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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

Can Russia resolve the conflict in Libya?  
Al Jazeera |  16 March 2017
> As the Libyan National Army loyal to General Haftar regained control of the two oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider early this week, news reports suggesting Russia has deployed private military contractors in security operations near Benghazi, an area under Haftar's control, have been denied by Russian official sources.

Private Military Companies Forming Vanguard of Russian Foreign Operations 
The Jamestown Organization |  16 March 2017
> The increasing use of private military companies, known in Russia as Chastnye Voennie Companiy (ChVK), has become the modus operandi of the Russian military/political activities abroad.

Inside the 'Blackwater of Jihad': The private security company training extremists in Syria 
The Independent |  14 March 2017
> Malhama Tactical is an Islamist private military contractor that means business and has operated across a number of states, including Syria – its name means ‘great war’ or Armageddon.

US general warns of Kremlin interference in Libya amid reports of Russian mercenaries 
Fox News |  13 March 2017
> A new report last weekend has revealed that a force of several dozen armed private security contractors from Russia had operated in a part of Libya controlled by regional strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Houthi fighters kill 7 Saudi mercenaries in western Yemen 
PressTV |  11 March 2017
> Fighters from the Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah movement have engaged in fierce clashes with militiamen loyal to Saudi-backed resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the country’s southwestern province of Ta’izz, killing a number of them.

Russian private security firm says it had armed men in east Libya 
Reuters |  10 March 2017
> A force of several dozen armed private security contractors from Russia operated until last month in a part of Libya that is under the control of regional leader Khalifa Haftar, the head of the firm that hired the contractors told Reuters.

Yemenis kill 2 Saudi troops, several militants in retaliatory attacks 
PressTV |  10 March 2017
> Two Saudi forces and two of their mercenaries have been killed during a retaliatory attack by Yemeni forces against the kingdom’s soil.

Retired General accuses Khalifa Haftar of recruiting mercenaries; says BDB are government forces 
The Libya Observer |  10 March 2017
> Major General Suleiman Mahmoud Al-Obeidi, the former National Transitional Council military chief, has accused renegade General Khalifa Haftar of forming an army of militias and hiring mercenaries to fight alongside his self-styled army.

Syrian Troops Liberate Seven Settlements From Daesh, Kill Dozens of Mercenaries 
Sputnik International |  06 March 2017
> Syrian government forces and militias have liberated seven additional settlements northeast of Aleppo from the Daesh jihadist group outlawed in Russia, local media reported Monday.

Benghazi Defence Brigades asks relevant authorities to take control of oil crescent after pushing Haftar’s mercenaries out 
Libyan Express |  04 March 2017
> In a statement, the Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB) called on the relevant authorities to come and assume control of the area where oil terminals are located after beating out what it described as mercenaries and foreign security personnel backing Khalifa Haftar’s Operation Dignity forces, who have been controlling the oil crescent region since last September.

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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.