Talk:Private Military Corporations

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The firms also maintain platoons of Washington lobbyists to help keep government contracts headed their way. In 2001, according to the most recent federal disclosure forms, 10 private military companies spent more than $32 million on lobbying. DynCorp retained two lobbying firms that year to successfully block a bill that would have forced federal agencies to justify private contracts on cost-saving grounds. MPRI's parent company, L-3 Communications, had more than a dozen lobbyists working on its behalf, including Linda Daschle, wife of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. Last year L-3 won $1.7 billion in Defense Department contracts.[1]

The campaign cash and personal connections give private military companies an unusual degree of influence, even by Washington standards. In at least one case, a company has successfully shifted U.S. foreign policy to bolster its bottom line. In 1998, the government of Equatorial Guinea asked MPRI to evaluate its defense systems, particularly its need for a coast guard to protect its oil reserves. To do so, MPRI needed a license from the U.S. State Department. But the Clinton administration flatly rejected the company's request, citing the West African nation's egregious record of torturing and murdering political dissidents.

MPRI launched a full-scale blitz to overturn the decision, quietly dispatching company officials to work the hallways of the Pentagon, State Department, and Capitol. "This is the kind of lobbying that's surgically executed," says Rep. Schakowsky. "This is not something they want a wide discussion on in Congress." MPRI's executives argued that the United States should be engaging Equatorial Guinea, both to improve its record on human rights and to ensure access to its oil reserves. It didn't hurt that the company could effectively pull rank, citing its extensive military experience. "Remember, these are high-level four-star generals, who can really make an argument that this is consistent with foreign policy," says Deborah Avant, an international-affairs expert at George Washington University.

In 2000, the State Department did an about-face and issued a license to MPRI. Bennett Freeman, a high-ranking State Department official who initially opposed the deal, says he changed his mind after meeting with Lt. General Harry Soyster of MPRI, who convinced him that the company would include human-rights training in its work. "These private military companies, if properly directed by U.S. government officials, can in fact play positive roles," Freeman says. MPRI refuses to reveal the terms of its contract with Equatorial Guinea.[2]

It's possible, but to me not yet certain, that KBR/Halliburton are appropriate for this list.

Comment: Absolutely agree with that. Artificial Intelligence

When listing a company, make sure to detail exactly the services they perform that are normally considered military services. For example, KBR may not explicitly do mercenary work, but they do build military bases and other non-combat services. However, with that said, the article appears to be more oriented towards mercenary type services where private companies engage in armed combat or intelligence type operations. Therefore, you will need to expand on the definition of "Private Military Corporations" to include KBR, and the like, unless you know that they have performed mercenary services. -- Termigator 15:30 28 Mar 2003 (EST)

Comment: I think the companies under the External Links section should eventually be links to SourceWatch pages that provided profiles and analysis of the companies listed. -- Termigator 15:30 28 Mar 2003 (EST)

Comment: I think that PMCs should be distinguished from [other] Defense Contractors; perhaps by the former being distinguished by operating in zones of conflict; while the latter being distinguished by manufacturing weapons systems or other supplies for use in conflict theaters. Also I don't think that there are any mercenary PMCs which openly deny that they provide non-combatant or peaceful services; so I doubt that a distinction between "armed" and non-combatant services can be made. Retired Special Operations pros don't go back to work dealing soup in cafeterias.

I hope I get the -- User: datestamp thingy ;-}

Suggestion: Time to separate the Private Military Corporations which are in Iraq for the purpose of "reconstruction"/reconstruction of Iraq contractors from the ever-growing "private army" that is growing in Iraq??? The April 24th Common Dreams article title says it all: "The Rising Corporate Military Monster".

Comment: The prospect of the draft and overcommitment of U.S. troops in Iraq and globally raises the spectre .. and fears .. of conspiracy theorists that there are insufficient troops left in U.S. to protect the "homeland" and that U.N. troops could be called up to take their place here should there be "cause" to do so. .... hence, another role for the "soldiers of fortune"/mercenaries".

See "Graveyard of Justifications. Glossary of the Iraqi Occupation," CounterPunch, April 23, 2004, by Paul de Rooij:

"There are more mercenaries in Iraq today than there are British soldiers -- an estimated 40,000 "security contractors". The ads in back section of Soldier of Fortune, the trade magazine for literate mercenaries, indicate boom times for the profession."

4/24/04 08:14 (DST) AI

AI, this SourceWatch article on Private Military Corporations contains a lot of good generic material which is not, and should not be, Iraq-specific. If you'd like to separate the Iraq specific segments to elsewhere, I'm all in favor of it. If it's generic material, let's not lose it in the Iraq article. I think the Common Dreams article makes a generic point about accountability, using Iraq as an example, and is therefore not an Iraq-specific article.

Thanks, -M

These two companies, CACI International and Titan Corporation, figure in this Sunday Herald story about the torture of Iraqi prisoners:

Mutternich 20:01, 1 May 2004 (EDT)

I'm not finding any mention of 40,000 contractors in Iraq anywhere, so I changed the number in Iraq back to "over 20,000" which is the accepted number from most sources. If the number is 40,000, or if anyone thinks there is that many, please cite it. This page is the only place I've seen it so far. Thanks. Spacegrit 1-22-05

Black-Ops (pmc) is not the name of the actual company (just a trading name apparently - there is no Black Ops in the UK Companies register) and don't want to be in SW. Given this I have removed material relating to them and blocked user Mattrichards who kept reinstating material from their website. --Bob Burton 06:48, 13 June 2007 (EDT)