Unaccountable: Private Military Contractor Abuses - by Stephen Lendman
PMC's operate unaccountably outside the law.
Wherever they're deployed, they're menacing and feared for good reason. Known historically by various names, they include mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, dogs of war, and Condottieri for wealthy city state leaders and the Papacy in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance Italy.
Ancient Greeks and Romans used them. So did Alexander the Great, feudal lords, Napoleon and George Washington against the British.
Article 47 of the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions calls them anyone:
- specially recruited locally or abroad to fight in armed conflicts;
- directly participating in hostilities:
- doing so for greater private gain than conscripted or otherwise recruited combatants;
- acting unaffiliated to conflict parties and not a resident of territory where they're waged;
- not an armed forces member of either side; and
- not sent by a nation unrelated to hostilities as a member of its armed forces.
During the 1990s, America privatized military functions to let mercenaries serve in place of conventional forces. They're used tactically as combatants, for training, advice, personal security, technical expertise, intelligence gathering, weapons systems management, transportation, and other non-combatant functions.