British security contractors kill Iraqi civilians 02.12.2005 19:09
In a calculated effort to crush the growing resistance, the occupation forces in Iraq are attacking innocent civilians everyday but we are not given the dimensions or brutality of the atrocities being carried out thanks to the biased coverage provided by major press and broadcast outlets that purport to disseminate "the news." Unfortunately worldwide media failed to give the "trophy" video showing security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians, the attention needed in the wake of numerous abuse scandals involving the U.S. brutal actions in Iraq. Two investigations have been launched after the video was posted on www.aegisIraq.co.uk, the Sunday Telegraph revealed. But the video has been removed.
The video, which was linked unofficially to Aegis Defence Services, and contained four separate clips, in which security guards open fire with automatic rifles at civilian cars, sparked concerns that private security firms could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians in the war-torn country.
The shooting took place on "route Irish", which links the airport to Baghdad, and considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world due to the number of car and roadside bomb attacks and ambushes that took place in it.
In one scene, the video showed a Mercedes is fired on at a distance of several hundred yards before it crashes in to a civilian taxi. The last clip of the video showed a white civilian car attacked with gun fire as it approached a security company vehicle. The footage showed bullets hitting the car before it comes to a slow stop.
Scottish or Irish accent can be heard in one of the video clips.
Spokesman for defence firm Aegis Defence Services - set up in 2002 by Lt Col Tim Spicer, a former Scots Guards officer - confirmed that the company was carrying out an internal investigation to see if any of their employees were involved.
But the website stated that "This site does not belong to Aegis Defence Ltd, it belongs to the men on the ground who are the heart and soul of the company".
It also contained a message from Lt Col Spicer, which reads: "I am concerned about media interest in this site and I remind everyone of their contractual obligation not to speak to or assist the media without clearing it with the project management or Aegis London.
"Refrain from posting anything which is detrimental to the company since this could result in the loss or curtailment of our contract with resultant loss for everybody."
Moreover, the Foreign Office confirmed that it launched an investigation, in conjunction with Aegis, one of the biggest security companies operating in Iraq, into the incidents described in the video. The Aegis was in charge of a number of security tasks and helped with the collection of ballot papers in Iraq’s recent referendum. It was awarded £220 million security contract in Iraq by Bush's admin.
This is not the only security company that is following such brutal and inhuman methods in Iraq. Many security companies awarded contracts in Iraq by the U.S. government adopt similar rules.
Like the U.S. Army vehicles, which carry a sign warning drivers to keep their distance from the vehicle, Aegis cars also carry signs reading "Danger, ”Keep back. Authorized to use lethal force."
The Sunday Telegraph said it was told by Capt Adnan Tawfiq of the Iraqi Interior Ministry which deals with compensation issues, about numerous complaints from families who say that their relatives have been shot by private security contractors while travelling.
"When the security companies kill people they just drive away and nothing is done. Sometimes we ring the companies concerned and they deny everything. The families don't get any money or compensation. I would say we have had about 50-60 incidents of this kind," Tawfiq said.At least 100,000 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, have died in Iraq since the war was launched in March 2003. Most of the deaths resulted from air strikes carried out by the U.S.-led occupation forces, The Guardian stated last year, based on Iraqi and U.S. public health experts' accounts.