[R-G] Apartheid Enforcers Guard Iraq For the U.S.
david.mcr at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 21 18:21:36 MST 2004
> > Forward
> > Feb. 20, 2004
> > Apartheid Enforcers Guard Iraq For the U.S.
> > By Marc Perelman
> > http://www.forward.com/main/article.php?ref=perelman20040218608
> > In its effort to relieve overstretched U.S. troops in Iraq, the Bush
> > administration has hired a private security company staffed with former
> > henchmen of South Africas apartheid regime.
> > The reliance on apartheid enforcers was highlighted by an attack in Iraq
> > last month that killed one South African security officer and wounded
> > another who worked for the subsidiary of a firm called Erinys
> > Both men once served in South African paramilitary units dedicated to
> > violent repression of apartheid opponents.
> > François Strydom, who was killed in the January 28 bombing of a hotel in
> > Baghdad, was a former member of the Koevoet, a notoriously brutal
> > counterinsurgency arm of the South African military that operated in
> > during the neighboring states fight for independence in the 1980s. His
> > colleague Deon Gouws, who was injured in the attack, is a former
> > the Vlakplaas, a secret police unit in South Africa.
> > It is just a horrible thought that such people are working for the
> > Americans in Iraq, said Richard Goldstone, a recently retired justice
> > the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former chief prosecutor of
> > United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former
> > and Rwanda.
> > The Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and the Pentagon did not
> > requests for comment.
> > In Iraq, the U.S. government has tapped into the ever-growing pool of
> > private security companies to provide a variety of defense services,
> > including protecting oil sites and training Iraqi forces. Observers
> > that a reliance on these companies and the resulting lack of
> > is a recipe for further problems in a volatile region.
> > Erinys Iraq, the subsidiary of the largely unknown security company
> > Erinys International, was awarded a two-year contract worth $80 million
> > August to protect 140 Iraqi oil installations and train some 6,500 Iraqi
> > guards. It then subcontracted some of its security duties to a U.S.
> > security firm called SAS International.
> > The contract raised eyebrows in the industry because Erinys beat out
> > better-known competitors. While the coalition authority has not released
> > information on the tender, some of its officials were quoted as saying
> > bidding was fair.
> > Neither the authority nor Erinys responded to email queries regarding
> > tender and ultimate contract. In addition to fueling criticism over the
> > of transparency of the bidding process in Iraq, the contract has also
> > ignited political infighting in Baghdad between two key U.S. allies. The
> > leader of the Iraqi National Accord, an exile group with close links to
> > CIA, has accused one of his main rivals of orchestrating the deal for
> > own purposes. Iyad Allawi told the Financial Times last December that
> > Chalabi, the leader of the Pentagon-backed Iraqi National Congress, had
> > engineered the Erinys contract in order to set up a private militia that
> > would end up undermining central authority over the vital oil sector.
> > Private security companies, including Erinys International, have served
> > magnet for poorly paid and highly skilled South African security
> > according to a recent United Nations report and articles in the South
> > African press. Headquartered in London with offices in Johannesburg and
> > Dubai, Erinys International reportedly was established in the summer of
> > by former British and South African security officials. Its Erinys Iraq
> > subsidiary reportedly was set up last May in the wake of the U.S.-led
> > invasion, when the oil infrastructure had become a prime target for
> > Gouws, a former Pretoria police officer who then worked for the
> > Vlakplaas unit, was declared medically unfit and discharged from the
> > in December 1996 after a decade of service. That year, Gouws submitted
> > amnesty application to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a body
> > up after the apartheid to investigate past atrocities. According to
> > of the commission, Gouws and a colleague were granted amnesty in May
> > for admitting their involvement in the 1986 murder of regional minister
> > opposition leader Piet Ntuli.
> > Strydom belonged to the Kovoet unit, which had brutally suppressed the
> > Namibian opposition. As Namibia edged toward its independence in the
> > 1980s, Koevoet was folded into the Vlakpaas unit. According to
> > who chaired South Africas Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding
> > Violence and Intimidation in the early 1990s elements of those
> > government-sponsored hit squads continued to foment trouble even after
> > Nelson Mandela was freed from prison and South Africa embarked on the
> > towards full-fledged democracy. In addition, several mercenary companies
> > dispatched former South African soldiers to war-torn countries,
> > Angola and Sierra Leone.
> > This prompted the new South African government to launch a campaign to
> > outlaw mercenary companies. The July 1998 Regulation of Foreign Military
> > Assistance Act prohibits South Africans from direct participation as
> > combatants in armed conflict for private gain. The law covers
> > training and financing, and applies to South Africans acting abroad as
> > South African security companies working outside the country are
> > law to register with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee.
> > According to South African lawmaker Raenette Taljaard, however, the
> > committee did not receive an authorization application from Erinys
> > International. A lot of the South Africans doing mercenary work or
> > for private military companies were involved in Apartheid-era
> > she said. This is a big concern and it is just bad for South Africas
> > reputation.
> > The chairman of the committee said in a statement after the January 28
> > incident that any violation of the law would be referred to prosecutors
> > further investigation.#
> > _________________________________________________________________
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