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Operation Phoenix, Condor, Vampire .... + US exemption from the International Criminal Court: 1) The privatisation of war 2) US, Israel prepare mass killings in Iraq ------------------- 1) http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,1103724,00.html The privatisation of war · $30bn goes to private military · Fears over 'hired guns' policy · British firms get big slice of contracts · Deals in Baghdad, Kabul and Balkans Ian Traynor Wednesday December 10, 2003 The Guardian Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established. While the official coalition figures list the British as the second largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly outnumbered by the 10,000 private military contractors now on the ground. The investigation has also discovered that the proportion of contracted security personnel in the firing line is 10 times greater than during the first Gulf war. In 1991, for every private contractor, there were about 100 servicemen and women; now there are 10. The private sector is so firmly embedded in combat, occupation and peacekeeping duties that the phenomenon may have reached the point of no return: the US military would struggle to wage war without it. While reliable figures are difficult to come by and governmental accounting and monitoring of the contracts are notoriously shoddy, the US army estimates that of the $87bn (£50.2bn) earmarked this year for the broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and Afghanistan, one third of that, nearly $30bn, will be spent on contracts to private companies. The myriad military and security companies thriving on this largesse are at the sharp end of a revolution in military affairs that is taking us into unknown territory - the partial privatisation of war. "This is a trend that is growing and Iraq is the high point of the trend," said Peter Singer, a security analyst at Washington's Brookings Institution. "This is a sea change in the way we prosecute warfare. There are historical parallels, but we haven't seen them for 250 years." When America launched its invasion in March, the battleships in the Gulf were manned by US navy personnel. But alongside them sat civilians from four companies operating some of the world's most sophisticated weapons systems. When the unmanned Predator drones, the Global Hawks, and the B-2 stealth bombers went into action, their weapons systems, too, were operated and maintained by non-military personnel working for private companies. The private sector is even more deeply involved in the war's aftermath. A US company has the lucrative contracts to train the new Iraqi army, another to recruit and train an Iraqi police force. But this is a field in which British companies dominate, with nearly half of the dozen or so private firms in Iraq coming from the UK. The big British player in Iraq is Global Risk International, based in Hampton, Middlesex. It is supplying hired Gurkhas, Fijian paramilitaries and, it is believed, ex-SAS veterans, to guard the Baghdad headquarters of Paul Bremer, the US overlord, according to analysts. It is a trend that has been growing worldwide since the end of the cold war, a booming business which entails replacing soldiers wherever possible with highly paid civilians and hired guns not subject to standard military disciplinary procedures. The biggest US military base built since Vietnam, Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, was constructed and continues to be serviced by private contractors. At Tuzla in northern Bosnia, headquarters for US peacekeepers, everything that can be farmed out to private businesses has been. The bill so far runs to more than $5bn. The contracts include those to the US company ITT, which supplies the armed guards, overwhelmingly US private citizens, at US installations. In Israel, a US company supplies the security for American diplomats, a very risky business. In Colombia, a US company flies the planes destroying the coca plantations and the helicopter gunships protecting them, in what some would characterise as a small undeclared war. In Kabul, a US company provides the bodyguards to try to save President Hamid Karzai from assassination, raising questions over whether they are combatants in a deepening conflict with emboldened Taliban insurgents. And in the small town of Hadzici west of Sarajevo, a military compound houses the latest computer technology, the war games simulations challenging the Bosnian army's brightest young officers. Crucial to transforming what was an improvised militia desperately fighting for survival into a modern army fit eventually to join Nato, the army computer centre was established by US officers who structured, trained, and armed the Bosnian military. The Americans accomplished a similar mission in Croatia and are carrying out the same job in Macedonia. The input from the US military has been so important that the US experts can credibly claim to have tipped the military balance in a region ravaged by four wars in a decade. But the American officers, including several four-star generals, are retired, not serving. They work, at least directly, not for the US government, but for a private company, Military Professional Resources Inc. "In the Balkans MPRI are playing an incredibly critical role. The balance of power in the region was altered by a private company. That's one measure of the sea change," said Mr Singer, the author of a recent book on the subject, Corporate Warriors. The surge in the use of private companies should not be confused with the traditional use of mercenaries in armed conflicts. The use of mercenaries is outlawed by the Geneva conventions, but no one is accusing the Pentagon, while awarding more than 3,000 contracts to private companies over the past decade, of violating the laws of war. The Pentagon will "pursue additional opportunities to outsource and privatise", the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, pledged last year and military analysts expect him to try to cut a further 200,000 jobs in the armed forces. It is this kind of "downsizing" that has fed the growth of the military private sector. Since the end of the cold war it is reckoned that six million servicemen have been thrown on to the employment market with little to peddle but their fighting and military skills. The US military is 60% the size of a decade ago, the Soviet collapse wrecked the colossal Red Army, the East German military melted away, the end of apartheid destroyed the white officer class in South Africa. The British armed forces, notes Mr Singer, are at their smallest since the Napoleonic wars. The booming private sector has soaked up much of this manpower and expertise. It also enables the Americans, in particular, to wage wars by proxy and without the kind of congressional and media oversight to which conventional deployments are subject. >From the level of the street or the trenches to the rarefied corridors of strategic analysis and policy-making, however, the problems surfacing are immense and complex. One senior British officer complains that his driver was recently approached and offered a fortune to move to a "rather dodgy outfit". Ex-SAS veterans in Iraq can charge up to $1,000 a day. "There's an explosion of these companies attracting our servicemen financially," said Rear Admiral Hugh Edleston, a Royal Navy officer who is just completing three years as chief military adviser to the international administration running Bosnia. He said that outside agencies were sometimes better placed to provide training and resources. "But you should never mix serving military with security operations. You need to be absolutely clear on the division between the military and the paramilitary." "If these things weren't privatised, uniformed men would have to do it and that draws down your strength," said another senior retired officer engaged in the private sector. But he warned: "There is a slight risk that things can get out of hand and these companies become small armies themselves." And in Baghdad or Bogota, Kabul or Tuzla, there are armed company employees effectively licensed to kill. 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 in an off-duty bar brawl, he will be subject to the US judicial military code. If an American guard employed by the US company ITT in Tuzla does the same, he answers to Bosnian law. By definition these companies are frequently operating in "failed states" where national law is notional. The risk is the employees can literally get away with murder. Or lesser, but appalling crimes. Dyncorp, for example, a Pentagon favourite, has the contract worth tens of millions of dollars to train an Iraqi police force. It also won the contracts to train the Bosnian police and was implicated in a grim sex slavery scandal, with its employees accused of rape and the buying and selling of girls 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 were sacked. "Dyncorp should never have been awarded the Iraqi police contract," said Madeleine Rees, the chief UN human rights officer in Sarajevo. Of the two court cases, one US police officer working for Dyncorp in Bosnia, Kathryn Bolkovac, won her suit for wrongful dismissal. The other involving a mechanic, Ben Johnston, was settled out of court. Mr Johnston's suit against Dyncorp 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". There are other formidable problems surfacing in what is uncharted territory - issues of loyalty, accountability, ideology, and national interest. By definition, a private military company is in Iraq or Bosnia not to pursue US, UN, or EU policy, but to make money. The growing clout of the military services corporations raises questions about an insidious, longer-term impact on governments' planning, strategy and decision-taking. Mr Singer argues that for the first time in the history of the modern nation state, governments are surrendering one of the essential and defining attributes of statehood, the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force. But for those on the receiving end, there seems scant alternative. "I had some problems with some of the American generals," said Enes Becirbasic, a Bosnian military official who managed the Bosnian side of the MPRI projects to build and arm a Bosnian army. "It's a conflict of interest. I represent our national interest, but they're businessmen. I would have preferred direct cooperation with state organisations like Nato or the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. But we had no choice. We had to use MPRI." -------------------- 2) http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/dec2003/iraq-d10.shtml US, Israel prepare mass killings in Iraq By Bill Vann 10 December 2003 The Bush administration is about to launch a campaign of wholesale killings in Iraq with the assistance of the Israeli military, according to both US and Israeli sources quoted in several recent news reports. Frustrated over the growing popular resistance to the US military occupation and determined to reduce US casualties in Iraq before next November's election, the administration has authorized a policy that could well resemble the infamous "Operation Phoenix" assassination program run by the CIA during the Vietnam War. That operation claimed the lives of as many as 41,000 Vietnamese over a four-year period beginning in 1968. In preparation for the new counterinsurgency campaign, the US military has brought urban warfare specialists from the Israeli Defenses Force (IDF) to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the headquarters of the US Special Forces. They are training assassination teams in methods that the IDF has used to suppress Palestinian resistance to the Israel occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "This is basically an assassination program.... This is a hunter-killer team," a former senior intelligence official told the British Guardian newspaper. He warned that Washington's reliance on Israeli assistance in launching the operation would only intensify anger over the US occupation throughout the Middle East. "It is bonkers, insane," the former official said. "Here we are-we're already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we've just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams." The Guardian also cited intelligence sources in Washington as reporting that Israeli military "consultants" have been sent to Iraq to advise US forces there on counterinsurgency operations. According to the British newspaper, the new operation also includes the deployment of killer squads inside Syria to hunt down suspected resistance fighters from other Arab countries before they cross the border into Iraq. Meanwhile, an article by Seymour Hersh, the veteran US investigative reporter, appeared in this week's New Yorker magazine also warning of a "major escalation of the Special Forces covert war in Iraq" and providing additional confirmation of Israel's role in training those who will carry out the assassination program. According to Hersh, a new Special Forces group-Task Force 121-has been formed, drawing upon Army Delta Force troops, Navy SEALs and CIA paramilitaries. "Its highest priority is the neutralization of the Baathist insurgents, by capture or assassination," he reports. Hersh continues: "According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers-again, in secret-when full-field operations begin." US and Israeli officials have refused to comment on the record about this collaboration on the Iraqi counterinsurgency campaign. "No one wants to talk about this; it's incendiary," an Israeli official told Hersh. "Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interest to keep a low profile on US-Israeli cooperation" on the assassination program. The new revelations concerning the Israeli role in preparing US troops to drown the Iraqi resistance in blood follow reports from Iraq indicating that the US military has already introduced tactics pioneered by the IDF in the occupied Palestinian territories. In recent weeks there have been repeated incidents in which US forces have demolished homes believed to belong to members of the Iraqi resistance. In addition, relatives of suspected resistance leaders have been taken hostage, and, in at least one instance, an entire village has been surrounded by razor wire, with its residents forced to enter and leave through a checkpoint manned by US soldiers. All of these are tactics that have been employed by the Israeli occupation forces during their crackdowns in the West Bank and Gaza. A substantiation of the Israeli role in supplying tactics for the US counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq came last July in a letter to Army magazine from a senior Pentagon planning officer. Brig. Gen. Michael Vane, US Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Doctrine, Concepts and Strategies, confirmed that US military officers had been sent to Israel to consult on urban combat and intelligence methods with the IDF. The general wrote: "Although there is much work to be done, it is inaccurate to characterize our thinking and doctrine on urban warfare as anachronistic. Experience continues to teach us many lessons, and we continue to evaluate and incorporate them appropriately into our concepts, doctrine and training." Vane continued: "For example, we recently traveled to Israel to glean lessons learned from their counterterrorist operations in urban areas." The US-Israeli cooperation on Iraq is not new. Before the invasion last March, US forces were sent to Israel to train for urban warfare at an IDF mockup of a Palestinian town in the Negev desert. US officers also reportedly reviewed Israeli tactics in the brutal assault on the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin the previous year. There is an unmistakable irony in Washington's turn to the Israeli "experts" on repression. Within the last month, four former heads of Shin Bet, Israel' s internal security agency that directs so-called anti-terrorist operations, as well as the current chief of staff of the Israeli military have all warned that the iron-fisted repression employed in the occupied territories by the right-wing Zionist regime of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is preparing a social and military catastrophe. So-called "targeted assassinations" that almost invariably claim the lives of large numbers of bystanders and collective punishment-including the mass destruction of homes and the use of roadblocks and curfews-have only increased the Palestinians' hatred of the occupation and led to mass support for acts of resistance. There is no reason to believe that the deployment of Israeli-trained US military death squads in Iraq combined with the other illegal means of repression already in use by the occupation authorities will not generate a similar increase in support for the resistance among broad layers of the Iraqi population. Far from extricating American troops from the quagmire created by Bush's policy, the resort to these murderous tactics will only deepen the conflict in Iraq. Many of the leading figures in the Bush administration, who planned the Iraq war and continue to direct the occupation, have the closest political connections to the right-wing Likud government in Israel and are politically blind to the bankruptcy of Sharon's strategy of repression. Meanwhile, playing the central role in organizing the new counterinsurgency campaign is Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin. The general, a Special Forces veteran, became embroiled in controversy earlier this year for publicly portraying the war in Iraq as a struggle between Christianity and Islam. He also proclaimed that he answered only to God for his actions as a commander of a "Christian army." In remarks to Christian evangelical audiences, Boykin expressed the view that God had placed Bush in the White House, despite the fact that "the majority of the American people did not vote for him." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brushed aside the widespread demands for Boykin's dismissal when reports of the inflammatory remarks were published in October. It is now clear that Rumsfeld insisted that the general remain at his post because of his key involvement in planning the escalation of repression in Iraq. Hersh points out an additional motive behind the turn to greater reliance on Special Forces troops in Iraq. Under the Pentagon's rules of engagement, the operations of Special Forces units remain secret, including their deployment overseas. Therefore, the addition of such troops to the US occupation force in Iraq will not be publicly disclosed. Under conditions in which, for political reasons, the administration has vowed to reduce the number of US troops deployed in Iraq, it can covertly add substantial forces, while hiding the buildup from the American people. The Special Forces have undergone an immense expansion under the Bush administration. Hersh notes that the Pentagon's budget provides $6.5 billion for their operations and that the total number of such troops, both active and reserve, has risen to 47,000. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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