Aegis Defence Services

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Group.png Aegis Defence ServicesRdf-icon.png
Formation2002
Founder• Tim Spicer
• Mark Bullough
• Jeffrey Day
• Dominic Armstrong
Type• private
• military

Also known as Aegis Specialist Risk Management.

Origins

Originally based in London, Aegis Defence Services was founded in 2002 by Le Cercle attendee, Tim Spicer who made headlines with the Sandline affair in the late 1990s when he was caught shipping 30 tons of arms to Sierra Leone in apparent violation of a UN weapons embargo and arrested in the abortive coup in Papua New Guinea. His friends ex-SAS officer Simon Mann, was arrested in Zimbabwe in February 2007 and extradited to Equatorial Guinea on charges of plotting a coup against the EG government. Mann was convicted and sentenced to 34 years imprisonment but pardoned and released "on humanitarian grounds" in November 2009. Frederick Forsyth the author of "Dogs of War", is an Aegis shareholder.

Expansion

Aegis Defence Services signed a new contract with the Pentagon worth $145m (£79m) over protests from its American competitors in 2007. This is an extension of the earlier $293 million 'cost plus' contract that it had signed with the Pentagon in May 2003. According to Naomi Klein, the Coalition Provisional Authority contracted with Aegis to protect its employees from "assassination, kidnapping, injury and embarrassment." In a separate contract, Aegis also provided security for employees working on the Iraqi 'Oil-for-Food' corruption inquiry. Aegis employs a total of 930 people in Iraq and besides co-ordinating communications between coalition forces, civilian contractors working on reconstruction projects, and their private security firms, it also provides bodyguards for senior American and Iraqi officials. Aegis operates one national and six regional command-centres and acts as a link between coalition forces and civilian contractors on security issues, relaying information on rebel activity.[1]

In 2010, when Aegis Defence Services established a Swiss holding company based in Basel, there was a public and political outcry in Switzerland centred on fears that it would erode Switzerland’s ‘neutrality’. Employing 20,000 mercenaries, who are deployed mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan, Aegis is one of the world’s biggest private armies. In January 2012, it was announced that Aegis had been awarded a short-term contract by Switzerland to protect the Swiss embassy in Libya and that Swiss special forces were taking over responsibility for security at the embassy.[2] The Swiss government has since drawn up legislation banning PMCs operating in conflict zones or holding companies in this sector from being based in Switzerland. In April 2014, it was reported that Aegis Defence Services had to quit Switzerland after the introduction of an anti-mercenary law.[3]

Trade associations

In November 2005 Aegis Defence Services applied unsuccessfully to join the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), a trade association for PMCs. Aegis' membership bid came just as the IPOA were trying to reposition the industry as for-profit providers of armed men as peace keepers. In a telephone interview with "Corporate Watch", Tim Spicer said he was 'surprised' by IPOA's initial rejection 'especially since we were invited to apply'. Spicer participated in the first annual conference of the British Association of Private Security Companies in October 2006.[4]

Trophy videos in Iraq

Rod Stoner, a former British army officer and Aegis employee, who worked for the company between 2004 and 2005, posted videos on the internet implicating Aegis in shooting civilians in Iraq. According to a statement from Stoner, “We don’t know whether it was an innocent civilian or whether that was an insurgent—we don’t know, because we never stop.”
The series of “trophy” videos appear to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians. All of the shooting incidents apparently took place on “Route Irish”, a road that links the airport to Baghdad.
In one of the videos, a car is fired on at a distance of several hundred yards before it crashes into a taxi. In another, a white civilian car is raked with machine gun fire as it approaches an unidentified security company vehicle. Bullets can be seen hitting the car before it comes to a slow stop.
Despite denying that the videos had anything to do with Aegis employees, the security company got a high court injunction last Friday against Stoner. This closed down the website and prohibited him from speaking to the press.[5]

PR and Lobbying Firms

Aegis are clients of The S.P.A. Way a London-based PR firm run by Sara Pearson.[6] The company claims that it does not charge a fee unless its coverage meets three strict criteria, that it should:

  1. Be an original piece set up by the Agency
  2. Be in the agreed media
  3. Carry a minimum of 2 of the 3 agreed messages[7]

A great deal of coverage of Aegis in the UK media could arguably be seen as fitting these requirements.

Pearson's association with Aegis boss Tim Spicer goes back to 1997 when the two were introduced through Michael Grunberg. Pearson hosted the press conference that took place on Spicer's return to Britain following the Sandline Affair in Papua New Guinea.[8]

People

Board of Directors

Former Directors

Affiliations

References, Resources and Contact

Resources


References