Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Beyond WikiLeaks: The Privatization of War

by: Jose L. Gomez del Prado, UN Working Group on Mercenaries, t r u t h o u t | Report

The United Nation Human Rights Council, under the Universal Periodic Review, started in Geneva on November 5, 2010 to review the human rights record of the United States. The following is an edited version of the presentation given by Jose L. Gomez del Prado in Geneva on November 3, 2010 at a parallel meeting at the UN Palais des Nations on that occasion.

Private military and security companies (PMSC) are the modern reincarnation of a long lineage of private providers of physical force: corsairs, privateers and mercenaries. Mercenaries, which had practically disappeared during the 19th and 20th centuries, reappeared in the 1960s during the decolonization period, operating mainly in Africa and Asia. Under the United Nations, a convention was adopted which outlaws and criminalizes their activities. Additionally, Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions also contains a definition of mercenary.

These non-state entities of the 21st century operate in extremely blurred situations, where the frontiers are difficult to separate. The new security industry of private companies moves large quantities of weapons and military equipment. It provides services for military operations, recruiting former military as civilians to carry out passive or defensive security.

However, these individuals cannot be considered civilians, given that they often carry and use weapons, interrogate prisoners, load bombs, drive military trucks and fulfill other essential military functions. Those who are armed can easily switch from a passive-defensive to an active-offensive role and can commit human rights violations and even destabilize governments. They cannot be considered soldiers or supporting militias under international humanitarian law, either, since they are not part of the army or in the armed forces chain of command, and often belong to a large number of different nationalities.

PMSC personnel cannot usually be considered to be mercenaries, for the definition of mercenaries as stipulated in the international conventions dealing with this issue does not generally apply to the personnel of PMSCs, which are legally operating in foreign countries under contracts of legally registered companies.

Please read the entire Report here

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South African, Sean Brehm, DynCorp, extradited to US under the Military ­Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act

SA man embroiled in bizarre US court case

Update:   Sean Brehm sentenced Wednesday in Virginia

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by Andrew Trench and Julian Rademeyer at News 24 SA

Johannesburg – A South African contractor working in Afghanistan has been arrested and spirited away across the world under a controversial United States law.

Sean Brehm, 44, arrived in the US on Tuesday and is being held near ­Washington.

Brehm, who ran a VIP ­protection company in Cape Town and who had been working in Afghanistan since October last year, was arrested at the ­Kandahar Air Force Base last month after allegedly stabbing and severely wounding a British contractor in a dispute.

At the time, Brehm was ­employed as a travel consultant for US department of defence contractor DynCorp.

Brehm was held for more than three weeks by military police before being extradited to the US under the Military ­Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.

The act gives the US ­extraordinary and far-reaching powers to prosecute contractors ­employed by the department of defence or by companies with department of defence contracts – including foreign nationals – and to try them in the US for crimes committed in other countries.

Brehm’s wife, Carol, last week claimed that her husband had been treated unfairly. “How can you take somebody to a country they have never been to without having given them any prior warning?”

‘Bad blood’

She said there had been “bad blood” between her husband and the British contractor for a “long time, apparently over a woman”.

Carol claimed her husband had tried to avoid the fight and to call the military police before being “chased down” and ­attacked.

In an affidavit filed in the US court, FBI special agent Viet Nguyen said the British contractor and Brehm had a “verbal ­altercation” and came to blows.

An army criminal investigations division agent had ­witnessed Brehm stabbing the other contractor twice, injuring him in the arm and abdomen.

One witness, described as a “previous acquaintance” of Brehm, said he believed Brehm had been acting in self-defence.

In a hearing via telephone on December 10, a US federal ­magistrate ordered Brehm be “removed” to the US to stand trial.

Brehm appeared briefly in court on Tuesday and was transferred into federal custody. He has yet to be formally charged and the US government has 30 days in which to seek an indictment from a secret grand jury.

Frantic

Meanwhile, his wife is frantic.

“Sean’s ability to mount an ­effective defence is so impaired that it is highly reminiscent of something out of the Star Chamber (a pejorative term for secret and arbitrary court ­proceedings),” she charged.

Department of international relations and co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the department would be providing consular services to Brehm and his family.

Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau, spokesperson for the US embassy in Pretoria, said that in ­instances where foreign nationals were extradited to the US to stand trial, the embassy “works very closely with our host country’s law enforcement agencies”.

Michael Nachmanoff, a federal public defender representing Brehm, declined to comment

Please see the original story here

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, DynCorp, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | 1 Comment