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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:22 AM
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The danger of market forces in the military,...

The repulsive pictures of Iraqi prisoners being tortured by their American captors last week marked a new low point in the sorry story of the occupation, particularly when set alongside the rapidly fading talk of liberation. But just as shocking was the revelation that the interrogation of detainees in Iraq had quietly been privatised. The very idea that the act of extracting information from prisoners might be turned into a for-profit operation would have seemed a black joke not long ago, the premise for a Monty Python sketch, perhaps.

Now it is clearly no more than the next logical step in the creeping privatisation of conflict. Security firms have an estimated 20,000 employees in Iraq, a huge private army (more than twice the size of the British contingent) that guards politicians and pipelines, and which has inevitably been drawn into direct combat in recent months. So, if there were not enough military intelligence and CIA interrogators to get around to the thousands of Iraqis picked up in the security sweeps of hostile areas, hiring freelance "intelligence specialists" must have seemed a no-brainer for cost-conscious government planners.

The military investigation by Major-General Antonio Taguba reserves some of its harshest criticism for CACI employees, whom he accuses of being among those giving the orders in Abu Ghraib. It also declares a Titan translator a "suspect" in the abuse investigation. Seventeen soldiers and officers have been relieved of their duty, and six low-ranking military police guards face the prospect of court martial. But there is no set of rules for the contractors. One was detained by the military investigators but later released because the military realised it had no jurisdiction over him. Both CACI and Titan said they had not been notified by the Pentagon of any wrongdoing by their employees and had therefore not taken any action.

That is a very important part of the problem with private contractors in combat zones like Iraq. They cannot be court-martialled under the military code of conduct and Paul Bremer, the leader of the coalition in Iraq, specifically excluded them from Iraqi law. They fall through the cracks. When employees of another private security contractor, DynCorp, were found to have been implicated in a prostitution racket in Bosnia, they quietly slipped out the country. They were fired, but so were the whistleblowers who brought their crimes to light. Since then, Congress has passed the 2000 Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows for prosecution of crimes committed by civilians attached to military personnel in foreign countries, but there is no record so far of the law being successfully applied.
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teryang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:00 AM
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1. Private combatants without UCMJ jurisdiction
Edited on Thu May-06-04 07:02 AM by teryang
...were virtually guaranteed to bring "discredit upon the Armed Forces of the United States." War is accompanied by the breakdown in state authority. This is why Armed Forces are subject to strict discipline and command and control. The neo-con defense sector created their own military for hire operating in a vacuum and in the face of their alleged insight into national security and human nature failed to anticipate the obvious. Was this really a "tooth to tail" function? I understood it to be a deliberate avoidance of accountability.

The so called "adults in charge" undermined and dumped the entire theoretical underpining of the Armed Forces in their greed and hubris and the Congress stupidly and cowardly went right along with them appropriating the money without inquiry into the dubious and corrupt practices that they were funding.

If the lower ranking people on active duty are the only ones prosecuted, this war crime scandal is going to continue to unravel. International NGOs are organizing a full court press on this and are not going to let it rest.
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pacifictiger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:07 PM
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2. One of the companies
Edited on Thu May-06-04 07:08 PM by pacifictiger
involved with this abuse boasts a 21% revenue increase for the 1st quarter of this year. Thats taxpayer dollars folks - maybe someone should activate the american way - sue. Oops sorry, forgot Bush outlawed that for these guys. Outta luck.
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