the military in Iraq. Slawinski too was working at a private security firm, getting paid $27,000 from the Fire Department while in Iraq. Officials looked into Slawinksi's claims after they realized the relationship between the two and the timing of both men's return to work. Slawinski was making $63/hour as a trainer in Iraq. Since the start of the Iraq war tens of thousands of private security workers have entered the country. With the ease these two had at falsely producing documents stating they were serving in the military, we assume this is much more of a widespread problem. This is just another addition to the slew of problems we face with private military contractors in Iraq. The U.S. Department of State currently recognizes 28 Security Companies doing business in Iraq, it is not known which company Masa and Slawinski were working for, but our look into the companies shows two which specialize in both fire and security. Baghdad Fire and Security is described as providing the following services, "Fire protection and security equipment supply. Install, maintain and commission these systems. Physical security and demining." The second, Group 4 Falck A/S, provides, "Cashing sorting. Ambulance services (vehicles and professional staff). Firefighting services (vehicles, products and professional staff). Prisons and prison management. Global solutions. Facility management and training services." The State Department's disclaimer regarding these companies is, "The U.S. government assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms whose names appear on the list." The other problems we mentioned above, include abuse at Abu Ghraib (following these allegations the companies involved were awarded additional Pentagon contracts) and a video of firms shooting at Iraqi citizens. Needless to say, previously these firms were acting without any regard for, and any repercussions from, the law. With five words slipped into the most recent Pentagon Budget, however, this should change. Previously, if Congress had not declared war the Military had no jurisdiction over security contractors. Essentially leaving Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan as playgrounds for the firms. We don't discredit the risk the workers of these firms take, but it only makes sense they have some sort of moral authority guiding them. The amendment included in the budget bill simply took the word "war" and replaced it with "declared war or a contingency operation." The Defense Tech article suggests that Journalists embedded in contingency operation zones could also be subject to the change, but this will most likely not remain true as embedded journalists are unarmed and not considered contractors.

November 27, 2005 Telegraph UK
A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal. The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis. The video, which first appeared on a website that has been linked unofficially to Aegis Defence Services, contained four separate clips, in which security guards open fire with automatic rifles at civilian cars. All of the shooting incidents apparently took place on "route Irish", a road that links the airport to Baghdad. Last night a spokesman for defence firm Aegis Defence Services - set up in 2002 by Lt Col Tim Spicer, a former Scots Guards officer - confirmed that the company was carrying out an internal investigation to see if any of their employees were involved. The Foreign Office has also confirmed that it is investigating the contents of the video in conjunction with Aegis, one of the biggest security companies operating in Iraq. The company was recently awarded a £220 million security contract in Iraq by the United States government. Aegis conducts a number of security duties and helped with the collection of ballot papers in the country's recent referendum. Lt Col Spicer, 53, rose to public prominence in 1998 when his private military company Sandlines International was accused of breaking United Nations sanctions by selling arms to Sierra Leone. Capt Adnan Tawfiq of the Iraqi Interior Ministry which deals with compensation issues, has told the Sunday Telegraph that he has received numerous claims from families who allege that their relatives have been shot by private security contractors travelling in road convoys. He said: "When the security companies kill people they just drive away and nothing is done. Sometimes we ring the companies concerned and they deny everything. The families don't get any money or compensation. I would say we have had about 50-60 incidents of this kind."

September 10, 2005 NY Times
The private security company that guards Baghdad International Airport shut down the airport on Friday, saying it had not been paid for the past six months. But the company, Global Strategies Group, announced early Saturday that it had agreed to reopen the airport on Saturday morning after a promise by the Iraqi government to pay half the amount owed. The shutdown on Friday nearly led to a standoff between American military forces and Iraqi soldiers when United States forces rushed to the airport to prevent Iraqi troops from taking it over, according to Iraqi officials and the security company. After Global Strategies closed the airport at dawn on Friday, infuriated Iraqi ministry officials dispatched their own troops to secure the airport. But the Iraqis turned back to avoid a confrontation with American soldiers who had already hurried to the airport from their nearby base, according to Iraqi officials and Global Strategies. Global Strategies has offices in London; Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates; and Washington.
The company shut down the airport for 48 hours in June over the nonpayment, he said, but went back on the job after assurances of a resolution. He said the airport could be reopened for civilian passengers by 8 a.m. Saturday.

November 5, 2004 Mother Jones
WHEN THE BUSH administration turned over much of its Iraqi security operations to the private sector last year, one of the companies that stood to profit was the London-based Hart Group. Hart Group needed to hire 170 English-speaking guards with military experience -- and it had to do it fast. “We had to recruit people in very, very short order,” says Simon Falkner, the company’s chief of operations. But Falkner knew exactly where to find many of his recruits: in South Africa, where soldiers trained under that country’s apartheid regime now often find themselves unemployable. Hart’s hiring practices might have passed entirely unnoticed had one of the company’s employees not died in a firefight with Iraqi insurgents last spring. The victim was 55-year-old Gray Branfield, a former covert-operations specialist in South Africa’s fight to preserve white minority rule. In the early 1980s, the apartheid government decided to assassinate the top 50 African National Congress (ANC) officials living beyond the country’s borders, and Branfield was charged with tracking down apartheid opponents in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Zambia. In July 1981, Branfield’s team was assigned to hunt down Joe Gqabi, the ANC’s chief representative in Zimbabwe and the operations chief of its militant wing there. After two weeks searching for their quarry, Branfield’s team located Gqabi at a house in a working-class suburb of Harare. With Uzis and Berettas beneath their coats, they climbed over a fence and waited until the anti-apartheid activist emerged from the house. Then the soldiers jumped from the bushes and pumped 19 bullets into Gqabi at close range. How did a political assassin end up working for the U.S. government in Iraq? The answer illuminates an ominous aspect of what can happen when the business of war is handed over to the private sector. To an unprecedented degree, the United States and its allies have turned to private companies to fill tens of thousands of jobs once performed only by soldiers, from prison interrogators to bodyguards for high-ranking officials. The Pentagon says it is not in the business of policing contractors’ hiring practices -- and that concerns military watchdogs, who believe this creates a climate where human rights are seen as secondary. “The point is not lost on people working in the private security market that the United States has hired companies with cowboy reputations,” says Deborah Avant, director of the Institute for Global and International Studies at George Washington University. Yet even as the Iraq war was gearing up, observers warned that replacing soldiers with contractors could cause accountability problems. “We have individuals who are not obligated to follow orders or follow the Military Code of Conduct,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, told Mother Jones last year. “Their main obligation is to their employer, not to their country.” Schakowsky’s fears were realized at Abu Ghraib. Long before the infamous prison became a household name, the U.S. Justice Department awarded the research and engineering company SAIC a contract to help reconstruct the Iraqi prison system. SAIC in turn hired four former corrections officials from the United States who had been involved in prisoner-abuse cases. One of them, Gary DeLand, once ran a Utah jail where a mentally ill inmate arrested for nonviolent disorderly conduct was held naked and alone for 56 days without lights, recreation, windows, bedding, or a toilet -- and without a hearing. Both SAIC and officials at the Justice Department have declined to comment.

October 28, 2004 New & Observer
Jerry Zovko’s contract with Blackwater USA looked straightforward: He would earn $600 a day guarding convoys that carried food for U.S. troops in Iraq. But that cost – $180,000 a year – was just the first installment of what taxpayers were asked to pay for Mr. Zovko’s work. Blackwater, based in Moyock, N.C., and three other companies would add to the bill, and to their profits. Several Blackwater contracts obtained by The News & Observer open a small window into the multibillion-dollar world of private military contractors in Iraq. The contracts show how costs can add up when the government uses private military contractors to perform tasks once handled by the Army. "There is no question the taxpayer is getting screwed," said Mr.
Bunting, who was an Army staff sergeant in Vietnam. "There is no incentive for KBR or their subs to try to reduce costs. No matter what it costs, KBR gets 100 percent back, plus overhead, plus their profit.

October 9, 2004 LA Times
One of the highest-profile security companies in Iraq has been suspended from doing business with the U.S. government after being accused of overbilling millions of dollars through a series of sham companies. Custer Battles, a security firm based in Virginia, sent fake bills to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority that had run Iraq during the U.S. occupation, according to an Air Force memo obtained by The Times. The company, which provided all security at the Baghdad airport, is also the target of a lawsuit unsealed Friday that accuses employees of systematically bilking U.S. taxpayers and threatening one worker and his 14-year-old son at gunpoint. The firm, which has a former Republican candidate for Congress as one of its principals, is the latest in a string of companies linked to Republicans that have been accused of wrongdoing in Iraq.
The company is also under investigation by the FBI and the Pentagon inspector general's Defense Criminal Investigative Services, the memo said. The suspension means that no government agency can issue further contracts to Custer Battles, which had grown from a handful of employees to more than 700 during its time in Iraq. In the lawsuit, known as a false claims action, former employee William Baldwin and a Custer Battles subcontractor named Robert Isakson repeated some of the accusations found in the Air Force memo. The false claims complaint said that after Isakson complained about Custer Battles practices, he and his 14-year-old son were held at gunpoint by company employees. The employees then kicked Isakson and his son off the airport base, leaving him to take a taxi through war-torn Fallouja to return to Jordan.

September 27, 2004 Government Executive
The Government Accountability Office has denied a protest from American security services firm DynCorp International LLC of the Army's controversial award of a $293 million contract in March to British firm Aegis Defense Services Ltd. to coordinate and manage the activities of security contractors operating in Iraq. DynCorp, a heavyweight in the global security services market, also had bid on the contract. The firm is owned by Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif. The award to Aegis surprised many because the company had no experience in the Middle East, and its main shareholder, Tim Spicer, a former lieutenant colonel in the Scots Guards, has been at the center of a number of controversial business deals, including a 1998 arms-smuggling operation in Sierra Leone in violation of a United Nations arms embargo.

September 2, 2004 Government Executive
The president and chief executive officer of CACI International Inc., whose employees were hired by the Army to perform interrogations in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, defended his employees' qualifications and took issue with some specific findings of a recent Army report on alleged prison abuses. In an interview, J.P. "Jack" London called the investigation "a very complicated topic." But he sought to clarify a number of points concerning the CACI interrogators' experience and training, as well as their work at Abu Ghraib. According to London, no more than 10 CACI interrogators worked at the prison complex at any given time. "The language in that report is a bit unfortunate," London said of the investigation recently completed by Maj. Gen. George Fay. "It gives the impression that [CACI interrogators] were sent over there and didn't know what the hell they were doing, which is patently not the facts of the matter." The Fay report recommended that the Army's general counsel consider referring three CACI employees to the Justice Department for prosecution, alleging that they abused detainees.  London said all his employees met the requirements in the contract's statement of work. CACI received more than 1,600 résumés from prospective interrogators, he said, and winnowed the pool to fewer than 50. "We had quite a massive effort to find people," he said.  London said all employees had levels of training that met military standards. "The statement of work did not require explicit and solely military training," London said. It permitted "an equivalency category that would come from other sources of similar training. Other agencies have those kinds of skills that they pass on." London cited the FBI and the CIA as examples, but he didn't specify where CACI interrogators were trained.  The Fay report cited some interrogators' lack of formal military training as a cause for concern. The Army inspector general has found that about 35 percent of the CACI interrogators had not received military training, a figure that London didn't dispute. The Fay report also cited "numerous statements" from military and civilian employees at Abu Ghraib indicating the contractors received "little, if any, training" on the Geneva conventions, which governs treatment of detainees in war zones. "It needs to be made clear that contractor employees are bound by the requirements of the Geneva conventions," the report said.  Before interrogators went to Iraq, London said, they received briefings from military officials on the rules of interrogation. He said some interrogators also received training while working in Abu Ghraib. For example, Army mobile training teams instructed a number of CACI interrogators in Iraq on the interrogation process. The teams came from Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., home of the Army's intelligence training school, and from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, site of another detention and interrogation facility. The Fay report noted that several military personnel "expressed some concerns about what appeared to them to be a lack of experience with some of the civilian contracted CACI interrogators, and the fact that the [mobile training teams] did not have the opportunity to train and work with some newly arriving contractors."  London also countered the Fay report's assertion that some CACI employees may have been supervising military personnel. The report states that, "Several people indicated . . . that contractor personnel were 'supervising' government personnel, or vice versa." An Army sergeant "indicated that CACI employees were in positions of authority, and appeared to be supervising government personnel." One contractor was "listed as being in charge of screening" of detainees on an organization chart, "with military personnel listed as subordinates."   The Fay investigation also found that a CACI employee helped a military officer write the contract's requirements, potentially a violation of federal acquisition regulations. CACI's legal counsel, William Koegel, said, "We are confident that no one associated with CACI crossed any lines in connection with the preparation of the statement of work." 

April 21, 2003 The Times
A subsidiary of El Segundo-based Computer Sciences Corp. is among a handful of U.S. defense contractors secretly invited to submit bids for a long-term contract to rebuild Iraq's national police force, prisons and judiciary, according to State Department officials. The CSC subsidiary, DynCorp of Reston, Va., already is recruiting 150 current and former U.S. law enforcement offices for Iraq under an International Police Missions contract first award in 1996 for work in the Balkans, State Department officials said. CSC acquired DynCorp last month. The new contract DynCorp is seeking would be far more extensive, providing as many as 1,00 advisors to recruit, retrain and reequip Iraq's national police and prison staffs, State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher said Thursday. The police, prisons and judiciary contract is one in a series exempted from the U.S. government's usual requirement for "full and open competition."