Home CRIME Are private military contractors any different from mercenaries?

Are private military contractors any different from mercenaries?

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A private contractor gestures to their colleagues flying over in a helicopter as they secure the scene of a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, July 5, 2005. (AP)

The global market for mercenaries and private military contractors is worth more than $100 billion, and the lines that differentiate the two are blurry.

A private contractor gestures to their colleagues flying over in a helicopter as they secure the scene of a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, July 5, 2005. (AP)

Private military contractors (PMC) play a major role in the fields of gathering intelligence, training security ambitions, technical and technological support and transporting needs in conflict zones and all around the world.

Mainly the US-based firms along with private military contractors from the UK are serving all around the world especially in conflict zones in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Most of time the relation between PMCs and mercenaries or freelance soldiers fighting for money, is questioned by global public opinion.

However, mercenaries are banned by international laws while PMCs are considered legal.

 

Geneva Convention

The use and recruitment of mercenaries are legally forbidden by the 1989 International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries.

A mercenary is defined as any person who is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict. Recruitment of people, for a private gain, is also forbidden. According to the 1989 international convention, people who are not members of any armed forces of a party to the conflict would be considered mercenaries and that mercenaries should be considered as an offence to all states and that they should be prosecuted or extradited.

However, only 35 countries ratified the convention which entered into force on October 20, 2001. The countries with large militaries, especially the US, Russia and the UK, have not ratified it because of their active use of PMCs.

The industry is worth in excess of $100 billion and has grown exponentially, especially after the September 11, 2001 attacks, thanks to their strong relations with political establishments.

Poor records of information for the sector, insistence of big countries’ rejection banning international laws, human rights violations and profit off war pose a major threat to world peace.

Are PMCs and mercenaries different?

Both private military contractors (PMC) and mercenaries work for money. Mercenaries are individual soldiers who can be hired by whoever pays them while PMCs recruit these people in an organisation.

Mercenaries don’t have any tie to a company or state and title, they only fight for money. However, private soldiers are working for a recognised company that is registered with authorities of a country where their operations are based out of.

The PMCs serve as the intermediary between professional soldiers and the governments.

Professor Sean McFate from Georgetown University and author of the upcoming book The New Rules of War spoke to TRT World about the private military industry as a former industry insider.

Almost all private soldiers are among ex-soldiers or a national police force, because of their pre-requisite training and relevant experience, like Sean McFate’s working for private contractors in Africa after previously serving as a US Army paratrooper.

McFate said, ”The private military industry and mercenaries are a word of mouth business, owing to its illicit nature. Because of this, the industry is organised by language group and shared experiences.”

He added, “If you have the skills to be a private military contractor, then you can be a mercenary too. The skillsets are the same. The only difference is who is the client [state or non-state]. But even this differentiator is debatable.”

In this September 26, 2013 file photo, Joseph Hunter, centre, a former US Army sniper who became a private mercenary, is in the custody of Thai police commandos after being arrested in Bangkok, Thailand. Hunter, already serving a 20-year term for plotting to kill a DEA agent, went on trial in New York at the US District Court in Manhattan in April 3, 2018, on charges that he plotted to assassinate a real-estate agent for an international crime boss. (AP)

As compared to conventional mercenaries, PMCs have access to much more complex and heavy military equipment like tanks, helicopter and planes, while mercenaries have light arms.

Mercenaries are generally deployed for frontline combat while PMC soldiers can serve a variety of areas: security, logistic, transportation, gathering intelligence, network and combat.

Both wear a mix of casual civilian clothing and special operation uniforms, while the income of a mercenary is greater than that of PMC workers.

PMCs can cooperate with mercenaries and recruit them despite a UN ban on mercenaries.

“When a client hires a company, often that company will hire or make sub-contractors in a war zone to help execute missions. These are nick-named “subs” in the industry, and there is often little accountability for them. In fact, typically the client is not aware of their existence, or the extent of their operations” said McFate.

A British contractor ArmorGroup, providing airbase security for the US in Afghanistan, had sub-contracts with two Afghan military companies named ”Mr White” and “Mr Pink.”

Many PMCs also appear to be freelance in terms of the multi-ethnic composition of private soldiers, who sell their services for money.

Countries usually prefer the use of PMCs for several reasons: a lack of human resources in the armed forces, their perception of being more cost efficient, nepotism and/or good contacts with the governments, to avoid responsibility for the acts committed by PMCs, to avoid the control of democratic institutions and to intervene in the internal affairs of a country, mostly foreign.

The lack of information makes it impossible to know the market volume of the private military sector. Thus, it is impossible to know how many people are recruited in this sector.

Accountability

Even though PMCs are bound by the laws of the country out of which their operations are based, the legality of their actions comes into question when they operate in territories outside their parent country.

For example American contractors in Iraq would not be bound by local laws and they might not necessarily be subject to US laws either since the jurisdiction might not apply.

This results in a lack of accountability as compared to regular soldiers who can be court-martialled if any of their respective military laws are violated.

McFate underlines enormous accountability and transparency concern of PMCs. “However, to be fair, many national militaries in the world also suffer from corruption and impunity. This does not give an excuse for the private military sector, but people should be aware that controlling organised violence has been a challenge throughout history,” he added.

In 2004, Muslim prisoners were tortured by the US’ contractor, CACI International, at infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. However, CACI International, evaded punishment and it continued extending contracts, worth $23 million, with the US.

This image shows naked detainees with bags placed over their heads placed into a human pyramid as Spc. Sabrina Harman, middle and Cpl. Charles Graner Jr., above, pose behind them in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)

Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater USA, is escorted into the hearing room by a Capitol Hill police officer prior to giving his testimony before the House Oversight Committee hearing, Tuesday, October 2, 2007, which is examining the mission and performance of the private military contractor Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP)

Ex-employee of Aegis, the British military contractor, posted a so-called “trophy video” that showing Aegis members shooting with machine guns at a civilian car in Iraq. After the incident, Aegis conducted investigations, however, the contractor said it was a “legitimate” operation.

Blackwater, now called Academi, has one of the most chequered histories among private contractors.

In September 2007, some Blackwater soldiers allegedly opened fire on civilians in Baghdad; 17 civilians were killed and many others were wounded in this incident.

Blackwater employees defended themselves by saying that they opened fire against a “car-bombing” by an insurgent group.

But, the passengers of the targeted vehicle included a couple and their child, according to investigations and witnesses.

Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater USA, is escorted into the hearing room by a Capitol Hill police officer prior to giving his testimony before the House Oversight Committee hearing, Tuesday, October 2, 2007, which is examining the mission and performance of the private military contractor Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP)

Growing threat

McFate says that the mercenary world is growing and far more dangerous than people know.

“This is by design, since mercenaries sell plausible deniability and lethality in the shadows” he added.

McFate also emphasises uncertainty of the size of the private military industry by saying, “One of the chief selling points of mercenaries is their secrecy. Mercenaries can offer more secrecy than government spies or special forces.

pix This image shows naked detainees with bags placed over their heads placed into a human pyramid as Spc. Sabrina Harman, middle and Cpl. Charles Graner Jr., above, pose behind them in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)

McFate gave an example, “In February, 500 mercenaries hired by Russia almost wiped out a group of elite US soldiers in Eastern Syria. The Americans came from Delta Force, Rangers, Green Berets, Marines; they called in B-52s, F-22s, F-15s, AC-130 gunships, Apache helicopters and drones, and it still took them four hours – four hours – to beat back the 500 mercenaries. This was America’s finest.”

It begs the question, what happens when non-elite troops not backed by the US Air Force have to fight 1,000 or 5,000 mercenaries? What happens to countries that are not military superpowers?

“The mercenary threat is a significant concern,” he concluded.

Source: TRT World

 

Comments

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, how’s it going?

    I want to pass along some very important news that everyone needs to hear!

    In December of 2017, Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Why is this big news? Because by this the Jewish people of Israel are now able to press forward in bringing about the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible.

    Jewish Rabbis have publicly announced that their Messiah will be revealed in the coming years who will be a leader and spiritual guide to all nations, gathering all religions under the worship of one God.

    Biblical prophecy tells us that this Jewish Messiah who will take the stage will be the antichrist “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). For a time he will bring about a false peace, but “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)…then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

    More importantly, the power that runs the world wants to put a RFID microchip in our body making us total slaves to them. This chip matches perfectly with the Mark of the Beast in the Bible, more specifically in Revelation 13:16-18:

    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last days, this could only be speaking of a cashless society, which we have yet to see, but are heading towards. Otherwise, we could still buy or sell without the mark amongst others if physical money was still currency. This Mark couldn’t be spiritual because the word references two different physical locations. If it was spiritual it would just say in the forehead. RFID microchip implant technology will be the future of a one world cashless society containing digital currency. It will be implanted in the right-hand or the forehead, and we cannot buy or sell without it. Revelation 13:11-18 tells us that a false prophet will arise on the world scene doing miracles before men, deceiving them to receive this Mark. Do not be deceived! We must grow strong in Jesus. AT ALL COSTS, DO NOT TAKE IT!

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    People have been saying the end is coming for many years, but we needed two key things. One, the Third Temple, and two, the technology for a cashless society to fulfill the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast.

    Visit http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM to see proof for these things and why the Bible truly is the word of God!

    If you haven’t already, it is time to seek God with all your heart. Jesus loves you more than you could imagine. He wants to have a relationship with you and redeem you from your sins. Turn to Him and repent while there is still hope! This is forever…God bless!

    “EITHER HUMAN INTELLIGENCE ULTIMATELY OWES ITS ORIGIN TO MINDLESS MATTER OR THERE IS A CREATOR…” – JOHN LENNOX

    We all know God exists. Why? Because without Him, we couldn’t prove anything at all. Do we live our lives as if we cannot know anything? No. So why is God necessary? In order to know anything for certain, you would have to know everything, or have revelation from somebody who does. Who is capable of knowing everything? God. So to know anything, you would have to be God, or know God.

    A worldview without God cannot account for the uniformity and intelligibility of nature. And why is it that we can even reason that God is the best explanation for this if there is no God? We are given reason to know or reject God, but never to know that He does not exist.

    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the front page of http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus fulfilled more than 300 Messianic prophecies concerning His birth place, details of His life, His mission, His nature, His death, and His resurrection. He came to pay a debt that we could not, to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

    God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him, through faith, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus says if we wish to enter into life to keep the commands! The two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and your neighbor as yourself. All the law hang on these commands. We must be born of and lead by the Holy Spirit, to be called children of God, to inherit the kingdom. If we are willing to humble ourselves in prayer to Jesus, to confess and forsake our sins, He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking of Him; giving us a new heart, leading us into all truth!

    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. We must walk in the Spirit, producing fruits of love and forgiveness, so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our hearts desire that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow any religion or denomination but to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

  2. Hey, how’s it going?

    I want to pass along some very important news that everyone needs to hear!

    In December of 2017, Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Why is this big news? Because by this the Jewish people of Israel are now able to press forward in bringing about the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible.

    Jewish Rabbis have publicly announced that their Messiah will be revealed in the coming years who will be a leader and spiritual guide to all nations, gathering all religions under the worship of one God.

    Biblical prophecy tells us that this Jewish Messiah who will take the stage will be the antichrist “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). For a time he will bring about a false peace, but “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)…then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

    More importantly, the power that runs the world wants to put a RFID microchip in our body making us total slaves to them. This chip matches perfectly with the Mark of the Beast in the Bible, more specifically in Revelation 13:16-18:

    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last days, this could only be speaking of a cashless society, which we have yet to see, but are heading towards. Otherwise, we could still buy or sell without the mark amongst others if physical money was still currency. This Mark couldn’t be spiritual because the word references two different physical locations. If it was spiritual it would just say in the forehead. RFID microchip implant technology will be the future of a one world cashless society containing digital currency. It will be implanted in the right-hand or the forehead, and we cannot buy or sell without it. Revelation 13:11-18 tells us that a false prophet will arise on the world scene doing miracles before men, deceiving them to receive this Mark. Do not be deceived! We must grow strong in Jesus. AT ALL COSTS, DO NOT TAKE IT!

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    People have been saying the end is coming for many years, but we needed two key things. One, the Third Temple, and two, the technology for a cashless society to fulfill the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast.

    Visit http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM to see proof for these things and why the Bible truly is the word of God!

    If you haven’t already, it is time to seek God with all your heart. Jesus loves you more than you could imagine. He wants to have a relationship with you and redeem you from your sins. Turn to Him and repent while there is still hope! This is forever…God bless!

    “EITHER HUMAN INTELLIGENCE ULTIMATELY OWES ITS ORIGIN TO MINDLESS MATTER OR THERE IS A CREATOR…” – JOHN LENNOX

    We all know God exists. Why? Because without Him, we couldn’t prove anything at all. Do we live our lives as if we cannot know anything? No. So why is God necessary? In order to know anything for certain, you would have to know everything, or have revelation from somebody who does. Who is capable of knowing everything? God. So to know anything, you would have to be God, or know God.

    A worldview without God cannot account for the uniformity and intelligibility of nature. And why is it that we can even reason that God is the best explanation for this if there is no God? We are given reason to know or reject God, but never to know that He does not exist.

    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the front page of http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus fulfilled more than 300 Messianic prophecies concerning His birth place, details of His life, His mission, His nature, His death, and His resurrection. He came to pay a debt that we could not, to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

    God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him, through faith, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus says if we wish to enter into life to keep the commands! The two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and your neighbor as yourself. All the law hang on these commands. We must be born of and lead by the Holy Spirit, to be called children of God, to inherit the kingdom. If we are willing to humble ourselves in prayer to Jesus, to confess and forsake our sins, He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking of Him; giving us a new heart, leading us into all truth!

    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. We must walk in the Spirit, producing fruits of love and forgiveness, so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our hearts desire that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow any religion or denomination but to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

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