NEWS

Private Military Contractor Charged With Murder Shouldn't Have Been Hired, Sources Say

By Matthew Harwood

Members of the private military contractor community are flabbergasted that the private military contractor who allegedly murdered two colleagues in Iraq last month was even hired, reports The Independent.

In this cut-throat industry, there is open astonishment that a man like Mr [Danny] Fitzsimons, who had been sacked from two companies, Aegis and Olive, was hired again. "It's a small world. It is easy enough to check on someone with a few emails to former colleagues. I get them all the time," said a former Parachute Regiment officer.

[Security contractor Ethan] Madison agreed: "Everyone you speak to says there is no way he should have been given a job. Anyone who knew Danny knew he was aggressive and always looking for drama. People were wary. There is a lot of resentment. No one cares that this guy was mentally ill. Paul was such a nice guy. He was larger than life, upbeat, a really friendly big man."

Despite assurances by the British Association of Private Security Companies that the industry takes post-traumatic stress seriously, few on the ground seem to care.

Fitzsimons worked for ArmorGroup, now owned by security giant, G4S.

According to the Independent, the 29-year-old Briton was a broken man, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and extreme paranoia. Last month, Fitzsimons allegedly shot and killed two of his ArmorGroup colleagues and wounded an Iraqi national during an alcohol-fueled welcoming party for him.

Madison, a security contractor whose name was changed to protect his identity, refuted an ArmorGroup statement that it takes great care to properly vet the contractors it hires, telling the paper many contractors are "second rate" and that security companies wait until the last second to hire the security guards to fulfill the contract. In the process, the vetting process "goes tits-up," he said.

Fitzsimons is currently in Iraqi custody, facing a premeditated murder charge. If he is found guilty, he likely will be executed.

Private military contractors are no longer immunized from Iraqi law, owing to the incident in Nisour Square almost two years ago when Blackwater contractors killed 17 Iraqis in what has been called an unprovoked shooting spree. Blackwater, which has rechristened itself Xe, says their guards were fired upon first.

Figures within the private security industry told the Independent that Fitzsimons is essentially a dead man walking. The Iraqi government, they believe, will make Fitzsimons an example.


♦ Screenshot of ArmorGroup-G4S Website.

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