Video 'shows security staff shooting at cars'

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The Independent Online

The US military and a British private security firm, Aegis Specialist Risk Management, are investigating a video posted on a website managed by some of Aegis' former employees that appears to show indiscriminate gunfire at civilian vehicles in Iraq.

The video is taken through the rear window of a vehicle, which may have been carrying Aegis personnel. Set to Elvis Presley music, bullets are sprayed first at a silver Mercedes, which crashes into a taxi, then into another car as it accelerates down an open road. Broadcast on various Arab television channels, the clip is fuelling concern that private security workers, hired by the US military to do dangerous jobs such as escorting construction workers, are running amok, firing on civilians unnecessarily and are beyond punishment by law.

Aegis is headed by Tim Spicer, the former British Army lieutenant-colonel, whose former private security company, Sandline International, was wound up after charges that it flouted an international arms embargo during the Sierra Leone civil war.

There are about 25,000 private security workers providing escorts in Iraq, including the guarding of road convoys.

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