Employees of PMC "Academi"
Today we’ll talk a little about private military companies, the idea of creating which belongs to David Stirling (it was described in a previous article: “David Stirling, Special Air Service and PMC Watchguard International”).
This idea of the founder of SAS turned out to be very successful. At present, private military companies operate in hot spots around the world, their annual turnover has long surpassed $ 100 billion. And private military companies these days are no longer dubious hiring offices that are ready to go anywhere adventurers who can only handle well weapons, and respectable firms that legally conclude multimillion-dollar contracts with governments of different countries. And many specialists of these companies now have a university education and can work not only with machine guns and explosives. Another thing is that not all the nuances of these transactions are made public, and some of these contracts are completely secret and not subject to disclosure.
Private military companies can now help protect commercial and cargo ships in areas of risky shipping, transport valuables and large sums of cash, accompany businessmen or politicians in dangerous places, train security personnel of large corporations, and repair and service military equipment. But they can also provide more “delicate” services: planning special operations, collecting intelligence information and even conducting military actions.
Distribution of revenue sources in the revenue of private military companies, 2015 (according to the Internet newspaper Gazeta.ru):
In addition, it turned out that it is more convenient to use the services of “private owners” (since you don’t have to ask for the consent of the US Congress or parliament, if we are talking about European countries) and it costs less than using official structures and units. A separate “bonus” is the fact that the government is not directly responsible for the actions of PMC mercenaries, and their death does not cause public resonance.
It is not surprising that the market for services provided by various PMCs was developing rapidly, and, according to The Economist, a British magazine, in 2012 its turnover was estimated at $ 100 billion.
We must say right away that the activities of modern PMCs are so multifaceted, and the number of these “firms” is so great that in this article we will give only a brief overview and talk only about some of them.
The first private military company, Stirling (Watchguard International), as we recall, was closed in 1972, but in 1973, with the assistance of the former commander of the Allied forces in Northern Europe, Walter Walker, the UNISON PMC was established.
In 1974, the PMC Vinnell Corp. was founded in the United States, which was lucky to conclude a profitable contract in Saudi Arabia: its employees trained the National Guard of this country and took control of the oil fields.
In the same year, the famous PMC Kroll Security International was created in the USA, the task of which was at first a private investigation, and then technical intelligence (the term “industrial espionage” would probably be more familiar) and the protection of various objects.
Kroll Security International Logo
KSI acted so successfully that already in 2004 its number of employees reached 3200, at which time it had 60 representative offices in 20 countries. Kroll Security International was seeking funds from former Filipino dictator Marcos, who had fled Haiti Duvalier and even executed Saddam Hussein. And in Russia, it became widely known after the beginning of 1992 when its employees were involved in the search for the notorious “party gold” (its services cost the Russian treasury $ XNUMX million). The report provided by Kroll Security International was lost in the offices of the government of E. Gaidar, its contents are unknown. According to rumors, some money, indeed, was found, but turned out to be on the accounts of the wrong people who were “ordered”.
Later, one of the KSI employees said that "the Russian government impressed people who do not need the ordered information."
In 1975, two more PMCs appeared: Control Risks Group and Security Advisory Services. From the article “Bob Denard, Jean Schramm, Roger Folk and Mike Hoar: The Fate of the Condottieres” you must remember that the founders of Security Advisory Services named it so that the abbreviations of their brainchild and the famous British special forces Special Air Service sounded identical. And that several former employees of this PMC were in the detachment of Mike Hoar, when in 1981 he tried to carry out a coup in Seychelles.
In 1976, this false SAS gained worldwide fame after 96 European mercenaries were shown to be involved in hostilities in Angola during the trial in Luanda, 36 of which were killed, 5 were missing, 1 was captured and was shot.
In 1977, Major David Walker founded PMC Keenie Meenie Services and a subsidiary of Saladin Security Ltd, which, as we recall, was led by David Stirling in the last years of his life. Keenie Meenie Services later prepared Sri Lankan special forces units that were used to fight the Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers and Nicaraguan Contras militants. In his work against Nicaragua, Walker worked closely with the deputy head of the National Security Council, Lt. Col. Oliver North. It all ended with the scandalous operation “Democracy”, better known as the “Iran-Contras case”: financing counter-revolutionaries of Nicaragua from the profits from illegal (bypassing the UN embargo) arms sales to Iran. It was David Walker who was accused of the terrorist attack in Managua, when on March 5, 1985 the headquarters and barracks of the Sandinista army and arms depots were blown up. Walker did not confirm his participation, but also did not categorically deny him.
KMS was also suspected of training Afghan mujahideen in camps located in Pakistan.
In the early 90's, after a series of high-profile scandals that had a great negative impact on the reputation of this PMC, it was disbanded.
In 1981, former SAS officer Alistair Morrison created PMC Defense Systems Limited, whose employees at various times worked as instructors for special forces in the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, Uganda, Botswana, Brunei, Saudi Arabia and Singapore . In 1982, DFS provided security for De Beers Angolan enterprises; in 1986, it participated in the creation of the plantation security system of Lonhro Corporation (Mozambique). And in the 90s, this PMC concluded contracts for the protection of Shell, Chevron and Texaco oil pipelines.
In 1989, Eben Barlow, PMC Executive Outcomes (EO), was created by the former head of the West European Department of Sabotage of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of South Africa, which was engaged in 1993 by the Government of Angola to train army units and operations against parts of the opposition UNITA movement.
Eben Barlow in Angola (center), photo taken in 1995 - shortly before completing the Executive Outcomes mission in that country
After in Angola, in 1995, Executive Outcomes entered into a similar contract in Sierra Leone, with 4 Russian-made helicopters initially controlled by Russian and Belarusian crews (later replaced by South African ones).
December 31, 1998 EO became part of the private military company Strategic Resource Corporation.
In addition to EO, other PMCs were created in South Africa: OSSI, Gray Security Services, Omega Risk Solutions, Panasec, Bridge Resources, Corporate Trading International, Strategie Concepts.
In France, the Defense Conseil Intemational, Le Graupe Barril Securite, Atlantic Intellegence, Eric SA worked.
Sandline International was created in Britain, which, incidentally, was named the first “private military company” in official documents (in 1997). Other British PMCs were created by Tim Spicer Trident Maritime and Aegis Defense Services. A Northbridge Services Group is a British-American PMC.
The most famous German private military company is currently considered Asgaard. On its emblem you can see the Viking ship and the words: "Fidelity, loyalty, discipline, honor, courage, duty."
PMC Asgaard employees:
The scope of activity of Asgard officially declared the protection of diplomatic workers, the personal protection of private individuals, the protection of various objects, the “cleaning” of mined objects, information security, the delivery of goods to dangerous locations, or escorting customer transport.
A very reputable American PMC was Military Professional Resources Inc., which was led by former commander of the US Army James Minds, as well as former commanders of American forces in Europe, John Galvin and Richard Rifitis.
Emblem PMC Military Professional Resources
Military Professional Resources Employees
It is believed that this PMC was very successful in the Balkans in the 90s. It is believed that it was her instructors and analysts (these experts who were engaged in the collection and processing of information) who played a large role in the victories over the Serbs in Western Slavonia (May 1–2, 1995), in Kninsky Krajina (August 4–8, 1995) and in Bosnian Kraine (July-October 1995). And in 2008, its employees worked as instructors in the Georgian army of Saakashvili. The successor to Military Professional Resources was PMC Engility.
By the way, after the end of hostilities in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, it was private military companies that carried out mine clearance work, earning about a billion dollars.
Another well-known US PMC, DynCorp International, guarded Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide in the 1990s and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the 2000s, with air travel and the security of US diplomatic missions in Iraq, and even with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina »In New Orleans (in 2005). The annual budget of this PMC in the best years reached 3 billion dollars.
PMC FDG Corp., founded in 1996 by former US Marine Corps officer André Rodriguez, actively opposed pirates off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, assisted the Somali government in clearing various sites and territories. Its employees have also been noted in Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip.
In 1997, Eric Prince, a former officer in the US Navy Special Operations Forces Seals division, created one of the most famous (if not the most famous) private military companies in the US - Blackwater. Later, he created another PMC - SCG International Risk, and then the Reflex Responses Company, which in 2011 signed a contract with the UAE to train local foreign legion units.
Jamie Smith, previously a CIA employee, became Blackwater Vice President. Initially, the company provided instructor services, but in 2002 the Blackwater Security Consulting division was opened, which engaged in the recruitment of mercenaries.
This PMC guarded the CIA in Afghanistan and the State Department in Iraq, including the American "governor in Baghdad" Paul Bremer (head of the US administration in Iraq in 2003-2004). Police at Virginia (Virginia) and North Carolina trained at Blackwater Worldwide. In 2005, during a flood caused by Hurricane Katrina, Blackwater employees participated in patrolling New Orleans streets and guarding various objects from marauders.
During the work of Blackwater in Iraq, up to 10 thousand employees of this PMC participated in various missions in this country, 780 of them died.
Blackwater “became famous” all over the world after it was shot at in Fallujah on March 31, 2004, and then a car with four of its employees was blown up, whose bodies Iraqis dragged along the streets for a long time, posing for numerous journalists, and then burned. Since Blackwater employees were dressed in modern camouflage uniforms, many (including journalists) initially mistook them for soldiers in the US army, and this caused a great scandal in the United States. The situation then cleared up, but the “sediment remained”, and therefore the Pentagon later conducted a demonstrative retaliation operation in Fallujah (Phanthom Fury - “The Phantom of Fury”): 107 were killed and 631 coalition forces were wounded, more than a thousand Iraqis were killed.
American armored vehicles on the streets of Fallujah during Operation Phanthom Fury
And on April 4, 2004, another high-profile incident involving Blackwater employees occurred in Najaf: the headquarters building, which was guarded by 8 PMC employees, 2 marines and several Salvadoran soldiers, was attacked by numerous Shiites (according to various estimates, from 700 to 2000 people) . The battle lasted almost a day and ended with the withdrawal of the attackers.
In September 2007, in Baghdad, Blackwater fighters came into conflict with Iraqis whose car did not give way to them: 17 Iraqis were killed and 20 injured in the ensuing skirmish (children were injured.). The scandal turned out to be very loud, the proceedings lasted for many years. As a result, three employees of this PMC received 15 years in prison, the fourth - a life sentence. In 2015, Blackwater paid $ 8 million to the families of Iraqi victims. She could afford it: only for the period from 1997 to 2010. PMC earned more than 2 billion dollars (and 1,6 billion of them - on the execution of the so-called "unclassified federal contracts", information about which is not subject to disclosure).
After this scandal, PMC Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services LLC, and in 2011 it became known as Academi.
Emblem PMC Academi
Academic PMC logo
Planning an operation by the management of PMC Academi
In 2012, Academi fighters defeated Somali pirates operating in the Puntland area. When asked by the journalist exactly how his employees distinguish "pirates" from ordinary fishermen, Prince answered:
“When I see several guys in a six-meter fishing boat in the center of the Gulf of Aden and with grenade launchers in their hands, I understand that they went out to sea not to fish.”
Other well-known and respected American PMCs are currently considered Triple Canopy and Cubic corporation.
Not all operations of modern PMCs were successful, and the scandals with Blackwater are not the most terrible failures of these “firms”. One of the biggest and most resonant failures of private military companies was the participation of the British GSG in the civil war in Sierra Leone: the detachment sent there was defeated by the rebels, and the group commander was captured and eaten (not because the rebels were starving, but the British were very appetizing and tasty - for ritual purposes).
This, of course, is far from a complete list of modern private military companies that were created at different times and in different countries of the world. Indeed, already in 2002 PMCs worked in 42 countries of the world, by this time their employees had taken part in 700 military conflicts. It is alleged that up to 2008 thousand people worked in American PMCs alone in 150, carrying out various missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. In Iraq, from 2000 to 2012 various PMCs earned over 350 billion dollars - they received them for organizing logistical support for the contingents of the United States and Great Britain: arranging bases, delivering goods (up to 10 thousand tons per day), and protecting government officials and diplomats. Various PMCs performed the same functions during army operations in Afghanistan, and in this country since 2002, 600 of their employees died.
And in 2015, many first heard about the mysterious PMC "Wagner", created in 2013 by the Russian branch of the international company Moran Security Group (specializing in protecting merchant ships from pirates). Many media outlets call the commander of this PMC a certain lieutenant colonel Dmitry Utkin, who previously served in the GRU special forces and loves Wagner's music very much (hence the name). After a reception hosted in the Kremlin in honor of the Heroes of the Fatherland on December 9, 2016, numerous messages appeared on the network about the presence of the alleged Wagner at this event. They say that the real management of this PMC is carried out from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The Wagner group is credited with participating in the hostilities in the Donbass, on the territory of Syria (in particular, they say about the great role of the soldiers of this PMC in the liberation of Palmyra), Sudan and Libya. Information about this private military company is very contradictory, and we probably will not know the truth about its activities soon. Vladimir Putin said at a press conference in December 2018:
“If this Wagner group violates something, then the Prosecutor General’s Office must give a legal assessment. Now about their presence somewhere abroad. If, I repeat once again, they do not violate Russian law, they have the right to work, to push through their business interests anywhere in the world. ”
It is alleged that in this photograph taken in Syria - employees of PMC "Wagner"
PMC Wagner is not the first and not the only Russian PMC. These include, for example, the Slavic Corps (or “regiment”, “legion”), which in 2013 was supposed to guard various government facilities and oil pipelines in Syria, but immediately suffered heavy losses and was evacuated to Russia. Moreover, already at the airport, the returning “volunteers” were arrested on charges of mercenarism, and then the leaders were even sentenced to three years in prison. Mercenaries in Russia are still officially banned, and PMCs are usually registered as private security companies - private security companies. From an interview given in November 2008 to the correspondent of Komsomolskaya Pravda A. Boyko, the head of another Russian PMC (RSB Group, she also has a maritime branch), Oleg Krinitsyn, it became known that his employees receive weapons outside Russia: it is stored in closed containers on secure platforms on the high seas.
Other Russian PMCs are also called Antiterror-Orel, Redut-Antiterror, Cossacks, ENOT Corp., MAR, Ferax, Sarmat and some others.
All of them, of course, are much less known than the Wagner Group mentioned above. There are two possible reasons: either their activity is not so large-scale, or the already “illuminated” and advertised “Wagner” now also serves as a “smoke screen”, covering other PMCs. In addition to Syria and Libya, foreign media find traces of Russian PMCs in Yemen, Sudan, and even in Brunei.
In the following articles we will return to stories French Foreign Legion. It is estimated that since 1960 France has carried out more than 40 military operations abroad, many of them on the African continent, and most of them were armed with the Legion.
The most famous was the operation "Bonite" (better known as "Leopard"), which the second parachute regiment of the Foreign Legion carried out in 1978 in Congo. This and much more will be discussed in future articles.