A slight technical problem so the need to catch up. Iraq and the missing and forgotten hostages
The involvement of private companies in virtually everything you can think of – not even Thatcher ever imagined she could get away with it on this grand scale – has extended to private personnel in places of conflict and extreme danger. I imagine the involvement of non-combatants in the history of wars is not particularly new but the scale is.
The dreadful news of the missing British hostages brings with it murky information about the role of security firms which have “made a killing” on work undertaken in exceedingly dangerous circumstances and throws up a whole lot of questions. The absolute silence about the 5 British captives has always worried me. I remember their disappearance but only over time have I understood who they were. There was one professional and four bodyguards among those taken. It is two of the bodyguards whose bodies have now been handed over. Everyone seemed to think they were still alive but the state of decay suggests that one died some time ago, the other more recently. How remains pure conjecture. Today’s Independent (22/6/2009) supplies some more information about GardaWorld who employed the men charging a US agency something like $1,000 a day it seems. They have continued to be paid for their work while the men have been held in captivity. This raises questions about the tactics of both them and the British government in securing their release.
Questions for the future include what responsibility GardaWorld have for compensating the families of the hostages. The US experience of private companies involved in wars is not promising. Shareholders on the other hand have nothing to fear as they receive their blood money.
GardaWorld The picture that fades in and out om the home page has a setting sun and guard tower. Imprisoning people is now a business is it – could be Guantanamo? It’s our money what pays again but no say in the matter. Politicians. How are they involved? Do any have a place as consultant, shareholder etc. I think there are some more important questions than the Telegraph allows with insignificant sums fiddled on expenses. While it was right to bring that to public notice there are lots of other avenues involving far more significant sums. This company says it is the fifth largest security contractor and in the web introduction proudly announces a deal with Israel. Trading in human misery?
One other thing’s for sure. Mercenaries won’t be regarded with much affection by the people of Iraq. Why should they when their actions have shown such contempt – from shootings of innocent people to abuse in places like Abu Ghraib jail. What do GardaWorld care except they get their cash?