Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Outsourcing the military: Another Bush/Cheney mind-boggler

Tim Spicer, a once notorious mercenary, commanded the second largest armed force in Iraq.
WIRED Blogs: Danger Room (quoting Vanity Fair)

But then, somehow, two months later, Spicer's company, known as Aegis Defence Services, landed a $293 million Pentagon contract to coordinate security for reconstruction projects, as well as support for other private military companies, in Iraq. This effectively put him in command of the second-largest foreign armed force in the country—behind America's but ahead of Britain's. These men aren't officially part of the Coalition of the Willing, because they're all paid contractors—the Coalition of the Billing, you might call it—but they're a crucial part of the coalition's forces nonetheless...
and in Vanity Fair
...As I walked back to Victoria Station, I couldn't help wondering how Spicer had ascended so quickly from notorious mercenary to corporate titan. What had he done to wangle that fat Iraq contract from the Pentagon? Serving 20 years with the British military in the toughest parts of the world was certainly one qualification. So was being smart, connected, and personable. But how had he overcome the taint of Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea, two scandals indelibly attached to his name? Apparently the Pentagon had decided that an Africa hand could do in Iraq what the American military couldn't: subdue the most xenophobic and violent people in the Middle East...

...

Finding the right personnel can pose a problem. Hart Security, a private military company with roots in South Africa, recruited many of its contractors from the ranks of the apartheid-era South African army, among the most ruthless counter-insurgency forces ever known. One of Hart's men was Gray Branfield, a former covert South African operative who spent years assassinating leaders of the African National Congress. ..

The private military company Erinys also had a South Africa problem. In 2004 an Erinys subcontractor, Fran├žois Strydom, was killed by Iraqi insurgents. It turned out that Strydom was a former member of the notorious Koevoet, an arm of apartheid South Africa's counter-insurgency campaign in what is now Namibia. There have been press reports of a link between Erinys Iraq and Ahmad Chalabi (the onetime head of the Iraqi National Congress, which was a conduit for the fabricated intelligence used to justify the Iraq war), which both Erinys Iraq and Chalabi deny. After securing an $80 million contract to guard Iraq's oil infrastructure in 2003, Erinys did hire many of the soldiers from Chalabi's U.S.-trained Free Iraqi Forces as guards. Chalabi himself eventually became acting oil minister. ..

...In an odd but lethal twist, it came out last November that the rogue K.G.B. agent Alexander V. Litvinenko had visited the London office of Erinys shortly before his death, by means of radiation poisoning, leaving behind traces of polonium 210...

It constantly amazes me what gets left out of the New York Times. This is the first I remember hearing of Spicer and his army. Bush/Cheney just love outsourcing (they outsourced Walter Reed apparently, with typical results), and they seem to have a fetish for men like Spicer.

Bush is such a multidimensional disaster. I'm sure he's a deep KGB plant.

Update 3/14/07: DynCorp is the US military in Somalia
The State Department has hired a major military contractor to help equip and provide logistical support to international peacekeepers in Somalia, giving the United States a significant role in the critical mission without assigning combat forces.

DynCorp International, which also has U.S. contracts in Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, will be paid $10 million to help the first peacekeeping mission in Somalia in more than 10 years.
This is so much like the Heinlein/Dickson(Dorsai) science fiction I read in high school that my Deja Vu has Deja Vu. Typing was one of my most important high school classes, and my trash reading was my best preparation for the future. Who knew?

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