From the Guardian:
Halliburton’s senior executive in Iraq accused private security companies of operating a “mafia” to artifically inflate their “outrageous prices”, according to a US cable.
Written by a senior diplomat in the US’s Basra office, the confidential document discloses the tensions between private security firms, oil companies and the Iraqi government as coalition forces withdraw from protecting foreign business interests.
John Naland, head of the provincial reconstruction team in Basra, wrote in January this year that several oil company representatives complained of “unwarranted high prices” given an improving security situation since 2008.
“Halliburton Iraq country manager decried a ‘mafia’ of these companies and their ‘outrageous’ prices, and said that they also exaggerate the security threat.
“Apart from the high costs for routine trips, he claimed that Halliburton often receives what he says are ‘questionable’ reports of vulnerability of employees to kidnapping and ransom. He said that he recently saw an internal memo from their security company which tasked its employees to emphasize the persistent danger faced by IOCs [international oil companies].” Naland wrote.
The memo, written nine months after British troops handed over control of their base in Basra to the US army, does not name the Halliburton manager.
According to the cable, it cost around $6,000 (£3,900) to hire a security firm for four hours in Basra in January. A typical trip would include four security agents, drivers, and three or four armoured vehicles. A recent visit by a member of Iraq’s government from Baghdad to Basra and back cost about $12,000 (£7,800), the cable claimed…
Read more here.