Private contractors

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  • Thread starter Burnsys
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  • #26
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.
I agree. With out getting into any subjective arguments over what is right, wrong, or legitimate most of the insurgents are people who actually fight for what they believe in, it's not necessarily their occupation.
 
  • #27
edward said:
Here is another link with video's. I was surprised to find that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers uses private foreign security services.:grumpy:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/view/
They do need to protect themselves. Although, I wonder why they didn't utilize the service of the green berets; one of their own.
 
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  • #28
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russ_watters said:
No, they should start their own government and start abiding by the rules of war if they want to be recognized as legitimate.
Excusme russ, what rules of war????? Yours? UN ? Geneva conventions?? what rules????

Ok let's see:

UN
A/RES/44/34
72nd plenary meeting
4 December 1989
44/34. International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries

Affirming that the recruitment, use, financing and training of
mercenaries should be considered as offences of grave concern to all States
and that any person committing any of these offences should either be
prosecuted or extradited,
http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/44/a44r034.htm

Mercenaries are also not protected by the geneva conventions:

Article 47.-Mercenaries
1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
2. A mercenary is any person who:
(a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
(b) Does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
(c) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
(d) Is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
(e) Is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
(f) Has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/93.htm

What rules of war russ?? insurgents cant fire their ak for more than 2 minutes and a misile is send over thems, but The US army the most powerfull army in the world has to violate over and over again every rule of war that exist.... US use Carpet bombs,, use WP, don't do bodycounts, use and train mercenaries, use torture, Held prisoners with no trial indefinitly, Use indiscriminate fire over civilian populations, lies to start wars, etc etc... who is the ilegal here???? the people resisting?? or the greatest army in the world?

Yes, I know - it also has nothing to do with the example you cited in the OP....
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.
I started this thread and for what i can read you havent look at the video until your 5 post, so stop guessing what the op was...

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.
Actualy it's prety legal for the mercenaries to shoot random civilians in irak.

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.
Maybe it's not their job to practice shotting with civilians cars, but they will be not prosecuted.

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.
That video is just an example of what someone who is used to kill for money, and who has inmunity will end up doing...

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 know you have dreams like that! :rofl: :rofl:
 
  • #29
russ_watters
Mentor
19,226
5,238
Art said:
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?
Do you have a link that says that? I haven't seen discussion of this issue in an article anywhere, but it would surprise me if there weren't more legal ramifications than that. [edit] It looks like they are protected under Iraqi law - I don't know about American/British law. It is entirely possible that there are flaws in the policy that need to be fixed.
Burnsys said:
Excusme russ, what rules of war????? Yours? UN ? Geneva conventions?? what rules????
The UN and Geneva Conventions. You already know that though...
Ok let's see: [point about mercenaries]
My comment was a response to your comment about insurgents, not mercenaries.

However, what you have said about the law regarding mercenaries hinges on applying your definition of the word to people who others would call security personnel. Those laws you cited include definitions of mercenary - so just because you call them mercenaries, does not make them mercenaries under international law.
The US army the most powerfull army in the world has to violate over and over again every rule of war that exist.... [emphasis added]
I hope you can see from the emphasized word how absurd that statement of yours is.

I was considering answering your specific points - most of which are just plain wrong - but no: I will not turn this into another general USA-bash thread. You have a very strong anti-USA bias and it is leading you to make assumptions in every situation you see. For example, you've come right out and said before that you suspect we are purposely targeting civilians. With a default position like that, there isn't really anything to discuss - you're just going to assume the worst that isn't completely ruled out by the facts.
Actualy it's prety legal for the mercenaries to shoot random civilians in irak.
I ask you as well: do you have a link to some facts about the law in this issue?
...but they will be not prosecuted.
And you base that assertion on what? Is that just another one of your default assumptions? Yes, I see that they are immune from prosecution in Iraq via Iraqi law, but what about in Britain? So far, the incident is fairly new and all I can find says it is under investigation. At the very least, I suspect this will prompt a closing of loopholes that might be found to exist. Efforts to prosecute would face a pretty stiff burden of proof.

Let me make this clear: I am not condoning or defending the actions of the people in that video. What I object to here is your broader intent: to use this a stick with which to beat the US/Britain. Your expansion of the definition of "mercenary" to include these guys does not automatically make them mercenaries under international law, nor does it make their use, in general, wrong.
 
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  • #30
57
0
russ_watters said:
Do you have a link that says that? I haven't seen discussion of this issue in an article anywhere, but it would surprise me if there weren't more legal ramifications than that. [edit] It looks like they are protected under Iraqi law - I don't know about American/British law. It is entirely possible that there are flaws in the policy that need to be fixed.
It was a law pased by the irak interin goverment.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/09/AR2005090902136_2.html


The UN and Geneva Conventions. You already know that though... My comment was a response to your comment about insurgents, not mercenaries.
However, what you have said about the law regarding mercenaries hinges on applying your definition of the word to people who others would call security personnel. Those laws you cited include definitions of mercenary - so just because you call them mercenaries, does not make them mercenaries under international law.
http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/44/a44r034.htm
1. A mercenary is any person who:

(a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an
armed conflict;

(b) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the
desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party
to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that
promised or paid to combatants of similar rank and functions in the armed
forces of that party;

(c) Is neither a national of a party to the conflict nor a resident of
territory controlled by a party to the conflict;

(d) Is not a member of the armed forces of a party to the conflict; and

(e) Has not been sent by a State which is not a party to the conflict on
official duty as a member of its armed forces.

Please tell my what of the previous point Private contractors are not....

I hope you can see from the emphasized word how absurd that statement of yours is.
I was considering answering your specific points - most of which are just plain wrong - but no: I will not turn this into another general USA-bash thread. You have a very strong anti-USA bias and it is leading you to make assumptions in every situation you see.
It wasn't my intention too. but ok. let not enter in each of those points becouse it will be off topic.
And russ you have a very Pro-US-Bias and admit you make a LOT of asumptions too.

For example, you've come right out and said before that you suspect we are purposely targeting civilians.
We already discused this before... When i refer the US army as killing civilians i mean colateral damage, but i mean when the US army decide to commit an operation when they have previous knowledge that n civilians will result death.

With a default position like that, there isn't really anything to discuss - you're just going to assume the worst that isn't completely ruled out by the facts.
Everything that can happen. will happen...
So if Mercenaries or private contractors have inmunity, it's more than sure they will end up killing inocents..

I ask you as well: do you have a link to some facts about the law in this issue? And you base that assertion on what? Is that just another one of your default assumptions? Yes, I see that they are immune from prosecution in Iraq via Iraqi law, but what about in Britain?
US and britan don't need mercenaries acting in their own country. they need them in irak.

"Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Order 17 continues to
govern the status of certain foreign private security contractors in
Iraq," Rammell said in a written parliamentary reply, published
Tuesday.
He said that this included "private security contractors who are
providing security services to Diplomatic Missions, the Multinational
Force, International Consultants and other contractors defined in the
Order, and their personnel."
"Such contractors will be immune from Iraqi legal process with
respect to acts performed by them pursuant to the terms of a
contract," the Foreign Office Minister told MPs.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2005/02/iraq-050222-irna02.htm


So far, the incident is fairly new and all I can find says it is under investigation. At the very least, I suspect this will prompt a closing of loopholes that might be found to exist. Efforts to prosecute would face a pretty stiff burden of proof.
Asumptions asumptions....

Let me make this clear: I am not condoning or defending the actions of the people in that video. What I object to here is your broader intent: to use this a stick with which to beat the US/Britain.
(Asupmtion from me)
If this video was taped and put in the internet, then i can "Asume" this has been done a lot more of times and hasn't been taped, or uploaded to a public place in the net..

Your expansion of the definition of "mercenary" to include these guys does not automatically make them mercenaries under international law, nor does it make their use, in general, wrong.
No, your use of the word "Private Contractors" doesn't mean they are not mercenaries. becouse they ARE mercenaries under international law.
 
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  • #31
I think an awful lot of effort is being wasted here on mislabelling the entities involved. I, for one, am perfectly happy with the term 'mercenary' being applied to private military companies employed in Iraq, or anywhere else for that matter. However, it's just misleading and confusing to apply the term to other companies whose raison d'etre is NOT to engage in combat.

Aegis is a security firm, so I can probably safely make the assumption that they are NOT employed to engage in combat, but to protect things, people, areas, etc. In carrying out their duties they are allowed (and in certain cases probably obliged) to use deadly force. They are NOT mercenaries, however. The behaviour shown in the video clip does not effect the fact that they are not hired for combat.

So, Burnsys, what is it you actually want to discuss? The use of private military outfits? Or the evident disgusting conduct of Aegis employees in Iraq and how they should be dealt with?

The latter is, to me, more interesting. I'd be particularly interested to know if such behaviour has been reported by Iraqi civilians or authorities, and who to, and what action has been taken.

The obvious body to notify of such behaviour would be Aegis itself. I, for one, don't believe security employees are sent to Iraq and suddenly turn into gun-crazy maniacs. I would be less surprised if this is an institutional problem - that this happens, and so people newlt posted there follow suit.

If this is so, I would be surprised if Aegis didn't know about it. But what are they going to do? Pull out their staff? Own up to the government? Is there any profit in any corrective action such a company might take?

If not, then by allowing such behaviour, are they in violation of British law? If not, then we have a legalised terrorism. If they are in violation, then do the government know? If so, you have government-sponsored terrorism. If not, then they damn well should be.

My one doubt about this: on the website from which the clip was taken, the author talks about the press requesting "the other nine videos". If the press are aware of this behaviour, why are we seeing it only on a private website?
 
  • #32
Art
El Hombre Invisible said:
I think an awful lot of effort is being wasted here on mislabelling the entities involved. I, for one, am perfectly happy with the term 'mercenary' being applied to private military companies employed in Iraq, or anywhere else for that matter. However, it's just misleading and confusing to apply the term to other companies whose raison d'etre is NOT to engage in combat.
Aegis is a security firm, so I can probably safely make the assumption that they are NOT employed to engage in combat, but to protect things, people, areas, etc. In carrying out their duties they are allowed (and in certain cases probably obliged) to use deadly force. They are NOT mercenaries, however. The behaviour shown in the video clip does not effect the fact that they are not hired for combat.
I would have thought anybody who is paid to carry and use arms to further the goals and aims of one party or another in an armed conflict would have to be considered to be partaking in combat. Especially when their duties entail taking on responsibilities such as guarding military bases and military convoys. Duties which up until Rumsfelds privitisation of the armed forces were core duties of regular soldiers.
These excerpts are from Aegis' own web site
AEGIS contract has two parts:
Civil / Military co-ordination
Force protection
The largest part of the contract involves the establishment and operation of 7 Civil Military Operations Centres (CMOCs). The National CMOC is in Baghdad, with 6 others at each of the Multi-National Divisional Headquarters.
The purpose of the CMOCs is to:
Maintain situational awareness of logistical movement and reconstruction security operations
Share a common Relevant Operating Picture among security forces and reconstruction contractors
Effect co-ordination and liason between reconstruction work and military operations
Provide threat assessments and intelligence to contractors
Force Protection is provided for the PCO, as follows:
3 Close Protection teams
23 vehicle escort teams
Static guard force
In a separate contract, Aegis provides security protection to the Oil for Food corruption inquiry.
November 2005
AEGIS expands Board and acquires Rubicon International
Aegis Defence Services, the London-based company that oversees more than 20,000 armed expatriates working in Iraq, has acquired a rival group in the first sign of consolidation in the highly fragmented private security industry.
The company has also appointed a series of high-profile non-executive directors, including a former chief of the British defence staff, as it looks to build its credibility with corporate and government customers.
The moves suggest a growing sense of legitimacy for companies such as Aegis - which are trying to shift the public perception of them as mere "guns for hire" - made possible by their high-profile activities in Iraq.
Aegis is headed by Tim Spicer, an ex-officer in the Scots Guards whose former company, Sandline, was involved in controversial military campaigns in Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea during the 1990s.
 
  • #33
Art said:
I would have thought anybody who is paid to carry and use arms to further the goals and aims of one party or another in an armed conflict would have to be considered to be partaking in combat. Especially when their duties entail taking on responsibilities such as guarding military bases and military convoys. Duties which up until Rumsfelds privitisation of the armed forces were core duties of regular soldiers.
I myself stated that they may use deadly force in the execution of their duties in two of my posts. I'm not arguing otherwise. Nonetheless, they are not paid to engage in combat, and they are not mercenaries.

There is plenty to talk about, and plenty to feel enraged about, without Michael Moore-ing the facts. These people in the video are clearly not acting in the capacity of their employment.
 
  • #34
Art
El Hombre Invisible said:
I myself stated that they may use deadly force in the execution of their duties in two of my posts. I'm not arguing otherwise. Nonetheless, they are not paid to engage in combat, and they are not mercenaries.
There is plenty to talk about, and plenty to feel enraged about, without Michael Moore-ing the facts. These people in the video are clearly not acting in the capacity of their employment.
Global security calls them mercenaries
Part of the US Occupation force in Iraq, the in-country commander, LTG Sanchez decreed that federal civilians will not carry weapons. But being well acquainted with some fellow federal civilians, if they were armed over here it would scare the "you know what". Consequently, every time civilians leave their "safe area", they must have what are called "shooters" with along. They are sometimes the mercenary security teams who are hired and paid by the contractors. Other times they are young American men and women in the US Army.
I think perhaps your definition of combat is too limited. If restricted to mean 'one army fighting another' then it follows there is no combat in Iraq as the US are fighting insurgents who are not part of any army.

I also believe it is important to determine the legal status of these 'guns for hire' as there are important ramifications under the Geneva Conventions.
 
  • #35
I think El Hombre has a good point actually.
A Merc is generally considered one who has been hired specifically for the purpose of offensive combat operations. The definition that Burnsys provided would seem to agree with this but admittedly it seems a bit hazy.

---edit---
in order to fight in an armed conflict;
----
Does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
----
Is motivated to take part in the hostilities
These particular bits stand out in my opinion as supporting the idea that they are refering to offensive combatants.
 
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  • #36
Art
TheStatutoryApe said:
I think El Hombre has a good point actually.
A Merc is generally considered one who has been hired specifically for the purpose of offensive combat operations. The definition that Burnsys provided would seem to agree with this but admittedly it seems a bit hazy.
---edit---
These particular bits stand out in my opinion as supporting the idea that they are refering to offensive combatants.
Based on the logic that only assault troops are combat troops then soldiers involved in logistical supply or base duties are not combatants which doesn't make a lot of sense as if not combatants they would not be considered by the Geneva Conventions to qualify for the status of 'protected person' if captured.
 
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  • #37
Art said:
Based on the logic that only assault troops are combat troops then soldiers involved in logistical supply or base duties are not combatants which doesn't make a lot of sense as if not combatants they would not be considered by the Geneva Conventions to qualify for the status of 'protected person' if captured.
The difference is that Mercs aren't soldiers belonging to a specific military.
And I'm not sure what you are meaning here about non-combatants not having 'protected person' status. Mercs, which seem to be defined as active combatants, are specifically stated to not be 'protected persons' aren't they? So I'm not sure where your line of logic is going with the parallel.
 
  • #38
Art
TheStatutoryApe said:
The difference is that Mercs aren't soldiers belonging to a specific military.
And I'm not sure what you are meaning here about non-combatants not having 'protected person' status. Mercs, which seem to be defined as active combatants, are specifically stated to not be 'protected persons' aren't they? So I'm not sure where your line of logic is going with the parallel.
The GC says regular army combatants are 'protected persons'. If the definition of combatant is restricted to only assault troops then non-assault troops ~80% of the military would not qualify as 'protected persons' which is clearly not the case, hence mercs who are performing support roles for a military must also fall into the category of combatants which in their case results in the opposite effect i.e. they are not 'protected persons'.
 
  • #39
Art said:
The GC says regular army combatants are 'protected persons'. If the definition of combatant is restricted to only assault troops then non-assault troops ~80% of the military would not qualify as 'protected persons' which is clearly not the case, hence mercs who are performing support roles for a military must also fall into the category of combatants which in their case results in the opposite effect i.e. they are not 'protected persons'.
Wouldn't civilain contractors be considered protected as civilains? The distinction then between Mercs being active combat or non-combat would become more important wouldn't it? If they are combat active then they can not be considered civilians and protected as civilains but if their only resort to combat is for their own protection then they can still be considered civilians and protected as such don't you think?

Soldiers on non-combat duty are still soldiers. All of them no matter what their assignment can be reassigned to combat duty and are trained for it. I think that GC simply covers any person belonging to a military as the same for this reason. Besides, your opponents aren't going to check your duty orders before they shoot at you, just your uniform if even that.
 
  • #40
Art
TheStatutoryApe said:
Wouldn't civilain contractors be considered protected as civilains? The distinction then between Mercs being active combat or non-combat would become more important wouldn't it? If they are combat active then they can not be considered civilians and protected as civilains but if their only resort to combat is for their own protection then they can still be considered civilians and protected as such don't you think?
Soldiers on non-combat duty are still soldiers. All of them no matter what their assignment can be reassigned to combat duty and are trained for it. I think that GC simply covers any person belonging to a military as the same for this reason. Besides, your opponents aren't going to check your duty orders before they shoot at you, just your uniform if even that.
I should have said "armed support roles". Contractors has become a hugely over used term in Iraq. Builders over there to help with reconstruction and their minders are one thing but guys who sit in watch towers guarding military bases with machine guns, sniper rifles and rockets or who accompany military convoys as protection are something else. It certainly isn't the image one thinks of when one hears of a contractor. In fact when the four contractors were killed in Fallujah for a long time I assumed and I'm sure others did too that these were simply construction workers or whatever that had been brutally slain. It was not until much later that I discovered they were actually military 'contractors' armed to the teeth.
 

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