Firm Run by Ex-Israeli Special Forces Soldier Wants U.S. Security Contracts in Jerusalem, Iraq, Afghanistan
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Today the website has changed dramatically. Its main graphic is of U.S. soldiers wearing American flag patches, wielding automatic weapons in what appears to be Iraq. "After 9/11, ISI was able to bring to bear all of its resources, expertise and experience to work with U.S. military and government agencies in gaining a deeper understanding of radical Islam and provide proven tactical techniques to improve counter-terror operations," according to the website. This would hardly be ISI’s first US government contract. It has received many training and security contracts since its founding in 1993. According to the company, it is currently under a five-year contract with the US Army that began in November 2009.
Evergreen has had long-standing ties to the CIA. "In 1980 an Evergreen plane flew the recently deposed Shah of Iran from Panama to Egypt, hours before the Panamanian government was due to receive an extradition request from the new government in Tehran," according to SourceWatch. "Giving rides to dictators is something of a specialty for the company -- it also allowed El Salvador's President Duarte to use its helicopter, which was officially in the country to help repair power lines. And according to a series of articles in The Oregonian in 1988, Evergreen’s owner and founder Delford M. Smith '…acknowledged one agreement under which his companies provide occasional jobs and cover to foreign nationals the CIA wants taken out of other countries or brought into the United States.'"
Evergreen is perhaps best known more recently for offering -- unsolicited -- its security services to Oregon county clerks ahead of the 2008 elections. "During this crucial election Evergreen Defense and Security Services has recognized the potential conflict that could occur on November 4," an email from company president Evergreen president Tom Wiggins to election officials stated. "Never has there been a more heated battle in the race for president and voters seem more involved and determined to achieve their respective goals. EDSS proposes to post sentries at each voting center on November 4 to assure that disputes among citizens do not get out of control. All guards will be unarmed but capable of stopping any violence that may occur, and detaining troublemakers until law enforcement help arrives." The offer was suspect on several fronts, not the least of which being that Oregon has no polling places and votes by mail.
According to State Department documents, among the projects up for bidding are:
-- Private security teams in Jerusalem. The solicitation calls for 46 personnel, including 36 “security specialists” and team/shift leaders for armed details.
-- Embassy guards and an Emergency Response Team in Kabul. The solicitation calls for 219 personnel, including a 142-member embassy guard force and 49 "emergency response" personnel.
-- Embassy guards and an Emergency Response Team in Baghdad, Iraq. The solicitation calls for 551 personnel, including 357 "armed guards" and an Emergency Response Team consisting of 30 protective security specialists and four "designated defense marksmen."
The U.S. embassy in Iraq, according to the documents, requires the greatest number of contractors. This is likely because the embassy there is the largest of any embassy of any nation in history.
The State Department has a conference for prospective bidders scheduled for April 27-28 in Arlington, Virginia. Attendance is mandatory for interested companies.
Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist who reports frequently for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!, has spent extensive time reporting from Iraq and Yugoslavia. He is currently a Puffin Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His writing and reporting is available at RebelReports.com.