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Old 04-30-2004, 07:59 AM   #1
Lurikeen
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Default Should we use mercenaries for interrogation?

But this is the first time the privatisation of interrogation and intelligence-gathering has come to light. The investigation names two US contractors, CACI International Inc and the Titan Corporation, for their involvement in Abu Ghraib.

Titan, based in San Diego, describes itself as a "a leading provider of comprehensive information and communications products, solutions and services for national security". It recently won a big contract for providing translation services to the US army.

CACI, which has headquarters in Virginia, claims on its website to "help America's intelligence community collect, analyse and share global information in the war on terrorism".

Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, speaking for central command, told the Guardian: "One contractor was originally included with six soldiers, accused for his treatment of the prisoners, but we had no jurisdiction over him. It was left up to the contractor on how to deal with him."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story...206725,00.html
I have a real issue with privatisation of interogation. A good example of why I have a problem with this is the apparent confusion Col. Morgenthaler experienced when faced with a private contractor (aka "Mercenary") who was mistreating prisoners. Who are these mercenaries accountable to?

I also thought that the Geneva convention forbided the use of non-miltary personel in dealing with prisoners of war? Anyone know if that is true?
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Old 04-30-2004, 08:27 AM   #2
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I don't know enough about the interrogation process Lurikeen to even state a fair opinion.
The only thing that comes to mind is possibly an outsider might do better than the military who are highly aggrivated with the captured.
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Old 04-30-2004, 09:50 AM   #3
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I am raising an ethical issue and not one of pragmatics. Let me restate the issue as I see it.

Private citizens of a country are generally not bound to the laws of their country of origin when travelling abroad, but are bound to the laws of the country visited (there are exceptions, usually made through treaties). However, Iraq is a war zone and hasn't a recognized government.

As I see it, the mercenaries in Iraq are free from US laws, military laws (they are private US citizens), and Iraqi laws, all due to the nature of their jobs. So who are they accountable to?

For instance, the article listed above points out a case where this civilian contractor abused a prisoner, but the military could do nothing about it and had to let the company of the contractor work out the details over how to deal with this man. So, are we supposed to believe, in good faith, that a private "mercenary" corporation is going to serve out justice to their own employees?

I would thing that ultimately, the government who hires the private company for the purpose of conducting interogations is responsible for the actions of the employees of the company, but from what the article indicates, that may not be the case.

I also wonder if it is permissable under the Geneva convention to allow private citizens to interogate POWs. I seem to recall that it is forbidden.
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Old 04-30-2004, 10:33 AM   #4
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I took a look through the Geneva Conventions as it relates to the treatment of prisoners of war. I did not find any specific reference to interrogations by non military personnel, but the conventions are very clear in regard to the treatment of prisoners. The power that is holding the prisoners is responsible for their treatment. End of story. The US military in this case bears the responsibility for protecting the prisoner. IMO the guilty contractor needs to be brought to trial at The Hague. He has commited War Crimes. The ranking US officer at the scene is also complicit in those crimes.
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Old 04-30-2004, 11:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Vireil
The power that is holding the prisoners is responsible for their treatment.
That would actually substantiate my thinking. The government holding the prisoners are responsible and by extension, only the government holding the prisoners should be involved in the welfare of the prisoners which would include interogations.

Yes, the mercenary should be tried for war crimes. However, since this person is a private citizen does his actions fall under international law with regard to war? Also, wouldn't his employer also be complicit in these crimes?
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Old 04-30-2004, 11:53 AM   #6
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Who are these mercenaries accountable to?
That is my only problem with the use of civilian interregators, the total lack of accountability that we have seen. A privitized individual may be better than military since they are removed from the situation that lead to the capture, but there has to be a direct line of accountability and set boundries that they will not cross.

The crap that has come of light lately is an embarassment. Who are we to scream Geneva or Laws of war when we do the exact same thing we accuse our enemy of doing? The mistreatment of POW's has always been something we stood up and denounced and yet here we are just as guilty.

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Old 04-30-2004, 11:57 AM   #7
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However, since this person is a private citizen does his actions fall under international law with regard to war? Also, wouldn't his employer also be complicit in these crimes?
IMO, since he is directly involved with the care/action of a PoW, yes he should be held accountable to the same rules as the Military are. I think that once the civilian enters a room to question a PoW, he loses he "civilian" status as he is now directly involved with the war effort.

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