Iraq: Security Firm Will Hire a Nightclub Bouncer

Publisher Name: 
Mail on Sunday, London

The lives of contractors in Iraq are being put at risk by security firms
prepared to employ untrained staff, a Mail on Sunday investigation reveals.

One firm, Global Risk International, tells clients that security personnel
it provides in Iraq are ex-Special Forces, but our investigators found it
was willing to employ a nightclub bouncer.

Our investigator approached Global, based in Hampton, Surrey, last week and
said he wanted to work as a bodyguard. Director John Harris asked: 'Are you
police or military?' Our investigator said he had worked on nightclub doors.

Mr Harris replied: 'We have various types of work you might be interested
in. Drop us your CV.' 

The investigator returned as a boss wanting protection for
employees. Mr Harris assured him Global employed ex-military bodyguards. He
said: 'They're all former Special Forces.'

Later asked to explain the discrepancy, a spokesman said: 'We employ civilians for work like private detective work.' Still posing as a bouncer, our investigator approached
another firm, Genric, in Hereford, to look for work in Iraq. Representative
Kev Gallagher asked: 'Are you military?' 

Our investigator replied: 'No'. Mr Gallagher added: 'A firm called Phoenix runs a four-week training course. They will train you, then come back.' The Pounds 3,200 course is organised by Nick Duggan, an ex-SAS man and Genric director.

Our investigator asked if he should approach Genric after the course. Mr
Gallagher replied: 'Yes.' Posing as a businessman looking for bodyguards,
our investigator approached Mr Gallagher who said Genric did not employ
anyone without a Services background.

Contacted later, a Genric spokesman said: 'Your investigator was told if he
passed the course, a bigger firm might accept him. After six months in Iraq
we would look at him.' He claimed 90 cent of the firm's people were
ex-military. It is estimated 10,000 security guards work in Iraq. Daily
rates range from Pounds 250 to Pounds 300.

Tory Defence spokesman Gerald Howarth criticised firms that provided
ill-qualified bodyguards: 'They're putting lives at risk.'

AMP Section Name:War & Disaster Profiteering