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Posted: 10/15/2003 5:31:24 AM EDT
Former members of the SAS and other elite British regiments are earning up to £1,000 a day providing armed protection for Western businessmen in Baghdad, Basra and other Iraqi cities.

Hundreds of ex-servicemen skilled in personal protection have travelled to Iraq to meet a soaring demand for bodyguards in a country that senior security officials are likening to the "Wild West".

Many Western businessmen, particularly Britons and Americans, have agreed to undertake reconstruction work in Iraq only after being promised bodyguards by their employers.

For key personnel, round-the-clock protection can cost £6,000 a day, which includes up to a dozen armed guards and two armoured, four-wheel drive vehicles with blackened windows. The cars always travel in convoy so that if one breaks down, the client can jump into the other.

Many of the security men, who usually carry automatic rifles and pistols, have been involved in shoot-outs with supporters of Saddam Hussein's deposed regime, bandits and kidnappers who are targeting foreign businessmen and Iraqis working with the coalition.

John Geddes, who had 10 years in the Parachute Regiment and 13 in the SAS, charges £500 a day for his skills: he is cheaper than many other bodyguards because he is operating as a "freelance" rather than working for a large company.

He believes that Iraq is more dangerous now than during the war. "It's the Wild West out there. It's not a war zone: it's worse," said Mr Geddes, speaking at his Baghdad hotel. "During the war there was a front line but now it's every man for himself.

"Iraq today is a very, very dangerous place. The opposition [Saddam's supporters] are opposed to reconstruction and anyone involved with it is a target. Our aim is to use our experience and skills to minimise the client's risk."

Mr Geddes, 48, who is divorced with three children and served in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Colombia, Kosovo and Bosnia, now runs Unique Strategic Concepts. He described how he was recently involved in a terrifying incident west of Baghdad while guarding two British clients.

"A Mercedes with blacked out windows pulled up alongside our vehicle. There were two rifles poking through the top of the front passenger and back passenger windows," he said.

The men in the Mercedes fired across the front of the car. Without winding down his window, Mr Geddes returned fire with his AK47. "I put a short burst into the driver's seat and another short burst into the rear seat. We then put our foot down and as I looked back their vehicle was swerving into a ditch. We had narrowly got away with our lives. I don't know what happened to them and I don't care."

While many American security men openly brandish rifles and other weapons, British bodyguards prefer a more discreet approach, keeping their guns out of sight and using them only as a last resort.

One of the biggest British security companies operating in Iraq is the Control Risk Group, which employs 140 men, mostly Britons, in the country to protect businessmen of all nationalities.

James Blount, 45, the country manager for Control Risks, has been in Iraq for three months and set up the company's office in Baghdad. "Iraq today is a high-risk environment but that doesn't mean that it is a place where you can't operate. If you manage the risks, businessmen can function.

"Our aim is to enable our clients to get safely from A to B and to keep them secure in their working and sleeping environments. Our aim is to be discreet and low key: not to have 140 guys patrolling the streets of Baghdad as though they were auditioning for Terminator 4. If there is a problem, we seek to avoid any confrontation and to get the client away from danger as quickly as possible."

Control Risks uses analysts to assess the dangers of any journey and then recommends how many men, including former SAS members, should be allocated to the job. "We tailor our level of protection to the level of the threat," said Mr Blount, a former diplomat who has previously specialised in dealing with kidnaps and ransom demands in Latin America.

An estimated 100 former SAS soldiers are now working in Iraq for security companies. Besides ex-Army personnel there are also former police officers from Scotland Yard's royalty protection squad (SO14), who specialise in close protection work, and members of the Special Boat Service, the Royal Navy equivalent of the SAS.

The American security firm Kroll, the world's largest risk consultancy company, is also operating in Iraq and employs many former British soldiers.

One British businessman, Hareth Zahawi, the president of Iraq Project of Business and Development, is one of those who has his own bodyguards and is also planning to set up a security company in Iraq. "It is a huge business here and will be for some time to come," he said.

Mr Zahawi, 66, who lives in Surrey, was on the first civilian convoy into Iraq from Kuwait in April and his company now employs 1,800 people in the country, mostly in the construction and oil industries.

He needs his own protection because he believes that he may be targeted by Saddam loyalists for two reasons: he is working with the coalition forces, and his ancestors - once one of the 10 families that ruled Iraq - were opponents of the brutal dictator and were forced to flee the country in the late 1970s.

"I am a businessman, a capitalist. I have security because I am a potential target. I do what I can: I have armed guards, I change my routes, I change cars. But nobody can guarantee someone else's safety here: no one can stop a bomb flying from some little hole in the ground beside a road."
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 6:23:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/15/2003 6:23:51 AM EDT by krinkfreak]
I wonder where the three dead Americans (security guards) killed in Gaza today will be spending their money????

"The blast went off around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday as a three-car U.S. diplomatic convoy with a Palestinian police escort drove near a gas station on the outskirts of the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, along the main north-south road. Israeli reports said the U.S. cars were armored.

U.S. diplomatic sources said the people in the car were security guards for the U.S. diplomats traveling in the other vehicles. In Washington, State Department officials declined to comment.

The explosion apparently was set off by a remote-control roadside bomb. The blast tore the van in half and left the wreckage twisted with the tires up in the air. The pavement was stained with blood and littered with bits of flesh.

An AP reporter saw a gray wire with an on-off switch leading from the scene of the attack to a small concrete room at the side of the road."




KF
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 2:52:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By krinkfreak:
I wonder where the three dead Americans (security guards) killed in Gaza today will be spending their money????

"The blast went off around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday as a three-car U.S. diplomatic convoy with a Palestinian police escort drove near a gas station on the outskirts of the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, along the main north-south road. Israeli reports said the U.S. cars were armored.

U.S. diplomatic sources said the people in the car were security guards for the U.S. diplomats traveling in the other vehicles. In Washington, State Department officials declined to comment.

The explosion apparently was set off by a remote-control roadside bomb. The blast tore the van in half and left the wreckage twisted with the tires up in the air. The pavement was stained with blood and littered with bits of flesh.

An AP reporter saw a gray wire with an on-off switch leading from the scene of the attack to a small concrete room at the side of the road."




KF



< recuiter > thats the OTHER company .. we wont send you there... now sign here < / recruiter >
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 3:36:08 AM EDT
Its a terrible thing to happen to anyone. Hopefully they had a good insurance plan for their families.
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 4:15:14 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 4:22:03 AM EDT
Its a crap shoot.

Link Posted: 10/16/2003 10:00:56 AM EDT
I make a 1000 pounds a day and get a free AK, sign me up, i'm tired of driving truck for $100 a day....sounds like a good way to release stress too!!!!
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 3:49:49 PM EDT
Hell ... i'd do it..

How much experience do they require? ;)
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 4:55:27 PM EDT
And I bet it is all tax-free, damn tempting but I have too much here to go on a year long stint overseas regardless of how much it pays.
Link Posted: 10/17/2003 6:00:21 PM EDT
i am paying taxes so someone do that job for me.
Link Posted: 10/18/2003 1:49:25 AM EDT
if i had the experience id probably do it. [:\]
Link Posted: 10/19/2003 6:20:30 AM EDT
where does one find out more info on this subject?
Link Posted: 10/19/2003 6:33:15 AM EDT
Actually its pretty common to contract out for big money in warzones.ANd not just body guard type stuff. Most are ex service memebers. I have a couple friends that do it down in the Balkans. They do communications type stuff. They make about $10-14K a month, tax free. One told me that jobs in Iraq are paying $20k a month, all tax free.

Companies like Brown and Root, ITT, Sprint and others have contracts to the Gov't for different jobs in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afganistan and so on. Everything from Gate guard to food service to computers. Pay starts in the very high five figures. Most are tax free.
Link Posted: 10/19/2003 5:00:54 PM EDT
I'm goin, whose with me...We will start our own "contracting" buisness....
Link Posted: 10/19/2003 5:12:38 PM EDT
These are the guys supplying most of the work force.

www.dyncorp.com
Link Posted: 10/19/2003 5:34:27 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/20/2003 8:59:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By coltshorty14:
I'm goin, whose with me...We will start our own "contracting" buisness....



Im in
Link Posted: 10/20/2003 1:12:06 PM EDT
Antares


I figure we can contract with McDonald's, and or Coke as these will be the first two US companies to market there consumer products to Baghdad...
Link Posted: 10/20/2003 2:37:00 PM EDT
Armored Coke delivery truck with a .50 mounted on the roof? :)

How bout doing security for individuals ... might be better off and probably more money in it.

Anyone here got a million bucks or so they want to invest so we can start this thing? :)
Link Posted: 10/20/2003 4:16:42 PM EDT
I dont think we need a mill. All we need is plane ticket to Jordan or?$1500 money for a rife to Iraq $500, couple AKs 50-60 mags, RPK 30 250 round belts, and a car $200 total...hehehe We can steal everything else
Link Posted: 10/20/2003 4:23:35 PM EDT
maybe its my extensive boyscout training, but I like to be more prepared than that... ;)
Link Posted: 10/20/2003 4:28:07 PM EDT
With a million bucks we can go over there looking like New York Pimps..Gold plated Desert Eagles and all....
Link Posted: 10/20/2003 4:32:58 PM EDT
my plan called for glock18s FNp90s trench coats and matrix style sunglasses ... but you're getting the hang of it :)
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