Washington is fighting a lot more conflicts than the public knows — and it's done with black budgets and private armies
It is no secret that the last couple decades saw an abrupt increase in the number of private military companies or private security contractors (the so-called PMCs), the overall budgets of some of which can easily surpass the military budgets of certain sovereign states.
The turning point in the creation of those companies occurred in 1995 during the military operations conducted by the Armed Forces of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina against the Serbian troops, when the right to carry on hostilities was outsourced by a number of security contractor firms.
There can be no second opinion about Washington's being the most adept at employing the PMC concept, since with the number of wars the US has been waging against other states, the Pentagon needs spare hands to do the dirty work so that Washington's official losses are kept to a minimum.
American intelligence agencies were quick to comprehend in the mid-90s that they would need a lot of private contractors if they were to carry on their dubious operations across the globe over the next couple decades. Therefore, the Pentagon started motivating various companies to outsource a wide range of military tasks. As a result, over the last decade alone the US military department has signed more than 3 thousand contracts with PMCs.
Today, PMCs are operating more than 90% of all drones that US Air Force and Navy have together, they are also engaged in reconnaissance missions, data analysis, along with developing of promising technologies and materials, on top of providing 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 for PMCs by American intelligence agencies, with the total amount reaching 33.6 billion dollars. In January 2015, the US Central Command published statistics on contract employees of PMCs, specifying that CENTCOM alone employs more than 43 thousand individuals that fulfill all sorts of contracts, of which no more than 17 thousand are American citizens, with the rest being natives of UK and Australia.
According to rough estimates, the PMC market value exceeds 150 billion dollars. As for the continuous increase in the actual number and their value, it can be attributed to an ever-expanding share of “secret operation” deals among those that Washington keeps on signing.
Although the existing US legislation has set in stone the principle that “the most complex and sensitive tasks shouldn’t be fulfilled by private organizations,” when it comes to the situation on the ground, we witness quite the opposite happening.
This notion has recently been confirmed by the Daily Mail as it reported on the activities of the Academi PMC, which was formerly known under its scandalous name of Blackwater. According to these revelations, Academi contractors were engaged in torturing and physically abusing the members of the Saudi royal family and those businessmen who were detained along with them in Saudi Arabia in early November. According to the publication, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally participated in the said interrogations thanks to the dubious services provided to him by Academi. As a result of these interrogations, the Crown Prince received a total of 194 billion dollars in “voluntary donations” from those whom he was questioning.
One can recall that Saudi law enforcement agencies arrested a total of 11 princes, four ministers and several dozens of former ministers and prominent businessmen on charges of corruption. Among those arrested, one could find one of the richest men on the planet – Al-Waleed bin Talal. Earlier the Middle Eastern and Western media leaked details about the harsh treatment that the detainees were exposed to, regardless of their social status or previous achievements. Thus, the newspaper The New York Times has already reported that at least 17 prisoners among those arrested on suspicion of participating in corrupt schemes were brutally beaten.
Another example of Washington’s privatization of “right on violence” is the organization of deliveries of lethal weapons to both the areas of armed conflicts, which is prohibited by international law, as well as to those regions where extremist and terrorist groups haven’t started violence yet.
Thus, 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. For instance, AirTronic PMC has been delivering American-made grenade launchers to Kiev for a long while as it’s 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 have been carrying on them until this very day. He added that such deliveries have been coordinated by the US Embassy in Kiev, in close cooperation with the State Department, the Pentagon and the Ukrainian government.
Since other American PMCs have been fulfilling similar contracts in other regions of the world, one shouldn’t be surprised to see a picture of a radical terrorist armed with top-notch US weapons systems, especially when they're operating in Syria and Iraq. Almost one and a half thousand fully loaded trucks worth of weapons was delivered to the terrorists of ISIS, as it’s been announced by the Syrian Defense Ministry earlier this year. Automatic weapons and grenade launchers produced in American are pretty common among the radicals that the Pentagon has been unofficially supporting. All this has already been proven true, as tons of units of such weapons have already been confiscated from radical militants.
Despite the presence of a wide range of international actors, modern geopolitics is far from being public. A significant role is played by behind-the-scenes actors and secret deals, which are then fulfilled by all sorts of PMCs. Thus, we have found ourselves in an age when private companies are capable of influencing individual countries and even whole regions. This, in particular, confirms the involvement of American PMCs in the torture of representatives of the Saudi elites and the ongoing US-made arms deliveries to the Middle East, Ukraine, Afghanistan.
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.
What this basically means is that Washington will not be able to escape responsibility for the crimes committed by its contractors somewhere behind-the-scenes.
Source: Strategic Culture