Private contractors

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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Private contractors, or mercenaries, i chose the first name for the topic so maybe it won't be closed now. (Doublespeak you know..)

Ok, what do you think? it's ok that the goverments of the "Civilized World" pay mercenaries to do the dirty work?

The number of mercenaries has climbed exponentialy since the gulf war. They do not wear uniform and they are not bound by the genova conventions.

A test ground for this privates armys is Colombia, where the corporation DynCorp operates since 1993.

In this video you can see London-based company Aegis Defence Services mercenaries shotting at random civilians for fun..

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Aegis-PSD.wmv [Broken]

The file was downloaded from: http://www.aegisiraq.co.uk/

Seem to be a site made not by aegis but by aegis employes (Mercenaries)

(This site does not belong to AEGIS DEFENSE LTD
it belongs to the men on the ground who are the heart and soul of the company)
I think privatization of war is a subject very important to discus and should not be censored...

Someone who has been paid to kill will not follow an ideal, will not fight for patriotism, not for his country, will only kill for money, doesn't matters if it's ok or wrong, if he is killing the bad guys or the good guys, he will KILL FOR MONEY. This is a barbaric practice that should be prohibited.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Assuming that it can be established that the shootings were done by the contractors or mercernaries, their defence would be they were using gun fire, as authorised, to keep the civilian cars (possible suicide bombers) from coming too close to them, which is true as I recall except in the third case where there was no traffic behind them.

What is the length of distance that they are allowed to keep? Does anybody know?
 
  • #3
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Polly said:
Assuming that it can be established that the shootings were done by the contractors or mercernaries, their defence would be they were using gun fire, as authorised, to keep the civilian cars (possible suicide bombers) from coming too close to them, which is true as I recall except in the third case where there was no traffic behind them.
What is the length of distance that they are allowed to keep? Does anybody know?
Authorised by who? they are private contractors! so i can go to the US, Pay a security guard to drive in the highway and authorize him to shoot any car that drive near him?? Great!!!
 
  • #4
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That is strictly an issue for the local government to deal with. To say that this should be prohibited is nice and all but who has the right to actually enforce it outisde of the local government? It's a domestic issue.
 
  • #5
Skyhunter
deckart said:
That is strictly an issue for the local government to deal with. To say that this should be prohibited is nice and all but who has the right to actually enforce it outisde of the local government? It's a domestic issue.
I think since the US set up the local government in Iraq and American taxpayers are footing the bill to hire these guys it is an American issue.
 
  • #6
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Pay a security guard to drive in the highway and authorize him to shoot any car that drive near him?? Great!!!
Actually as far as I understood you probably more or less could do that in the US (j.k) by the way sorry
 
  • #7
loseyourname
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Private security guards are authorized to shoot anyone that they reasonably believe to be a threat to their own or someone else's life.

By the way, Burnsys, you can title your thread "Mercenaries" whatever you want. It's not the topic that's being censored; it's the quality of the post. It wasn't that hard to actually write something in your opening post, was it?
 
  • #8
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Skyhunter said:
I think since the US set up the local government in Iraq and American taxpayers are footing the bill to hire these guys it is an American issue.
Here is an interesting link regarding many aspects of private contractors in Iraq.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/faqs/

In June 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority handed down Memorandum 17, which grants foreign contractors immunity from Iraqi law while working within the boundaries of their contracted tasks. The memo placed private contractors under the legal authority of the workers' home countries. In June 2004, one day before the CPA transferred sovereignty in Iraq to the interim Iraqi government, Paul Bremer signed a revised version of Memorandum 17, which stipulates that the rule remain in effect until multinational forces are withdrawn from Iraq or until it is amended by Iraqi lawmakers.[/QUOTE]
 
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  • #9
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  • #10
Skyhunter
Here is the tragic story of Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who was deeply disturbed by a war with so many private contractors.
Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-colonel27nov27,1,3769217.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Is this privatization and profit taking what Bush meant when he said "we are redefining warfare on our terms"?
 
  • #11
Burnsys said:
Someone who has been paid to kill will not follow an ideal, will not fight for patriotism, not for his country, will only kill for money, doesn't matters if it's ok or wrong, if he is killing the bad guys or the good guys, he will KILL FOR MONEY. This is a barbaric practice that should be prohibited.
Soldiers are paid to do what they do. Originally soldier actually meant more or less "a paid combatant" and it was not meant in a very nice way.
Any soldier in any military is only a man doing a job for money. Individual reasoning for doing the job may vary but that does not change what the reality is.
 
  • #12
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TheStatutoryApe said:
Soldiers are paid to do what they do. Originally soldier actually meant more or less "a paid combatant" and it was not meant in a very nice way.
Any soldier in any military is only a man doing a job for money. Individual reasoning for doing the job may vary but that does not change what the reality is.
But i don't think the insurgents in irak are paid by anyone.. I think they fight becouse they think it's right to defend they countries, not for money.
 
  • #13
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Private security guards are authorized to shoot anyone that they reasonably believe- to be a threat to their own or someone else's life.
maybe in america, but you wouldnt get away with that in europe. You would have to Prove that fact if you didnt want a manslaughter/murder charge
 
  • #14
The guidance on force in Memo 17 is thus (emboldening my own for pertinence):

You may use NECESSARY FORCE, up to and including deadly force, against persons in the following circumstances:

a. In self-defense.
b. In defense of persons as specified in your contract.
c. To prevent life threatening offenses against civilians.

The following are some techniques you can use if their use will not unnecessarily endanger you or others.

a. SHOUT
b. SHOVE
c. SHOW; you weapon and demonstrate intent to use it.
d. SHOOT; to remove the threat only where necessary.

IF YOU MUST FIRE YOUR WEAPON:
(1) Fire only aimed shots.
(2) Fire with due regard for the safety of innocent bystanders.
(3) Immediately report incident and request assistance.

CIVILIANS: Treat Civilians with Dignity and Respect.

a. Make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.
b. You may stop, detain, search, and disarm civilian persons if required for your safety or if specified in your contract.
c. Civilians will be treated humanely.
The evidence in the video would seem to suggest the contractors are not acting in their allowed capacity. It would be very interesting to see if they did indeed report these incidents as demanded if they fire their weapons. Interestingly, Aegis provide the security solutions in my place of employment.
 
  • #15
russ_watters
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Burnsys said:
But i don't think the insurgents in irak are paid by anyone.. I think they fight becouse they think it's right to defend they countries, not for money.
The fact that they aren't paid is related to the reason why they are an illegal force: they don't fight for a specific government/entity.

And no one answered this, possibly because it should be rediculously obvious, but....
Authorised by who? they are private contractors! so i can go to the US, Pay a security guard to drive in the highway and authorize him to shoot any car that drive near him?? Great!!!
Um....you don't think local murder laws would have something to say about that?

Lets make that scenario a little more like the one described in this thread - because what I quoted above bears no relation to the scenario at all. Say, you came to the US, rented a van, and drove it through the gate of a military or government installation at a high rate of speed. What do you think would happen? How about if you drove it through the gate of the French embassy?

In the US, Burnsys, a kid gets shot every now and then for pointing a toy gun at police and people get shot every now and then for reaching for a wallet when told to put their hands up. It's regrettable that people get shot for accidentally threatening police, but that is a necessary biproduct of the dangerousness of the job. I only have a little sympathy for adults who get killed in such situations - they should be smart enough to not do something so stupid in front of someone in a high-stress position, carrying a gun.
 
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  • #16
russ_watters said:
Um....you don't think local murder laws would have something to say about that?
They wouldn't. He did not ask about shooting people; he asked about shooting cars. Murder laws come into effect when... you know... someone is murdered.

russ_watters said:
Lets make that scenario a little more like the one described in this thread - because what I quoted above bears no relation to the scenario at all. Say, you came to the US, rented a van, and drove it through the gate of a military or government installation at a high rate of speed.
How is that akin to shooting civilians' cars?

I think Burnsys' point was that it is unfathomable that a security company's employees could be defended for shooting at American civilians' cars in America, so why is it fine for them to do so in Iraq?
 
  • #17
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russ_watters said:
The fact that they aren't paid is related to the reason why they are an illegal force: they don't fight for a specific government/entity.
do you think they should start their own corporation????
Insurgent Corp!


And no one answered this, possibly because it should be rediculously obvious, but.... Um....you don't think local murder laws would have something to say about that?
Lets make that scenario a little more like the one described in this thread - because what I quoted above bears no relation to the scenario at all. Say, you came to the US, rented a van, and drove it through the gate of a military or government installation at a high rate of speed. What do you think would happen? How about if you drove it through the gate of the French embassy?
In the US, Burnsys, a kid gets shot every now and then for pointing a toy gun at police and people get shot every now and then for reaching for a wallet when told to put their hands up. It's regrettable that people get shot for accidentally threatening police, but that is a necessary biproduct of the dangerousness of the job. I only have a little sympathy for adults who get killed in such situations - they should be smart enough to not do something so stupid in front of someone in a high-stress position, carrying a gun.
My example has nothing to do with what you are saying... Acording to this Mercenaries policy in irak, then i can go to USA, found a private security guards corporations, drive in my van with a sign on it that says: Stay away, lethal force will be used... and then i can shoot any civilian car that comes close to my ban.... Or even to adjust more to what you are saying...

I am a private security guard, i can shoot any kids, who takes his wallet.
 
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  • #18
BobG
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It's definitely okay to subcontract out security to private companies, where security is strictly defined as only taking defensive measures. Even so, some authority (either the local government or, in the case of Iraq, US authorities) should provide some kind of review to ensure the actions of the security personnel are reasonable.

Actually subcontracting out combat duties is a little more of a gray area. I don't think it's a good idea in general. The official government military should have more control of combat actions than I think they would have if they subcontracted out combat to private mercenaries.

In spite of that, contracting out combat duties to civilians does have some successes. Claire Chenault's AVG (the Fighting Tigers) in China during WWII is a pretty good example. In fact, when the US decided they needed a true military presence in China, they recruited a core group from the civilian AVG to serve as the military leadership within the new US Army Air Force units (the 74th, 75th, and 76th Fighter Squadrons). That had some very special circumstances that made it successful, though. The Aviation Volunteer Group had backing from the military and most of the 'civilian' members of the group were released from the military in order to volunteer to fight as civilians (and then reentered the military as members of the new USAAF squadrons).

Trivia: All three of those squadrons still exist. Two still fly airplanes (A-10s), while the 76th was the Air Force's first offensive and defensive counterspace technology squadron. They still have reunions and there's still some of the original AVG members that show up, along with some vets from the first Gulf War, etc.
 
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  • #19
Art
It is interesting that the reason given for the assault on Fallujah was the killing of 4 contractors yet the Geneva Convention specifically states that mercenaries are not 'protected persons' and are allowed to be executed if captured.
 
  • #20
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Local authorities in Iraq have no real jurisdiction over foreign security forces. The most that can happen to a foreign securty person is that he/she may possibly lose their job.

Employees of private security firms are immune from prosecution in Iraq, under an order adopted into law last year by Iraq's interim government. The most severe punishment that can be applied to them is revocation of their license and dismissal from their job, U.S. officials said. Their heavy presence stems in large part from the Pentagon's attempts to keep troop numbers down by privatizing jobs that would once have been performed by American forces.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/09/AR2005090902136_2.html

And from what I have read the militaries ability to coordinate with the private forces is just about nil.
While many security companies perform military-style tasks, often on behalf of the U.S. government, they are not under the armed services' command. In response to a congressional request for more information on oversight of security contractors, the Pentagon said the military's relationship with them was "one of coordination, not control."
 
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  • #21
russ_watters
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Burnsys said:
do you think they should start their own corporation????
Insurgent Corp!
No, they should start their own government and start abiding by the rules of war if they want to be recognized as legitimate.
My example has nothing to do with what you are saying...
Yes, I know - it also has nothing to do with the example you cited in the OP....
Acording to this Mercenaries policy in irak, then i can go to USA, found a private security guards corporations, drive in my van with a sign on it that says: Stay away, lethal force will be used... and then i can shoot any civilian car that comes close to my ban....
No, you can't. That isn't how it works in Iraq or in the US and that isn't what the situation in the OP was about.
Or even to adjust more to what you are saying...
I am a private security guard, i can shoot any kids, who takes his wallet.
Again, no, you can't. You're making this up as you go along and it is not the way things really work. You are arguing against your own imagination!
 
  • #22
russ_watters
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El Hombre Invisible said:
They wouldn't. He did not ask about shooting people; he asked about shooting cars. Murder laws come into effect when... you know... someone is murdered.
Was that a serious post? Sorry, I can't tell if you are being sarcastic. Presumably, those cars have people in them. If they didn't, then I don't see how they could be driving down a highway...
How is that akin to shooting civilians' cars?
[edit] I had misunderstood the actual scenario described. However, that doesn't make what Burnsys said equivalent to what is shown in the video, nor does it make Burnsys's scenario legal either in the US or in Iraq.

My scenario was the more commonly seen scenario in Iraq (people driving fast/erratically toward a checkpoint), but in mine, Burnsys is the civilian driving near the "mercenary" (some military bases are guarded by civilians).
I think Burnsys' point was that it is unfathomable that a security company's employees could be defended for shooting at American civilians' cars in America, so why is it fine for them to do so in Iraq?
Yes, I know that was Burnsys's point. But Burnsys imagining that something is legal or ok (or seen by others as legal or ok) doesn't make it so. Put another way: What the guys in that video are apparently doing is illegal, both in the US and in Iraq - but that doesn't make the concept of paid security guards a bad one in general.
 
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  • #23
russ_watters
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Just to make sure we stay on point, though, the main thrust of the OP was this:
Burnsys said:
Ok, what do you think? it's ok that the goverments of the "Civilized World" pay mercenaries to do the dirty work?
The answer to that question is a straightforward YES.

[edit] I was just able to view the video (the link in the OP is dead, so I had to search for it). It appears real, so I suspect the people involved will be prosecuted. But that doesn't have anything to do with the OP question about the legality of hired guards, nor does some people doing something illegal (even if they end up getting away with it) imply that what they are doing is legal, and therefore make the underlying concept wrong.
 
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  • #24
russ_watters
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If anyone has read in the last hour, I edited my previous two posts - I finally watched the video - the link in the OP is dead and I hadn't bothered to search for it previously. I had assumed that what was pictured was the more common scenario of security personnel shooting at a speeding vehicle at a checkpoint.

That said, this changes little about the underlying points, as the posts above indicate.
 
  • #25
Art
russ_watters said:
If anyone has read in the last hour, I edited my previous two posts - I finally watched the video - the link in the OP is dead and I hadn't bothered to search for it previously. I had assumed that what was pictured was the more common scenario of security personnel shooting at a speeding vehicle at a checkpoint.
That said, this changes little about the underlying points, as the posts above indicate.
Doesn't the fact that security contractors can behave like this under the eqivalent of diplomatic immunity so that the greatest sanction that can be invoked is their license is revoked and they are fired not suggest to you that there are some inherent flaws in this 'security' initiative?

BTW I wonder how many of the civilians killed this way are added to the terrorists' kill tally?
 
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