New mercenaries 'made in Spain'

In the last years an important number of private military companies have been formed in Spain as part of the general process of privatisation and outsourcing of the military. 'Outsourcing' in Spain is quite recent as the Spanish Ministry of Defence were reluctant to have civilian personnel working alongside the military, especially inside military installations. Here we look at two cases where war profiteers have built juice businesses.

Hallmark Security Solutions S.L.

High Security Solutions is the commercial brand of Hallmark Security Solutions S.L., a primarily Spanish-owned company. High Security Solutions provides protection of transport - generally to countries in conflict; protection of facilities – and airport security, and various services for the oil industry and the national defence /security / intelligence services. Their personnel tend to be ex-soldiers between 25 and 40 years old, with at least three years of military experience in operation units and a good level of English or French. The company was formed in 2006 and has offices in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Kurdistan, Venezuela and Chile. The headquarters are in Santander, Spain.
Some of their clients include the Spanish police, Ford in Brazil, the US Marines, the US State Department and the DEA, the police and army in the Dominican Republic, the Special Groups for Immediate Response in Mexico, and many more.

Global Service for Security and Intelligence (SGSI, from the Spanish acronym)

This company was formed in 1995, according to their own words as the “first Iberian private military company”. It has a total of 441 employees deployed around the world. They work together with oil corporations like Exxon or Agip in Nigeria and for governments like Angola, Ecuadorian Guinea and Ghana. Now they are opening new businesses opportunities in Sub-saharan Africa.
SGSI in Iraq provided security to the leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and personnel of SGSI have received training from an Israeli private organisation in Caesarea, which is located between Tel Aviv and Haifa.

These two cases show the rapid development of Spanish private military companies, which are keen to get a part of the pots of money available, as we have reported in WPN (http://wri-irg.org/node/560). In many cases such companies act outside the law and fuel armed conflicts.

Adapted from a longer article from the Spanish paper Diagonal
http://diagonalperiodico.net/spip.php?article7076
Here you can see a Campaign of the Month working against mercenaries (http://wri-irg.org/node/244)