In past few years G4S security firm has been under contract of Saudi Arabia to provide security of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Due to inappropriate reaction of the security forces and happening of the deadly Mina crush last year during which thousands of Muslims died it is necessary to bring in spotlight the “black” records of this security company to make clear who are in charge of security and safety of the Muslim pilgrims.
G4S is a multinational security company based in Britain. It is active across the globe with 618,000 employees, and describes itself as being a pioneer in providing security services. G4S is on the list of 100 top companies in London Stock Exchange (LSE). Furthermore, part of shares of the firm are offered in Copenhagen Stock Exchange (CSE). Its turnover in 2013 was reported to be $7.4 billion. In terms of number of personnel G4S is one of the largest companies listed on LSE, and was formed in July 2004 as a result of merger of Securitor and Group for Folk companies. The central office and administrative committee of the firm are located in Crowley, West Sussex.
The firm provides a variety of security services including guarding, supplying security products, ambulance and firefighting services, training, management of complexes, recruitment, and supervisory and reactionary services. The group supplies its clients with security systems and services across the world. Its works cover the ministries, diplomatic missions, banking and financial institutions, oil and chemical sectors, transportation and air services, and also a large number of trading companies.
Saudi Arabia in past several years has taken the company as contractor to provide security of the Hajj pilgrimage. Last year a crush in Mina killed thousands of the Muslim pilgrims in Makkah. Now there must be a clarification on records of the company which are described as black to see who are responsible for security of the pilgrims.
– Board of directors
To have an understanding of objectives of the company and also the way it makes profits, and also to know its key decision makers we need to first have a look at the G4S managers.
He is the chair of board of directors, joined it in 2012. He has a great deal of experiences in trading environments, and is active in sectors of highly strategic importance. Until 2011 he was partner to the global Deloitte Professional Services as a head of the global board of the company.
Almanza is the chief executive officer of G4S. He joined the firm in May 2013. From 1993 to 2012 Almanza had a major executive role in GB gas and oil company that was acquired by Royal Dutch Shell on April 8, 2015.
Cruiser is the non-executive member of the board of directors and joined the firm in January 2013. He formerly worked with the Daily Telegraph. His major expertise is adjusting the methods of trading with the trade environment. This comes from his work with many private and state companies.
John Daly is a non-executive director and entered the company in June 2015. He served as the director of sales and marketing in significant companies.
And Timothy Wells and some others are other members of the board of directors.
– Shareholders of G4S
The head of Affiliated Managers Group (AMG) Sean Healey has been a key shareholder in G4S since 2010. He is in charge of about $700 billion of shares in the world. Healey is a graduate of law from Harvard University and joined Goldman Sachs after graduation and was part of the American bank up to April 1995. He then joined AMG. The relations of Goldman Sachs and the Israelis is not covert. In fact, a former manager of an Israeli company is a manager of G4S.
As it was mentioned, the Chief Executive Officer of G4S Ashley Almanza held key executive roles in GB from 1993 up to 2012.
After criticism against his investment, the owner of the tech giant Microsoft sold parts of his shares in the G4S. He bought G4S shares in June 2013 through a charity foundation known as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is directed in association with his wife. The share accounted for over 3 percent of the total shares of the G4S. The shares of Gates family were reduced to less than 3 percent after criticism was directed against G4S and Bill Gates due to atrocities in the Israeli prisons.
– G4S and security of Hajj
Entry in London Stock Exchange and Copenhagen Stock Exchange began in July 2004 after merger of two companies and emergence of G4S.
The Middle East Monitor website reported in 2013, quoting Asrararabiya.com that Saudi Arabia aimed at using G4S to provide security of the Hajj pilgrimage. The website also revealed that G4S now is managed by a former security officer known as Khaled Baghdadi. The security firm started cooperation with Saudi Arabia under Almajal G4S name between 2006 and 2007.
The Arab language website added that the security measures related to Hajj are managed by the London branch of G4S. The company is also responsible for security of the Israeli regime’s prisons. In some cases the death of the prisoners is attributed to G4S and its treatment of them.
In early 2007 G4S founded Almajal G4S as its branch in Saudi Arabia, and picked the coastal city of Jeddah for its headquarter in the kingdom.
A report by How Profit website suggested that G4S supplied Jerusalem and Kishon prisons with security facilities. There are documents of torturing of the Palestinian prisoners in these Israeli prisons. The page 14 of the report reads that the security systems of G4S were installed in Kishon prison in 2007. The reports by the human rights organizations say while there had been a lot of evidences of tortures in the prisons before arrival of G4S facilities, after their installation the evidences of tortures have even doubled.
In early 2013, Arafat Jaradat, a Palestinian prisoner, died of extreme torture following an interrogation session in another Israeli prison that had G4S systems.
In July 4, 2014, the British parliament spoke up against performance of the security firm in the occupied Palestinian territories, announcing that it severely condemned the company due to supplying facilities to the Israeli prisons which purposely tortured the Palestinians particularly the children prisoners. The parliament called on the British government to refrain from signing new contracts with the company.
At the same time, the head of Britain-based Al-Aqsa Friends’ Society Ismael Patel said that he in a letter to the Saudi ambassador to London warned the kingdom of entrusting security of the Hajj pilgrims with G4S. The letter said it was unacceptable that Saudis make the Israeli regime responsible for security of the Hajj.
According to Almajal G4S website, its activities in Saudi Arabia date back to 1981, the time Saudi Arabia completed building infrastructures and felt a need for services and security. In 2004, G4S was founded as the world’s largest security firm in London as a result of merging two other companies. The turnover of the firm reportedly goes beyond $9 billion.
Who is Khalid Baghdadi?
Baghdadi is a graduate of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in marketing. Currently, he is the chief executive of Almajal G4S. Before this post, Baghdadi was chief executive of Ready-Mix Concrete Company, and before this was chief of Saudi National Food Industries Company. He also served as chief of marketing in Saudi Telecom Company (STC), and also head of the public sector of Zajil Express Trading Company.
Using Shabak and Aman officers
Yossi Maiman, a security analyst and an insider in the Israeli security circles, earlier disclosed that the Swiss company AGT International that was founded by the Israeli-American businessman Mati Kochavi managed to win a several million dollars contract to design plans to protect security in one of Persian Gulf Arab states.
Maiman also continued that Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former Israeli Defense Forces major general, was a personnel of the company. The company is said to use the former officers of the Israeli intelligence agencies including Shabak and Aman, the military branch of the intelligence service.
Mati Kochavi also founded company in Herzliya north of Tel Aviv under Logic brand.
Maiman also revealed that over 10 private security companies and some other companies affiliated to Israeli Ministry of Public Security have recently increased activity in the Arab and Muslim countries that have no diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv.
Also, reports reveal that an Israeli security company is in charge of security of many Arab institutions and provides personal bodyguards of many Arab leaders from Morocco to the Bahrain kings.
– Major contracts
Israeli National Police Academy in the Occupied Palestinian territories
Israeli economic website Globes in January 2011 reported that G4S and AKBN companies jointly won a contract to build and operate the National Police Academy of the Israeli regime for $1.8 billion. The two companies formed a consortium with equal shares.
The contract included designing and building the police academy, its operation, financial management, and providing its security and educational services for 25 years.
The Israeli branch of G4S is directed by Michel Ediv and provides security services there.
Signing two contracts on September 11, 2015, the day Makkah crane collapse took place
The G4S risk management announced that it signed deal to provide services for Iraq’s Basra gas company for three years for $187 million. It continued that adding two years to the contract will raise the money to $270 million.
G4S also managed to sign a deal to provide security services for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Afghanistan for three years. Increasing the contract to two years will add £100 million to the total amount of the contract.
According to the contract, G4S is responsible for protecting the British diplomats and officials who travel to Afghanistan and also protecting the British embassy in Afghanistan.
Awatef Nema, the Iraqi Member of Parliament from the State of Law Coalition, has talked about a new 200 billion Iraqi dinar contract ($187 million) with the same security company for provision of security of Basra Gas Company. She criticized the gas company officials for the contract, asserting that the deal paved the way for new corruption in Basra. Alsumaria news website quoted Nema as saying that if this big money is given to the Basra workers there will not be even a single unemployed person.
She continued that the $187 million could be spent on arms purchases for the army to beef up security there.
The MP wondered if there was no Iraqi company to do the job in a time that the country if suffering from financial problems. She also wondered if the army and police forces failed to provide security of Basra Gas Company. Nema demanded the prime minister and oil minister to form a special inquiry committee to probe into the major contract with the British company.
Cooperation with Dubai International Airport
G4S won an $8.1 million contract to provide services for passengers at Dubai International Airport. The company in 2011 announced partnership with Dubai International Airport. Dubai International Airport is the world’s fourth busiest airport by international passenger traffic. It recorded arrival and transportation of 47.2 million passengers in 2010.
Providing security of Baghdad International Airport
G4S is also responsible for provision of Baghdad airport’s security. It extended its contract in September 2013 to provide air security of the airport. It takes $22.5 million for every single year. The company has held close relations with the Iraqi commercial aviation officials and the central government since January 2010.
G4S has 840 staff in Baghdad airport, 700 of them are Iraqi personnel. It aims to raise the number of local employees. Its staff are trained in Iraq and Britain.
The G4S team covers all of security areas including the project management, executive support, operations, physical security, screening at the airports entries and providing rapid response forces. The firm also provides round-the-clock security of Nineveh and Babil bus terminals.
In 2013 the British Minister of Justice disclosed that G4S overcharged the government for electronic signaling of the criminals. It conducted electronic signaling even for the dead criminals to make more profits. The overcharged money was reported to be £1.8 million and was returned to the government following a probe. G4S is temporarily banned from contracts with the British government.
Just a couple of weeks to the London Olympics 2012 G4S announced it failed to fulfill commitment to provide security staff for the global sports event, something that pushed the government to use army personnel to provide security of the Olympic games. The government received £88 million from the security in reimbursement.
The G4S also entered in a deal with Jeddah Metro Company to provide security of Hajj pilgrimage, and help the company with transportation of over 3 million pilgrims who annually visit Makkah for rites.
– Black records
Torturing at South Africa prison
G4S is under contract to provide security of Mangaung prison in South Africa. A video clip leaked out of the prison was published by the BBC showing that inmate was tortured to death by electric shock device. According to the investigations, at least 30 prisoners have been killed by the electric shock or other violent physical methods of torturing. Some others were given medicines of the mental patients.
G4S denied all of these allegations, however.
Death of Jimmy Mubenga
Jimmy Mubenga was originally an Angolan national and was expelled from Britain in 2010. While flying home, he sat up and said that he didn’t like to return to Angola. He was detained by three G4S security agents. He was reportedly held 30 minutes in a position that led to his breath failure and finally his death.
Cedars detention center
Located in Crawley, West Sussex, Cedars is an immigration detention facility that holds the immigrating families that are in their way back home. G4S is in charge of this center. Some documents indicated that employees of the center used force to expel a pregnant woman on wheelchair. The action is said to have endangered the life of her child. The human rights groups have lashed out at the company for the incident.
An uproar in an immigrants camping center in New Guinea that was built by a British investment rose after several weeks of tensions between the officials and the immigrants. G4S was in charge of the security in this center.
An Iranian national named Reza Barati who sought residence in Australia was killed in the chaos. One other immigrant was also shot, and many others were injured. A guard in the center in an interview with The Guardian said that the control of center slipped out of hands of the officials. An eyewitness said that the immigrant center changed into a war scene.
Abuse of children by G4S
Human rights groups argued that the British company must scale down participation in abuse of the jailed children.
The company offers services to the Israeli prisons, and detains people there just against the Geneva Convention. Due to its services, the company is seen as partner in breaches of the international law and systematic violation of the human rights.
Over 200 Palestinian children are held in the Israeli prisons. Two prisons of Afer in West Bank and Al Jalma are using G4S facilities.
Several organizations including UNICEF in 2013 documented the mistreatment of the children in the Israeli jails. UNICEF reported that the abuse of the Palestinian children in the Israeli prisons is wide-ranging, systematic, and organized. The shareholders of the company last year in an annual meeting of the company expressed worries about involvement of G4S in detention and abuse of the Palestinian children, and called for an investigation into the current conditions.
Israeli regime’s prisons
Hashmira, the affiliate of G4S in the Israeli regime, in July 2007 signed a deal with the Israeli jails to provide them with services and necessary facilities that are said to have breached the articles 49 and 76 of Geneva Convention. The company supplied security and central controlling systems to the Hasharon prison, a cell of which is specific for the Palestinian political prisoners.
In addition to offering a wide range of security equipment to Damon and Ketziot prisons, Hashmira has established a command center in Megiddo prison. In Afer prison where over 1500 Palestinians– most of whom are not tried yet– are held the company in addition to its command center has installed a side defense systems on the walls of the prison. It frequently provides controlling systems, IT service, and CCTV systems, and offers consultations to the prison officials.
In the Jalma and Maskoubieh interrogation centers, which are also serviced by G4S, not even children are spared from torture. It is in one of those centers in which Palestinian detainee Arafat Jaradat was tortured to death earlier this year. There, too, Luay al-Ashqar, a Palestinian administrative detainee, became permanently paralyzed in his left leg when he suffered a triple fracture in his spine during his detention.
G4S has given facilities to Ketziot and Megiddo prisons that are detaining the Palestinians. Detention of Palestinian in these prisons runs counter to the Geneva Convention.
The security firm has provided facilities for Afer, Kishon, and Maskoubieh prisons. The human rights organizations documented tortures and organized mistreatment of prisoners, particularly children prisoners, in these three Israeli prisons.
In addition to prisoners watch systems, the company provided services in Israeli checkpoints in West Bank. It reportedly signed deal with West Bank police command.
G4S’ footprint in Al-Aqsa attack
In October 2015 the Israeli police continued violence against the Palestinian protestors in Al-Aqsa Mosque. Its contracts with Israeli police have brought the company into the anti-Palestinian violence.
This is seen by the international rights groups as an obvious violation of the international laws and is still strongly ongoing. The British government and other international organizations have so far turned a blind eye to these violations.
End of contracts with Israeli prisons
In June 4, 2014 the British company after its annual general meeting said that in upcoming three years it will terminate its deals with the Israeli prisons. The decision came after pushes from the human rights groups. The protesters demanded end of the contracts and refraining from their extension.
The firm is accused of failure to consider human rights during its prison service, and also of conducting tortures there. But its chief executive claimed that his company had no forces at the prisons and only provided facilities. A supervisory institution has launched investigations into activities of the firm in West Bank.
Wherever the governments fail to make order, from the oilfields in Africa to the airports in Britain to the nuclear complexes in the US, G4S is present for service and uses force if needed. Reportedly, the number of the company’s staff are three times as big as the British army staff. “Chaos company” is a title picked by Vanity Fair magazine for the G4S.
G4S’ footprint in Guantanamo
The human rights groups have called on the Scotland Yard to investigate role of the G4S in detention and torture of Guantanamo prisoners.
The Independent said in early 2015 that the British police received reports on hands of the security firm in Guantanamo prison.
Guantanamo Bay is home for the US navy base in Cuba, and the prisoners are held and tortured for several years under the terrorism excuses there.
Scotland Yard was demanded to probe partnership of G4S with the US. According to the documents, it signed a £70 billion contract with the US government to provide the military base with security systems. The Guantanamo prison currently holds 127 prisoners without any charges.
Reprieve, a British human rights group, has filed a suit against G4S in Scotland Yard after the US Senate presented report on involvement of the firm in Guantanamo prison tortures. The Independent said that once it is proven that G4S provided the facilities for torturing the prisoners and violating the human rights, it could be prosecuted in Britain. Reprieve said the deal of G4S with US for security equipment sales was an alternative to earlier deal with American company of Primacare.
G4S work in Guantanamo could raise possibility of immoral behavior in the prison, something pushed Scotland Yard to launch a probe.
Earlier, the British government started investigating G4S for violation of international laws in its contract with the US navy base in Cuba. An activist in Reprieve maintained that while Shaker Ammar, a British national, is held in Guantanamo for years it is a crime to sign deal and make profits from the prison.
Last week, the Amnesty International called for investigation about activity of G4S in Guantanamo prison.
A month before publishing Senate’s report on tortures of CIA, the British media reported that the British Information Committee provided London with information on role of Britain in Guantanamo tortures.
According to the reports, the British government struggled to eliminate key parts of Senate’s report on the prison tortures in Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean under British sovereignty. This move by the British lawmakers coincided with mounting pressures on the British government that was demanded not to extend permission of the US military forces to use the Indian Ocean Island.
The rights groups argue that Diego Garcia played a key role in CIA’s plans for transfer of the terror suspects to places out of reach of legal supervision.
On the other side, Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture called for investigation into use of British island for tortures.
The British media said London secretly struggled to remove its name from the recent report of the Senate. Furthermore, the MPs urged the British Prime Minister Theresa May to explain about the case.
Popular protests against G4S Finland’s University of Helsinki
Following campaigns by the cultural and students unions for comprehensive boycott of pro-Israeli companies, the University of Helsinki terminated cooperation with G4S.
In early 2014, the students of University of Helsinki wrote a letter to the university president, asking him to fully end ties with the security firm due to violation of Palestinians’ rights by Tel Aviv.
The president accepted the demands, revoked contracts, and replaced G4S with a Finnish company.
As the global campaign BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) expanded activity particularly after the 51-Day War on Gaza many of global academic and trade centers joined the move to sanction the Israeli regime.
Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, the former chief of the Supreme Islamic Council in Al-Quds and the former preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque said that G4S is in charge of security provision and other commitments in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“Those who help occupants to seize a territory are participants in the crime, as those who help the aggressors are themselves aggressors”, said the Palestinian preacher.
Zayd Shoeibi, a member of BDS in an interview with Lebanon’s Al Akhbar news network said that along with contacts with service receivers of G4S the campaign is holding contacts with the Palestinian minister of economy as a qualified reference for expansion of boycott campaign in the occupied territories but he declined to show the smallest response while violations continue to take place against the Palestinians.
Al-Qaeda comes against G4S
When news of Saudi Arabia contracts with the British security firm was published in October 2013, Al-Qaeda terrorist group released a statement, expressing fury over the deal. Al-Qaeda warned that G4S must expect worst consequences once it failed to revoke deals with the kingdom.
The Sunday Mirror noted that the contract makes the firm responsible for security of millions of pilgrims in Hajj time but Al-Qaeda argues G4S supports the “Satan”, in a reference to the Saudi regime.
The British activists launched a campaign on Facebook to press the Saudi embassy in London to terminate contract with G4S.
The activists describe the company as an instrument in the hands of the Israeli regime that regularly violates the international laws and conventions.
Responding to the criticism, G4S provides some services to its clients in Hajj pilgrimage, but its employees are not in touch with the pilgrims and will not hold contacts with them.
We are facing a company that roughly has staff three times as big as the British army, and is providing security services worldwide using its wide-ranging and strong networks. With a look at its heads and shareholders it is easy to see its links to the global tyrannical system. The company is used whenever the global tyrannical governments need an infantry that is not affiliated with them. The company is present in African oilfields, the British airports, and the US nuclear facilities. As a mercenary organization it clashes with people and kills them. Even the international organizations have failed to prevent crimes of this firm. It is strongly pressing ahead and is removing all of the problems using the big money it makes from its activities.
A semi-state terror firm is the best possible title that can be given to G4S. It contains terror staff that can conduct any mission using their adequate instruments and potentials.
Muhammad Benten, the Saudi minister of Hajj, in a statement in June 29 published by the Saudi official news agency told of beginning to issue e-bracelets among the pilgrims. Benten added that the Hajj operators of the kingdom are in contacts with Hajj organizations of other countries and asked them to provide information of their pilgrims before their arrival to Makkah to be saved on the e-bracelets. The information include password, passport number, the image, and other essential information about residence of the pilgrims in Makkah and Medina and also their medical profile. All these data are given to G4S.