Posted by: Karel Vereycken, Paris on 8:58am 30/9/07
“While greed may be good, war is better” Forbes.com, comment on DynCorp’s financial profits on the stock markets.
Part I Prologue
For many today, the mere term mercenary evokes inevitably the image of individual “soldiers of fortune” and other “dogs of war”. But the public generally ignores a far more horrific new reality: the fast growing role of Private Military Contractors (PMC’s).
With the collapse of the soviet system in 1989, a new reality appeared. If in the past, some wild-eyed killers for rent or “soldiers of fortune” sold their skills to despots and dictators threatened to be kicked out of power, reactionary company owners out for having a militia capable to break strikes often and early or murky secret service special ops gurus, today, it are the “civilized” states, in full daylight, which sign the contracts: the Pentagon, the State Department, the UN, the OSCE, the African Union and even some NGO’s and the Red Cross!
The scandal of the century that rocks the United Kingdom and the USA, involving huge financial and political corruption around the weapons for oil contracts of BAE Systems with Saudi Arabia, lifted some part of the veil of the fascist policies the international financial oligarchy tries to impose on the world. It is an imperial model inspired by the British East India Company, which with its commercial and financial monopoly and its armies “ruled the waves” of “an empire on which the sun never sets.”
Today, as yesterday, the game is to unite a giant cartel of financiers, which by allying financial, military, technological and IT power, impose their rule on the resources, peoples and nations of the world. As the pirates of yesterday, the private military contractors perform the dirty jobs of the empire which glory they carry.
A short look at the careers of the current managers of BAE Systems, as well as on their address-books, confirms we are not any longer dealing with a normal corporation, but with a cartel uniting high tech weaponry (BAE Systems, United Defense Industries, Lockheed Martin), with speculative financiers (Lazard Frères, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank), together with raw material cartels (British Petroleum, Shell Oil) with on the ground, SMP’s.
The private military company DynCorp which trains thousands of policemen around the world, and about which we will talk later, is also nearly a grotesque caricature of the criminal wedding between huge financial speculators and large mercenary corporations. The main shareholder of DynCorp has been for a long time Capricorn Holdings a company directed by Herbert S. Winokur Jr., who’s a director at DynCorp and chairman of the financial board of Enron, the Texan energy giant known for a vast energy scam. Early 2007, DynCorp was bought by the investment fund Veritas Capital, directed by Robert B. McKeon, former CEO of Wasserstein Perella Management Partners. His former partner, Bruce Wasserstein, now leads the synarchist bank Lazard Freres…
If the fascist BAE cartel has nearly succeeded in deeply penetrating the core of the military industrial complex of the United States, it is the direct result of the limitless anglophilia of Dick and Lynne Cheney, as middlemen of the dangerous cult of neo-conservatives. The BAE scandal reveals to the world the real intentions and policies of this faction. Under the cover of a “revolution in military affaires” (RMA), a systematic policy of privatizations and outsourcing, together with a massive reduction in personnel coupled with the build up of space based “miracle” weapons developed secretly by a tiny elite of professionals, has created the explosion of the “marked” for PMC’s. As mad as it appears, this vast military apparatus, used as an instrument of blackmail, would give them the means to impose a “world government” keeping the planet hostage with space-based weaponry, while simultaneously controlling the chaos of world populations with mercenary entities, genetics without ethics, permanent disinformation and mind regulating drugs. This “scientific dictatorship”, a dangerous utopia of which dreamed George Orwell in his 1984 and Aldus Huxley in the Return of Brave New World, and largely popularized in comic strips, will become a reality unless we intervene.
Felix Rohatyn and Middlebury
On October 9, 2004, barely weeks before George W. Bush’s reelection, a conference took place in Middlebury, Vermont under the auspices of the “Rohatyn Center for International Affairs” on the theme of the “Privatization of National Security” (1)
Felix “the fixer” Rohatyn, big shot of the synarchist Lazard Freres-Lehman Brothers banking nexus, a man who was at ITT when that company was backing Pinochet’s coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, shared the panel with a group of scholars, editors such as William Dobson, editor of Foreign Affairs, geopolitical whiz kids, such as Harvard’s Michael Ignatieff who thinks America should drop the republic and become “liberal imperial”, and a selection of high placed military that travel very often from the Pentagon to the very profitable business of PMC’s, an ambiguous name to polish the less brighter label of feudal mercenary companies.
Lieutenant General Ed Soyster, for example, appeared on the program as a “Special assistant to the secretary of the Army”. In reality, Soyster, former head of D.I.A. (the Defense Intelligence Agency in charge of counter-intelligence operations) between 1988 and 1991, happens to be the current vice-president of Military Professionals Resources Inc. (MPRI), one of the largest PMC’s of the world. (2)
Seven years earlier, on January 1997, the D.I.A. organized a closed-door symposium, “The Privatization of National Security Functions in Sub-Saharan Africa.” According to Ken Silverstein, writing in The Nation of July 28, 1997, “On hand were M.P.R.I. and other U.S. private contractors, as well as Eeben Barlow, head of South Africa’s notorious Executive Outcomes (EO), which in the past few years has provided mercenaries to the governments of Angola and Sierra Leone, and Timothy Spicer of Sandline International.” (3)
One month after the conference, Rohatyn gave his thoughts on the matter in a co-authored article published in the Financial Times, “The Profit Motive Goes to War.” Since a decade, writes Rohatyn, a silent revolution is taking place. “In the first Gulf war, the ratio of American troops on the ground to private contractors was 50:1. In the 2003 Iraq war, that ratio was 10:1, as it was for the Clinton administration’s interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. As these figures reflect, key military functions have been outsourced to private companies; both Democratic and Republican presidents alike have steadily privatized crucial aspects of US national security. For a rough sense of the magnitude of this shift, Halliburton’s total contracts in Iraq to date are estimated at $11bn-13bn, more than twice what the first Gulf war cost the US.”
“In the history of warfare,” Rohatyn continued, “sub-contracting and the deployment of mercenaries are nothing new. The British built an empire with contracted soldiers, developing a citizens’ army only in the latter half of the 19th century. But there are two major structural differences between the 19th century British and 21st century US empires. First, publicly quoted companies now conduct private military operations. Second, the market for this force is now genuinely global, which raises new accountability and normative concerns.”
A $100 billion market
During the March 2003 military invasion of Iraq, US Navy troops were commanding American warships. But at their sides, stood private military personnel to operate some of the most sophisticated weaponry of the world. When the predatory Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV’s), the Hawks, and the Stealth heavy bombers engage in action, their systems are equally operated by PMC’s.
In Iraq, the role of these PMC’s increased even more dramatically in the so-called “post-war” period. In 2003, of $87 billion spent on the war costs, nearly one third, i.e. $30 billions went to PMC’s. The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) estimated the number of PMC’s to be 60 with 25.000 people deployed while it went up to 181 PMC’s with over 48.000 people deployed by PMC’s in Iraq in 2006, more than four times the number of the 11.000 soldiers of the British contingent!
The “Coalition of the willing” seemed outnumbered by the coalition of the “willing to get rich”. Flag officers of the British Army complain nearly daily about the great number of qualified military personnel of her majesty’s glorious army on the leave for jobs in the private sector paid generally five to twenty tiles as much as military personnel un the national army. A former commando of the highly trained SAS, Delta Force or other Special Forces can earn up to $1000 a day. Even the Pentagon was obliged in 2004, to stop the bleeding of its own forces by the PMC’s, to award an extra $150,000, paid immediately, for those non-commissioned officers willing to serve another six years.
“Revolution in Military Affairs”
This “revolution in military affaires” (RMA) described by Martin van Creveld’s “The Transformation of War” replacing nation-states by “war-making entities” is on the rise since years, but the magnitude of its dimension takes dramatic and worrisome dimensions now.
First, if one steps a little bit back in time, one sees that since the end of the cold war, nearly six million armed forces have been thrown on the labor market having as unique skill their military experience. The giant armies Red Army, the east-German Volksarmee or South-Africa’s military forces have been massively shrunken. The US army did not resist to the global trend and reduced its troops from 2.1 million men in arms in 1990 to a mere 1.4 million in 2003, i.e. one third less! It is this massive reduction of the armed forces under Clinton, a downsizing even further increased by the Bush-Cheney administration that lead to the explosion of the private market. Thanks to Donald Rumsfeld, who said that one can outsource “everything except shooting”, the PMC’s conquered a market of about $100 billions a year which absorbs nearly one fourth of the US defense budget of 2006 that amounted to $439.3 billions. In a typical Orwellian doublespeak, the PMC’s created their own lobby to market their business, called the International Peace Operations Association.
DynCorp, a “state within the state”
Let us examine first the case of a large private military contractor DynCorp. Based in Fall Church, Virginia, DynCorp (of which former CIA boss James Woolsey was a shareholder) employs 26.000 people in dozens of countries around the globe. Bought up by Veritas Capital, a major private equity investment firm of the NYSE, DynCorp has become a “state within the state”. In charge of providing worldwide protective services for State Department employees, DynCorp is often hired to train foreign police forces. On June 12, 2007, DynCorp appointed Dwight M. Williams, the Chief Security Officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as its vice-president for security. DynCorp touts itself as an “Internet Corporation”.
According to Catherine Austin Fitts, a Republican insider and financial specialist that left the first Bush administration after spending 18 months trying to clean up the $100 billion sized financial frauds (including BCCI, S&L, Iran-Contra and HUD), DynCorp is the information computer system provider to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and provides a substantial amount of computer and information systems for the DOJ and the FBI. According to some sources, DynCorp, by contract, manages the financial data and other electronic records for more than 30 U.S. government agencies, including the FBI, the State Department, the Department of Justice, the Defense Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Bureau of Prisons, and the Office of National Drug Policy. Catherine Fitts says that DynCorp uses “the most advanced version of the Prosecutor’s Management Information System (PROMIS) software system. Theoretically, they have access to everybody’s bank account, onshore and offshore.” Reportedly the PROMIS Software has been used to “swipe” the bank accounts of Emmanuel Noriega and Ferdinand Marcos. Who wants more?
Behind this aura of governmental imprimatur, far different motives appear. A confidential memorandum from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti dated January 1997 and addressed to the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the State Department stated that: “Over 300 police officers of the Haitian National Police (HNP) have received specialized training in crowd control… Embassy officials expect crowd control to be a major HNP task in 1997 as the stagnant economy engenders greater frustration among the populace.”
Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch wrote that DynCorp’s role in another State Department contract looks “designed to circumvent United States law.” Writing about DynCorp’s role in Latin America, he wrote that “In the Colombian conflict, Washington has supplied more than 70 Black Hawk and Huey helicopters and other military hardware that are maintained and flown by private contractors. Anxious to avoid the “secret wars” conducted by the Pentagon in Laos and Cambodia in the 1960s, Congress limited the number of US personnel that can operate in Colombia to 400 in uniform and 400 civilian contractors at any given time. US law also requires congressional notification before the government can approve the export of military services valued at $50 million or more. By limiting each individual contract to several million dollars; labeling them peace-keeping missions; employing retired CIA and Special Forces personnel working for private contractors as well as foreign nationals (to whom the 400 person ceiling does not apply), Congress does not have to be notified, making the contracts harder to oversee.”
US Representative Janice Shakowsky, an Illinois democrat, told the press: “Is the US military privatizing its mission to avoid public controversy or to avoid embarrassment – to hide body bags from the media and shield the military from public opinion?”
DynCorp is close to a caricature of the East India Company, the criminal wedding of large mercenary companies and great finance capital out for loot and power and war racketeering. DynCorp main shareholder has been over years Capricorn Holdings, a company directed by Herbert S. “Pug” Winokur Jr., who is a director of DynCorp while simultaneously the chairman of the finance committee of Enron’s board…Fitts believes one of the reasons why Winokur escaped going to jail for the Enron scam comes from DynCorp’s (i.e. Winokur’s) control over the government’s computer data files… Winukur is also director of the Harvard Endowment Fund, ($25.9 billion with a 19.2% return on investment for 2005), an entity close to the Bush dynasty.
Catherine Fitts notes the interesting fact that “Enron SEC filings indicate that there are about 700 Enron subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands”, the world’s leading center of the Anglo-Dutch hedge-fund operations and dirty money laundering. Another director of DynCorp is Dudley Mecum, also a director at Capricorn. Mecum is on the board of one of the largest US banks, Citygroup. Early 2007, DynCorp was bought by the investment fund Veritas Capital, directed by Robert B. McKeon, former CEO of Wasserstein Perella Management Partners. His former partner, Bruce Wasserstein, now leads the synarchist bank Lazard Freres. On Veritas’ defense and aerospace advisory council sits Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state and another shadowy Irangate figure.
Commenting [on] the fabulous results of DynCorp on the NYSE, Forbes.com, cynically commented that “While greed may be good, war is better”, and added that “as conflict continues to dominate headlines analysts remain upbeat on military contractors.” In other words, if Cheney is impeached and the Iraq war brought to halt, war stock market values will collapse.
PMC’s and “humanitarian aid”
As we mentioned at the start, the ambiguous double-use of PMC’s has permitted them to obtain contracts from “highly respectable” entities such as the State Department, the Pentagon, the EU, the UN, the African Union, the OSCE, NGO’s and event the Red Cross.
In France, before, “socialist” Bernard Kouchner became the new foreign affairs minister of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he gave a hint to the integration of private armies in Inflexions, a prominent French Military journal of reference, where he stated that “The major question in effect is undoubtedly not to know if the humanitarian domain has to remain the exclusive one for the NGO’s (as if this would have ever been so), but rather to know how a growing number of actors involved in the rescue operations of victims – NGO, UN organizations, civil security, national and transnational military forces, private actors, etc. – can have mandates, approaches and perimeters of actions that answer in the most efficient way, and with the best cost/efficiency ratio the needs of the populations subjected to the crisis’s.” (4)
As one sees here, for Kouchner, the question is not to create a dynamic that outlaws PMC’s or makes them unnecessary, but to benefit from the “best cost/efficiency ratio”, i.e. the market! To make this package something acceptable to French public opinion, often qualified to be backwardly “thirty years behind vis-à-vis the Anglo-Saxons”, certain former French military, eager to set up their own PMC, plead in favor of changing the name of PMC into “Strategic and Operational Support Company”. The message is clear: “Sir, la and behold, we’re no mercenaries, but serious professionals that work for a handful of dollars.” As usual, the revolution of word is in the making.
French Law and the Geneva Conventions
In France, a real opposition to the PMC phenomena exists. On April 3, 2003, few weeks after the beginning of the Iraq war, the French Members of Parliament, across party lines voted a new law prohibiting “active mercenary” activity. During the parliamentary debate, French Defense minister Michèle Alliot-Marie and many others expressed the good intuitions that dominate the French mindset. She declared: “Real war enterprises, often of Anglo-Saxon origin, have, in this context, appeared and fructify. ‘In hand’ war material is delivered by them to failing states and the means to achieve their ends is given to oppositions poorly respectful of any legal procedures. One has to note here, by the way, that we’re not talking about traditional mercenaries, as individuals, but about real commercial companies, the more so more fearsome as they dispose of powerful means.”
The law adopted by French national assembly reformulated the 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, where it is stated:
“Art 47. Mercenaries 1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
It should be noted that many countries, including the United States, are not signatories to the Protocol Additional GC 1977 (APGC77). So although it is the most widely accepted international definition of a mercenary, it is not definitive.
Seen the cumulative nature of the six criteria, the French law is not very binding. It merely integrates the juridical qualification of “mercenary” into the French Code Pénal. In reality the law turns out to be useless since it restrains itself to individual mercenaries only, not PMC’s. In Ivory Coast, for example, France was unable to indict the Slavic mercenaries that bombarded the French military on November 6, 2004 in Ivory Coasts second largest city Bouaké, since they were legally they were paid to do so by that country’s army. Legally, the attack had become an act of military aggression of Ivory Coast against France left without any legal base for indicting the mercenaries they had arrested… Even worse, the new law does not forbid any private company to “contract” with the American army for protective missions that can be performed by experienced “former” military.
In France, the former head of the French Foreign Intelligence Service DGSE, General Jean Heinrich created a fast growing company called Géos that employs about 120 former DGSE members. Géos got a contract to protect the pipeline that goes from Chad to Cameroon. Officially, its spokesman refuses to accept “missions belonging in principle to government agencies”, but in cases of emergency, and with the green light of the Quai d’Orsay, it operates “avoiding any direct involvement.”
The warning: from Machiavelli to Eisenhower
As in the times of imperial Rome when generals got themselves crowned emperor by buying the votes of the plebe by the loot of imperial conquest, the election of the Bush dynasty has largely benefited of the contributions and donations of the mercenary PMC’s and the investment funds that control them.
It remains almost impossible to evaluate the total figures of the millions of dollars donated by Carlyle, BDM International, Enron, Halliburton, DynCorp or Blackwater USA to many candidates running the show of media politics. What is known is that DynCorp, Bechtel and Halliburton gave together over $2.2 millions to mostly republican candidates and the Bush campaign.
Are we ready to sell our freedom and souls to the devils of war by accepting the “privatization” of one of the last state missions of our sovereign nation-states?
One time, according to an eyewitness, Bush was asked at a forum at John Hopkins University by a student about bringing PMC’s under a system of law. Bush replied, laughing, that he was going to ask Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, “I was going to – I pick up the phone and say, Mr. Secretary, I’ve got an interesting question [laughter]. This is what delegation – I don’t mean to be dodging on the question, although it’s kind of convenient in this case, but never – [laughter] I really will – I’m going to call the Secretary and say you brought up a very valid question, and what are we doing about it? That’s how I work.”
Two wiser voices of the past warn us against all excessive power of what was a military-industrial complex before and became military-financial now.
One of the major warnings came from Leonardo da Vinci’s friend, the Florentine statesman Machiavelli, writing “The Prince”, published in 1532. Then, closer to us, there was the warning of a great friend of French General Charles DeGaulle, the U.S. President-General Dwight Eisenhower at his last speech in January 1961.
Machiavelli, who realized that the condottieri and their mercenaries where the main cause for the ruin of Italy at his time, wrote in “The Prince”, chapter XIII, “Concerning Auxiliaries, Mixed Soldiery, And One’s Own”:
Finally, U.S. President General Dwight Eisenhower, on January 17, 1961, three days before the end of his mandate warned against the growing danger of a military industrial complex saying:
(1) The conference took place in the context of the “ Princeton Project on National Security” co-chaired by George Schultz and financed by the Ford Foundation, an organization that has been involved in “covert” operations since decades and remarkably generous for those lefties that specialize in impotent war contesting.
(2) MPRI was bought in 2000 by L-3 Communications, a company that was set up by Lehman Brothers, a Wall Street bank that appointed Rohatyn to its board in august 2006. Unsurprisingly, BAE projected buying L-3 with the cash provided from its sale of the 20% shares of EADS. BAE has not taken over L3 so far.
(3) Some months later, as by magic, a new law is adopted in March 1998 to give a legal frame to the PMC activity, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Any producer or exporter of military goods or services in the defense sector has to be registered at the Office of Defense Trade Control (ODTC). If his dossier is accepted he gets a license. The ITAR law permits to escape section 9 of the first article of the Constitution that outlines that any act of war needs approval of the Congress by defining that no green light of the Congress will be necessary for any contract below $50 million and that consequently, for any contract below $50 million, an simple authorization of the Pentagon is sufficient. As said an observer: “If the DoD was directly involve you’d have a whole network of Congressional offices providing oversight, even if it’s not always sufficient. But when you turn these tasks over to a contractor, the only oversight comes from an overworked civil servant in the federal bureaucracy.”
(4) Bernard Kouchner, “Humanitaire et Militaire” in “Mutations et invariants, Partie III, Humanitaire et Militaire, Nouveaux Mercenariats”, “Inflexions” N°5, Jan-May, 2007, published by the Documentation Française.
Part II BAE’s Tony Blair and his Pet Bulldogs take over
With all these dark sunglasses carrying killer cowboys around, one easily understands why the area gets so dangerous. Many PMC’s themselves starts increasingly worry about deaths resulting from “friendly fire”. According to Iraq Casualties Org, 31.9% of SMP personnel get killed during ambushes with or without shooting. 23.7% is killed with IED’s and over 9% dies eventually from “friendly fire”, but these figures seem confused and underrated.
The cohabitation among PMC’s and between PMC’s and the U.S. Army is often horrific. To diminish the death rate of “friendly fire” the United States had the right idea of installing a Centre for Operations and Reconstruction (COR). The centre had to function on a voluntary base and not everybody accepted to share its intelligence. Understandable, since the task was awarded to Aegis Defense Services, the inheritor of Executive Outcomes and Sandline International, directed by “Tony Blair’s Pet Bulldog”, Tim Spicer.
Aegis is in a good position to become, to the great displeasure of the big American PMC’s, to become the most powerful PMC of the world and the Iraqi contract is said to have been obtained, according to a diplomatic source, after Tony Blair complained at a summit meeting with the Americans that the British companies had received scarcely any reward for the United Kingdom’s war effort…
A correspondent of the French daily Le Monde commented the situation as follows:
Part III Drift toward madness: ten study cases
1) ANGOLA: paid with Diamonds Before the end of the cold war, the United States had been helping Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA forces to combat the pro-soviet Dos Santos MPLA regime. UNITA occupied the region where vast reserves of mineral resources are located. In 1992, the world had changed and the British private military contractor Executive Outcomes (EO) signs a contract to cleanse the region as to restart mining activities. Founded in 1989 by former members of David Stirling’s British SAS and South-Africa’s Special Forces, Executive Outcomes has to protect the oil fields and mines in Angola. As documented by EIR’s Roger Moore, “EO’s contracts, nominally with the respective governments, and in part underwritten by the IMF and the World Bank, were paid off with diamond concessions to EO’s founder Tony Buckingham’s front company, Branch Energy” (a company in the orbit of de Beers diamond cartel CSO). Operations were so “successful” that EO got two new $80 millions contracts with the Angolan government suddenly converted to free trade. In 1995, Bill Clinton ordered the Angolan government to break all contract with EO, whose brutal methods forced its disbandment in 1998 and the adoption of an anti-mercenary law in South Africa. Most of EO’s 1,000 member employees joined Timothy Spicer’s Sandline International, equally disbanded in 2004. Personnel moves then again, this time eventually to MPRI who takes over the contract from EO in Angola but mostly to Spicer’s new PMC: Aegis Defense Services (see box “BAE’s Tony Blair and his Pet Bulldogs take over”).
(Sources : Revue Inflexions n°5, Jan-May 2007 ; Ken Silverstein, “ Privatizing War “, The Nation, July 28, 1997 ; Roger Moore, “Executive Outcomes : Arming For the Post-Nation State Era”, EIR, Aug. 22, 1997)
2) CROATIA: “Help the Croatians join NATO” and “ Operation Storm “ Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, who headed the DIA between December 1988 and September 1991 and who was a scheduled speaker at the Middlebury conference, is the current vice-president of Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI) At MPRI, twenty-two corporate officers are former high-ranking military, notably General Carl E. Vuono, U.S. Army Chief of Staff during the invasion of Panama and the Gulf War and General Frederick Kroesen, former commander of U.S. army in Europe. Based in Alexandria, the company was created in 1987 by General Vernon Lewis. MPRI has a data bank of about 10,000 officers and non commanded officers, including 340 generals ready for missions at any point desired. They don’t have a permanent employment but can effectuate short missions in war theatres around the globe, as in Iraq. As goes the saying “There are more generals per square meter at MPRI than at the Pentagon.” MPRI has elaborated several official manuals for the US army.
“The Croatians hope to join NATO” says Ed Soyster, and “if you want to join the club, you have to look like the members.” Violating the 1991 UN embargo on weapon sales to entities belonging to the former country of Yugoslavia, and leaving the Croatians on the ground defenseless in front of the Serbian rampage, MPRI was hired in 1994 by the US State Department to train overnight the Croatian military, until then bumbling and inept, and help them to “avoid excesses or atrocities in military operations.” After some months of training and a secret meeting with MPRI’s head General Vuono at the island of Brioni to map out the Krajina campaign, the Croatian army launched “Operation Storm”. The four days offensive provoked the departure of some 100.000 Serbian civilians. Investigators of the International Human Rights Tribunal of the UN have indicted creation officers for “murder and other inhuman activities.” Soyster says “no MPRI employee played a role in planning, monitoring or assisting operation Storm”, but admits that a couple of Croatians assisted at MPRI’s training sessions. MPRI had similar contracts with Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo where it performs similar services and has a contract to protect the Company ITT.
Press reports also suspect the Zagreb regime from having bought weaponry from Ernst Werner Glatt, a German arms dealer who in the eighties bought cheap weapons in the East Bloc and shipped them to the Contra’s in Nicaragua or the Mujahedeen to fight communism. At one instance, Soyster reportedly arranged such a contract with Glatt.
In France, during the parliamentary debate, the French deputy Paul Quilès, speaking for the socialist group, denounced the fact that PMC’s “give the opportunity for certain states to intervene without appearing publicly. In this way the United States succeeded in escaping from the UN embargo imposed in Rwanda by paying a company, Ronco, to do de-mining and deliver military equipment, and to intervene in Croatia in 1995, by means of MPRI, to train and equip the Croation army.”
(Sources : Ken Silverstein, “ Privatizing War “, The Nation, July 28, 1997 ; Leslie Wayne, “America’s For-Profit Secret Army” , New York Times, October 13, 2002; press coverage of former SAS John Geddes book “Highway to Hell”)
3) BOSNIA: Sex slavery As a precondition for the signing of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreements, the Bosnian government demanded, legitimately, an international effort to create a national army. The contract went to MPRI who got a $400 million program largely paid by donor countries Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Brunei and Malaysia who wired the money on a special account at the U.S. Treasury Department designated to pay MPRI. A journalist noted that “on the job, say guarding a peacekeepers’ compound in Tuzla, the civilian employees are subject to the same rules of engagement as foreign troops. But if an American GI draws and uses his weapon on an off-duty brawl, he will be subject to the US judicial military code. If an American guard employed by the US Company ITT in Tuzla dies the same, he answers to Bosnian law. By definition PMC’s are operating frequently in “failed states” where national law is notional.”
The risk of slipping into illegal behavior was demonstrated by another major PMC, DynCorp, in charge of training the Bosnian police and the employer of the UN’s international contingent (Civpol) in Kosovo. Based at Falls Church, Virginia, DynCorp employs 26,000 people in dozens of countries around the world. Former CIA chief James Woolsey has been mentioned as a major shareholder before it went private. In Bosnia, certain employees were accused of rape and sex trafficking including a girl as young as 12. A number of employees were fired, but never prosecuted. The only court cases to result involved the two whistleblowers who exposed the episode and got sacked. Kathryn Bolkovic, a former US police officer working for DynCorp won her suit for wrongful dismissal. Ben Johnston charged that he “witnessed co-workers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased.”
Madeleine Rees, the chief UN human rights officer in Sarajevo commented that “DynCorp should never have been awarded the Iraqi police contract.” In Bosnia, an official of the Bosnian army, in charge of relations with MPRI stated that “It’s a conflict of interest. I represent our national interest, but they’re businessmen. I would have preferred direct cooperation with state organizations like NATO or the OSCE. But we had no choice, we had to use MPRI.”
(Sources: Ian Traynor, “ The privatization of War “, The Guardian, Dec.10, 2003; Catherine Fitts, “Enron, the anatomy of a cover-up”; Eric Leser, “L’armée américaine fait de plus en plus appel au secteur privé”, Le Monde, Feb., 10, 2003)
4) COLOMBIA: War on Drugs? Repeatedly, the United States have committed themselves to assist Latin American countries in the “War on Drugs”, notably in Colombia, Peru or Bolivia. Paid $170 millions between 1996 and 2001 to destroy the coca fields? Answer: DynCorp, called by the pro mercenary magazine Soldiers of Fortune, “Colombia’s Coke-Bustin’ Broncos”.
Remark: DynCorp Aerospace Technology subcontracts the defoliation job to another company: Eagle Aviation Services and Technology (EAST). Other remark: EAST and its founder Richard Gadd worked closely with Colonel Oliver North to deliver weapons to the Nicaraguan Contra. In exchange, and to pay for the weapons, the plains flew cocaine into the United States…
Yet, one last remark: Dick Cheney has always been a strong supporter of Oliver North and a donator for North’s (failed) campaign for the Senate. On may 11, Oliver North attacked Nancy Pelosi for defending women and opposing the Iraq war by saying that “if Pelosi and her Democrat Party allies have their way — 650 million women around the globe may well be abandoned to the most misogynistic abuse imaginable at the hands of radical Islamists” since, through the war in Iraq, the “principal protectors of Muslim women today [are]: the Armed Forces of the United States.”
(Source: Ken Guggenheim, “ Drug Fight in Colombia questioned “, Associated Press, June 5, 2001.)
5) LIBERIA: Kidnappers for hire
In December 2003, a British PMC, Norhtbridge Services Group, said it had people ready to kidnap former Liberian president Charles Taylor, to claim a $2 million reward allegedly offered by the US Congress. Charles Taylor, who has been granted asylum in Nigeria, is wanted by the UN-backed court of Sierra Leone on war crimes charges and subject of an international arrest warrant by Interpol. In November 2003, George W. Bush signed a bill to provide funds totaling $87.5 billion for the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a small portion for the provision of $2 millions reward money for the capture of an indictee of the Sierra Leone war crimes tribunal.
(Source: BBC, “ Firm seeks Charles Taylor Bounty “, Dec., 11, 2003)
6) EQUATORIAL GUINEA: Coup attempt On March 2004, an airplane coming from South-Africa is blocked in Zimbabwe. On board, about a hundred men and their leaders: the British Simon Mann and the South-African Nick Du Toit, two former bosses of Executive Outcomes. Target: bring down the government of Equatorial Guinea, a country nicknamed “the Kuwait of Africa” for its oil and other mineral resources.
Who gave the orders for the operation: Mark Thatcher, son of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, equally arrested in South Africa on August 15, 2004. A Company related to Gary Hart, Mark Thatcher’s business associate and co-conspirer, reportedly benefited from over €20 million from BAE Systems.
(Source: Philippe Leymarie, Le Monde Diplomatique, “ En Afrique, une nouvelle génération de ‘Chiens de guerre’ “, novembre 2004)
7) KATRINA: Do you drink Blackwater? Some 150 men of Blackwater USA, carrying automatic assault weapons and guns strapped to their legs, flak jackets covered with pouches for extra ammunition, arrive in New Orleans shortly after hurricane Katrina to “join the humanitarian effort”, billing the government $950 per man, per day, raking at one point the government more than $240.000 a day. “I worked the security detail of both Bremer and Negroponte” says one of them. Their mission consists in “securing neighborhoods” and “confronting criminals”.
Other PMC’s were ready to move in, such as the Israeli PMC Instinctive Shooting International (ISI) (sic). In Louisiana, in less than two weeks, the number of private security firms has increased from 185 to 235. Certain were acting for the Federal Government but many were just protecting private interests. If everybody paid his own security, taxes could be lowered?
(Source: Jeremy Scahill, “ Blackwater Down “, The Nation, Oct.10, 2005)
8) SOUDAN: Genocide for Oil
In 1983, John Garang launched his rebellion in the oil rich Southern Sudan. In 2001, his movement, the SPLA signs a contract with DynCorp for $3 million and becomes a co-governing factor of the semi-autonomous government of Southern Sudan. As a reward, the SPLA will reattribute the oil concession of “Bloc B”, legally attributed to the French oil giant Total, to the British oil Company White Nile UK. In 2006, DynCorp renews it contract to transform the SPLA into a regular army. Several sources affirm that, through SPLA channels, DynCorp funnels weaponry to the myriad of rebellions in Southern Darfur, where other oilfields are waiting.
In Darfur, when the 4,500 Nigerian and Rwandan soldiers of the African Union arrived, the US State Department signed a $20.6 million contract with two SMP’s: DynCorp and Pacific Architects & Engineers (PAE), another PMC known for overcharging its services in Democratic Republic of Congo. Note here that the African Union’s budget for 2004 was $43 million, the miserable equivalent of half the price of an Airbus A320 airplane…
In 2005, DynCorp got a contract to arrange housing and transportation to the rebels who meet in Nairobi, Kenya to end the 21-year civil war between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM. A special staff was set up in Washington DC for the job. “Why are we using private contractors to do peace negotiations in Sudan? The answer is simple,” says a senior United States government official, “We are not allowed to fund a political party or agenda under United States law, so by using private contractors, we can get around those provisions. Think of this as somewhere between a covert program run by the CIA and an overt program run by the United States Agency for International Development. It is a way to avoid oversight by Congress.”
(Source: Pratap Chatterjee, “ Darfur diplomacy: Enter the Contractors “, Oct., 21, 2004, CorpWatch)
9) USA: get ready to go to a Halliburton jail
Halliburton and DynCorp represent since years heavy weights on the largest market of the U.S.: private prisons. But on Jan. 24, 2006, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) component awarded Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), a Halliburton Subsidiary an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinete Quantity $385 million contract to support ICE facilities “in the event of an emergency.” The building of immigrant detention facilities is part of a ten-year Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of “all removable aliens” and “potential terrorists.” In the 1980’s Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld discussed similar emergency detention powers as part of a super-secret program of planning for what was euphemistically called “Continuity of Government” (COG) in the event of a nuclear disaster. The plan included the suspension of the Constitution, not just after nuclear attack, but for any “national security emergency,” which they defined in Executive Order 12656 of 1988 as: “Any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological or other emergency that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.” Clearly 9/11 met such a definition and COG was instituted on that day. As the Washington Post explained on March 1, 2002, the order “dispatched a shadow government of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington, activating for the first time long-standing plans” under the direction of Dick Cheney in charge of “ensure federal survival”. ENDGAME’s goal of a capacious detention capability is remarkably similar to Oliver North’s controversial Rex-84 “readiness exercise” for COG in 1984. It called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary “refugees,” in the context of “uncontrolled population movements” over the Mexican border into the United States.
10) IRAQ: “Gold mine” for PMC’s
Long time before the invasion of Iraq, PMC vultures were circling the about to be corps of Iraq. The case of the Texan oil and construction company Halliburton, which employs over 20,000 persons in more than 20 countries often reached the media. In effect, Dick Cheney, for five year the CEO of the company before becoming vice-president remains the largest individual stockholder shareholder detaining $45.5 million. When the “war was in the making”, Halliburton employed 1,800 persons to set up tent villages in Kuwait, while DynCorp body guards patrolled the area to keep away angry villagers and MPRI instructors trained soldiers. Miles from the front, in California, two other PMC’s prepared more secretive operations: Titan Corporation recruited spies and Kurdish translators, the infamous “cultural advisors” that gave great fame to the Abu Graib prison. Intelligence agencies subcontracted their activities, notably interrogations. If private “soldiers” are not subject of military discipline, their contracts are renewed on a pro rata basis, according to how much information is obtained… In the meantime, Science Applications International Corp was paid to set up an emergency government with exiled Iraqis, and Richard Perle advised clients of Goldman Sachs on the future reconstruction contracts in Iraq…
After the “victory” of the coalition, General Jay Garner is promoted overlord in Baghdad. He proposes to use former combat units of the former Iraqi army for security missions in a new “free” country. The report of the General Accounting Office of June 2005 reports that the reconstruction companies “had planned minimal security in their contracts, limited at guards in charge of preventing people to steal on their wharfs.” The Pentagon rejected Garners proposal and nominates Paul Bremer as his successor on May 6, 2003. Bremer was a former assistant to Alexander Haig and a managing director of Kissinger Associates. His decision plunges Iraq into chaos and insecurity. Error or deliberate policy, this tragic decision will transform the country into what the PMC’s proudly called their “gold mine”. Unsurprisingly, Bremer was himself heading Marsh MCLellan, a company that owns Kroll Inc., a PMC that subcontracts with the U.S. government and defense industry. Unsurprisingly also, the fact that one of Bremer’s first decision was to make the PMC’s unaccountable to Iraqi law!
Even if, since April 5, 2007, Halliburton brook its links with Kellogs, Brown & Roots (KBR), KBR has an overriding share of all logistics for the U.S. Army in Iraq. A $200 million contract pays KBR to house, feed and maintain about 100,000 soldiers, a contract signed in December 2001, barely a few weeks after 9/11. KBR also has to repair the oil facilities ($28.2 millions) and build detention centers. It got a $40,8 millions contract for the accommodations of the Iraqi Survey Group, the unit deployed to find the weapons of mass destruction. Noteworthy is the fact that during the Gulf war, then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney paid $8.9 million to Brown & Root services to study how PMC’s coud support American combat in war zones. It is unnecessary to read the report to know its conclusions. In 2003, KBR got from the US Army Corps of Engineers a $7 BILLION contract to extinguish burning oil wells and restore petroleum production, since Iraq oil revenues have to pay for the “reconstruction of Iraq”, i.e. the PMC business. A short look on one of Bremers “advisors” tells it all: Philip J. Carroll was named by Bremer to head the advisory committee on oil. Carroll is a Texas oil man, former head of Shell Oil and Fluor (another mainly republican campaign contributor), and currently a director of the British empire minded BAE Systems.
Paul Bremer also signed a $7.1 million contract for bodyguard missions with Blackwater USA. Together with DynCorp, Blackwater guarded many high personalities of the afghan Kharzai government. French Defense Minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie denounced the guards “ aggressive attitude “ when visiting Afghanistan.
Blackwater USA was founded in 1997 by former navy SEAL and conservative “Christian” multimillionaire Erik Prince, whose phone started “ringing off the hook” after 9/11. Blackwater got a contract for “securizing” the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Blackwater also trains Iraq police and army forces. A documentary film has pointed its responsibility in the Abu Graib torture scandal. According to a former Blackwater official, three providers, Blackwater, Regency and ESS, were engaged in a classic war-profiteering scheme. The News and Observer of North Carolina tells us that Blackwater was paying its men $600 a day but billing Regency $815. In addition, Blackwater billed Regency separately for all its overhead costs in Iraq. Regency would quote ESS a price, say $1,500 per man per day, and then tell Blackwater that it had quoted ESS $1,200. ESS then contracted with Halliburton subsidiary KBR which in turn billed the government an unknown amount for the same security services.
But there is worse. In March 2004, a new contingent of U.S. Marines went into the Falludja area with the idea of having some kind of an active presence in the city, concentrated on “soft-patrolling” and out to reach hearts and minds by building cooperative relations with the population. On March 31, four logistical contractors got lost and drove through Falludja where their convoy gets ambushed. Several armed men approach the two vehicles and open fire from behind, repeatedly shooting the men at point-blank range. Within moments, their bodies are dragged from the vehicles and a crowd descends upon them, tearing them to pieces. Their corpses are chopped and burned. The remains of two of the men are strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River left to dangle. The gruesome image is soon beamed across the globe. The incident immediately builds huge pressure on the Marines whose strategy is was shelved before it even had a chance to begin. The incident kicked Blackwater into high gear in Washington, and the day after the ambush, Prince hires the Alexander Strategy Group, a K Street lobbying group, run by former staffers of then majority leader Tom Delay before he went down with the Jack Abramoff scandal. After a series of meetings with powerful republicans overseeing military contracts such as Tom Delay and Porter Gross, and hardly a week to the day after the ambush, Erik Prince sat down with at least four senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including its chair. Two months later, Blackwater got one of the government’s valuable security contracts, worth more than $300 million. Unsurprisingly, Blackwater USA gave $2.4 million of donations to republican candidates, in particular to Tom Delay and Rick Santorum, two republican big wigs in charge of selecting the army’s military subcontractors… No wonder Fast Company magazine puts Blackwater USA on its list of the 50 companies offering the best growth perspectives. From 2002 to 2005, it had a cumulated growth of 600%. Wow!