by David Phinney
Sunday October 25th 2020

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Latin America Tapped for Iraq’s Private Security Contractors

Typos aside, this advertisement offering 1,000 Colombians for private security work in Iraq on the Iraqi Job Center Web site makes one wonder.

“These troops have been trained by the US Navy Seals and the US DEA to conduct counter-drug/counter-terror ops in the jungles and rivers of Colombia, and with thier (sic) experiance (sic) I noticed a match-up in your current missions.”

Is US funding for training Latin American para-military types now funding farm teams for private security in Iraq? That may end up pulling the rug out from under the investment in training for anti-narcotics efforts in Colombia, doesn’t it?
That’s one good question. Here’s another possible one:
Have any of the recruiters or the recruitees ever passed through the controversial School for Americas, aka, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the US-funded Fort Benning, Ga., facility for training Latin American military types have in the past been accused of rape, torture, disappearances and some other nasty business in their home countries . Well, maybe that just echoes too much of a 1990s question….
Still, all these stories about private security recruiters heading off to Latin America to fill their ranks for work in Iraq are mounting: The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Knight Ridder…..
Now we have the Associated Press picking up on The Los Angeles Times and reporting on an American entrepreneur offering to supply more than 1,000 “combat experienced” former Colombian soldiers and police for counterinsurgency duty. The American, Jeffrey Shippy, is working out of an office in Ecuador. In case his advertisement disappears, here’s an excerpt:

“Dear Sirs, Greetings from Bagdad, my name is Jeffrey Shippy and I represent a large Colombian x-military recruiting firm from Bogota Colombia. I decided to write you because I think you might have an interest in our company and operations. We currently have over one thousand well trained and combat experianced Colombian x-Military Soldiers and Police available for Force Protection/Provider/Mulitplier status ready and able to to to work. These forces have been fighting terrorists the last 41 years and are experts in thier prospective fields….
“These troops have been trained by the US Navy Seals and the US DEA to conduct counter-drug/counter-terror ops in the jungles and rivers of Colombia, and with thier experiance I noticed a match-up in your current missions. I believe our Forces would be considerably cheaper than hiring other less effective and in-experianced TCN (Third Country Nationals) Forces, even after overhead such as long flights from south america to thier final destinations, and would save you a considerable amount of money while still having a high quality product.”

That prompted Foreign Minister Antonio Parra to tell reporters that if Shippy was using Ecuador as a base to procure mercenaries, the government should “sanction, close and remove” his business from the country.

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