Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mercenaries and Money

A casual conversation with the wife of a mercenary ... err ... private security contractor ... working for Triple Canopy in Iraq spurred me to refresh my memory on the role of contractors in the illegal but vastly profitable occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among the tidbits from the 'off the record' talk with the very nice lady was that the $750 a day pay was "more than he could make in a week here in the states." As a ten year military veteran and a previous overseas contractor he was inundated with calls of mercenary employment before deciding on TC because supposedly they were interested in overcoming the bad rep of other contractors such as Blackwater who they replaced in Iraq. Plus the pay was very good.

Even with the pay rate TC is having a hard time getting bodies to fill the slots as mandated in their contract. With a penalty for every day without the required personnel, TC has had to resort to hiring ex-Blackwater employees. She said this is something they really didn't want to do and wants to purge them. Her description of the Blackwater people was "arrogant assholes who think they are invincible."

She also said that TC once had a requirement of 7 years in the military but has dropped that to 4 years because of a lack of interest from qualified prospects. It seems as if not everyone is jumping at the chance to go back into a dangerous situation where as she stated "the security forces are still getting shot at." Even making one to two hundred thousand a year is still taking a big chance and not for everyone. Trips back home for R & R are fairly frequent but unlike a previous assignment in Jerusalem where wives could stay with their husbands, Iraq is no  place for them.

On a small positive note, the American contractors are bringing most of their money back home and spending it in the local economy. A slight 'trickle down' effect. A mercenary's money spends the same as anyone else's.


Triple Canopy may say they are trying to improve the security contractors image but a mercenary is not exactly your average joe and weeding out those with psycho tendencies is not guaranteed.

Steve Fainaru reported in 2007 about some Triple Canopy thugs ...
On the afternoon of July 8, 2006, four private security guards rolled out of Baghdad's Green Zone in an armored SUV. The team leader, Jacob C. Washbourne, rode in the front passenger seat. He seemed in a good mood. His vacation started the next day.

"I want to kill somebody today," Washbourne said, according to the three other men in the vehicle, who later recalled it as an offhand remark. Before the day was over, however, the guards had been involved in three shooting incidents. In one, Washbourne allegedly fired into the windshield of a taxi for amusement, according to interviews and statements from the three other guards.{more}

A year ago Jeremy Scahill talked to Democracy Now about Triple Canopy, the New Lead US Mercenary Force in Iraq and Israel ...
The latest news we have is that the Obama’s administration has decided on its mercenary firm of choice. Clearly, Obama did not want to continue at least a public relationship with Blackwater.
Obama picked this firm Triple Canopy, which interestingly was founded in Chicago, in the home state of Barack Obama. And then in 2005, they changed their location to Herndon, Virginia, so that they’d be closer to the epicenter of US war contracting, though on the Israeli contract they list their Lincolnshire, Illinois address as their primary address for the contract.

 It was founded by former Special Forces operatives from the US Army. They were minor contributors to the Bush/Cheney campaign, but not real big political players. They clearly started the company as a result of the US invasion in Iraq. They started it in 2003. By 2004, they got one of the primary contracts in Iraq.

An interesting fact about Triple Canopy is that it was one of the big three US companies. Triple Canopy, DynCorp, and Blackwater shared this mother contract. Blackwater had the biggest share of it, to guard US officials in the Baghdad area. DynCorp had the north of Iraq. Triple Canopy had the south of Iraq.

Triple Canopy also, though, did a very lucrative business servicing other war contractors like KBR, and Triple Canopy was also known for being the company that brought in the largest number of so-called third country nationals, non-Iraqis, non-Americans. They hired, for instance, former Salvadoran commandos who were veterans of the bloody counterinsurgency war in El Salvador that took the lives of 75,000 Salvadorans, minimum. Chileans—they used the same recruiter, Jose Miguel Pizarro Ovalle, that Blackwater used when they hired Chileans. This was a former Pinochet military officer.

And this company has been around, you know, for five or six years. The Obama administration has hired them in Iraq, and many of the Blackwater guys are believed to be jumping over to Triple Canopy to continue working on in Iraq.

The news that I’m breaking on Triple Canopy, though, is that I obtained federal contracts that were signed in February and March by the Obama administration with Triple Canopy to act as a private paramilitary force operating out of Jerusalem. And this is also part of a very secretive State Department program called the Worldwide Personal Protective Service, which was started under the Clinton administration as a privatized wing of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security division. Triple Canopy was paid $5 million in February, March by the Obama administration to provide, quote, "security services” in Israel. {more}

When looking for fraud in war contracting, Halliburton and its spin off KBR always are at the forefront. This time they use other mercenary outfits including Triple Canopy while thumbing their noses at the rule of law.
The U.S. Justice Department says Kellogg, Brown and Root, one of the military's largest contractors, passed the cost of "unauthorized, private armed security in Iraq" to taxpayers. Uncle Sam says KBR, a former division of Haliburton, violated its 2001 contract, which "absolutely prohibited" the company and its subcontractors from possessing or using private weapons.

KBR awarded subcontracts to three private security companies to provide armed, personal security details for its executives, and to 30 subcontractors that also hired private security, according to the federal complaint.

KBR hired Triple Canopy, Omega Risk Solutions and Al Dhahir to provide security for executives in Iraq, but KBT should have relied on military protection, the complaint states.

KBR billed the "dominant portion of the costs attributable to those services to the Army indirectly through an overhead account," according to the complaint.

The Justice Department says KBR awarded contracts to more than 30 other companies that used their own private security. {more}

The use of contractors in the wars for the US empire and Israel has led to a corporate profit making mindset that  never wants these conflicts to end. Cynics might even think that some of the security services in Iraq  could be behind the recent surge of bombings in Baghdad. Who really knows how far the hired hand mercenary groups will go to maintain their never ending contracts in the 'long wars?' Perhaps even a big bonus for a job well done?

From Source Watch ...
Private military contractors are the second largest force in Iraq with over twenty thousand active personnel in the country. The industry is growing with some estimating annual contracts in the $10-$20 billion range and others citing numbers as high as $100 billion. Though a worldwide phenomena, the United States and Great Britain account for over 70% of the world's market for their services.

The single largest issue introduced by the evolution of military services by the private sector is the degree to which corporations are now transcending the power of governments, rising as an influential variable within international and regional diplomacy, and redefining sovereignty in the 21st century. {more}

CBS reports ...
Many observers reacted with surprise at reports that forthcoming "surge" in Afghanistan will include up to 56,000 private contractors. They should not have.

Contractors have become an enduring feature of modern American conflicts, and the United States cannot now engage in hostilities or in reconstruction and stabilization operations without them. At their peak, there were more contractors on the ground in Iraq than American troops in uniform and there are already more contractors today in Afghanistan than there are U.S. troops on the ground. However, the increased reliance on contractors has exposed a number of problems, including insufficient oversight, inadequate integration into operational planning, and ambiguous legal status.

In Iraq today, third country nationals comprise the largest share of U.S. contractor personnel. {more}
Our tax/debt dollars for war can't even use strictly American contractors. No, we have to use many non tax paying foreign based companies and cheap foreign labor. Of course, war is a racket.
Of the top 100 private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly a third of the companies and joint ventures on the Top 100 are based outside the United States. These foreign contractors, along with the $20 billion in contracts awarded to the unidentified companies, account for about 45 percent of all funds obligated to the Top 100.  {more}

Controversial use of guns-for-hire surges in Afghanistan
The guns-for-hire prowl the Afghanistan highways, heavily armed, sometimes wearing ski-masks and looking like something out of a Road Warrior movie.

Some of them are supplied by local warlords, others work for large U.S. and British corporations — and they are critical to western military operations in the war-torn country.

As the U.S. focuses its attention on Afghanistan, the number of private security personnel is soaring. Afghanistan, which had been a moderate source of employment for security contractors, has become the hot market for guns for hire.

"In politics, they say follow the money," said Peter Singer, a Brookings Institution defence analyst and author of Corporate Warriors, a book about privatized warfare. "Well, this is what is happening in Afghanistan, but with private security."

In January, a U.S. Congressional study noted the number of armed security contractors working for the Pentagon in Afghanistan jumped from a little more than 3,180 to just over 10,700 in the period from December 2008 to September 2009.

It's estimated there are 25,000 registered security contractors in Afghanistan. Most of the contractor army is made up of Afghan nationals employed by international companies or are working for Afghan firms or power brokers.

The increase in private security contractors is part of a surge in the total number of contractors, including those who do construction, cook meals, or perform other jobs for the military, with more than 100,000 in Afghanistan.

As if that wasn't enough, the U.S. government is planning a civilian surge in Afghanistan, and will soon flood the country with specialists for significant projects in an attempt to turn around the Afghan reconstruction effort. There is talk about 50,000 contractors being involved. These people and their projects will all need security, say aid workers in Afghanistan. {more}

Ripley’s Believe It or Not really has nothing to compare with the insanity of the fraud of war that we have allowed our government to enter into and can't seem to find the will of the people to end it.
Tom Engelhardt explains ...

With our Afghan and Iraq wars on my mind, I’ve been wondering whether Ripley’s moment hasn’t returned.  Here, for instance, are some figures offered in a Washington Post piece by Lieutenant General James H. Pillsbury, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, who is deeply involved in the “drawdown of the logistics operation in Iraq”:  “There are... more than 341 facilities; 263,000 soldiers, Defense Department civilians and contractor employees; 83,000 containers; 42,000 vehicles; 3 million equipment items; and roughly $54 billion in assets that will ultimately be removed from Iraq.”

Those sorts of figures define the U.S. military in the Bush era -- and now Obama's -- as the most materiel-profligate war-making machine ever.  Where armies once had baggage trains and camp followers, our camp followers now help plant our military in foreign soil, build its housing and defenses, and then supply it with vast quantities of food, water, fuel, and god knows what else.  In this way, our troops carry not just packs on their backs, but a total, transplantable society right down to the PXs, massage parlors, food courts, and miniature golf courses.

Believe it or not, according to a recent report by the Pentagon inspector general, private contractor KBR, holding a $38 billion contract to provide the U.S. military with “a range of logistic services,” has cost Washington $21 million in “waste” on truck maintenance alone by billing for 12 hours of work when, on average, its employees were actually putting in 1.3 hours.

Believe it or not, the State Department has paid another private contractor, Triple Canopy, $438 million since mid-2005 simply to guard the massive, 104-acre U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the largest on the planet.  That’s more than half the price tag to build the embassy, the running of which is expected to cost an estimated $1.8 billion dollars in 2010.  Triple Canopy now has 1,800 employees dedicated to embassy protection in the Iraqi capital, mainly Ugandan and Peruvian security guards.  At $736 million to build, the embassy itself is a numbers wonder (and has only recently had its sizeable playing field astroturfed – “the first artificial turf sports field in Iraq” -- also assumedly at taxpayer expense).  Fans of Ripley-esque diplomatic gigantism should have no fears about the future either: the U.S. is now planning to build another “mother ship” of similar size and cost in Islamabad, Pakistan. {much more}

There's no viable anti-war movement. We have a criminal government that think they and their corporate partners can continue this madness forever, even expanding it to other places. The controlled media rarely discusses the true costs of war and manipulates the population to believe that war mongering is normal and we shouldn't question the 'war on terror' and what precipitated it ... 9/11.

No country can survive the lies of permanent war. Maybe that's the plan. But in the meantime a few are profiteering and the illusion of big money is a temptation that some will always follow.

Just ask your local mercenary.


  1. Check out this vid Kenny, of US troops murdering civilians from the air... disgusting:

    Or click on the link to name) as I just posted it up there as well.

    Check out as well my repudiation ofIncogman and his gang of Hanna Hasbara KKKartoon KKKaracters!

    I'm not saying that his site for certain is a COINTELPRO operation or FBI/CIA/Mossad honeypot, but Incog-Marlowe certainly is following the same script as Hal Turner and Curt Maynard and many others before him that were later exposed as frauds or Feds.

    How is he still on Wordpress when both mine and Zionistgoldreport's old sites got deleted? He has a new blog at and is not at all racist or inflammatory.

    In fact shortly before each blog was censored out of existence, we had posted information about the Rotschilds.

  2. I watched that video on Democracy Now and they showed the entire video, not the sanitized versions the MSM has been puking out.

    So shredding a human being with a mini-gun and turning them into hamburger is funny, ha-ha?

    Who in the hell was pulling the trigger?

    Beavis and Butthead?

    My god, we are so lost.

  3. Anarchore has ZERO business calling me anything. He comes to my blog and calls everyone names and then has himself a hissy fit when I ban his ass.

    Go ahead, Anal Sore, act like a little kid. It only reflects on you.

    BTW: He's also saying you agree with his prognosis about me, Kenny.

  4. Incog Man;

    Everyone can see for themselves what the agenda is on your site, who are the name callers that you let stay.

    It's all there in black and white, exposing you and your neo-herzlian buttsniffers: