Corporate mercenary armies
Empowered by their new found prominence, mercenary forces are increasing their presence on other battlefields: in Latin America, DynCorp International is operating in Colombia, Bolivia and other countries under the guise of the “war on drugs”.
U.S. defense contractors are receiving nearly half the $630 million in U.S. military aid for Colombia.
In Africa, mercenaries are deploying in Somalia, Congo and Sudan and increasingly have their sights set on tapping into the hefty U.N. peacekeeping budget (this has been true since at least the early 1990s and probably much earlier).
This unprecedented funding of such enterprises, primarily by the U.S. and U.K. governments, means that powers once the exclusive realm of nations are now in the hands of private companies with loyalty only to profits, CEOs and, in the case of public companies, shareholders. This could allow corporations or nations with cash to spend but no real military power to hire squadrons of heavily armed and well-trained commandos.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky says, “Suddenly you’ve got a for-profit corporation going around the world that is more powerful than states, can effect regime possibly where they may want to go, that seems to have all the support that it needs from this administration that is also pretty adventurous around the world and operating under the cover of darkness.
“It raises questions about democracies, about states, about who influences policy around the globe, about relationships among some countries. …Who really does determine war and peace around the world?”
[Excerpt of an article by Jeremy Scahill, a Puffin Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute]