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Here are profiles of the companies featured in "Private Warriors," with links to articles and Web sites about other private military contractors.

Aegis Defence Services

With the upsurge in violence in the spring of 2004, pressures grew to monitor and manage the rising numbers of private security guards. On May 25, 2004, Aegis, a British security company, was awarded an Army contract valued at approximately $292 million to coordinate and track all security teams operating in Iraq, as well as to protect the Green Zone. The choice of Aegis was controversial, in part because of the past history of its chairman and CEO, Tim Spicer, a former lieutenant colonel in the Scots Guard who had been embroiled in several controversies in the U.K. over his previous company Sandline's work in Papua New Guinea and Sierra Leone.

In April 2005, an audit of Aegis was released by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The audit said that Aegis had not properly vetted its Iraq employees; had not demonstrated that all of its employees were trained to use the weapons they had been issued; and had not followed certain contractual obligations in setting up regional operations centers (ROCs) to coordinate security. The audit was also critical of poor Pentagon oversight of the contract. "As a result," it concluded, "there is no assurance that Aegis is providing the best possible safety and security for government and reconstruction contractor personnel and facilities."

The comments of Aegis managers were incorporated within the audit. They responded that the "current dysfunctional state" of Iraqi governmental organizations made police background checks "difficult to obtain and largely irrelevant." They also said "the lack of a weapons qualification training team" made it impossible to set up an "effective" training program before mid-August 2004. In regards to the ROC issue, Aegis said it had taken an approach that it felt "reflected a better realignment of security resources to address the actual security needs" of the Pentagon.

Upon the audit's release, Spicer told London's Independent that the audit had occurred in October and November 2004 as the company was setting up operations and noted that the company's contract had been extended. "With a contract of this complexity, there was always likely to be a need for some refinement after the initial set-up," he said. "Once an area was identified, this was undertaken swiftly and our work is progressing according to contract." Aegis did not respond to a request for comment from FRONTLINE.

+ At the outset, this site states it "does not belong to AEGIS DEFENSE LTD, it belongs to the men on the ground who are the heart and soul of the company." The site recently drew media attention when it hosted a video clip, set to music, that appeared to show a private security convoy shooting freely at Iraqi civilian cars as it traveled along Iraq's roads. The clip is no longer on the site but can be viewed here. London's Sunday Telegraph wrote about the video and Aegis subsequently released a statement saying it had established a "formal board of enquiry, in cooperation with the U.S. military authorities, to investigate whether the footage has any connection with the company, and should this prove to be the case, under what circumstances any incident took place."

+ There's other video on the Aegis Iraq PSD Teams site: "Short Contact on Irish rear gunner reacts" appears to show gunfire directed at a vehicle on Route Irish, the road to the airport; "VBIED at Check Point" shows a car bomb at a security checkpoint. The site also has photos, training information and a note from the company's founder, Lt. Col. Tim Spicer, in which he warns,
"... whilst I am not concerned about this site as yet, if it develops into something other than a light hearted pressure valve I will take a much greater interest."

 

Related Links

 

Blackwater USA

Founded in 1997 by former Navy SEAL Eric Prince, the son of a billionaire and an active contributor to Republican causes, Blackwater won a $21 million contract to protect U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer, who ran the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq until June 2004. It still guards U.S. State Department personnel in Iraq.

On March 31, 2004, four Blackwater guards were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents while escorting three empty trucks on their way to pick up some kitchen equipment at a base west of Fallujah. The guards were killed; a mob of Iraqis set their cars on fire and hung two of the bodies from a bridge. The families of the guards are suing Blackwater for wrongful death: They claim the company did not meet its contractual obligation to supply two SUVs with three guards per vehicle.

Because of a tangled chain of contracts, it is difficult to determine any final accountability: Blackwater was contracted through a Kuwaiti company, Regency, to a Cypriot company, ESS, who was the food caterer on the base. But ESS has refused to tell FRONTLINE exactly whom they were working for. FRONTLINE asked ESS about a clause in its contract that references KBR, the engineering subsidiary of Halliburton. Without explaining the clause, ESS said it was not working for KBR on March 31. KBR also says it wasn't involved and that under the terms of its contract with the Army, KBR and all its subcontractors must use military security. [Read more of KBR's response to FRONTLINE about this issue.] Blackwater denies responsibility for the contractors' deaths. The families' lawsuit has yet to be scheduled in court.

 

 

Erinys

Erinys, a British company, has a $50 million contract to protect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq. Worldwide, the company has had contracts to protect the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Fluor, Siemens and the BBC. Erinys, which also had a $100 million contract to protect Iraqi oil fields, has grossed more than $150 million in Iraq over the last few years. It is staffed with an assortment of ex-Special Forces and policemen from around the world. A private security guard at Erinys makes approximately $400 dollars a day, twice what a soldier makes, and some guards make up to $1000 a day. The company says it has never lost a client, but three Erinys guards have lost their lives on the Army Corps contract and another 16 Erinys employees have died protecting Iraq's oil infrastructure. According to Erinys, its employees have killed approximately 70 insurgents.

+ Read an interview with Erinys executive Andy Melville, who discusses his company's operations in Iraq.

 

 

Halliburton/KBR

KBR, Halliburton's engineering and construction subsidiary, has been asked to perform nearly $12 billion worth of services in Iraq, where it is the military's main supplier. The company, which operates over 60 sites throughout Iraq and Kuwait, has shipped and delivered 500 million gallons of fuel and 100 million pounds of mail. KBR employs 50,000 in the region, including 13,000 Americans as well as lower-paid workers from the Philippines, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Sixty-five KBR employees, including 16 truckers, have been killed since the beginning of the war.

The company has performed most of its nearly $12 billion worth of work in Iraq under two military contracts: the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract valued at an estimated $8.5 billion so far, and the $2.5 billion Restore Iraqi Oil (RIO) contract.

Under the terms of the 10-year LOGCAP contract, which KBR won in December 2001, KBR provides logistics and infrastructure support for U.S. forces worldwide, including building U.S. Army camps and providing services including food service, laundry, sanitation and utilities.

In July 2004, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office released an audit of the LOGCAP contract which investigated a dispute between KBR and Pentagon auditors regarding $88 million in charges for food in KBR dining facilities that was never served. A Halliburton spokesperson says the dispute was due to "interpretive differences in billing approaches," and that KBR was contractually required to be ready to feed a specified minimum number of soldiers. In April 2005, Halliburton announced that it had reached an agreement with the Army over the billing charges: The Army would pay KBR $1.176 billion while retaining $55.1 million of the $200 million it had withheld during the dispute. KBR agreed to negotiate adjustments to its contracts with subcontractors, and the Army changed portions of KBR's contracts to "firm fixed price," as opposed to the previous "cost-plus" contracts that would have given KBR a percentage of profit above the cost of the contract.

In March 2003, on the eve of the war, the Army Corps of Engineers and KBR secretly signed the controversial no-bid, emergency RIO contract under which the company would restore Iraqi oil infrastructure that would presumably be damaged during the war, as well as import and distribute fuel in Iraq.

An October 2004 Pentagon audit of the RIO contract alleges that KBR overcharged $108 million for fuel expenses. According to an account in Fortune Magazine, in one example the audit described as "illogical" KBR's claim that it spent $27.5 million shipping to Iraq liquefied gas it had purchased in Kuwait for $82,100. KBR executive Charles "Stoney" Cox, who directed the RIO project in Kuwait and Iraq, testified before Congress that "KBR did everything possible to ensure the Army's requirements were met at the lowest possible cost, " and that the security situation in Iraq and the high cost of logistics drove up the fuel costs. A Halliburton spokesperson told FRONTLINE: "For all but two weeks of the 11-month fuel mission, KBR was specifically directed by the Army to purchase particular amounts of gasoline and other fuels from Kuwait." In December 2003, the Pentagon terminated the RIO contract.

+ Read an interview with Paul Cerjan, vice president of worldwide military operations for KBR.

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posted june 21, 2005

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