« back to From the Frontline home

Live Stream: Guns for Hire - The Good, the Bad and the Unregulated

| 1

The work of Private Military and Security Companies is up for debate tomorrow - Tue 22 July, 7.30pm UK time - at the Frontline Club in London. As usual we'll be livestreaming the event on the Frontline Club Channel. Taking part will be Andy Bearpark (British Association of Private Security Companies), Tony Geraghty (author and journalist), Adam Roberts (author of The Wonga Coup) and Ruth Tanner (War on Want)
In a world of shrinking defence budgets, smaller standing armies and increased threats from terrorism, the space for freelance soldiering is growing. Since 9/11, the number of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) has rocketed - in Iraq alone, there are now an estimated 180,000 private contractors, outnumbering serving military personnel. Since 2003, the British government alone has spent an estimated £225 million on security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan... Join us while we discuss some of the worst excesses and examples of good practice within the industry. What is the likelihood of the industry ever being effectively regulated?And will the industry's efforts to escape its mercenary past be successful? link

1 Comment

Rumi Mohideen | August 3, 2009 4:43 PM

Private companies facing reputational threat use private security contractors and mercenaries to infiltrate and spy on on the activities of activists. Greenpeace's computers in France were hacked into recently by a Kargus Consulting, a private security company working on behalf of EDF. Such breaches of privacy aside form being illegal also represent a threat to democracy and the rights to freedom of expression.

What is more disturbing and brings into question the neutralitity of journalists in some instances is the reliance of journalists in the frontline (Iraq, Afganistan & other hotspots) on mercenaries who not only provide close protection services to journalists but also have been central to spying and infiltration operations against environmental, anti nuclear, animal rights and peace activists.

This unregulated industry is as a whole attempting to blur the difference between the violent activities of terrorists and non violent direct action used by environmentalists and peace activists. There was a recent incident involving a local Oxford resident who was named on a police website as a terrorist for simply taking part in a march to save Radley Lakes. The website in question is run on behalf of the police by a private security company. It is good for business to escalate the threat.