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Where are the PSC regulations?

In the last few decades, specialised private security companies (PSCs) have come a long way and have increasingly assisted police and military in almost all levels of security. Their legacy is quite deep – private security companies assisted the British even during the US war for independence. More recently, the malaise caused in Iraq has opened up a new chapter, thanks to Blackwater – the largest PSC handling operations then.

A former Blackwater employee made a series of damning allegations against Blackwater’s owner Erik Prince in August, 2009 in a federal court in Virginia. As per this former employee, Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe” and that Prince was personally responsible for certain killings in Iraq. Although the judge has been sceptical about the claim, Prince has been accused of deploying medically unfit personnel for carrying lethal weaponry, just for earning more money. Blackwater has gone through several rebranding process (it’s now known as Xe Services) and has created more than a dozen affiliate companies (some allege, to transfer funds).

Although Erik Prince resigned as Blackwater’s CEO in March 2009, he remains the Chairman and sole owner. The company has received millions of dollars in government contracts and despite Iraqi government’s protests, the US State Department – disregarding various ongoing investigations by their own departments against the firm – renewed Blackwater’s contract in 2008 (the Iraqi government refused the renewal).

The problem goes deeper. In UK, around 11,000 non-EU nationals acting as quasi-PSCs are guarding sensitive sites. Recently, Afghan authorities had shut down two private security companies (as they were charged under murder and robbery). Marouane Bourannane, the security guard who protected Gordon Brown at the Labour Party conference, was held travelling on a fake French passport after being actually ‘vetted’ by his security firm. We wonder, why in heavens aren’t nations passing structured regulations on the PSC industry if it’s now not just a question about guarding people, but of guarding nations and their leaders?

By:- Sray Agarwal

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