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Thursday 11 June 2009
A hired gun protects then-Senator Biden in
They are trying to be more discreet and less murderous than in
The most attractive prospects and contracts for the future, private military companies deem, are on the Afghan front. The Taliban's progressive return over the last three years and the rise in kidnappings assure their business: very few foreigners circulate without protection in the streets of the Afghan capital.
One incident drew attention to their presence. Returning from dinner on May 5, after an automobile accident, four paramilitaries working for an American company unheard of up until then, Paravant, machine-gunned an Afghan car, leaving one person dead and two wounded. The lawyer for the paramilitaries asserts that they were confronted with an insurgent attack, although the police investigation proved that the passengers in the vehicle were unarmed merchants. As in
However, the episode did reveal that Paravant, which has a contract to train the Afghan police, is a discreet subsidiary of Blackwater, the biggest mercenary company in the world and symbol of the privatization of war during the Bush years, involved in multiple killings and assassinations in Iraq and renamed Xe. It also revealed that these men respected neither the law nor their contract, bearing arms outside of their service, AK-47s that can be purchased in the black market for a few dollars.
The Obama administration has not indicated its intentions with respect to the privatization of the war. In
Blackwater-Xe has been removed from Iraq, close to two years after the Iranian government formally made the demand following a September 2007 killing in the center of
"There will be no reversal" in policy, thinks one American officer. "Unless it significantly increases defense budgets, the Obama administration will not be able to renationalize war. Yet these guys only make problems for us. Apart from their earning ten times more money than our soldiers, they are not subject to a single one of our rules. They have neither command nor sanction. We try to rally the population, while they don't give a fuck. They come to earn dollars and they leave." The four mercenaries who opened fire May 5 were fired by Blackwater. But in other similar cases, men have returned to the field through another company or a dummy company.
"The more war there is, the more mercenary activity there is," rejoices "Bob," a British mercenary speaking under the cover of anonymity. "The novelty is that after September 11, our activities became super-legal. We've never made so much money. It's a golden age." He acknowledges that the "arrival of the guys from Iraq poses a problem, because, here, we have to be more discreet, not machine-gun civilians like they did over there." "Bob" concedes that his employers' interests differ from those of NATO: "The American and British and other armies are here to win a war. For us, the more the security situation deteriorates, the better it is."
Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs