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Greystone, Ltd.

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Greystone, Ltd. is a division of Blackwater USA formed to market Blackwater's services to governments and other entities outside the United States. Its website describes it as "...an international supplier of turn-key security solutions. Greystone focuses on providing stability to locations experiencing turmoil whether caused by armed conflict, epidemics, or natural or man-made disasters. Greystone has the ability to quickly and efficiently deploy anywhere in the world to create a more secure environment for our customers. We take pride in our agility, speed, and ability to execute – taking into account the surrounding culture."[1]

Greystone is a member of the International Peace Operations Association and the Private Security Company Association of Iraq.

Turning a grey area into a brand asset

According to Jeremy Scahill, writing in The Guardian,

While the private military/security industry rejects the characterisation of their forces as mercenaries, Blackwater executives have turned the grey area in which they operate into a brand asset. The company has been quietly marketing its services to foreign governments and corporations through an off-shore affiliate, Greystone Ltd, registered in Barbados.
In early 2005, Blackwater held an extravagant, invitation-only Greystone "inauguration" at the swanky Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, DC. The guest list for the seven-hour event included weapons manufacturers, oil companies and diplomats from the likes of Uzbekistan, Yemen, the Philippines, Romania, Indonesia, Tunisia, Algeria, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Kenya, Angola and Jordan. Several of those countries' defence or military attaches attended. "It is more difficult than ever for your country to successfully protect its interests against diverse and complicated threats in today's grey world," Greystone's promotional pamphlet told attendees. "Greystone is an international security services company that offers your country or organisation a complete solution to your most pressing security needs."
Greystone said its forces were prepared for "ready deployment in support of national security objectives as well as private interests". Among the "services" offered were mobile security teams, which could be employed for personal security operations, surveillance and countersurveillance. Applicants for jobs with Greystone were asked to check off their qualifications in weapons: AK-47 rifle, Glock 19, M-16 series rifle, M-4 carbine rifle, machine gun, mortar and shoulder-fired weapons. Among the skills sought were: Sniper, Marksman, Door Gunner, Explosive Ordnance, Counter Assault Team.[2]

Greystone's aborted plan to train mercenaries in the Philippines

An early focus for Greystone's operations was in the Philippines. According to a June 2006 op-ed in the Manila Times,

"[Blackwater President Gary] Jackson was recently quoted by the online service Virginian Pilot... as saying his company has acquired about 25 acres, or about two hectares, in the former US naval base at Subic Bay and will have access to adjacent jungle for conducting survival training. An application to lease the land has been submitted to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority by Satelles Solutions Inc., the local partner of Greystone Ltd., which in turn is described as the “international affiliate” of Blackwater. Satelle/Greystone’s business plan envisions training as many as 1,000 recruits monthly at the leased property in Subic prior to their deployment overseas, presumably in Afghanistan and Iraq."[3]

That same month, on a visit to Angeles City, the American ambassador to the Philippines denied U.S. government complicity in the training scheme:

"US Ambassador Kristie Kelley denied yesterday that the US government has been recruiting and training Filipino mercenaries for deployment to Iraq, but admitted it is possible that private American firms could be doing so on their own. In an interview with local media during her visit to the Angeles City AIDS council office in Pampanga, Kelley said 'the US government isn’t training Filipinos for service in Iraq, the US government isn’t doing that.' Kelley said private 'US companies are active throughout the world on all sort of things' and some of them could possibly be undertaking such a project. She stressed, however, that the US government has no knowledge of this, as 'US companies are private organizations.'"[4]

According to the same report, Greystone's plans were facing scrutiny from the Philippines Senate:

"The Senate is set to look into the proposed operation of a United States private security firm in Subic in order to ensure its compliance with the laws of the country. Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, said yesterday that he would file a resolution to pave the way for the inquiry into the proposed operation of Greystone Ltd. Biazon explained that he wants to examine the approved activities of Greystone in relation to the constitutional provision prohibiting the entry of foreign troops and the establishment of a base in the country, the laws on the use of firearms and the use of environmentally protected areas. A memorandum for business development on the lease agreement between the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Satelles Solutions Inc. showed that Greystone would be leasing a total of 19,321 square meters of land inside the Freeport for three years. In order to pave the way for the entry of the US firm, it entered into a partnership with the newly formed Satelles Solutions Inc. in the Philippines. According to the registration documents of Satelles, Greystone Ltd. controls the company with a total of P10.4 million in subscribed shares. The rest of the shareholders, each of whom subscribed P1 in shares are Mary Grace Agoncillo, Frances Yuyucheng, Clarisse Oben-Evangelista, Romeo Redelicia and Ramberto Saavedra. A total of $294,000 (P15.6 million) would be collected from the company for the lease of the property. The company has committed to invest $200,000 and plans to hire 20 employees initially. According to the SBMA, the company would use an existing firing range inside the Freeport temporarily until a suitable area is found."[4]

In April 2007, the Virginian Pilot reported that the controversy had forced Blackwater to abandon its plans for Subic Bay:

"The Moyock, N.C.-based private military company's plans to open an Asian branch in the Philippines have been scrapped... 'We are no longer pursuing a facility in the Philippines,' Anne Tyrrell, a company spokeswoman, said this week. The company's plans for a jungle survival skills training center on the site of the former U.S. naval base at Subic Bay sparked calls for an investigation from a prominent member of the Philippines Senate last summer."[5]

Guest list at Greystone's 2005 inaugural event

Due to an apparent oversight, the full guest list for the 2005 'inauguration' has been left as a PDF file on Greystone's webserver. It is not linked in from any pages on the site, but is nevertheless readily accessible to the public. The document does not state it is for the inaugural event, but both the date and the list of diplomats agree with information given in Jeremy Scahill's August 2007 Guardian article.[6]

Arms firms

Banking organizations

Consulting firms

Embassies

Law firms

Oil companies

PMCs

U.S. Government agencies

Other

Contact details

Email: info AT greystone-ltd.com[7]
Web: http://www.greystone-ltd.com/

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Greystone, Ltd. homepage. Undated, accessed August 2, 2007.
  2. Jeremy Scahill, "A very private war", The Guardian, August 1, 2007.
  3. Dan Mariano, "‘Whores of war’", The Manila Times, June 28, 2006.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ding Cervantes, "US envoy denies report of Filipino mercenary training in Subic", Subic Central, June 17, 2006.
  5. Bill Sizemore, "Blackwater USA drops plans to build center in Philippines", The Virginian-Pilot, April 13, 2007.
  6. cmaine, Guest list for a Greystone event (PDF) (almost certainly the 2005 inaugural event), April 12, 2005. Author and date from PDF metadata. (Local copy).
  7. "About Us", Greystone website. Undated, accessed August 2, 2007.

Other external resources