OPINION The case of Colombia in Abu Dhabi and training in military units demanding answers about who has control over the mercenaries who arrived in the country over the past 30 years.
The latest news on the production of Colombian mercenaries arrived from Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE. According to accounts of the New York Times, that country arrived in November 2010, dozens of fellow hired by Erik Prince, founder of the renowned U.S. firm Blackwater, to provide various security services, including “defend oil installations and attacks skyscraper terrorists “and” control of internal unrest. “
This information was complemented by the revelations of journalist Daniel Coronell, who in his regular column in Semana magazine, said that the mercenaries brought to this country were trained Colombian military facilities, in a sort of alliance between military officers and private companies security has not yet been explained satisfactorily by military commanders or by the Ministry of National Defense.
The controversy over Colombian mercenaries in the Arab country is a good excuse to ask critically how did the country to “export” those “skilled labor in the war” before the inferiority complex that characterizes us lead us to feel proud that a Colombian security pays an Arab sheikh. It is also an opportunity to ask those who have arrived in the country under the euphemism of contractors: what is your true nature?, Who exercises control over them?, What are the implications of this outsourcing of services related to security? what are the implications that the State has met the function of maintaining the monopoly of force by public transport?
Several analysts of contemporary armed confrontations, including Darius Azellini warn that the “new wars”, both intrastate and interstate, are conducted by various actors, often non-state without any legal regulation. In this area are part of private military corporations (PMCs), private firms, for profit, offering both governments and private companies security services, logistics, transportation, telecom and data analysis, among others.
Colombia has not been left out of these activities and given the dynamics of war has become, according Azellini in a private laboratory for the conduct of the war in the last thirty years, making our country a preferred destination of the CMP.
According to this research, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United States in 2007 issued a report requested by the U.S. Congress which lists all the private military corporations (PMCs) contracted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense to work in Colombia. These are the following companies: Lockheed-Martin, Lockheed-Martin Technology Services, Lockheed-Martin Mission Support, Lockheed-Martin Integrated Systems (LMIS), LMIS-Optec, DynCorp International, Olgoonik, ARINC, Oakley Networks, Northrop-Grumman Mission Systems, Mantech, Mantech International, ITT, ARINC, Telford Aviation, King Aerospace, CACI Inc., Tate Incorporated, Chenega Federal Systems, PAE Government Services, Omnitempus, Construction, Consulting & Enginneering – CCE, U.S. Naval Mission Bogota Riverine Plans Officer and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
To that list, according Azellini, we would not have the CMP directly hired by the Colombian government through its armed forces and other U.S. institutions and multinational companies. Among them would be Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Risk Control, Global Risk, Colombia and Spearhead Defense System Ltd (owned by the Israeli mercenary Yair Klein, who coached dozens of paramilitaries in the Magdalena Medio region in the decade of the eighties).
The services of several of the companies listed were paid with funds from the so-called Plan Colombia. Companies like DynCorp, one of the largest, would be among those that lobbied for the allocation of U.S. resources to the plan, but not out of altruism but because they compete to win and retain security markets.
The CMP is composed of former members of elite units of U.S. and other countries ex-military, military veterans or U.S. assets temporarily assumed limited missions during their holidays. Although since the end of the Cold War such entities provided various services, became commercial companies offering military services ranging from combat to military training, through the advice and logistical support in a global market violence.
Use these specialized security services has several advantages: their activities fall outside the control of public and political because the mercenaries are employed than military evade national laws and international agreements, and sprains to succeed him the rules imposed by the U.S. Congress, which has regulated the presence of military personnel in Colombia, hiring non-American. Azellini estimated that by 2008 the country had at least 2,000 people in mercenary activities of different interests, whose responsibilities are diluted and hide them as “contractors.”
Such as “contractors” was given, for example, Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, three U.S. citizens kidnapped by the FARC on February 12, 2003 and released on July 2, 2008 in Operation Jaque. They arrived in the country hired by the firm California Microwave Systems, which provides technical services to the Northrop-Grumman Mission Systems, in charge of controlling several radars in the south and east.
One of the key issues on the recruitment of the CMP is the guarantee of impunity should be given to these companies so that their actions are not punished in the country legally. These agreements are provided for those who are part of these private security companies include clauses which has ruled that its members will not be subject to military justice, as they are not officially members of military equipment or tried by civilian courts. That is, their work is done “in areas of immunity.”
It is not free because hundreds of Colombians are now in the service of PMCs, because in the last thirty years we have had a strong presence and influence of this type of security firms in the country.But beyond asking what these compatriots in Abu Dhabi, which is urgent is to demand the authorities of our country clear answers to many questions that arise when analyzing this case: how many CMP operating in the country, how many people the integrated and what nationality they are?, what is the amount of contracts? What state agency regulates their activities?, where are they concentrated?, what do they do? Someone in government should know something and it is necessary in the interests of transparency, go out to give explanations of the case.
(*) Journalist and university professor