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An expert from ArmorGroup (left) trains local members of the Nepal and Maoist Armies on the safe removal of unexploded devices.

Media

PMSC News Reports

Media reports play a critical role both in informing the public and as resource for academic work on the private military and security industry. Because journalists base their reports on a variety of sources, including employees, industry sources, and personal observations, their reports often provide an on-the-ground picture of firms' behavior that is lacking in many of other reports.

The Private Security Monitor's media project aggregates recent media reports into a single feed of the most up to date news articles on private security. After one month articles will retire into our news archives. Importantly, PSM exercises some editorial selectivity in articles, both in type of publication and in the topics presented. As such, this page is not a complete archive of all articles published, but a resource for the most relevant stories issued in the past month.

For those seeking in-depth, investigative journalism, view the investigative reports section at the bottom of this page. Separate from general media articles, these reports provide more extensive analysis on PMSCs from a journalist's perspective.

Recent News

Hamid Karzai Has Nothing Good To Say About America  
Foreign Policy|  21 September 2017
> “There is a difference between isolating someone and adding to the conflict,” he says, referring to Trump’s call for India to get involved in Afghanistan. And he dismisses out of hand calls for private contractors to take a bigger role. “More corruption, more killing! These are merchants of death. America will bring people here who have made killing their business.”

Concerned Northern group validate ‘Ali Kwara’ for security  
Vanguard|  21 September 2017
> Owing to the rate of increase in crimes like kidnapping, car snatching armed robbery, drug and human trafficking among others in the Northern part of the country, concerned citizens from the North have cried out to the federal government seeking and recommending private security experts with the technical intelligence to efficiently combat crime in the area, saying that the activities of the Nigeria police force needs to be supplemented.

Death toll in Mexico earthquake rises as citizens frantically look for the missing  
The Washington Post|  20 September 2017
> When the traffic lights went out in the hard-hit Roma neighborhood, several private security guards and one regular civilian in a T-shirt and jeans took it upon themselves to direct traffic.

KZN bodyguards appear in court on illegal firearms charges  
The Citizen|  20 September 2017
> “The three are bodyguards for Mandeni Local Municipality Mayor, Sphesihle Basil Zulu. Coincidentally, these three bodyguards are in the employ of the same security company of the two men who were guarding the regional secretary of the African National Congress in eThekwini region, with their video of them showing off their firearms going viral,” Mbalula said in a statement released on Tuesday night.

Why Foreign Military Sales Are Always Worth Less Than The Published Number  
Forbes|  19 September 2017
> Arms sales to overseas partners are a major tool of U.S. foreign policy. They are also a growing source of revenues for U.S. defense contractors, who have faced flat domestic demand in recent years due to congressionally mandated caps on Pentagon spending. When arms sales are done right, they can bolster regional security, strengthen alliances, lighten the warfighting burden on U.S. forces, improve the trade balance and create jobs in the U.S.

Osinbajo Tasks Military to Partner Private Sector on Research, Innovation  
Business Post Nigeria|  18 September 2017
> Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, has advised the Nigerian Armed Forces to partner with the private sector on research and innovation.

These apps offer on-demand security services for your protection  
The Jakarta Post|  17 September 2017
> Those who feel like they need protection to keep them safe while going out or perhaps need security at home or during important events may want to consider hiring these on-demand private security services.

UN expert panel: Establish regulation for private military and security companies  
The Fiji Times|  17 September 2017
> The call from the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries comes after a four-year-old study of national laws found they were not strong or consistent enough to deal with the issue.

Digging In for Next Decade, U.S. Expands Kabul Security Zone  
The New York Times|  16 September 2017
> Soon, American Embassy employees in Kabul will no longer need to take a Chinook helicopter ride to cross the street to a military base less than 100 yards outside the present Green Zone security district. Instead, the boundaries of the Green Zone will be redrawn to include that base, known as the Kabul City Compound, formerly the headquarters for American Special Operations forces in the capital. The zone is separated from the rest of the city by a network of police, military and private security checkpoints.

UN expert panel calls for new international standards on private military and security companies  
UNHR|  15 September 2017
> A United Nations expert group has urged States to establish a comprehensive, legally binding instrument to regulate private military and security companies (PMSCs).

Private security firms post threat to society, says Mbalula  
IOL|  15 September 2017
> South Africa’s numerous private security companies posed a danger to society and were in urgent need of regulation, police minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday.

Was Parsons Green the real target? Bomb 'could have been intended for major London stations including Paddington and Westminster'  
Mirror|  15 September 2017
> Will Geddes, founder of a private security firm, said British Transport Police should prioritise undercover and covert checks on public transport

Why Is Erik Prince Backing a Secure Communications Company?  
Foreign Policy|  14 September 2017
> Erik Prince’s plan to send a private military force to Afghanistan may not have worked out, but another venture he’s involved with has sunnier prospects: a secure communications solution for journalists, human rights workers, and even the Democratic Party..

U.S. Sanctions 11 People and Companies for Iranian Activities  
Bloomberg Politics|  14 September 2017
> Mersad Co., a private computer security company based in Iran, was sanctioned along with four associated Iranian nationals for “causing a significant disruption to the availability of a computer or network of computers,” according to the statement.

Returning to Kenya's Nairobi after 40 years  
AlJazeera|  14 September 2017
> There were no 'gated communities' either, and although the police were far from perfect, there were no uniformed private security companies to guard the elite and expatriates.

Ryan student murder: Security tops priority in Jaipur schools  
The Times of India|  14 September 2017
> A few schools have asked security companies to verify credentials of security guards deployed in their schools by the police again. Also, they are planning to install more CCTV cameras to increase surveillance.

Brazil’s security guards find themselves in the firing line  
The Financial Times|  13 September 2017
> The scale and violence of this attack highlight the challenge facing private-sector security companies in Brazil itself. In a country in which armed robbery is commonplace, private security guards face a constant threat. This makes maintaining a mentally and physically healthy and motivated workforce a particular priority for their employers.

South Africa: Protesters Call for Suspension of CPUT Classes  
AllAfrica|  12 September 2017
> CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley told GroundUp that the campus was "not fully operational", but had not closed down either. She confirmed that the university had hired two private security companies to deal with any disruptions.

'Plan' implemented to crack down on cops smuggling guns to criminals  
News24|  12 September 2017
> It is understood this Hawks-headed probe includes investigating how some private security companies are illegally getting hold of firearms, how guns are being smuggled into and out the country, as well as trying to trace firearms which have been used in underworld violence said to be spreading from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

Reopening of Iraq-Jordan border crossing stalled again  
Iraqi News|  12 September 2017
> The reopening of Treibil border crossing has been frozen again as “influential political bodies” in Iraq stonewalled the activation of a contract with a U.S. private security firm that is to be entrusted with securing the passageway, said Saudi newspaper Okaz.

Security Companies Look To Pivot Portfolios, Compensation Plans For New Cloud-First World  
CRN|  11 September 2017
> Customers are moving to the cloud, and top security channel chiefs said they are looking to reposition their businesses and compensation plans to help partners meet that demand.

For this company, online surveillance leads to profit in Washington’s suburbs  
The Washington Post|  10 September 2017
> In a small office in Ashburn, Va., ensconced among the government contractors that make up the Dulles Technology Corridor, a start-up called Babel Street is bringing government-style surveillance to an entirely new market.

5 serious issues with government’s plan to shake-up private security in SA  
Business Tech|  10 September 2017
> The upcoming Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill is a veiled attempt to monopolise policing and a means for the state to benefit from the multi-billion industry.

Why a growing number of neighborhoods are hiring private security  
The Sacramento Bee|  10 September 2017
> The piling up of incidents finally pushed Hannon to action, and last year, she and her neighbors – more than 70 homes in total now – joined a small but growing number of Sacramento neighborhoods fed up with petty crime that pool money to hire private security for their streets.

UK passport — made in France?  
The Sunday Times|  10 September 2017
> Insiders say the companies, believed to be French and German, will battle it out with the British private security company De La Rue to win the contract to produce 6m passports a year.

Ryan school murder: Police to file chargesheet in a week, security at school to be audited  
The Indian Express|  10 September 2017
> The Gurgaon Police Saturday said they will file the chargesheet against the accused in the murder of a Class II student at Ryan International School within a week. Meanwhile, the district administration suspended the private security company operating at the school and set up a committee to audit the school’s security.

US Outrages Afghans, Drawing Attack After Anti-Muslim Propaganda Foul-Up  
TeleSUR|  06 September 2017
> Although the Taliban itself said the attack killed “over 20 U.S. aggressors,” Western news agency Reuters claimed the attack only wounded four Afghan civilians, while U.S. military officials told CNN that a U.S. citizen was wounded in the attack. The officials didn't clarify if the citizen was a uniformed service member or a private military contractor.

Israel evicts Arab family from Jerusalem home Jews claimed  
ABC News|  05 September 2017
> Palestinians claim the evictions aim to increase east Jerusalem's Jewish population and change the area's demography, making it harder to divide the city in any eventual peace deal. Israel says it is merely enforcing the law. Shortly after the eviction, Jewish settlers entered the house accompanied by a private security guard. An Israeli flag hung in the entranceway to the kitchen.

Key Trump Aide’s Departure Rattles President’s Allies  
Bloomberg Politics|  05 September 2017
> Schiller is leaving the White House soon to return to the private security business, according to three people familiar with his plans, for a job that will pay far more than his $165,000 government salary. His title, director of Oval Office operations, hardly begins to describe his importance to Trump, who is “crushed” by his planned departure, according to one person close to the president.

Yemeni sharpshooters kill 4 mercenaries of Saudi Arabia  
Press TV|  05 September 2017
> At least four mercenary soldiers fighting for Saudi Arabia have been killed when the Yemeni army and fighters from the allied Popular Committees carried out a retaliatory attack against the kingdom’s southwestern border region of Asir.

Private security guard of Dera head arrested  
The Indian Express|  05 September 2017
> Police on Monday arrested Randhir Khadwal, a 45-year-old private security guard of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, for his involvement in the conspiracy to free the Dera head after his conviction.

The age of the private army  
The Times of India|  04 September 2017
> Apart from the private armies that are already operational, there are others that could conceivably be deployed similarly. Kawadias may have started life as pilgrims, but today the manner in which they assert themselves reeks more of a private army that gets the license to act as they deem fit. Baba Ramdev is planning a private security agency whose self-described aim includes the desire to “help develop military instinct in each and every citizen of the country so as to awaken the spirit and determination for individual and national security.”

As Violence Intensifies, Israel Continues to Arm Myanmar’s Military Junta  
Haaretz|  04 September 2017
> In November 2015, democratic elections were held in the country that were won by Nobel Prize-winning human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi. But her government doesn’t exert real control over the country’s security forces, since private militias are beholden to the junta that controlled Myanmar prior to the election.

Security guards to aid cops in nabbing suspects  
The Times of India|  03 September 2017
> With increase in incidents of chain snatching and loot, the Jaipur police have roped in 26 private security agencies to gather local information through private security guards deployed at hospitals, clinics, ATMs, universities and farm houses.

Letting mercenaries fight our wars undercuts the Constitution  
The Hill|  02 September 2017
> The founder of the infamous Blackwater security contracting firm, Erik Prince, recently renewed his call for the Pentagon to fight the war in Afghanistan with an army of mercenaries — possibly under Prince’s own command.

Securitizing China’s Interests: Can Chinese Private Military Contractors Replace the PLA?  
International Policy Digest|  02 September 2017
> China’s panoply of economic interests around the world (including in politically unstable regions) generates a set of security interests. China can hardly achieve energy and infrastructure securitization without carrying out physical securitization of Chinese workers who operate in areas of great instability. There is therefore an inevitable security (along with economic and political) dimension underlying the New Silk Road.

Thousands of military contractor files allegedly left online, unsecure  
The Hill|  02 September 2017
> Thousands of files containing personal information of military and intelligence personnel were allegedly left unsecured and available for public download on a misconfigured cloud server before being discovered earlier this year.

Erik Prince thinks he’s the Elon Musk of privatized warfare  
Vice News|  01 September 2017
> Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince compared his goal of privatizing the war in Afghanistan to Elon Musk’s privatization of space transport, in his latest public attempt to glamorize his call for more contractors and denigrate the competency of the standing U.S. military.

Stiffer penalties over guards’ wages opposed  
The Manila Times|  01 September 2017
> The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has expressed its opposition to House Bill (HB) 4651 or An Act Imposing Stiffer Penalties on Private Security Agencies for Non-Payment of the Prescribed Minimum Wage Rates.

G4S hit by new scandal over immigration detention centre: Private companies should not be doing this sort of work  
The Independent|  01 September 2017
> The contractor, which styles itself as “the world’s leading global security company” has suspended nine members of staff from an immigration removal centre near Gatwick. It comes in the wake of a forthcoming BBC Panorama programme, which, we are told, will air footage of officers “mocking, abusing and assaulting” the unfortunates being held there.

<< Older News Reports Archive Main

Investigative Reports


African Defence Review

African Defence Review is a dynamic news organisation focused on African security. It provides the most detailed and comprehensive news and commentary of issues on the African continent.


Unloved but Needed: PMCs in Africa

Author: David Pfotenhauer
Publish Date:

 

In this article, the author finds that the seemingly insoluble dilemma of PMSCs in Africa is not because of PMSCs but because of a lack of imagination on the part of governments and regional bodies as to how to sustainably and effectively employ them. He also argues that the future of PMSCs in Africa will be contingent upon good governance with robust, strategically aligned frameworks that utilize PMSCs to cultivate, but not replace, security and military capabilities.

BBC Reports

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a publically funded news and entertainment company in the United Kingdom. The BBC produces daily news programs as well as in depth investigative reports.


Britain's Private War

Author: BBC Scotland
Publish Date:

 

In this documentary feature, the BBC investigates the British private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report examines both the companies who are contracted to provide security services and the individuals affected by improper practices in the field. 

BBC asked both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the private security firm G4S for a response to the program. 

  1. FCO's response
  2. G4S's response
The Center for Investigative Reporting

The Center for Investigative Reporting is a non-profit, non-partisan news organization based in Berkeley, California. The Center specializes in in-depth reporting on current issues.


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David Isenberg

Author and commentator David Isenberg frequently reports on PMSC issues, including almost daily entries on the Huffington Post.

Federal News Radio

Federal News Radio is a radio news station focused upon stories, news and analysis relevant for U.S. federal government agencies and those who do business with government agencies. It is non-partisan.


National Public Radio

National Public Radio (NPR) creates and distributes award-winning news, information, and music programming to a network of 959 independent stations.


Audio Report: I'm from the Private Sector and I am Here to Help

Author: Nancy Updike
Publish Date:

 

In this story on NPR program "This American Life," contributing editor Nancy Updike went to Iraq to try to figure out what it's like to be a private citizen working in the middle of a war zone. Among others, Updike interviews private security contractors guarding the Baghdad International Airport and others training Iraqi police forces.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker is a weekly print magazine dedicated to the arts, politics, current events and investigative journalism.


Invisible Army

Author: Sarah Stillman
Publish Date:

 

This New Yorker article is a profile of the service subcontract industry for the U.S. military. The article discusses the more than seventy thousand "third-country nationals" who work for the American military in war zones. The author details the reports by many TCNs that the conditions they are held in resemble indentured servitude, and also the subcontractors who appear to operate outside the law.

PBS

PBS is a private non-profit broadcaster in the United States. It primarily produces educational programming for children and documentary features for adults. 


Private Warriors

Author: PBS Frontline
Publish Date:

 

Frontline investigates the new world of private contractors servicing U.S. military supply lines, running U.S. military bases, and protecting U.S. diplomats and generals. In the video, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels throughout Kuwait and Iraq to give viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at companies like Kellogg, Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, and its civilian army. "Private Warriors" also explores a very different kind of contractor—the private world of security teams that work for firms like Blackwater, Aegis, and Erinys—that provide armed protection for U.S. government officials, government offices, military installations and even military commanders.

The website for the episode also contains comment from KBR, and documents uncovered and used during the investigation.

ProPublica

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.


Disposable Army: Civilian Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Publish Date:

 

This investigation by Propublica explores the issues caused by the U.S. government's heavy reliance on civilian workers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The site features multiple articles, charts, and data on contractor injuries, insurance coverage, and other problems for civilian contractors working for the U.S. government.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post is the largest newspaper in the Washington, DC area and a central reporter on domestic policy issues in the United States. The post produces multiple investigative pieces each year that focus on different aspects of the U.S. government and its agencies.


Contractors Run U.S. Spying Missions in Africa

Author: Craig Whitlock
Publish Date:

 
Open PDF:
 

This article is part of a series in the Washington Post covering the U.S. expansion of its secret intelligence operations in Africa. The article describes the use of private contractors to conduct spying operations in Africa, specifically in Uganda. The missions are air surveillance, with contractors doing overflight operations on Uganda searching for the Lord's Resistance Army. Other articles in the series address the efforts of U.S.-hired and paid contractor to train the Ugandan army. 

Top Secret America

Author: Washington Post
Publish Date:

 

The Washington Post's Top Secret America project describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The articles in this series and an online database on the website depict the scope and complexity of the government's national security program through interactive maps and other graphics. Every data point on the Web site is substantiated by at least two public records. At the private-sector level, The Post identified 1,931 companies engaged in top-secret work for the government.