A lot of folks maybe don’t know: The Swiss State of Bale (Basel) is one of the most important points of the European Enlightment: This small, international connected city is host of the oldest University in Switzerland.
Unlike all the others, Bale was not dependend on the “Bourgeois Revolution” in the 18/19th century – spurred in part by Napoleon’s insane expansion war to conquer whole Europe – to build one of the oldest and still most respected Universities in Europe.
Bale’s University is over 500 years old – long before the State of Zurich even considered something like a University.
Bale had it all along.
This University was the home of Erasmus of Rotterdam, one of the most important voices in Europe and till today, one of the pillars of European Culture and Humanism.
It is with this background that one has to see what’s happening with Aegis’ new holding company in Bale.
How is it possible, that a great State like Bale is becoming the favorite place for the likes of Aegis? One of the most important States of Switzerland becomes the darling for private military enterprises – the tax haven for Soldiers of Fortune (SOFs)?
How is it possible, that this matter is handled as if a shoe or food company is settling down in Bale – for tax reasons? It’s a perversion like I have never seen it before in my life.
The country of Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, gets ridiculed by the likes of Aegis (Dunant was a normal Swiss business man by the way who witnessed the horrors in Solferino/Italy in 1859).
Let’s get some facts straight about Aegis:
Fellow journalist Jeremy Scahill wrote a masterpiece about another “private army”, Blackwater. The book details in length the story of Blackwater (now known as Xe Services). Of course, Aegis appears in his book too.
What has Scahill to say about Aegis?
Beginning on page 164 (German issue), Scahill writes, that Aegis got a contract in 2004 from the US worth 293 million US dollars for an assignment for 3 years in Iraq.
Aegis was founded by the “Englishman” Tim Spicer, a former soldier of your majesty’s “special forces”. After that, Spicer became a member of “Sandline”. This “company” was earning its money in Papua Guinea and Sierra Leone.
With other words: Sandline profited on civil wars. This gave spicy Spicer a very bad image in the UK.
To get rid of it, he founded a new company, Aegis, in 2002. And he is quoted in Scahills’ book like this: “I wanted that Aegis is noticed very differently.” Scahill writes that Spicer wanted to “change” his bunch of Soldiers of Fortune into a “normal” company: Just normal buddies who render services for “Private Military Enterprises”.
Spicer soon became a Bush darling and got one of the lucrative contracts in Iraq.
But Spicer didn’t have to play by the business rules, according to journalist Scahill: “The bigger the expenses those companies (Aegis, Blackwater and the likes) ammass, the bigger their profits. These kind of contracts are a welcome card for missuse and inefficiency” writes Scahill.
He cites Peter Singer, an expert from the Brookings Institution for private military contracts. Singer is quoted again: “In the legitimate business world, nothing comparable exists. Because of one reason: It’s the complete opposite of everything Adam Smith (one of the principal thinkers of the Free Market) and the “Free Market” say.” With other words: The more expenses they get, the bigger the reward.
Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s conclusion about Aegis in his book “Blackwater”: “The war on terror made a once unprofitable company called Aegis one of the the biggest winners of the war.”
He not only says “winners”. For Scahill, Aegis is one of the biggest “profiteurs” of the war against Iraq.
We should not tolerate this kind of activity here. Not with one inch.