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David Isenberg

PMSC Not Ready for U.N. Prime Time

Huffington Post, 11 July 2012

For many years now, private military and security contractor (PMSC) advocates have argued that utilization of PMSC in United Nations peace operations offers an alternative to doing nothing or trying to organize a frequently dysfunctional U.N.-sponsored, often ill-equipped and organized intervention.

Indeed, about ten years ago, Doug Brooks, head of the International Stability Operations Association (ISOA), a PMSC advocacy group, wrote in a paper that:

PMCs offer the only military forces both willing and capable to provide rapid and effective military services in most Third World conflicts. PMC operations in the past have saved tens of thousands of lives, but their potential is even greater. Working as “force multipliers” PMCs can provide the competent military backbone to ensure the success of UN or regional multinational peacekeeping or peace enforcement operations.

As sweeping generalizations go that, to use my childhood Yiddish, takes a lot of chutzpah.

Don’t get me wrong. While I’m the first to agree that U.N. operations often leave a lot to be desired, a U.N. blue helmet peace operation can only be as successful as members of the Security Council want it to be. Given the often radically differing agendas and interests of Council members that doesn’t happen very often.

And to be objective about it, the United Nation already employs large number of private contractors for all sorts of humanitarian purposes and has greatly increased its use of these companies in recent years. But does the record to date with regard to PMSC use by the U.N. encourage even greater use of and dependence on PMSC?

There is reason to doubt that, according to a just released report by the Global Policy Forum and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

GPF’s investigative report, Dangerous Partnership: Private Military & Security Companies and the UN, written by Lou Pingeot, reveals that the UN has dramatically increased its use of these companies in recent years, hiring them for a wide array of “security services” and giving them considerable influence over its security policies. It also reveals that the UN has no process to vet these companies and that UN leadership has been closing its eyes to company misconduct for more than twenty years.

Let’s not mince words. Here is an excerpt from the executive summary:

Many reports from governments, NGOs and the media have shown how PMSCs have committed serious human rights abuses, killed or injured innocent civilians, engaged in financial malfeasance and committed many other breaches of the law. Given the track record of these companies, serious questions arise as to whether PMSCs are appropriate UN partners for the complex task of creating a secure, just and lawful world. Opacity around the UN’s use of PMSCs has so far prevented a healthy debate.

Considering how dependent the U.N. already is on PMSC this is a serious concern.

Read full post with more quotes  and links.

Phi Beta Iota:  Governments — and most particularly the US Government — have become irresponsible to the point of being credibly vulnerable to being charged with treason against the public interest, and crimes against all of humanity.  The lack of accountability is only possible because the US Congress is completely lacking in both intelligence and integrity, and the corporate media are a fully controlled network of paid flacks incapable of carrying out serious investigative journalism.  Every institution in US society has failed.  On the bright side, this is a necessary pre-curser to a non-violent public uprising that abolishes the two-party tyranny and restores integrity to the electoral process from local to national levels.

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