Global Strategies Group

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Group.png Global Strategies Group
(PMCPowerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-icon.png
Global Strategies Group.png
Founder• Damien Perl
• Charlie Andrews
Typecommercial

Global Strategies Group, formerly Global Risk Strategies, is a London based PMC founded by Damien Perl, a former marine, and Charlie Andrews, a former Scots Guards officer. With a modest beginning ferrying NGO employees and media personnel to and from Afghanistan the company soon expanded its operations to renting out secure compounds in Kabul. The US authorities also gave it a contract to distribute new currency in Afghanistan and in Iraq. What began as a two man team has grown extensively since then. In March 2004, The Economist wrote that “Global Risk Strategies was a two-man team until the invasion of Afghanistan. Now it has over 1,000 guards in Iraq — more than many of the countries taking part in the occupation—manning the barricades of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Last year it also won a $27m contract to distribute Iraq's new dinar.” [1]

Global Strategies first contract in Iraq was based in Mosul in late 2003 which was a national money exchange project called "Northstar" which involved the replacement of the Iraqi Dinar bearing Saddam Husseins image with the current Iraqi Dinar which depicts culturally significant images on the various denominations. Project Northstar later expanded to include escort of fuel tankers from the Turkish boarder to the fuel staging point called "Tinderbox" just north of Baghdad. Other Northstar missions included transport of humanitarian aid to include food and clothes to the Iraqi people as well as escort of forensic scientists to investigate mass graves containing thousands of Iraqi citizens killed under Saddam's regime prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by allied forces.

The firm is helping the CPA to draft new regulations in Iraq and has also replaced Custer Battles with providing the security at Baghdad airport. The firm has around 1,500 mercenaries of various nationalities working for it in Iraq, majority of them Fijians and Gurkhas. While it pays British or US ex-special forces soldiers more than £300 a day for their services, the 500 Gurkhas and the 500 former members of the Fijian army only receive £35 a day.[2]

Through its senior analyst Tamara Makarenko the firm also has links to the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrews University,[3] the leading academic centre on "terrorism" providing ideological definitions and remedies for "terrorism". According to Makarenko, civil liberties are something that one would cherish, only 'if you are a suspect with something to hide.'[4]

The firm was amongst four whose payments were withheld by the new Iraqi government due to the lack of procedure and paperwork followed by the CPA in awarding these contracts. The companies were also accused of overcharging and of failing to deliver on their obligations. The US State Department subsequently intervened on their behalf.[5]

In Afghanistan, it works in conjunction with Asia Foundation on USAID funded projects.[6]

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