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Iraq: Security Firm Will Hire a Nightclub Bouncer

by Bernard Ginns and John BynorthMail on Sunday, London
April 18th, 2004

The lives of contractors in Iraq are being put at risk by security firms
prepared to employ untrained staff, a Mail on Sunday investigation reveals.

One firm, Global Risk International, tells clients that security personnel
it provides in Iraq are ex-Special Forces, but our investigators found it
was willing to employ a nightclub bouncer.

Our investigator approached Global, based in Hampton, Surrey, last week and
said he wanted to work as a bodyguard. Director John Harris asked: 'Are you
police or military?' Our investigator said he had worked on nightclub doors.

Mr Harris replied: 'We have various types of work you might be interested
in. Drop us your CV.' 

The investigator returned as a boss wanting protection for
employees. Mr Harris assured him Global employed ex-military bodyguards. He
said: 'They're all former Special Forces.'

Later asked to explain the discrepancy, a spokesman said: 'We employ civilians for work like private detective work.' Still posing as a bouncer, our investigator approached
another firm, Genric, in Hereford, to look for work in Iraq. Representative
Kev Gallagher asked: 'Are you military?' 

Our investigator replied: 'No'. Mr Gallagher added: 'A firm called Phoenix runs a four-week training course. They will train you, then come back.' The Pounds 3,200 course is organised by Nick Duggan, an ex-SAS man and Genric director.

Our investigator asked if he should approach Genric after the course. Mr
Gallagher replied: 'Yes.' Posing as a businessman looking for bodyguards,
our investigator approached Mr Gallagher who said Genric did not employ
anyone without a Services background.

Contacted later, a Genric spokesman said: 'Your investigator was told if he
passed the course, a bigger firm might accept him. After six months in Iraq
we would look at him.' He claimed 90 cent of the firm's people were
ex-military. It is estimated 10,000 security guards work in Iraq. Daily
rates range from Pounds 250 to Pounds 300.

Tory Defence spokesman Gerald Howarth criticised firms that provided
ill-qualified bodyguards: 'They're putting lives at risk.'

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