Posts Tagged mercenary

Industry Talk: The UN Talks Shop About Their Use Of PMSC’s

Last year in July, I wrote about this debate that the UN was having about it’s use of PMSC’s, now and into the future. This is the final review panel about this debate, and it was interesting to hear the current view point of the UN.

One of the things that came up that I thought was interesting, is that the UN still does not know how many contractors it uses, either for guard work or for logistics. So I think they should at least dedicate some time and effort towards getting a firm grasp on this. Perhaps an online database that gives a transparent view of everyone they are using, both past and present. They could also add to that database if that company was fired or not, or what they thought of their performance? Anything to add to the history of the use of contractors.

They also talked in great length about codes of conduct and other initiatives to get companies to self-regulate. My thoughts are that if the UN actually published violations of these codes as a record for the public, kind of like what POGO does with companies in the US, then that would keep the world and the UN better informed as to the true track records of companies. That kind of history and track record is essential information if you want to truly find the best value company for the money. Companies would also fight to not be on that list, and especially if it impacted bidding.

The other surprising thing is that they couldn’t list how much money was spent on contractors, past or present. So a database should absolutely list those costs so that member donors to the UN can see exactly how their money is being spent. Also, other companies can see how much a service costs, and find out if they can provide that service cheaper or at least get a feel for what it would take to spin up a contract. So a UN contractor database would be an excellent investment, if the UN is interested in transparency and effectively using this industry.

I was also taken aback when the panel was asked around the 28:30 point of this video, what they thought about the lack of accountability for member nation troops that continue to violate human rights during peace keeping operations. No one wanted to take that question and it was left ‘wide’ open. I thought the silence said everything…

There was also numerous questions about the definition of mercenary and how that applied to PMSC’s. Or how their group was called the UN Working Group On The Use of Mercenaries, and yet they were tasked with evaluating PMSC’s that were not mercenaries by definition. I think the choice of group title is somewhat counterproductive for such a panel, if they wanted to be perceived as objective in their research of this industry. With that said, the group at least tried to differentiate between mercenaries and PMSC’s.

If the video below does not show up, here is a link to the video. It is about 50 minutes long and worth your time. The panel’s final report should be coming out sometime this year, and I will post it when it surfaces. –Matt


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Equatorial Guinea: Mann Returns To EG To Consult For Dictator That Imprisoned Him For Coup Attempt

      From being convicted and imprisoned for trying to overthrow Obiang, to becoming a consultant for the guy? Weird. Although one thing is for sure, Simon would be the ‘go to guy’ in order to sniff out other coups being planned against Obiang.

     The other thing that is interesting here is that Simon might actually be in a position to ‘influence’ Obiang, which the oil companies would really like. From what I have read, the oil companies hate dealing with this extremely corrupt nation and leadership, and I would too. Having a guy that has a leader’s ear like this, makes things a lot more easier when negotiating deals. (kind of like The Last King of Scotland movie)  Stay tuned, because this story just keeps getting weirder as time goes by. –Matt

Mann back in Equatorial Guinea – to work for leader he tried to oust

Mercenary advises Equatorial Guinea president

Simon Mann

Mann back in Equatorial Guinea – to work for leader he tried to oust

By Kim Sengupta

25 October 2010

Simon Mann’s incarceration in a brutal prison for attempting to overthrow one of the most notorious dictators in Africa was turned into an international cause célèbre in a long and vocal campaign by family friends.

The former SAS officer is now free and has just taken up his first proper “day job” since his release: working for that very same ruler he was determined to depose, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.

At the time of the bungled coup in 2004, Mr Mann is said to have declared to his friends that he was helping to deliver the people of the benighted nation from the depredations of their appalling leader, who had been accused, among other things, of being a cannibal.

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Books: My Friend The Mercenary, By James Brabazon

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Iraq: Private Security To Be Used At Australian Embassy

   I am pretty sure that the only groups allowed to bid on this, will be Australian companies.  I could be wrong, but that is usually the case for stuff like this.  So this will be interesting to see who gets the contract and hopefully I will be able to get the job ad up for my Australian readership.

   By the way, it is always funny to see reporters attempt to inject their personal bias into the body of their work.  Calling private security guards at this embassy a bunch of mercenaries, is like calling a hair stylist a prostitute. lol (No offense to hair stylists, and no offense to private security officers….) –Matt


Mercenaries to guard embassy


13 May, 2010

International mercenaries will take over security of Australia’s embassy in Baghdad as Australia’s residual military commitment in Iraq is wound down over the next two to three years.

Tuesday’s federal budget included the provision of $61.6 million over three years to continue security measures for the Australian embassy and staff in Baghdad $33 million is allocated to be spent in 2010-11 and $26.8 million in the following year.

According to budget papers the funding ”will enable the transition of responsibility for key elements of security from the Australian Defence Force to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade” which will contract a private military company to provide security for the Australian embassy in Baghdad.

Working under Operation Kruger, about 65 defence force personnel provide security and support for the Australian embassy and its staff in Iraq.

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Finance: Mercenary John Hawkwood And The Birth Of The Bond Markets

Part 2 The Bonds of War, Niall Ferguson’s Ascent of Money Series.

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Industry Talk: The Mercenary Debate-Three Views

2. “To examine what American policy should be. It is our view that the challenges and opportunities of our time transcend the assumptions and vocabulary used by both the Left and Right in recent years, and that we need to move beyond the defense of obsolete positions.” (from AI’s Stated Purpose)

     There is a part of me that says, where is the balance(2 against, 1 for) or why use such a charged and biased word to title such a debate?  In today’s lexicon, Mercenary is used in the derogatory sense.  So it would kind of be like having a debate about prostitution and calling it the ‘The Whore Debate-Three Views’. LOL.  I mean how do you start a serious debate about such a thing, when even the title is stacked against the subject itself?  

    Either way, I am glad to see the discussion take place, and read what the views are. It is important to learn what the pros and cons are for this industry, and insure we are focusing on alleviating any fears brought up in these kinds of debates as best we can. What’s curious to me, is that none of these so called experts on the subject have made any attempt to contact myself or anyone else within the network.  

     Maybe they are quietly reading FJ and the other sites, and developing their opinions that way?  But really, if they intend to get any kind of shared reality about the subject, they need to reach out, as opposed to staying within their safe network of like minded people. 

   Also, feel free to send AI a quick note if you disagree or even agree with any of these points of views.  I posted the email for the editor of AI, and if they gaffe you off, please remind them of their third stated purpose of AI. Also, throw the letter or comments up in the comments section here, if no one will listen to you at AI.  That way if they are reading FJ, they will at least see some feedback. –Matt   

3. “Third, though its name is The American Interest, our pages are open to the world…the AI invites citizens of all nations into the American national dialogue, convinced that Americans have much to learn from the experience and perspectives of others.”  


The Mercenary Debate

Three Views (May-June 2009)

Deborah Avant

In September 2007, armed guards assigned to protect U.S. diplomats and employed by the private security company Blackwater USA opened fire in crowded Nisour Square in central Baghdad. The incident wounded 24 and left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, including an infant. In the wake of the shooting, the press erupted with stories about how dependent the U.S. military had become on “mercenaries”, particularly in Iraq. Some of the coverage focused on the contractors’ aggressive tactics and how they threaten to undermine the campaign to win “hearts and minds” in Iraq. Other articles concentrated on the lack of effective oversight and legal accountability of private security forces. Still others focused on Blackwater’s political connections and practices. But very few examined the larger question of what hired guns might do to democratic governance in the United States.

In recent years, scholars and policymakers have converged on the view that democracy is a key variable for predicting both the internal and external behavior of states. Many argue that political norms favoring non-violent solutions and citizen participation in governance make it harder for leaders in democracies to steer the ship of state into war. Others claim that democracies, once engaged in a fight, are more likely to win since they more carefully calculate the benefits and costs of military action. Perhaps most prominently, democratic peace theory is taken virtually as a “law” throughout both government and the academy.

Deborah Avant is professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, a fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy, and author of The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security (Cambridge University Press 2005).

Story Link Here


The Mercenary Debate

Three Views

Max Boot

Mercenaries get a bad rap. The very word has become so anathematized that it is no longer used by those it describes, practitioners of one of the world’s oldest professions. Nowadays they prefer to be called “security contractors” and their employers prefer to be known as private military or security companies. This is an understandable if not entirely logical consequence of the state monopolization of warfare, which began in the late 18th century when governments became strong enough to conscript their own citizens to fight rather than rely on hired “free lances.” The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars seemed to confirm that citizen armies were superior to the traditional mix of aristocrats and mercenaries employed by the ancien régimes, and before long almost everyone was emulating the French example. Along the way there arose the widespread belief that the use of citizen-soldiers was superior not only practically but also morally; there was something distasteful, even unethical, about hiring a professional soldier, often a foreigner, to fight on one’s behalf. Much better, leaders assumed, to force their own civilians to fight upon pain of punishment. This mindset has now become so deeply entrenched that it is easy to ignore the long and distinguished history of mercenaries, and their legitimate uses down to the present day.

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