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What have Private Military Contractors been up to?

Over the last decade the US Pentagon has signed more than 3 000 contracts with Private Military Contractors, or PMCs. What have they been up to?

Published: December 3, 2017, 7:15 am

    In 1995, during the military operations conducted by the Armed Forces of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbian troops, US hostilities were outsourced to a number of security contractor firms.

    Washington has since used PMC’s to keep America’s official losses in such proxy wars to a minimum.

    Today, PMCs are operating more than 90 percent of all drones that US Air Force and Navy have together, while also deployed in reconnaissance missions and data analysis. a

    Along with researching an developing promising technologies and materials, the contractors provide routine military training, convoy escorts, and air cargo support.

    In May 2007, the US government disclosed for the first time the total amount of funds allocated to PMCs to the tune of 33.6 billion dollars.

    US Central Command published statistics on contract employees of PMCs in January 2015, revealing that CENTCOM alone employs more than 43 000 individuals of which only 17 000 are actually American citizens.

    More than half of their employees come from UK and Australia, and rough estimates show that the PMC market value exceeds 150 billion dollars.

    Although existing US legislation states that “the most complex and sensitive tasks should not be fulfilled by private organizations,” it is hard to measure the real purpose of the “secret missions” the contractors fulfill.

    Moreover, Washington’s privatisation and outsourcing of violence includes deliveries of lethal weapons to areas of armed conflict, which is prohibited by international law.

    Russian journalist, Valery Kulikov has noted that in spite of Washington’s continuous claims that there has been no instance of American lethal weapons being delivered to Ukraine, Western PMCs have been delivering them to Ukraine for over two years now.

    AirTronic PMC has been delivering American-made grenade launchers to Kiev for a while and it has been confirmed by its CEO, Richard Vandiver, in his interview with Voice of America.

    In particular, he specified that the companies initiated such deliveries last year and the deliveries have been coordinated by the US Embassy in Kiev, in close cooperation with the State Department, the Pentagon and the Ukrainian government.

    The Syrian Defense Ministry earlier this year, pointed out that automatic weapons and grenade launchers produced in America were common among the jihadists that the Pentagon had denied supporting.

    In 2008, the status of PMCs was clarified in the so-called Montreux Document that was signed by a total of 17 countries. This document contains rules of engagement for those companies and regulates their operations in conflict zones.

    According to this document, the state that hosts a private military company bears full responsibility for its actions in various regions of the world.

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