PROBLEMS WITH MILITARY PRIVATIZATION

In January 2010, a Iederal iudge dismissed charges against Iive Blackwater Worldwide Security
guards who were accused oI killing unarmed civilians in Iraq in 2007. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina
cited several government missteps as the reason Ior dismissing the case,
The 2007 shooting in Nisoor Square in Baghdad killed 17 people. The Blackwater guards claimed the
shooting was in response to an ambush by insurgents. The prosecutors in the case in Washington said that
the attack by the guards was unprovoked.
The Blackwater guards were questioned by the U.S. State Department and advised that they would be
oIIered immunity Irom criminal prosecution Ior whatever statements they made. The prosecutors in the
case used the statements that had been oIIered by the guards under the promise oI immunity in the trial
proceedings, an act that Judge Urbina Iound to have violated the guard`s constitutional rights.
There are a number oI issues that illustrate the problems with the privatization oI U.S. military and
intelligence Iunctions at the heart oI this trial and dismissal. One is the iurisdiction under which this case
is being held. The shooting occurred in Iraq and the Iraq government wanted to try the case in Iraq. Given
that the shooting occurred in Iraq, the question is what right does the U.S. have to claim iurisdiction over
a shooting that occurred in Iraq by private citizens working Ior a private company and involved the death
oI Iraqis.
We have worked and spoken oIten oI how our goal in Iraq is to create and build a democratic and Iree
and open government in Iraq. One oI the bases oI a legitimate government is a Iunctioning, legitimate and
sovereign iudicial system. By having this trial held in the U.S. it undercuts one oI the goals that we have
been working Ior in Iraq, the establishment oI a sovereign and democratic government.
The primary issue at the heart oI this trial and dismissal is the problem oI the use oI private military
companies Ior U.S. military actions. Blackwater, although the most prominent and well-publicized oI the
Iirms which have been given private military contracts by the U.S. government, is not the only one. What
has been seen in the last ten years is a massive increase in the outsourcing oI military and intelligence
Iunctions by the U.S. government and at the same time that we as a nation are most concerned with
national security in the wake oI the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In 2002, the year aIter the September 11, 2001 attacks, Army Secretary Thomas White approved a plan
that put more than 200,000 Army iobs up Ior competition with private Iirms. The outsourced positions in
this plan included both civilian and military personnel.
One illustration oI the type oI military positions that were outsourced were U.S. Air Force pilot
training personnel positions. Some U.S. Air Force personnel, who worked training U.S. Air Force pilots,
came in to Iind that their iobs had been privatized out Irom under them. Instead oI being U.S. Air Force
pilot trainers, and working Ior the U.S. Air Force, they were now working Ior a private company doing
the exact same iob. They also received more money working Ior the private Iirm.
In terms oI military personnel in the Iield, it has been estimated that a large number oI military
personnel in Iraq are private military company personnel, up to 20,000 by some estimates. The private
military personnel and the companies that employ them, including prominently Blackwater, have been
implicated in more questionable activities and violent encounters than U.S. military personnel, calling
into question who has oversight oI Blackwater and other private military company personnel, who is in
command oI them, and why there has been so many charges oI unwarranted attacks by Blackwater
personnel. With Blackwater personnel as private contractors and not under U.S. command, it is diIIicult
to know who Blackwater employees are working Ior, and under what criteria and guidelines their actions
are being taken.
The dismissal oI trial charges involving actions by Blackwater employees where the Blackwater
employees were subiect to both instruction by the U.S. government as employees oI the U.S. government
in their positions, and subiect to civil criminal trials as privately employed civilians Ior actions in a U.S.
military position in another country illustrate some oI the problems oI who`s command they were under,
and under what iurisdiction they were working. Blackwater the private commercial company or the U.S.
government as military personnel.
One oI the primary needs Ior military personnel in any situation and one oI the problems that U.S.
military personnel and other military personnel in Iraq and elsewhere, have Iound problematic is security.
The introduction oI private militaries who are working Ior private companies in military positions in and
oI itselI involves a breach oI security and a break in the chain oI command necessary Ior security and
accountability.
The military is not the only essential and critical U.S. government Iunction needed Ior U.S. security
that the U.S. government has outsourced to private companies such as Blackwater. Another is U.S.
intelligence and counterterrorism Iunctions. In the case oI Blackwater, one oI the people who Blackwater
hired to do apparently the same iob that he did while in the U.S. government was CoIer Black. CoIer
Black was the U.S. Department oI State Coordinator Ior Counterterrorism with the rank oI ambassador at
large Irom December 2002, to November 2004. BeIore that, Black was the CIA Director`s Special
Assistant Ior Counterterrorism as well as the National Intelligence OIIicer Ior Counterterrorism. CoIer
Black leIt the U.S. government and began working Ior Blackwater and doing similar work that he was
doing Ior the CIA and then the U.S. State Department in clearly this most critical oI positions in
counterterrorism.
Clearly having the Iormer head oI the U.S. Department oI State Coordinator Ior Counterterrorism
working Ior a private military company is troubling and clearly could be considered a breach oI security.
While in the U.S. government, CoIer Black worked in intelligence Ior the U.S. government. As an
intelligence analyst who had worked Ior years in these crucial positions in the U.S. counterintelligence
area, the question is why was he allowed to work Ior Blackwater at all? Blackwater is a private company.
II another country wanted to hire CoIer Black Ior counterintelligence or even intelligence work Ior them,
including gaining inIormation on the United States itselI, it clearly illustrates the total conIlict oI interest
and certainly possible breach oI security inherent in allowing the government outsourcing oI these most
critical military and intelligence national Iunctions.
Blackwater isn`t the only company doing intelligence work Ior the U.S. intelligence community either.
In Iact a Iair portion oI U.S. intelligence has been outsourced. Companies such as Rand and others are
also doing intelligence work and analysis. In all oI these cases and like the outsourcing oI the military
itselI, these actions call into question the reliability, authenticity and the possibly tainting oI inIormation
based on the private sources. As well, it removes Irom the U.S. those critical intelligence Iunctions and
intelligence personnel who we as a nation need Ior national security. There have been numerous
criticisms oI the Iailure oI the U.S. intelligence community in terms oI September 11, 2001. It appears
part oI the criticism is due to the lack oI credible and critical national intelligence in certain parts oI the
world such as the Middle East and elsewhere, where the U.S. not only is relying on outsourced privatized
intelligence but also the intelligence oI other countries, instead oI U.S. intelligence sources.
Private military companies have also been implicated in the acts oI torture at Abu Ghraib. The
commander oI Abu Ghraib, Colonel Janis Karpinski, stated that she had no idea Iully who was coming in
and out oI the prison while she was commander given that a number oI them were private company
contractors not under her command. In Iact one private company, CACI International was accused oI
taking part in the torture and abuse oI prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
Disturbingly, in September oI this year, a Iederal appeals court reiected a lawsuit against CACI
International that accused the Iirm`s employees oI taking part in the torture and abuse oI prisoners at Abu
Ghraib in Iraq. The reason given Ior dismissing the case in some ways echoes the ruling Friday involving
Blackwater employees actions in Iraq, when in a 2 to 1 ruling, the case was dismissed on the grounds that
CACI should be immune Irom prosecution because the company`s employees were under U.S. military
authority.
The reasoning behind these two legal actions serves to put military contractors in a gray area where
they are subiect to neither civil criminal trials as civil private employees nor subiect to U.S. military trials
as U.S. military personnel. Thus creating not only a tremendous breach in security, but also a lack oI
iudicial accountability Ior their acts that are not acceptable and would not have been an issue iI these
military and intelligence positions had not been privatized.






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