Une guerre complètement privatisée, ou la barbarie en marche à grandes enjambées

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On connaît divers élélments sur la “privatisantion” de la guerre en Irak. On sait que ce phénomène a pris des dimensions considérables. Le Guardian publie aujourd’hui un article d’un particulier intérêt sur le sujet, de Jeremy Scahill, particulièrement bien informé et nous faisant comprendre l’ampleur de la dmension de ce phénomène. («There are now 630 companies working in Iraq on contract for the US government, with personnel from more than 100 countries offering services ranging from cooking and driving to the protection of high-ranking army officers. Their 180,000 employees now outnumber America's 160,000 official troops. The precise number of mercenaries is unclear, but last year, a US government report identified 48,000 employees of private military/security firms.»)

Même si l’article aborde tous les aspects du problème, c’est surtout l’effort américaniste dans ce domaine qu’il détaille ($3 milliards ont éé dépensés par le gouvernement US en Irak pour des contrats avec ces firmes privées). C’est notamment sur la société Blackwater qu’il donne beaucoup de détails, — une firme pionnière dans ce domaine, mais aussi idéologiquement si marquée qu’on la considère également comme une sorte de “garde prétorienne” de la droite du parti républicain.

«A decade ago, Blackwater barely existed; and yet its “diplomatic security” contracts since mid-2004, with the State Department alone, total more than $750m (£370m). It protects the US ambassador and other senior officials in Iraq as well as visiting Congressional delegations; it trains Afghan security forces, and was deployed in the oil-rich Caspian Sea region, setting up a “command and control” centre just miles from the Iranian border. The company was also hired to protect emergency operations and facilities in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where it raked in $240,000 (£120,000) a day from the American taxpayer, billing $950 (£470) a day per Blackwater contractor.

»Yet this is still just a fraction of the company's business. It also runs an impressive domestic law-enforcement and military training system inside the US. While some of its competitors may have more forces deployed in more countries around the globe, none have organised their troops and facilities more like an actual military.

»At present, Blackwater has forces deployed in nine countries and boasts a database of 21,000 additional troops at the ready, a fleet of more than 20 aircraft, including helicopter gun-ships, and the world's largest private military facility — a 7,000-acre compound in North Carolina. It recently opened a new facility in Illinois (Blackwater North) and is fighting local opposition to a third planned domestic facility near San Diego (Blackwater West) by the Mexican border. It is also manufacturing an armoured vehicle (nicknamed the Grizzly) and surveillance blimps.

»The man behind this empire is 38-year-old Erik Prince, a secretive, conservative Christian who once served with the US Navy's special forces and has made major campaign contributions to President Bush and his allies. Among Blackwater's senior executives are J Cofer Black, former head of counterterrorism at the CIA; Robert Richer, former deputy director of operations at the CIA; Joseph Schmitz, former Pentagon inspector general; and an impressive array of other retired military and intelligence officials. Company executives recently announced the creation of a new private intelligence company, Total Intelligence, to be headed by Black and Richer. Blackwater executives boast that some of their work for the government is so sensitive that the company cannot tell one federal agency what it is doing for another.

»In many ways, Blackwater's rapid ascent to prominence within the US war machine symbolises what could be called Bush's mercenary revolution. Much has been made of the administration's “failure” to build international consensus for the invasion of Iraq, but perhaps that was never the intention. Almost from the beginning, the White House substituted international diplomacy with lucrative war contracts. When US tanks rolled into Iraq in March 2003, they brought with them the largest army of "private contractors" ever deployed in a war.»

Comme on le lit ci-dessus, la privatisation de la guerre d’Irak explique en partie pourquoi l’administration GW n’a pas vraiment cherché à impliquer une véritable coalition en Irak, se contentant le plus souvent de contingents symboliques marquant l’engagement et le soutien politiques d’alliés-vassaux. Cette privatisation de la guerre marque un tournant des techniques de contrôle américanistes en remplaçant la formule des alliés-mercenaires, dont on faisait de l’OTAN le réceptacle favori, pour la formule des mercenaires privées, beaucoup plus maniable et politiquement sans risques.

Le phénomène constitue un pas de plus dans la dégénérescence du système, avec tous les problèmes légaux, judiciaires, etc., qui sont posés. Le “contrôle démocratique” de ces forces est une plaisanterie sinistre. Ces soldats privés n’obéissent qu’à leurs employeurs et ne respectent que les règles de leurs employeurs. Ils sont la plupart du temps, — sauf les cadres US politiquement extrémistes, — sans aucune motivation ou conscience politique et sans aucun sens des règles de la guerre et des valeurs militaires. Leur intervention dans la guerre est un facteur fondamental de destruction, d’anarchie et de déstructuration. Elle contribue à rendre la guerre infiniment plus barbare et chaotique qu’elle n’a été jusqu’ici. Elle contribue notablement à détruire les cadres légaux de la civilisation en temps de guerre aussi bien qu’en temps de simple surveillance sécuritaire (anti-terrorisme notammet, interventions illégales dans des pays souverains, etc.). Sans aucun doute, il s’agit d’une avancée importante de la barbarie postmoderniste dont le système américaniste est devenu le promoteur quasiment hystérique. Tout le cadre juridique et législatif US est complètement impuissant devant ce phénomène, qui constitue une gangrène des structures de sécurité occidentale.

«In part, these contractors do mundane jobs that traditionally have been performed by soldiers, from driving trucks to doing laundry. These services are provided through companies such as Halliburton, KBR and Fluor and through their vast labyrinth of subcontractors. But increasingly, private personnel are engaged in armed combat and “security” operations. They interrogate prisoners, gather intelligence, operate rendition flights, protect senior occupation officials — including some commanding US generals — and in some cases have taken command of US and international troops in battle. In an admission that speaks volumes about the extent of the privatisation, General David Petraeus, who is implementing Bush's troop surge, said earlier this year that he has, at times, not been guarded in Iraq by the US military but “secured by contract security”. At least three US commanding generals are currently being guarded in Iraq by hired guns.

»“To have half of your army be contractors, I don't know that there's a precedent for that,” says Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a member of the House oversight and government reform committee, which has been investigating war contractors. “There's no democratic control and there's no intention to have democratic control here.”

»The implications, still unacknowledged by many US lawmakers and world leaders four years into this revolution, are devastating. “One of the key tenets of managing international crises in the aftermath of the cold war was established in the first Gulf war,” says a veteran US diplomat, Joe Wilson, who served as the last US ambassador to Iraq before the 1991 Gulf war. “It was that management of these crises would be a coalition of like-minded nation states under the auspices of a United Nations Security Council resolution which gave the exercise the benefit of international law.” This time, “there is no underlying international legitimacy that sustains us throughout this action that we've taken.”

»Moreover, this revolution means the US no longer needs to rely on its own citizens and those of its nation-state allies to staff its wars, nor does it need to implement a draft, which would have made the Iraq war politically untenable. Just as importantly, perhaps, it reduces the figure of “official” casualties. In Iraq alone, more than 900 US contractors have been killed, with another 13,000 wounded. The majority of these are not American citizens and these numbers are not counted in the official death toll at a time when Americans are increasingly disturbed by their losses.

»In Iraq, many contractors are run by Americans or Britons and have elite forces staffed by well-trained veterans of powerful militaries for use in sensitive actions or operations. But lower down, the ranks are filled by Iraqis and third-country nationals. Hundreds of Chilean mercenaries, for example, have been deployed by US companies such as Blackwater and Triple Canopy, despite the fact that Chile opposed the invasion and continues to oppose the occupation of Iraq. Some of the Chileans are alleged to be seasoned veterans of the Pinochet era.

»Some 118,000 of the estimated 180,000 contractors in Iraq are Iraqis. The mercenary industry points to this as encouraging: we are giving Iraqis jobs, albeit occupying their own country in the service of a private corporation hired by a hostile invading power. As Doug Brooks, the head of the Orwellian-named mercenary trade group, the International Peace Operations Association, argued early in the occupation, “Museums do not need to be guarded by Abrams tanks when an Iraqi security guard working for a contractor can do the same job for less than one-50th of what it costs to maintain an American soldier. Hiring local guards gives Iraqis a stake in a successful future for their country. They use their pay to support their families and stimulate the economy. Perhaps most significantly, every guard means one less potential guerrilla.”

»In many ways, however, it is the exact model used by multinational corporations that depend on poorly paid workers in developing countries to staff their highly profitable operations. This keeps prices down in the industrialised world and consumers numb to the reality of how the product ends up in their shopping basket.

»“We have now seen the emergence of the hollow army,” says Naomi Klein, whose forthcoming book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, explores these themes. “Much as with so-called hollow corporations such as Nike, billions are spent on military technology and design in rich countries while the manual labour and sweat work of invasion and occupation is increasingly outsourced to contractors who compete with each other to fill the work order for the lowest price. Just as this model breeds rampant abuse in the manufacturing sector - with the big-name brands always able to plead ignorance about the actions of their suppliers — so it does in the military, though with stakes that are immeasurably higher.”»


Mis en ligne le 1er août 2007 à 09H44

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