PRIVATE ARMY, MEET PRIVATE NAVY
CAN PRIVATE AIR FORCE BE FAR BEHIND?
DO CORPORATIONS NEED COUNTRIES ANY MORE?
If Private Companies Provide For Most Of The Military, Security & Intelligence Needs Of A Nation, What Do We Need Nations For?
The Corporate State has officially arrived. Actually, it arrived stealthfully some time ago. HOO-HAH!!! Bully for them! Invisible AND intrepid. Hear, hear! You can almost hear their buckles swashing, in the boardrooms of the corporate world, a brave new world in which we are not even citizens, none of us. If we're lucky, we might become Employees. Maybe even Shareholders. Otherwise, we're just Consumers. Or, in the case of "off-the-shelf security solutions," Targets.
Come on in and grab a banana, we're having a republic! We don't need no stinking badges! L'etat, c'est la compagnie!
For those of us who have served in the military, the real military, it was a cause, a committment, a connection to that thin red line that stretches back to pre-history: The society of warriors, dedicated to the defense of their women & children, home & hearth, king & country. It's a high calling which too often ends up being abused by "statesmen." Soldiers who have moral integrity are bound by codes of loyalty, duty and honor to uphold the highest standards of those who have fought and died before them. Tasked with the job of guarding the rest of us, risking their lives and taking the lives of others, according to the rules of war and the law of the land, soldiers accept the full responsibility for every death, and they must live with that responsibility. Honorable soldiers fight and die not for money, not for any material gain, but because our lives, our way of life, our principles mean something to us: They're worth killing or dying for, in the final extreme.
Then there's Country. Our nation, still a democracy (we believe), allows the State and only the State control over violence. Only the State may lawfully kill criminals, madmen, terrorists, enemy spies and soldiers. The State and its' agents are bound by laws, and answerable for any deaths they cause. There is no precedent and no legitimacy to allowing the State to fob off its' ultimate legal responsibility on unlawful agents. Morally, ethically, legally, we cannot pay someone to do things which are unlawful for us to do ourselves. And we cannot allow anyone to earn a profit by usurping the powers that belong only to the people and their democratically elected government. When violence is permitted outside the law, outlaws will rule us. This way lies chaos.
And yet here we are. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, moderates and radicals, we are all responsible. If there are loop-holes in the law, we must close them. If there is an entity or structure that is coming into existance outside of the law, it must be dismantled and brought within the law. Nothing and no one is above or beyond the law in a civilized society. These corporate beards are being used to cover unlawful acts by our own "leaders." You and I bear responsibilty for this. It is up to us to force our representatives in government to stop this slide into corporate fascism, while we still can. If we do not, soon our rights and powers will slip away, irrelevant in a new corporate uber-state over which we have no control. We will have no control, but we will still have responsibility, because we did not act to stop it.
"Making a killing: how private armies became a $120bn global industry"
The few, the proud, the rentacops.
' In Nigeria, corporate commandos exchange fire with local rebels attacking an oil platform. In Afghanistan, private bodyguards help to foil yet another assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai. In Colombia, a contracted pilot comes under fire from guerrillas while spraying coca fields with pesticides. On the border between Iraq and Iran, privately owned Apache helicopters deliver US special forces to a covert operation. This is a snapshot of a working day in the burgeoning world of private military companies, arguably the fastest-growing industry in the global economy. The sector is now worth up to $120bn annually with operations in at least 50 countries, according to Peter Singer, a security analyst with the Brookings Institution in Washington. "The rate of growth in the security industry has been phenomenal," says Deborah Avant, a professor of political science at UCLA. The single largest spur to this boom is the conflict in Iraq. A high-ranking US military commander in Iraq said: "These guys run loose in this country and do stupid stuff. There's no authority over them, so you can't come down on them hard when they escalate force. They shoot people." In Abu Ghraib, all of the translators and up to half of the interrogators were reportedly private contractors. Private soldiers are involved in all stages of war, from training and war-gaming before the invasion to delivering supplies. Camp Doha in Kuwait, the launch-pad for the invasion, was built by private contractors. '
"Obama's Mercenary Position "
O! Bama! Say it ain't so!
' A senior foreign policy adviser to leading Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has told The Nation that if elected Obama will not "rule out" using private security companies like Blackwater Worldwide in Iraq. The adviser also said that Obama does not plan to sign on to legislation that seeks to ban the use of these forces in US war zones by January 2009, when a new President will be sworn in. Obama's campaign says that instead he will focus on bringing accountability to these forces while increasing funding for the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the agency that employs Blackwater and other private security contractors. (Hillary Clinton's staff did not respond to repeated requests for an interview or a statement on this issue.) The private security industry knows well that it has become a central part of US policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Extricating the firms from this position would require a major and aggressive undertaking with significant Congressional support, which is by no means guaranteed. In fact, Blackwater appears to see a silver lining in the prospect of US forces being withdrawn or reduced in Iraq. Joseph Schmitz, chief operating officer of Blackwater's parent company, The Prince Group, said, "There is a scenario where we could as a government, the United States, could pull back the military footprint, and there would then be more of a need for private contractors to go in." The Obama senior adviser called Schmitz's comment "an unfortunate characterization." Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, one of Congress's sharpest critics of the war contracting system, says of Schmitz's remark, "That's why some of us have been really careful about not just talking about a troop withdrawal but a contractor withdrawal as well." Obama, she says, should make it impossible for Schmitz and others "to think that Barack Obama would be creating new opportunities for Blackwater after our troops are withdrawn." The clearest way for him to do that would be to endorse legislation banning the use of Blackwater and other mercenary firms in Iraq. In November Schakowsky and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the Stop Outsourcing Security (SOS) Act, which mandates that US personnel undertake all diplomatic security in Iraq within six months of enactment. The bill has twenty-three co-sponsors in the House and one--Sanders--in the Senate. Sanders said he'd "love" it if Obama and Clinton signed on. "If either of them came on board, we'd certainly see more Democratic support," says Sanders. Will Obama do that before November? "The answer is no, in all candor," says the senior Obama adviser. "Obviously it's a dynamic situation, and he'll continue to analyze it." '
"Enemies of All Mankind: Who Can Stop the Pirates?"
Who? Why, CORPORATE-MAN!
' American security firm Blackwater Worldwide, which protects American diplomats and congressmen in Iraq, announced in October that it was making its 183-foot ship, the McArthur, available to companies looking to hire security. The company said it is available to escort merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden and is outfitted with helicopters that can patrol ships rather than put armed guards on board the vessels. "This recent attack over the weekend on a U.S. cruise ship really ups the ante, I think, because once the attacks are going beyond merchant ships or isolated attacks against small pirate ships and are directed against passenger vessels with civilians from many states, that's going to prod the international community into being even more proactive," said Malone. '
"Addax uses Nigeria navy staff to guard oil facilities "
O, Canada, too!
' Militant and pirate activity in Nigeria's oil producing south has led Canada's Addax Petroleum
to hire ex-U.S. military speed boats staffed by Nigerian navy personnel, the company's CEO said. Jean Claude Gandur, chief executive officer of the oil exploration and production firm, told Reuters in an interview that an attack on an Addax supply vessel in June, which left one of its contractors dead, had forced the company to act. A wave of militant attacks in the restive Niger Delta region has cut Nigerian oil output by around a fifth since early 2006. Security experts say it is unusual for a company to be so frank about its relationship with the Nigerian military. "There has long been a perception, one that is entrenched in Nigeria, that there is a lot of influential cooperation between the oil companies and the military," said Antony Goldman, an analyst at London-based PM consulting. "Many people suspect it goes on, but it's very rare for an oil company to be so explicit about their relationship. These relationships have created problems for oil companies in Nigeria in the past." Gandur said that since his company undertook the new policy, there had not been any attacks on installations belonging to Addax, one of the largest independent oil producers in West Africa. Foreign oil companies routinely hire private security contractors in southern Nigeria but are often cautious about explicit relationships with the military, whom militants and rights groups have in the past accused of human rights abuses. '
Air superiority, at a profit.
' A subsidiary of U.S. military security contractor Blackwater Worldwide has purchased a fighter plane from the Brazilian aviation company Embraer, a Brazilian newspaper reported June 1. The 314-B1 Super Tucano propeller-driven fighter - the same used by the Brazilian military - was bought for $4.5 million and delivered to EP Aviation at the end of February, according to the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper. It was not clear if it was Embraer's first sale of a military-style aircraft to a private company. EP Aviation has 33 planes and helicopters registered with the FAA, according to the agency's Web site, only one of which is from Embraer. It does worry me a bit each time a company like Blackwater continues this arms build up. Sources tell me they've got a "Spectre'-like" gunship already, and they've been buzzing around Baghdad in spec-ops-style armed Little Birds. '
"Air force training set to go private "
Join the NEW Malaysian Corporate Air Force! It's not just a job... Well, OK, it's just a job.
' The Defence Ministry is looking to the private sector for the purchase and maintenance of training equipment, including aircraft, under the newly-introduced "private financing initiative" scheme. The first major project will be the "purchase" of training time for a fleet of light aircraft to be acquired by a local company. Ministry secretary-general Datuk Subhan Jasmon said the scheme would result in a substantial reduction in recurrent annual expenditure, as capital costs would be borne by the private sector. '
"Private manned space plane unveiled"
In Space, no one can hear you.
' For now, the main purpose of Rutan’s program appears to be proving he can really send his pilots into space. There are no plans for passenger flights or government certification. The craft can fit three, though it’s possible only one will go at a time. But military officials watched the presentation with great interest, and indicated that Rutan’s new launch system could be adapted to other uses as well, such as launching tiny “microsatellites” and giving military space programs far more flexibility. “It has enormous potential,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Simon “Pete” Worden, who seeks out new initiatives for U.S. Space Command. “Space has always been a rich man’s business. Now it would be more like airplanes.” '.
Labels: Afghan War, Air Force, American warlords, CORPORATE FASCISM, corporatism, mercenaries, military-industrial-energy complex, Navy, off-the-shelf, private armies, privatization, security solutions
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