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Private death squads in Iraq? (english)
31 Aug 2003
The company recently awarded the contract to provide a security force to protect the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline casts a grim shadow, one worth examining closer.
Since the August attacks on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, quiet developments have suggested a rather disturbing direction in the nature of the already disturbing US occupation of Iraq.
What follows is an extremely cursory examination. This only a beginning. What I would like from all of you is some help tracking down information in order to flush out the story a bit more. This is not from mere laziness; I have ulterior motives. For one thing, this is a story thatís just developing. New information will be dripping out, and I canít help but feel this is something to watch. The more people keeping their eyes on it, the more we will be able to catch. For another thing, perhaps if enough people start drawing attention to it, we may be able to shame the administration into a change in policy. Hey, I know itís a long shot bordering on a psychotic delusion, but I personally would feel a bit better if I tried. Keep reading and see if you feel the same way.
Just post it yourself here or elsewhere, as long as the information is brought out into the open. If you could post a link to what you find in the comments section id appreciate it.
Ok, lets get going.
First off, read this article on the august bombings of the Kirkuk- Ceyhan pipeline.
Note the company hired to provide security, Erinys.
Lets take a gander at the Erinys website.
Check out the write up on their corporate officers, a collection of ex UK military types with some shady connections. Check out this one in particular(emphasis mine):
Alastair MORRISSON amorrison (at) erinysinternational.com
Alastair was commissioned into the Scots Guards in 1963. After service in East Africa and Aden, and as the Equerry to HRH The Duke of Gloucester, Morrison joined the SAS in 1968. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) while commanding a Squadron during the Dhofar war in Oman in 1971 and was appointed OBE in 1978 for his part in the successful Lufthansa Aircraft hostage rescue operation in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1977. Following this operation, and prior to retiring from the Army in 1980, Alastair helped set up specialist Counter Terrorist organizations in 32 separate countries. Initially Managing Director of Heckler & Koch (UK) Ltd Alistair founded Defence Systems Limited (DSL) in 1981 and the company was subsequently to become the leading international provider of Specialist Security services, with operations in over 16 countries worldwide. Morrison was an owner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DSL from 1981 to 1999
A quick googling on DSL leads you to some interesting places.
Like here: http://www.hrw.org/worldreport99/special/corporations.html
Hereís the important part:
The conduct of private security providers for the BP-led consortium continued to be a problem in 1998. Following allegations in 1997 that the consortiumís private security firm, Defense Systems Colombia (DSC), a subsidiary of the U.K.-based Defense Systems Limited (DSL), had imported arms into the country and trained Colombian National Police (PONAL) in counterinsurgency techniques, a government inquiry was launched to determine the role of this company and the police. DSC refused to cooperate with the investigation. In September 1998, BP reported that it had formed an oversight committee to monitor its private security providers, was developing a code of conduct for DSC, and had urged the company to cooperate fully with the government. At this writing, DSC remained uncooperative. Despite the allegations against DSC and its refusal to cooperate with the government investigation, BP renewed its contract with DSC for one more year.
In October, new allegations that DSC and a Israeli private security firm, Silver Shadow, had contemplated providing arms and intelligence services for the Colombian military while they were security contractors for the Ocensa pipeline. Reports alleged that DSC had set up intelligence networks to monitor individuals opposed to the company. BP steadfastly denied these claims and suspended a senior security official while investigating these allegations. The day after these allegations were published, the ELN reportedly blew up the Ocensa pipeline, killing sixty civilians and injuring dozens more. The act of targeting pipelines has been condemned by Human Rights Watch as a violation of the Geneva Conventions and causing unacceptable hardships on civilian populations caught in the middle of Colombiaís decades-old internal conflict.
This article ties a nice bow on the whole thing:
Alistair Morrison is by no means the only representative of DSL in Erinysís management. Indeed, in the security services division ( where Mr. Morrison works), of four managers, only one manager listed did not work for DSL. And heís got some interesting connections of his own:
Bill ELDER - Board Advisor (US Corporate)
Bill Elder is the corporate security advisor to Erinys. Previously he was for 10 years the Corporate Security Manager for Bechtel Corporation after a 26 year career in the US Army Special Forces in which he specialised in counterespionage and general counter intelligence operations on a world wide basis including assisting in the provision of executive security for Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. As corporate Security Manager for Bechtel Corporation he managed all aspects of security within Bechtel and was directly involved in managing the kidnapping of an employee in Colombia which lasted over five months and 109 hostages in Iraq, again which occurred over a several month period.
Ok, without any real speculation, just from what we have established so far, should we really be comfortable with these guys forming a security force?
Part of the general pattern of US military behavior is to function as much as possible through a proxy army. Strategically this affords several advantages. The Proxy army understands the local geography. They put a ďlocal faceĒ on the conflict. Casualties sustained by this proxy army are not noticed by the American public. Most importantly, from my perspective, they attract less attention for their abuses of human rights than a US force would. Judging from the complete lack of media attention placed around Erinysís contract, isnít it possible to reasonably fear the worst?