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Private Military/Security Companies 

Private Military Companies or Private Security Companies are a reality in 21st century conflicts all around the globe.  Often mistaken with their ancient predecessors (the so-called mercenaries), offer their protection/defensive services to both private and public clients, including NGOs, United Nations, aid agencies and goverments.

This site is a portal which offers news and articles on this topic. A controversial topic which gains more and more public attention due to their status as civilians and increasing casualties among this group of operators .

Together with the whole private security community we are crediting their sacrifice. Be it to their country, their client or asset to be protected or their buddies working at their side. 
 
Iraq victims sue UK security firm Print
Guards employed by Hampshire-based company are accused of opening fire on unarmed civilians and driving off, leaving them with severe injuries

Mark Townsend - The Observer, Sunday 11 January 2009
One of Britain's largest private security firms is being sued over allegations that its men opened fire on unarmed civilians and then drove away, leaving an Iraqi brother and sister fighting for their lives.


The case, the first of its kind brought by British lawyers against a private security contractor in Iraq, claims employees of Hampshire-based Erinys fired from a 4x4 vehicle at an approaching taxi in north Iraq. Documents relating to the claim describe how a 26-year-old man was shot in his right eye and his sister, 24, lost consciousness during the incident 15 months ago. Also hit was another passenger in the taxi, Iraqi journalist Sangar Mawloud Mohamed, 30, who lost part of his left ear and remains partly deaf.

The release of details of the shooting coincides with unease over the role of private security firms in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last week, five guards from US firm Blackwater denied the manslaughter of 17 Iraqis shot in Baghdad in 2007.

Papers relating to the Iraqis' claim describe how student Arazw Younus Qader, 24, passed out after being struck by shrapnel soon after Erinys employees began shooting at the taxi. On regaining consciousness, she turned to her brother, Zirag Younus Qader, 26, and "saw his eye hanging out of its socket and bleeding so profusely she thought that he would also die. She saw Zirag was losing consciousness and dragged him out of the car".

Following the incident, the US military offered "condolence payments" of $2,500 to each of the victims. Erinys, which is understood to be bidding for new military contracts, was paid $100m by the Bush administration to guard Iraqi oil installations. At one point Erinys employed 17,000 in Iraq and last year had more men in Iraq than the current British armed force of 4,000.

London-based lawyers Leigh Day allege that Erinys guards "committed unlawful assaults" against them. They say psychiatric assessments reveal all three are suffering post-traumatic stress, anxiety and trauma. Zirag, according to the compensation claim, still has shrapnel lodged in his face and skull after he was struck in the eye socket. He has twice attempted suicide since the shooting in October 2007. In addition he was so disfigured that he lost his job as a fresh juice maker in Irbil, Kurdistan, because employers feared he would scare off customers. His sister, also struck by shrapnel in her face and scalp, often wishes she were dead, according to psychiatric assessments, has severe depression and is considered a suicide risk.

Mohamed, who worked for Kurdistan's Zagros TV and radio station, Voice of Kurdistan, is said to require "complex surgery to reconstruct the left ear, to remove the large number of pellets embedded in his head and face and to restore his hearing". Psychiatric prognosis reveals that his severe depression may lead to suicidal tendencies. Relatives have had to care for his six-year-old brain-damaged son because his wife has been forced to find a job.

Erinys said they had warned the taxi before opening fire, though the Iraqis maintain they did not notice any "verbal, hand or bright light warnings" before they were fired on.

The Iraqis are also suing for negligence after Erinys allegedly drove off without checking the condition of the victims. Meetings in Iraq between the families and officials over a compensation deal describe the attitude of Erinys as "reprehensible", accusations that the company rejects.

A statement by Erinys said the taxi had unaccountably driven around stationary traffic and driven across open space towards the Erinys convoy, ignoring visual and shouted warnings. It added that there had been two reported insurgent incidents the day before. A senior US army officer appointed to investigate the incident had concluded, according to the firm, that Erinys had acted properly against a potential suicide bomb attack.
 
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