Konrad Becker on Sat, 4 Nov 2006 23:06:23 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> GSA Security Aesthetics

"Dear partners, investors, clients, admirers"
- below a message from the one and only Frank Beauregard of GSA Paris 
- featured in the new GSA Munich movie


Stay Safe! GSA Ops K


Security Aesthetics from "Risk A"

Hi, I'm Frank Beauregard, a transnational consultant for GSA -- the Global
Security Alliance, "Risk A" division. I'm speaking from my location in Paris
to make a pitch for a Franco-American concept that is going to change an
entire industry. The target audience is you: our partners, our investors,
our clients, our admirers. The idea is simple: security aesthetics. The new
image of safety in Europe. The new feeling of certainty at the cutting edge.
Take the risk of existing with style in the chaos of the contemporary world!

Look around the planet today, or just turn on your TV. What do you see
there? Babies crying, bombs bursting, buildings burning, soldiers pulling
triggers, men hustling big machines. It's not a pretty picture. And after
Afghanistan, after Iraq, after Lebanon, everyone knows this new military
cycle is still in full swing. Everyone knows there's a fortune to be made in
what we call risk management. Already, the liberalization of security
services, the introduction of new technologies, the ready availability of
highly trained personnel, and the range of sophisticated problems presented
by asymmetrical warfare have led to a massive boom in our industry. Just go
into any airport, far from the battlefield, and it's all there before your
eyes. That's the situation as it stands today. But we at GSA want to ask the
question of tomorrow. The question of a new aesthetics for expanded security
operations in the European theater. 

The problem is, being a mercenary, a soldier of fortune, or what they now
call a private military company, is the oldest profession in the world. And
it looks like it. Archaic, dusty, unshaven, ugly. I don't mean to criticize
our colleagues, the people responsible for so many innovations, whom we at
GSA would like to work with, or merge with, or hopefully even own someday.
But if all of us want a different industry tomorrow, after America's wars
are finally over, then we have to ask the hard questions, the strategic
ones, and we have to do it right now, before the competition does it for us.

Here are the questions that now face the industry. How did a brand-new
British firm like Aegis snap up the coordinating contract for the US
reconstruction security support services in Iraq? What's their business
model? Where does it come from? And how can it be expanded, remodeled,
transformed to fit a world where the struggle against war and terrorism
doesn't just take the traditional face of men with guns far away in the
desert, but instead extends into every moment of corporate life, and even
into the very fabric of urban existence in the most prosperous Western
cities? How can we put a new twist, or inject a new aesthetic, into an
increasingly outdated profession? 

You all know the story of the contemporary security industry, the one that
stretches back to Executive Outcomes, to Sandline International, to the
dodgy days of dirty wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea.
You've all heard of the legendary Tim Spicer, a 50 year-old British army
veteran and former Special Air Services volunteer, who  fought for those
companies in the mid-1990s, and is now the CEO of Aegis. Many of you have
probably even heard of the elite Special Forces Club in London -- a private
social organization open exclusively to current and former members of the
Special Forces and intelligence communities of Britain, the US and selected
Allied states. You're all aware of the extraordinary revolving door between
official army commands and these former SAS men; and none of you can ignore
the ease with which the British government can "mix and match" its regular
forces and these special market operators, to address conflict situations
that threaten its major corporations anywhere in the world. These are the
unique combinations of national history and individual intelligence that
have catapulted British firms to their new role as purveyors of imperial
expertise to the American state itself -- to the point where a British
outfit like Aegis can now give orders to Kellog Brown and Root, or DynCorp,
and even set the rules of engagement for the elite units of Blackwater,
which is the leading private military company in the USA today. 

But what you probably don't know is that Aegis, with Tim Spicer at the helm,
is already looking beyond the Iraq war, and lobbying for new legislation to
shore up the leading position of the British risk-management firms. Aegis
wants to formalize the private-public partnerships that currently exist on a
de facto level between companies like itself and the UK government. They
want to make corporate warfare into a legal and legitimate reality, and to
spin off their military savoir-faire into every branch of privatized
security. They want to make the British desert rat into the uncontested
expert and arbiter of safety on the streets, not only of Iraq, but of
London, Paris, Munich, Berlin and every other European city. This, ladies
and gentlemen, partners, investors, clients and admirers, is the moment for
a different kind of vision -- and the perfect time for GSA's "Risk A"
division to intervene.

The thing is, as you know, that the Anglo-American war is not going very
well right now -- not very well indeed. Does the British desert rat really
have the savoir-faire to make the European nightclub-goer feel safe out on
the streets? Well, they certainly don't make us feel very safe in the London
underground, now do they? But let's put the question another way. Would you
entrust your capital to a traditional mercenary operation, when security on
the Continent is at stake? Do you see a future for the dogs of war inside
the European Union?

GSA doesn't think so. We believe that enormous fractions of capital, even in
the USA, are uncomfortable to say the least with the situation as it stands
today. We believe that even before the inevitable collapse of the dollar,
enormous international transfers will take place. We believe that the Old
Continent, with its healthy single currency, is now uniquely poised to
provide a new safe-haven for investment, with a growth market of potentially
monumental proportions. But for that, we will need at least two things. The
first, of course, is tranquility on the streets: without bombs going off,
but without any goose-stepping soldiers there either. And the second is
style, the style that the Old Continent thrives on, the real spice of life
in good old Europe!

This is where an American businessman like myself has everything to learn
from our French colleagues. Have you noticed their attitude toward the Iraq
war? Do you see any bombs going off in their metros? Don't we need to take a
lesson from Yves Saint-Laurent, from Jean-Paul Gaultier? Don't we need to do
for security what Jacques Lang did for culture, what François Mitterand did
for politics? Surely you know what I mean: a very profitable business
beneath an urbane, artistic veneer! 

GSA's Risk A division has this vision of the future: security that you don't
see, the power to influence results invisibly. We want you to look good, to
feel fine, and above all, to stay clean, while all the dirty work is done
behind the scenes. We think countries like Luxembourg, or Switzerland, or
Germany itself, would pay enormously for this kind of oblivion. We can
imagine and even implement an urban condition where security operations take
the form of a vernissage, a fashion parade, a Mayday march, or why not even
an Oktoberfest? Our agents can be everywhere, and your citizens don't even
need to see them. All you need to do is follow the British example, and
legalize every form of private security provision, even the most intrusive
spy operations or the most violent expulsions of aliens outside the border,
just like they do in France today -- but forget the desert rats, forget the
dogs of war. Take Yves Saint-Laurent instead, take Jean-Paul Gaultier!

Do you think that's risqué? Would you take the risk of doing business any
other way?

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