Private Military Contractors: USA Amnesty International Annual Report

The USA section of Amnesty International focuses in their 2006 annual report on the role of private military contractors. PMCs are one of the most scandalous part of the spectrum of war profiteering and the U.S. government is their main contract provider “the U.S. government is outsourcing key security and military support functions, particular in Iraq and Afghanistan, to private companies whose civilian employees carry out the work. The civilians conduct functions ranging from logistical support to providing security for US government personnel, and reconstruction projects, training military and security personnel, operating and maintaining weapons systems, and rebuilding schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure. But they also serve in more sensitive roles, such as interrogation and translating during questioning of alleged terrorist suspects”

The same report denounces how the PMCs and the outsourcing of the military permit serious human right violations, as there are almost no regulations on these contractors, “Business outsourcing may increase efficiency, but war outsourcing may be facilitating impunity. Contractors illegal behaviour and the reluctance of the US government to bring them to justice are further tarnishing the United States reputation abroad”

These companies committed to violent conflic are difficult to target as many of the companies involved do not provide any other services, and the companies generally are not visible in public. This makes them a difficult but most needed target for campaigns against war profiteers.

Some of these PMCs:

Blackwater is well known because four of their employees were killed and hung from a bridge in Fallujah in 2004. Blackwater has been profiteering from the war with a number of “security” forces deployed in Iraq, as well as profiteering from the blast of hurricane Katrina, where they provided security to private business.

CACI International Inc provides technology services, and was awarded a contract worth as much as US$155 million to provide technology to help commanders in the field to collect intelligence and to interrupt enemy communications and intelligence systems. Corporate Watch discovered that their private employees worked as interrogation experts at Abu Ghraib prison.

CSC (Dyn Corp) purchased the private military company Dyn Corp. They say in their website “CSC's Global Security Solutions address all aspects of the enterprise to ensure total protection – from facilities and systems to people and information to provide cost-effective risk management to deliver flexible, scalable, reliable and robust security." They have won a contract for creating and training the new Iraqi police.

British companies are making a killing as well. Aegis is perhaps the biggest UK success story in Iraq, having won a £246m Pentagon contract to provide private security and to co-ordinate military and security companies in Iraq.

Erinys specialises in security for the petroleum, construction and mining industries. In Iraq, it has been responsible for the creation of an oil protection force. Between August 2003 and December 2004, Erinys Iraq trained, equipped and mobilised a 16,000 strong Iraqi guard force to protect the pipelines.

For more information: http://www.amnestyusa.org/
annualreport/2006/overview.html