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War Hero
Private security firms operating in Iraq are committing human rights abuses, a charity has claimed.

This one is an interesting read. I can state from personal experience that many of these guys are a [email protected] nuisance - they drive around in heavily up-armoured vehicles with large calibre weapons mounted fore and aft and will drive right at you if you don't get out of the way quickly. I've nearly been run over once and was in a car driven by a Commander who had to reverse about 200m at speed to get out of their way because they decided to drive the wrong way up a one way system.

If they are willing to behave like this with Coalition Forces then God only knows how they behave with the locals. I have also heard stories of them ramming vehicles and pushing them out of the way without provocation - simply because the drivers do not give them right of way.

Because we're so short-handed these firms are a necessity. What I hadn't realised is that a large part of them work for the military and act as perimeter security, search teams, etc. I do not doubt their ability or trustworthiness; however their methods are sometimes very questionable. This behaviour makes our job much more difficult. How we can ever win over the Iraqi people whilst these guys are allowed to carry on without redress for their actions.



Lantern Swinger

He comes out with some pretty strong statements such as

"I can state from personal experience that many of these guys are a [email protected] nuisance "

His only "experience" appears to be a half arrsed dit, in which makes little sense and basically adds up to a minor traffic violation


"I have also heard stories of them ramming vehicles and pushing them out of the way without provocation - simply because the drivers do not give them right of way."

actually admits to hearing stories

Being "in the sand" or "In a very hot place" does not give one carte blanche to make sweeping, generalised BS statements

Especially when what triggers such statements is a story harvested from a report presented by an organisation with such a highly political agenda

Do not make the mistake of believing geographical location = Indepth knowledge of situation

Galley queue warriors and passengers are far and wide in all theatres

I flamed this BS last night but after a good scran I felt better about the world and edited it out of existence

Your are currently receiving a toned down version.



War Hero
Gimp, me ould flower. Sadly the answer is yes I do know what I am talking about. I considered writing a long winded response which would be mildly patronising to you but had a re-think because at the end of the day that would probably be counter productive. Then again, here it is anyway.

I believed that the news article, complemented by my own words, would be clear enough. Indeed this appears to be the case from reading the few comments (other than your own) that have been made. My intention was to stimulate debate and it appears that I have been successful. Well done and thank you.

Whilst I don’t normally like to hide behind the heading of OPSEC, I will necessarily have to use it to a certain degree here. I am one of a small contingent of UK servicemen posted well outside the Green (International) Zone of Baghdad. It’s a wonderful place and the locals try to keep us in their thoughts on a daily (twice at weekends) basis which is a lot of fun as you can imagine … or can you? I also get to make the trip to Disneyland, er ... I mean Baghdad Central, on a regular basis to conduct a little business and see how the other half live.

I have daily first hand experience of Private Security Firms operating on this site and I have the opportunity to see many other firms at work in the Baghdad area during my visits. On top of this we get a lot of Iraqi / CF Military visitors & ViPs to our little piece of paradise who come mob-handed in terms of PSD’s and other dodgy looking bandit types. I see how they operate and can easily compare them and, whilst not all companies are poor operators, too many are and I witness their actions regularly. The “traffic incident†as you call it is just one example but there are plenty of others which involve the very minor to the very serious where hundreds of rounds were expended in the general direction of where some bad guys might have been 10 minutes before. Again, my own personal experience!!

I suppose it is appropriate to mention that I have over 20 years in and, whilst this is my first OPTOUR, I have gained enough experience through it to last me a lifetime; I certainly will not be volunteering for another. Whilst I can’t begin to compare my own experiences to the boys and girls fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan or in the south of this blessed place, I can confirm that I have been under direct and indirect fire more times than you have probably wipe your rear end in the last four months.

The example given earlier was my own but I have many other shared experiences with my fellow servicemen here. However the real issue for debate is the accountability of private security firms. As I said not all companies are behaving badly, but enough of them are and every time they shunt a civilian car out of the way, drive at speed towards some lady with her shopping because she is too slow to cross the road or force a UK Mil vehicle to reverse at speed to avoid head on collision does absolutely nothing to endear them to the wider population or the foreign military personnel serving out here. Frankly it is amazing that rival firms have avoided shooting it out with each other over right of way. Yet the Iraqi Police, Military, Government AND other foreign authorities can’t or won’t do much to call them to account.

I repeat my earlier comment that these guys ARE a ******* nuisance. They are funded by governments to make up for the lack of professional soldiers on the ground and whilst there are guidelines for their behaviour, they are not always brought to account from their infringements. This is something which needs to be reviewed and remedied.

Being accused of being a “Galley Queue Warrior†was amusing. We don’t get many laughs out here so thanks. The other guys here laughed too … at first, but then they actually wanted to kill you … imagine that! No need to worry though, as a member of RR I stood up for your right to make these comments. Incidentally I have never claimed the status of warrior – I am simply not that brave.

Regrettably I was unable to come to the phone when you made your [now edited] posting so I can’t comment on what was included in it. The fact that you edited & rehashed it has denied me an opportunity to respond to whatever has been removed so any character aspersions, etc will have to go unanswered. In fairness though, I probably couldn’t be bothered to do this again, but next time? – don’t be so shy! Stand by whatever your comments are. I am thick-skinned enough to bear it – honest.

What is interesting about all of this is that you haven’t clarified your own interest in the subject. To me it appears that you have a little beef with it. Are you serving? Have you been in theatre? Do you have personal experience of the insurgency, PDS’s etc. Perhaps you are a PSD yourself and don’t like the thought that someone thinks bad of you or maybe you have yet to make the grade of “Galley Queue Warrior†yourself? I’ve declared my interest. Honestly mate it seems only fair that you do likewise.

To the other members of RR – my apologies for taking up air time. Normal service should be resumed once the gimp rejoins us.



War Hero
Would say that our man S.F does indeed know what he's talking about. Insecurity is a terrible thing isn't it? Keep your head down over there today mucker as i'm interested in the reply from Gimp-boy!!


Lantern Swinger
Excellent post

You've stated your position on the subject and backed it up with some decent information

As opposed to blarting off a load of half arrsed bollocks,

all very well playing to the cheapseats and civvies and dumbing it down but it annoys the feck out of me (can't talk for anyone else)

undoubtably you will argue that due to operational tempo you don't have the time to get on the internet and knock out a thesis per post.

Opsec permitting I'm sure the forum would appreciate and be interested in your experiences, as opposed to the "one day in band camp" style of your initial post

I visit RR occasionally and alway leave dissapointed with the content of the forum I still live in hope

As for

your incoming:my arrse wiping ratio

Yep I've had a quiet four months, however I've cracked three Iraq holidays North and south and an excellent stint in the stan with the UN (deep joy)

I am aquainted with the two way range (including some from our colonial cousins) and the thump whoosh disco beat of IDF.

Keep posting the good stuff,



War Hero
You bite easy though mate!! "taking potshots from the rear of the pack" Nice!! Wasn't a REMF mate, As for gobbing off Re "the Stan" and North and South Iraq it doesn't give a very comprehensive answer to our man silver fox does it? OPSEC or no OPSEC!!


Lantern Swinger
Not suggesting you are a REMF, referring to you nipping in for a quick poke while you think a mans on the back foot.

As for the the rest thats all you'll get

If Silver fox requires anymore information I'm sure he doesn't require you nipping at my heels to get it

Right off for a nightcap



War Hero
Enjoy your nightcap!! Good skills "Grefs" like it!!
I'm sure Messr Fox can fight his own corner fine and dandy. However. Seeing as he is off fighting the fuzzy-wuzzies somewhere......."they dont like it up em Capt Manwaring" and your so bloody opinionated i thought i'd carry it on.


Broad brush people, there's still a lot of money sloshing around in the pot put aside for rebuilding the infrastructure, it filters down from Capitol Hill to the main players like The Washington Group (Black Water Etc) ending up at the sharp end sub-contractors, mainly U.S./Brit.

Yes of course you will get "undesirables" that slip through the net (look around you, are you "knobber free"?) no system is perfect and never will be)
There was a problem with a company called "Custer Battles" (with a name like that....'nuff said) and various other companies singing from the same hymn sheet, U.K. companies are run predominantly by ex brit forces (mainly the officer class) and as such will recruit accordingly ie U.K. operators (99.9% former servicemen) why? (look around you again) they are from the same known quality-tried and tested training grounds as themselves, so if anyone wants to discuss the reality of the place we all know as the pit, let's keep it truthful and balanced because we are all losing people (I include the non combatant Iraqi's in "all"-there are no winners) and the Grim Reaper does not recognise or distinguish one man, woman or child from another.

So the men that you were serving with in another time and place, those same men you drank with and ran'ashore with some how changed into people you don't know anymore?, changed their s.o.p's to suit the civi 4x4's, clothes and body armour? well believe it or not the very training/combat experience and scars earned for Queen and country are what makes it all work, it's just supply and demand, call them merc's if it makes you feel better, they get paid and are contracted/sub-contracted by Washington (even have D.O.D. cards)-same people folks.

As above, show me an organisation where rogue elements in a pretty much lawless state of anarchy don't exsist! look at the antics of various U.S. forces, I whitnessed first hand all of the things Mr Fox aludes to, they were perpetuated by elements of uncle Sam (2 wrongs don't make a right) 3 of our people did not walk away (1 killed-cut in half by 50 cal and 2 maimed)-unaccountable no U.S. charged not even an appology-this was and is not an isolated incident, erratic driving? time to get real here, it's called self preservation-I have worked for psd's where we drove our own vehicles- and psd's that used Iraqi nationals, we all do the same thing, drive the same way, it has to be erratic, it's not arrogance, it's just Iraq.

When we did what we did in that country on Telic war phase, I experienced (along with a great many of you lot) a sense of gratitude from everyone I met in the "liberated" southern sector (remember drinking that sweet chai with them?), in late 2003 I was back, working in Baghdad (orange C.P.A. pass-armed un-escorted, for those that remember) I did not like what I saw, I could see we were (even then, befor the various prisoner/inmates debacle) losing the initiative, care of an abusive/arrogant section of uncle Sam's finest doing their damndest to prove themselves as an occupying force (the famous Col Collins "We come as liberators" speach was an alien concept on the Humvee dwellers-never saw a full on foot patrol less than a few yards from wheeled armour), so for people who even think there is a "hearts and minds" concept, think again, it's long gone, (being among the first to discard my helmet and body armour and don my beret to persue that cause I do not say that lightly)

Later in 2004 I was back for the elections, the status quo on our presence was changing, the ripple effect from the north was tangible, we were now one step behind the north-tolerated but reasonably stable, 3 further tours down the road and we are in the same situ as our U.S. cousins-in a place that wishes we were'nt there but seeing us as the least worst option (for now)

Is there an element of envy? blokes doing a similar task for more money, out of uniform, no visible rank structure (did I mention more money?) well let's think about it, the average pay for a psd bod is around £275 a day (some on more some on less-many now taking cuts to around £225) that's a lot of money compared to a marine (£56ish), the human animal in us generally reacts, we all think of MP's and the wage rises they give themselves-gets you doesn't it? It's a life choice that people take, if you want to run up to Mosul from Basra in a soft skin with no chance of a QRF, cassivac, resupply or reinforcements to call on you have the choice, with the money comes a risk. (frankly both sums are not enough)

Remember this these blokes were pretty good at what they did when drawing the Queens shilling (R.M. S.B.S. Para, S.A.S. frontline infantry) if you think that because they wear civi clothes and work out of area in civi 4x4's they some how change their sop's (the very skills that keep them alive and at the top of the game) think again, change? what would be the point?

In the last three weeks Aegis have lost 3 people, HART Group have lost 7
(you will have to search hard and long to find psd casualty figures-it's one of the reasons the U.S. likes to use psd's-not so damaging to see civis in bodybags esp from another nation)

Think on lads, it's one of the oldest professions, alongside the prostitute (both similar in most repects!) the soldier of fortune will always ply his trade and be rewarded (to the chagrin of the regular soldier) substantially more for doing so, but do not tar him with such a broad brush-he's the same bloke you trained with, drank with and shared dits with, he earns his money and you are welcome to participate in that bounty, dig out, it's your choice.

Let's not make this a points scoring debate between psd's and mil.

This thread in memory of Seb and Mornay who were both killed this week in different contacts in the north and south of Iraq. (all the money in the world's no good if you can't go home to spend it)


War Hero
Point taken H.M
As you said, you can't tar everyone with the same grubby brush. As for self-preservation, i wouldn't do your job for any amount of money. Then again i do a job which entails poor pay, no body armour and abusive locals too!! S.O.P's include not getting out of my vehicle without my rather large maglight to fend off drunken knobbers!!
keep safe down there mucker.


War Hero
My point was about some, not all, companies. My limited experiences of dealing with the ex HMF personnel has always been excellent but unfortunately they tend to be in the minority round here as the South Americans, Lebanese, etc are far cheaper and yes, you do get what you pay for.

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