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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who is In charge and Who will pay for this Lunacy?

PKKH Editorial Exclusive | Mobisher Rabbani
The story of the rise of the lunatic asylum and its gradual transformation into, and eventual replacement by, the modern psychiatric hospital is also the story of the rise of organized, institutional psychiatry. Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, are hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders.
Patients are often admitted on a voluntary basis, but involuntary commitment is practiced when an individual may pose a significant danger to themselves or others. One such possible patient is Raymond Davis, a department of defense contractor whose lunatics has cost the lives of four innocent Pakistanis. He is accused of two counts of murder and terrorism related charges. Autopsy shows victims were shot in the back repeatedly and eye witnesses saw him even taking their pictures of the deceased.

Every year the United States government spends half a trillion dollars on contracts for goods and services from private companies. The total workforce of those companies including workers not on federal contracts accounts for 22 percent of American workers, according to David Madland, director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress. There is no way of knowing the total count of all private contractors. The estimate in June of last year is that there are around 200,000 service members in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
In April 2010 the Department of Defense Inspector General released a report titled “Efforts to Prevent Sexual Assault/Harassment Involving DOD Contractors during Contingency Operations.” This is an issue that seems to keep happening over the years; from the days when DynCorp contractors were involved in a sex trafficking scandal in Bosnia when employees and supervisors engaged in sex with 12 to 15 year old children, and sold them to each other as slaves to the gang-rape of Jamie Leigh Jones a former KBR employee who claimed that seven KBR employees drugged and gang-raped her on July 28, 2005 at Camp Hope, Baghdad, Iraq.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has even issued a report calling for the United States government to prosecute private security contractors accused of killing civilians, stating that indiscriminate civilian killings amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity. Previous uproar of criticism surrounds two high profile incidents in which scores of Iraqi civilians were shot by private contractors acting on diplomatic security detail. In one case, the Australian firm, Unity Resources Group, was tied to the deaths of two Iraqi women who approached a USAID convoy. In 2007, a group of Blackwater employees shot up Al Nisoor Square in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqi civilians. The evidence against these guards was substantial, and lead to federal prosecutions against them. However, a United States federal judge through out all charges against the employees because actions taken by the government during the investigation of the shooting violated the contractors’ constitutional rights.
As to their role in Afghanistan, most recently, Mr. Karzai summed it up best when he lashed out in public, accusing U.S. funded private security companies of killing people, looting homes and shops. “They violate the law, they kill people, the people get attacked and the civilians get killed by these private security companies,” he said. He openly in his ABC sit down to made a direct pitch to the American public. “I’m appealing to the U.S. taxpayer,” he said, “not to allow their hard earned money to be wasted on groups that are not only providing lots of inconvenience to the Afghan people but are actually, God knows, in contract with mafia-like groups and perhaps also funding militants, and insurgents and terrorists with those funds.”
Private contractors were the saving grace to the need for more troops to fight overseas in multiple countries as well as to staff the multitude of U.S. bases on foreign soil. Very comfortably and conveniently they eliminated the need for a draft and all the problems associated with the selective service. What the American people did not consider is the more-or-less secret, diminishing power of the U.S. government over its own fighting forces and the physiological applications of these hired guns coming back to live in their neighborhoods, towns, counties, cities, states and country.
Of grave concern, given the change to the military effort, is the question of who has control over the individual armed forces of all these troops operating under different U.S. agencies and corporations. Ultimately, it is possible the president has lost control as commander-in-chief of the military forces of the United States. Can the commander-in-chief fire privatized soldiers? Has the U.S. military itself lost control of troops engaged in armed combat and other maneuvers when privatized soldiers outnumber GIs and are beholden to the dictates of separate and independent corporations?
Who is in charge of operations involving independent contractors? Is the DOD, the Pentagon, other governmental departments or agencies, the president, or the corporations? One thing is certain, the American people, the majority of who are opposed to these wars, who are supposed to be in charge, are not. Likewise, the Karzai government is not. The fact is the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of State, the CIA, and USAID, etc., all employ private contractors in foreign countries.
Have there been prosecutions? Peter Singer, the author of “Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry,” states that no contractor has been prosecuted for misbehavior in Iraq. There have been some civil lawsuits, for example, the families of the four Blackwater guards killed in Fallujah are suing for wrongful death. We are using contractors for things that in the past might have been considered to be a violation of the Geneva Convention,’ said Lt. Col. Addicott, who now runs the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. ‘In my opinion, we have pressed the envelope to the breaking limit, and it’s almost a fiction that these guys are not in offensive military operations.’ Addicott added, ‘If we were subjected to the International Criminal Court, some of these guys could easily be picked up, charged with war crimes and put on trial. That’s one of the reasons we’re not members of the International Criminal Court.’”
Many Americans are already painfully aware that violent crime is experiencing a massive upsurge in the United States. As the U.S. economy has tanked and as unemployment has skyrocketed, many Americans have found themselves becoming increasingly desperate. Hard economic times usually lead to an increase in crime, but what is happening across the U.S. now is absolutely stunning add to that lunatic individuals like Raymond Davis are allowed to come back to the U.S. Compared with other countries, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. As of 2006, a record 7 million people were behind bars, on probation or on parole, of which 2.2 million were incarcerated. The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated population
The questions now arises is why is the US Government is adamant with using all their resources to get such a person released from a Pakistani prison. With his identity exposed he won’t be good for any undercover work and a liability for any other work. He will most probably stay confined to living in the United States on the tax payer’s expense either on unemployment benefits or in a lunatic asylum. The ball is in the US tax payers court do they want such Rambos to rot in foreign prisons and get punished for their hideous crimes or walk freely among them in their neighborhoods, towns, counties, cities, states and country. My advice to the US taxpayers would be it is time to take charge for their and their children’s safety and security from such individuals or they will have to suffer just like how Iraqis, Afghans and now Pakistanis are suffering.
Mobisher Rabbani is a defense analyst, humanitarian activist and the Author of the upcoming book “Travelling on a Pakistani Passport”

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