December 3, 2005
Over the last few days evidence has come
to light of the deliberate murder of Iraqi civilians by security
contractors employed by the British firm Aegis Defense Services:
A "trophy" video appearing to show security
guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two
investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday
Telegraph can reveal.
The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which
are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq,
could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.
Booman Tribune has now obtained a copy of a memo that implicates employees of a second private security company, Triple Canopy, Inc., an American firm operating in Iraq, in the possible homicide of two Iraqi civilians on the road from Ramadi to Amman near the Jordanian border in December, 2004.
The memo appears to have been sent in January, 2005 from a Director of Intelligence Services for SEC Associates
to one of SEC's employees based in Baghdad, regarding the need to
investigate a possible double homicide by a PSD ("Personal Security
Detail") working for Triple Canopy.
052300Z JAN 2005
FROM: SEC DIRINTEL TAMPA FL US TO: //DERVISH// BAGHDAD IZ
INFO: //SCORPION SEVEN ONE// BAGHDAD IZ SEC OPS TAMPA FL US
C O N F I D E N T I A L PROPIN
COUNTRY: (U) IRAQ (IZ)
SUBJ: (C/PR) REPORT OF DOUBLE HOMICIDE BY PMC PSD TEAM DEC 2004
IR 00 8 004 0105 1500 05
DOI: (C/PR)  SOURCE: (C/PR) //MAKIDJ//
INSTR: (C/PR) PRIORITY INVESTIGATION DIRECTED.
REPORT TO DIRINTEL VIA OPSO
//SCORPION SEVEN ONE//
(C/PR) //MAKIDJ// FORWARDS INFO REPORTING POSSIBLE DOUBLE HOMICIDE OF
UNARMED IRAQI TRUCK DRIVERS BY PMC PSD TEAM OPERATING IRAQ EARLY DEC
2004 WEST-BOUND ON AMMAN- BAGHDAD HIGHWAY NEAR JORDANIAN BORDER.
TEXT: 1. (C/PR) MAKIDJ REPORTS A PSD TEAM WORKING FOR TRIPLE CANOPY,
INC. DEPARTED RAMADI EARLY DECEMBER VIA MAIN HIGHWAY TO JORDAN. TEAM
CHOSE OVERLAND DEPARTURE DUE TO BIA CLOSURE AT THE TIME. A FEW MILES
FROM BORDER CROSSING TEAM ENCOUNTERED TWO IRAQI TRUCKS (W/DRIVERS)
ACTING "ERRATIC". PSD TEAM DECIDED DA WAS NEEDED AND ENGAGED THE TWO
VEHICLES WITH OVER 200 ROUNDS OF 5.56, KILLING TWO UNARMED IRAQI MALES.
TEAM STOPPED AND TOOK PHOTOGRAPHS, THEN CONTINUED ENROUTE JORDAN BORDER.
2. (C/PR) TEAM WAS STOPPED ON IRAQI SIDE OF BORDER BY ENGLISH-SPEAKING
IRAQI CUSTOMS OFFICER. CUSTOMS OFFICER ASKED IF THE TEAM HAD
ENCOUNTERED ANY TROUBLE ON THE HIGHWAY. TEAM MEMBERS RESPONDED IN THE
NEGATIVE, INDICATING THEY HAD ENCOUNTERED NO PROBLEMS. CUSTOMS OFFICER
FURTHER INQUIRED AS TO WHY THERE WAS OVER 100 ROUNDS EXPENDED 5.56
BRASS FOUND AT THE SITE OF A REPORTED "INCIDENT" WHERE TWO IRAQI TRUCK
DRIVERS WERE FOUND SPRAWLED ON THE GROUND WITH THEIR HEADS "BLOWN OFF"
BY WHAT IS DESCRIBED AS CONTACT WOUNDS TO THE FACE.
3. (U) TEAM WAS HELD AT THE BORDER FOR 9 HOURS WHILE VEHICLES AND GEAR
WERE FULLY SEARCHED. NO FURTHER DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE ON WHAT ELSE
TRANSPIRED DURING THE SEARCH. APPARENTLY IT WAS RESOLVED IN SOME MANNER
AND THE TEAM WAS ALLOWED TO PROCEED ON ITS WAY.
COMMENTS: 1. (C/PR) MAKIDJ DESCRIBES AT LEAST ONE TRIPLE CANOPY, INC.
PSD TEAM MEMBER AS "AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAD A SHORT 3 YEAR TOUR IN
CONVENTIONAL ARMY AND THEN WENT INTO LAW ENFORCEMENT, UNTIL THIS BIG
COWBOY CONTRACTOR OPPORTUNITY CAME ABOUT."
2. (C) MAKIDJ EXPRESSES GRAVE CONCERN THAT "THESE GUYS WERE ON THE WAY
HOME AND DECIDED THAT THEY NEEDED TO KILL A FEW IRAQIS JUST FOR THE
HELL OF IT---COWBOYS AND MURDERERS LIKE THESE [EXPLETIVE DELETED] ARE
GOING TO UNDERMINE THE ENTIRE EFFORT IN IRAQ. THEY HAVE STAINED THE
NAMES OF THE US MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO HAVE BEEN KIA OR WIA IN IRAQ. IF
I WAS [IRAQI] I'D BE TRYING TO KILL THESE [EXPLETIVE DELETED]
The writer of the memo clearly feels that the behavior of the Triple
Canopy employees in killing the Iraqi truck drivers appeared
suspicious, and may very well have constituted an unlawful homicide,
rather than self defense as claimed. This quote from the memo is particularly striking in light of the recent revelations about the shootings by security contractors employed by Aegis:
(C) MAKIDJ EXPRESSES GRAVE CONCERN THAT "THESE
GUYS WERE ON THE WAY HOME AND DECIDED THAT THEY NEEDED TO KILL A FEW
IRAQIS JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT---COWBOYS AND MURDERERS LIKE THESE
[EXPLETIVE DELETED] ARE GOING TO UNDERMINE THE ENTIRE EFFORT IN IRAQ.
THEY HAVE STAINED THE NAMES OF THE US MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO HAVE BEEN
KIA OR WIA IN IRAQ. IF I WAS [IRAQI] I'D BE TRYING TO KILL THESE
[EXPLETIVE DELETED] 'CONTRACTORS', TOO!"
SEC Associates is a firm, based in the United States, that provides a
multitude of services to private and governmental clients related to
security issues, including intelligence and investigative services. It
is unclear at this time why a director of SEC was directing an SEC
employee in Baghdad to conduct an investigation of this incident
involving a two person PSD team employed by Triple Canopy. The identity
of the individual referred to as "Majidk"
in the memo, and the basis of his or her information regarding this
incident is also unclear. As soon as more information is available to
us, Booman Tribune will update this report.
Update [2005-12-3 1:4:4 by Steven D]: Crooks and Liars also has this story. The .pdf file for the memo is here. C&L also has a video of Aegis/UK, which was covered here yesterday by Londonbear in "Aegis Security - Bush's Terrorist Contractors."
FURTHER information regarding Triple Canopy, Inc. and its work in Iraq follows after the break.
From the Center for Media and Democracy:
Triple Canopy, founded by veterans of the US special
force's Delta unit, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, employs over
300 employees, attracts Green Berets and Delta Force soldiers, and is
owned privately . . .
It is reported Triple Canopy has more than that in Iraq alone, with
around 350 . . . They are an active firm, already involved in
firefights in Iraq . . .
Triple Canopy is one of several companies mentioned as pooling their
resources with others in Iraq. Though this is often necessary, given
the situation and the lack of US troops to back them up, some are
concerned this is leading to a consolidation of power of private
companies in a war zone. . . .
Recently, Triple Canopy has stopped recruiting from the Philippines and
started in war-experienced rich El Salvador. Company spokesman, Joe
Mayo, says, "They've got the right background for the type of work we
are doing." After training in Jordan, the troops will head to Iraq for
site security. . . .
Three executives each wrote $2,000 checks for the Bush-Cheney campaign
in March . . . Two $1,000 donations were made by Eddie Payne, a Triple
Canopy subcontractor, to the RNC and to the Bush-Cheney re-election
campaign. . .
In July 2005, Triple Canopy Inc. announced that it was relocating its
offices from Chicago and moving to a federal government-centric
location in Fairfax County. Specific terms of Triple Canopy's lease
agreement with property owner America's Capital Partners have not been
revealed. America's Capital handles its own leasing activities and
currently markets office space in the six-story building, located at
2250 Corporate Park Dr., for about $26 per sf. . .
A report in the New York Times, on August 14, 2005, by Daniel Bergner, (full text of the article without the NYT firewall is here), provides the following information about the company:
It was early last year [January, 2004], and the company [Matt Mann] and two partners created, Triple
Canopy, had just won government contracts to guard 13 Coalition
Provisional Authority headquarters throughout Iraq. (The renewable
six-month deals were worth, in all, about $90 million.) . . .
Yet when Triple Canopy was hired, it scarcely existed. Mann and
one of his partners, Tom Katis, an old friend from Special Forces,
talked after 9/11 about starting a business that might somehow address
the threat of terrorism. . . . They were a name, a notion, when they
heard about the C.P.A. security work and started bidding for the
. . . Triple Canopy now [i.e., as of August, 2005] has about 1,000 men in Iraq, about 200 of them American and almost all the rest from Chile and Fiji.
Its rivals include British firms that draw from the elite units of the
U.K. military and outfits that draw from South African veterans of the
wars to save apartheid. Australians and Ukrainians and Romanians and
Iraqis are all making their livings in the business. Many have
experience as soldiers; some have been in law enforcement. The firms
guard the huge American corporations struggling to carry out Iraq's
. . . Triple Canopy was awarded its work in January 2004.
Other companies received, or already had, their portions. (Meanwhile,
the corporations actually doing the rebuilding, the hearts-and-minds
element of the American occupation's campaign, were spending up to 25
percent of their U.S. government money on hired protection.) The
deployment of private gunmen grew and grew into a profusion that may be
explained partly by the subtle shift in perception that had removed
some of the old mercenary stigma, and partly by the emphasis on
outsourcing that had been gathering momentum in the U.S. military since
the early 1990's (but that had been focused on logistical, unarmed
support). Most immediately, though, the explosive growth may be
explained by the strength of the insurgency in Iraq and by the apparent
fact that there weren't enough troops on the ground to fight it.
. . . Triple Canopy has come a long way from its haphazard beginnings. Its current contracts in Iraq, mostly with the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department, are worth almost $250 million yearly.
. . . There is no effective regulation in Iraq of whom the firms hire or how the men are trained or how they conduct themselves.
''At best you've got professionals doing their best in a chaotic and
aggressive environment,'' Lyle Hendrick said in an e-mail from Iraq in
July, describing his colleagues in private security there. He had spent
six months with one company in the country's north and is now with
another down in Basra. ''At worst you've got cowboys running almost unchecked, shooting at will and just plain O.T.F. (Out There Flappin').''
Triple Canopy recently took over the contract for the provision of all security services within the "Green Zone" in Baghdad. A recent report
indicates that many of the individuals it employs in the Green Zone as
security guards come from the Latin American countries of Peru, Chile,
Guatamala and the Honduras. Most are former veterans of military or paramilitary units with experience fighting local insurgencies.