Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Howard's End: Mercenaries Better Than U.N. Troops

The days of countries contributing U.N. Peacekeepers might be numbered because Private Military Companies (PMC's) are seen in a Green Paper report to the British Parliament as being more cost effective and doing a better job. Maree Howard writes.

A much-awaited Green Paper report to the British House of Commons dated February 12, has been released which has reviewed the activities of a range of mainly Western-based private companies that provide security and military training to governments and people around the world.

The report said that as many as 100 such companies, including those from the U.S., Britain, Israel and South Africa are active in Africa alone.

The PMC's range from companies that secure oil pipelines in Algeria, to those that train the Saudi military, to those who guard important people or are involved in regional wars.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently stated that he considered sending in mercenaries to "separate fighters" from Rwandan refugees in the Great Lakes region in Africa.

The British Green Paper states that soldiers for hire may have a role to play in "securing peace."

This represents a huge change in thinking because during the 1990's the U.N., the British Government and the U.S. administration officially frowned on mercenaries - soldiers serving for pay in foreign armies or at the behest of private firms.

One such firm, Executive Outcomes (EO), is now reorganising itself and is said to be considering a military contract to help the Islamic Government in Khartoum wage war on the Christian civilians in the south of the nation.

Scoop readers will recall that is was EO who waged war in Angola and Sierra Leone. It kept peace, albeit temporarily. EO went into Sierra Leone on behalf of the diamond and gem interests held by powerful private British-owned business interests.

Sandline is another PMC (who shares an office in London with EO) who tried to re-open one of the world's largest copper mines in Papua New Guinea.

Often the PMC's work alongside Government's and corporate elites and are given either cash payments or mining rights in exchange for training government forces or defeating so-called rebel groups holding lands that house mineral and/or oil wealth.

The British Green Paper said that mercenary armies had a far better human rights record than U.N. peacekeepers.

U.N. forces have been documented as having spread AIDS in Cambodia by having unprotected sex with prostitutes, engaged in paedophilia in Africa and roasted a black man over a fire while serving in Somalia. The Canadian unit implicated in the burning episode was disbanded by the Canadian Government.

The Green Paper says " It is at least possible that if the tasks of the United Nations Mission to Sierra Leone were put out to tender, private companies would be able to do the job more cheaply and cost effectively. There may be a case for examining this option."

The U.N. itself has already started using mercenary companies in ancillary roles providing equipment and security in various U.N. operations around the world.

The elite mercenaries, the Ghurkas from Nepal, guard the Sultan of Brunei and French Legionnaires are stationed at Djibouti, just an eye-blink from the strategically vital Suez Canal.

The U.S. firm Vinell, the Green Paper said, has been training the guard of the Saudi royal family, but no other details were reported.

British firm Defense Systems Ltd provides security for installations as well as force training in Sudan.

The South African firm, Eric SA, has provided oil pipeline security for Algeria.

The report lists a range of options for regulation of PMC's in the interests of British national security but it also warned that banning such companies would hurt Britain's defence industry.

Psst! - Wanna but an army or start a revolution? There's a PMC just waiting to hear from you - but it's hardly the Kiwi-way, is it?

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news