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News Mercenaries of USA in Iraq and

  1. Apr 27, 2004 #1
    USA uses a large number of mercenaries in the Iraq war. Bush idea is that 50% of tasks of the USA Army should be taken over by 'private contractors', and they are not listed as serving military personnel. Of course at a very high price (taxes), opening ways of bribery and favors.

    One of the ethic problems is that mercenaries are not bound to military and political rules. Many of the heavily armed Western "security men" are working for the US Department of Defence - and most of them are former Special Forces soldiers. Their losses are hidden from public view.

    What is the Geneva Conventions telling? and are they POW?

    Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.

    Part III : Methods and means of warfare -- Combatant and prisoner-of-war status #Section II -- Combatant and prisoner-of-war status

    [p.571] Article 47 -- Mercenaries

    [p.572] General remarks

    1789 The problem of mercenaries was first raised at the United Nations in1961 in connection with the Katangese secession. (1) Later on, in 1964, the Congolese government itself recruited mercenaries to suppress an insurrection. When they were subsequently instructed to lay down their arms, most of them refused to do so and openly rebelled against the government (1967). The latter then called upon the Security Council, as well as the Organization of African Unity (OAU), to which it had already appealed in 1964. The Security Council (2) and the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the OAU requested States to prevent the recruitment of mercenaries in their territory for the purpose of overthrowing the governments of foreign States. The epilogue to this unhappy affair took place in Rwanda, where the mercenaries eventually sought refuge. They were repatriated with the help of the ICRC, on condition that they undertook not to return to the African continent. (3)

    1790 Since then, there has scarcely been any conflict involving military operations in which the presence of mercenaries has notplayed a part in one way or another. Nevertheless, since 1968 the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a firm position stating that the practice of employing mercenaries against national liberation movements is a criminal act, (4) and the mercenaries themselves are criminals. In 1977 it was once more the Security Council which adopted, by consensus, a resolution condemning the recruitment of mercenaries with the objective to overthrow governments of Member States of the United Nations. (5) Also in 1977 the Council of Ministers of the OAU adopted a Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa at its 29th session in Libreville. (6) Based partly, as regards the definition of the term "mercenarism" as such, on previous [p.573] drafts, (7) and, with the exception of the problem of payment, on the definition of the term "mercenary" given in the present Article 47 , this Convention was a response to the concern of those who see the text of the Protocol as paving "the way for the conclusion of more stringent regional instruments", (8) on the assumption that Article 47 was only "the first, and that other more satisfactory international texts would follow". (9) In fact, this OAU Convention of 1977 was an attempt to respond to the wishes of some delegations who had participated in the Diplomatic Conference, wishes which could not be met by the demands of the inevitable compromise. It condemns the mercenarism as such, and not only the mercenary himself (Article 1 , paragraph 2). It contains a pure and simple prohibition on according a mercenary the status of combatant and prisoner of war (Article 3 ). Finally, the definition of the term "mercenary" diverges from that of the Protocol on one point, as stated above. (10) At the time of writing, a draft of an "international Convention against the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries" is being formulated within the United Nations. (11)

    .... snip

    1796 The effect of the denial of the status of combatant and prisoner of war ( to the mercenaries) in case of capture is to deprive the mercenary of the treatment of prisoner of war as laid down in the Third Convention, and to make him liable to criminal prosecution. Such prosecution can be instigated both for acts of violence which would be lawful if performed by a combatant, in the sense of the Protocol, and for the sole fact of having taken a direct part in hostilities (paragraph 2(b)). This is where the crucial question of guarantees arises.

    1797 Deprived of the status of combatant and prisoner of war, a mercenary is a civilian who could fall under Article 5 of the fourth Convention. It is precisely this article which removes an important part of the guarantees from any person under legitimate suspicion of being engaged in an activity endangering State security.


    more: http://www.icrc.org/IHL.nsf/0/ffc84b7639b26f93c12563cd00434156?OpenDocument
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2004 #2
    "In 1977 it was once more the Security Council which adopted, by consensus, a resolution condemning the recruitment of mercenaries with the objective to overthrow governments of Member States of the United Nations"

    But the private contractors weren't used to overthrow Saddam. They are be used in operations AFTER the fact.
  4. Apr 27, 2004 #3
    How would you know? :rolleyes:
    Do you think they would publish it on the web?
  5. Apr 27, 2004 #4
    Australia was given a trade deal worth four billion per year, in return for getting involved in Iraq. Wouldn't that make Australia mercenaries?
  6. Apr 27, 2004 #5
    Hmrmph, I thought it was to honor the alliance from WW2... guess that wouldn't work unless there were an honest threat. Guess that can't happen in the future thanks to our Lord GWB. F**k
  7. Apr 27, 2004 #6


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    Lol, so in the world according to "Adam" the Australian armed forces are mercenaries and not POW's but the Al Queda are part of the regular armed forces and are POW's. *boggle*
  8. Apr 27, 2004 #7
    Budget and contractors. Isn't this interesting?

    "According to some experts the US Defence Department is spending about $20bn, one third of the military operating budget in Iraq and Afghanistan, on contractors.

    Korb estimated that about $15bn of the $18bn in the US budget for Iraq's reconstruction will go on security. He added that about one in 10 Americans working in Iraq is a civilian contractor - between 10*000 and 15*000 people.


    Amazing: $15bn of the $18bn in the US budget for Iraq's reconstruction will go on security.

    Somewhere I read that also budget of Afghanistan was used in Iraq.
  9. Apr 27, 2004 #8
  10. Apr 27, 2004 #9
    OHhhhhh okay! So now it's true because I can't find an article saying that something with no evidence didn't happen??!

    The burden of proof falls on you sir. Otherwise, this is nothign more tha you trying to steer this to a foil hat conspiracy theory.
  11. Apr 27, 2004 #10

    Only if you consider every single soldier that is getting paid a mercenary - which is not the case.
  12. Apr 27, 2004 #11

    Hardly, you've made asseration after assertion that al quaeda captives are POW's, and thus guantanamo detentions are illegal for them.
    You are now implying that Australian forces are mercenaries, and by simple logic of putting this implication with the above article, Kat is RIGHT on with your view - the views you have posted onthis board.
  13. Apr 27, 2004 #12
    Another straw man. Read again, and more carefully.
  14. Apr 27, 2004 #13
    Whatever Adam. If you aren't here to talk about the issue at hand, go play semantics somewhere else.
  15. Apr 27, 2004 #14
    Pathetic. Three posts from phatmonky, and one from kat, full of straw men. Not one fact or accurate citation.
  16. Apr 27, 2004 #15
    The US is currently hiring private contractors in Iraq. If you make the grade, it is exciting and rewarding work. Profitable too. It's a chance to make a difference in the world, and have an adventure at the same time.
  17. Apr 27, 2004 #16
    yeah, especially if you get caught by some militiamen and burned alive.
    quite an adventure, i would agree, too bad you don't live to tell about it hehehe

    on the other hand you can be extra cautious and slaughter the militiamen that attacked you, + 20 bystanders, some of them aged about 4 or 5 years old.

    in that case you can boast about it.
  18. Apr 27, 2004 #17
    Don't over-react phatmonky.
    US has a long tradition of working with mercenaries, in most cases they were called 'technical advisors' (i.e. Vietnam, South America). There are plenty examples. And still US-contractors in for example Columbia.
    Under Clinton this practice started under specialized 'private companies', but the goal was to 'privatize' only some high tech activities (max 10%). It was not initial the goal to attract mercenaries. US had enough 'special forces'. But under Bush the privatization of the war-power grow, and with it the new type of mercenaries (cfr. from Chili, exits of US special forces, east-block soldiers, South Africans, etc) , and on the long run 50% should be privatized (goal of Bush). Thus a US president will have (has) his private army, just like Bremer has private contractors as bodyguards. Aren't special forces good enough? Regular troops will be there for the dirty work and lowest possible wages.

    BTW why US wouldn't have used contractors before it attacked Iraq. The preparation started already before Bush was installed as president by Mr. Almighty.

    Added: Didn't Cheney organized private armies in Nicaragua? And how did the financing happened?
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2004
  19. Apr 27, 2004 #18


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    Staff: Mentor

    That's pretty weak, pelastration - you're insinuating that since we can prove neither, we should assume that mercinaries were used as front-line soldiers.

    Sorry, you'll need to do better than that.
  20. Apr 27, 2004 #19


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    Staff: Mentor

    Those are some pretty fundamental misunderstandings of the US military you are working under:

    The "technical advisors" we used in Vietnam were regular military - that was a way for the government to initially cloud the fact that we had troops in Vientnam.

    "Special forces" always have been and still are regular military.

    "Private contractors" by and large are maintenance and service personnel. The Navy (for example) doesn't operate full-service shipyards anymore. Private contractors do a better job for less money.

    That 50% number: source? I bet if you'd look at it a little more closely, you'll find that every one of those jobs is non-combat. Most people don't realize it, but the vast majority of military jobs are non-combat. And I don't mean the Jessica Lynch maintenance battalion non-combat, I mean pushing papers on a desk in an office building in Virginia non-combat.

    As far as security forces go, I don't agree with it, but its not the big deal you're making it out to be. Even a private swat team or two does not constitute a mercenary army.

    This issue is simply being blown out of proportion because of the knee-jerk reaction the word "mercenary" gives people.
  21. Apr 27, 2004 #20


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    Staff: Mentor

    That little double-standard (non-standard?) aside, it is an interesting moral/ethical question as to military pay. In the US we avoid the issue by paying the military with bags of dirt.

    Btw, Adam, from your link:
    As you can clearly see, in order for a person to be guilty of a straw-man, they have to ignore your position. Since you didn't state your position, there was nothing for kat to ignore.

    So far, this has been an effective tactic for you. It is somewhat clever, but relatively transparent to those who have been paying attention to your posts (phat- you need to stop falling for it and start demanding right up front that Adam state his position explicitly before you respond. Do not take the bait). Its basically an inverse straw-man. I'll be sure to keep pointing it out for those who may miss it.

    edit: incidentally, this fallacy, though not on the site you like to link, is discussed HERE. Its called the "Complex Questions" fallacy. It falls under the heading "Fallacies of Presumption" - the general type you go for (along with "Fallacies of Ambiguity" of course).

    Incidentally, Amp - you're operating under the Burden of Proof fallacy in this and other threads.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2004
  22. Apr 28, 2004 #21
    I'm sure its wonderful, plus you don't have the problem of having to obey any of the laws of war. sign me up.
  23. Apr 28, 2004 #22
    From motherjones.com:
    The use of private military companies, which gained considerable momentum under President Clinton, has escalated under the Bush administration. "There has been a dramatic increase in the military's reliance on contractor personnel to provide a wide range of support services for overseas operations," one Washington law firm advises its defense-company clients in a recent briefing paper. "In addition, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, resulted in a rapid expansion of U.S. military activity in many areas of the globe, and President Bush's ongoing war on terrorism will likely require even greater contractor support for military operations in the future."

    Because the Geneva Convention expressly bans the use of mercenaries -- individual soldiers of fortune who fight solely for personal gain -- private military companies are careful to distance themselves from any associations with such hired guns. To emphasize their experience and professionalism, many firms maintain websites brimming with colorful PR material; the industry even funds an advocacy group, the International Peace Operations Association, which portrays military firms as more capable and accountable than the Pentagon. "These companies want to run a professional operation," says the group's director, Doug Brooks. "Their incentive is to make money. How do you make money? You make sure you don't screw up."

    When the companies do screw up, however, their status as private entities often shields them -- and the government -- from public scrutiny. In 2001, an Alabama-based firm called Aviation Development Corp. that provided reconnaissance for the CIA in South America misidentified an errant plane as possibly belonging to cocaine traffickers. Based on the company's information, the Peruvian air force shot down the aircraft, killing a U.S. missionary and her seven-month-old daughter. Afterward, when members of Congress tried to investigate, the State Department and the CIA refused to provide any information, citing privacy concerns. "We can't talk about it," administration officials told Congress, according to a source familiar with the incident. "It's a private entity. Call the company."

    The lack of oversight alarms some members of Congress. "Under a shroud of secrecy, the United States is carrying out military missions with people who don't have the same level of accountability," says Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a leading congressional critic of privatized war. "We have individuals who are not obligated to follow orders or follow the Military Code of Conduct. Their main obligation is to their employer, not to their country."


    Such incidents point to the greatest danger underlying the increasing push to privatize war. Soldiers who disobey orders or violate standards of conduct can be court-martialed and incarcerated; their supervisors can be reassigned or forced to retire. Private companies, by contrast, are able to operate in almost complete secrecy, with little accountability to civilian or military authorities. Consider the case of two DynCorp employees who exposed a sex-trafficking scandal in Bosnia, where the company was assisting the American military with peacekeeping operations during the late 1990s. According to court documents, DynCorp employees bought and sold local Bosnian girls, some as young as 13, for use as sex slaves, often confiscating the passports of victims so they couldn't escape. The men were not subjected to local or U.S. criminal charges; DynCorp simply whisked them home -- and fired the two whistleblowers.

    The lack of accountability could have grave consequences in battle. The Pentagon has become so dependent on private military companies that it literally cannot wage war without them. Troops already rely on for-profit contractors to maintain 28 percent of all weapons systems, and the Bush administration wants to increase that figure to 50 percent.


    Defending Bremer!
    Hired guns: Blackwater has a $US21 million contract to guard US adminstrator Paul Bremer (far left) and five outposts.
    :biggrin: Russ! "Private contractors do a better job for less money."???. Sure! :biggrin: ... and you love to pay this bribe with rocketing taxes. :biggrin:

    Ex-military commandos armed with M4 rifles are fighting insurgents in Iraq as part of a private contracting force, many of them hired by the US-led coalition, raising some deep concerns.

    About 15,000 personnel from private military firms (PMFs) were operating in Iraq, making them more numerous that even the biggest US ally, Britain, estimated Peter Singer, author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry.

    At least 30 to 50 had been killed in action, he wrote in a report for the Internet news magazine Salon.com.

    Among the companies, Mr Singer said, Erinys was charged with guarding Iraqi oil fields, while Northrop Grumman subsidiary Vinnell, MPRI and Nour USA had been training and equipping the new Iraq army.

    "It is more a coalition of the billing than of the willing," Mr Singer said. :biggrin: :biggrin:

    Also this is a nice one! The Pentagon's solution to the "oversight crisis" has been to outsource: private firms have just been awarded $120 million to oversee other contractors -- raising serious questions of potential conflict of interest. "You could easily imagine one private contractor having other business dealings with the company over which they're supposed to be conducting oversight," Congressman Henry Waxman tells Schapiro.

    Russ, You may applause ... I have no problem with this ... it's your money.
  24. Apr 28, 2004 #23

    My position has been stated in other threads. My alleged position asserted by Kat was false. Thus the fallacy.
  25. Apr 28, 2004 #24
    Why don't you just ask someone how it is? I have two friends and a brother in Iraq and a friend who just left for somewhere in that part of the world he was not sure as part of a refueling-wing. So when my brother came home for a very short time he had told me that when he gets out he is a MP in the USMC he wants to work for one of these companies and the companies pay from $500 - $1000 a day and the jobs from what he has seen have been guarding things, places, and people. Now private contractors also run highly specialized equipment such as missile systems which the companies have developed just like anything else. I will have to find out who is running the targeting systems in the back of those AC130 gun ships because those things are incredible being able to shoot at and sent targeting information to other planes and weapons in the area simultaneously.
  26. Apr 28, 2004 #25


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    Staff: Mentor

    Could you quote yourself for me?

    Amp, same problem as before - the article you posted makes no distinction between different jobs being performed. Also, the article is not by a real journalism outlet (not even alternate media) - its a political action group.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2004
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