The Hessians Are Coming

“He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.” ~ Declaration of Independence

Like the German mercenaries known as the Hessians who fought with the British against Americans in the Revolutionary War, so now American mercenaries are coming to a country near you. Since 9/11, the United States has granted citizenship to over 32,000 foreign soldiers. Thanks to a generous citizenship to foreigners plan, about 8,000 foreigners join the U.S. military every year. Then we transport these “large armies of foreign mercenaries” overseas to do our dirty work.

Author: Laurence Vance

Laurence Vance holds degrees in history, theology, accounting, and economics. He has written and published twelve books and regularly contributes articles and book reviews to both secular and religious periodicals.

20 thoughts on “The Hessians Are Coming”

  1. Chilean Special Forces were popular with Blackwater. Prince was paying them thirty dollars a day and charging thousands, often through double and triple billing through Halliburton and other contractors.

    If I remember correctly those mercs hung up on the bridge were contracted by Blackwater through another company to Halliburton, with each company adding their own charges.

    What Blackwater was doing was illegal, because Blackwater is contracted with State in Iraq.

    Also a lot of what Blackwater does is illegal, even with the loophole Rumsfeld put in the anti-Pinkerton regulations.

    That’s just scratching the surface.

    Blackwater is now in California and Illinois and they want to get into Border Patrol.

    Local police departments–Blackwater wants your jobs.

    1. Awright, Eugene! Instead of incoherent allusions to heaven knows what you’ve regaled us with useful, informative posts here. Bem feito, my man.

  2. I read somewhere that these foreign born soldiers were excluded from the U.S. casualty count. Don’t know if it’s true, but seems like a typical sleazy corporate type action this administration pulls. Like putting prisons on Cuban soil and shipping off prisoners to be tortured by others. Nice loopholes these lawyers come up with.

    1. Supposedly the “private security contractors” (armed) killed in Iraq now number 800 at least.

      But this is rough.

      They get no benefits.

      Some are hired out of the Caymans.

      What some of the family members do is file for Federal payments, so the figures are available only from the Department of Labor, if the family files a claim.

      Prince has taken corporate welfare to a new level.

  3. Prince hires ex-military (already trained), gives them no benefits, and hires them as private contractors (the IRS has ruled tentatively that that is illegal). They get killed and the family files for Federal benefits.

    Sweet deal.

    Coming soon to a Border Patrol near you.

  4. Prince’s first big contract was with Clinton by the way, but Blackwater was on the edge of bankruptcy until Iraq.

    He apparently is tight with Cheney.

    I know all this will cheer you up.

  5. The Private military company (PMC) is the contemporary strand of the mercenary trade, providing logistics, soldiers, military training, and other services. Thus, PMC contractors are civilians (in governmental, international, and civil organizations) authorized to accompany an army to the field; hence, the term civilian contractor. Nevertheless, PMCs may use armed force, hence defined as: legally established enterprises that make a profit, by either providing services involving the potential exercise of [armed] force in a systematic way and by military means, and/or by the transfer of that potential to clients through training and other practices, such as logistics support, equipment procurement, and intelligence gathering.

    Private paramilitary forces are functionally mercenary armies, not security guards or advisors; however, national governments reserve the right to control the number, nature, and armaments of such private armies, arguing that, provided they are not pro-actively employed in front-line combat, they are not mercenaries. That said, PMC “civilian contractors” have poor repute among professional government soldiers and officers — the US Military Command have questioned their war zone behavior. In September 2005, Brigadier General Karl Horst, deputy commander of the Third Infantry Division charged with Baghdad security after the 2003 invasion, said of DynCorp and other PMCs in Iraq: These guys run loose in this country and do stupid stuff. There’s no authority over them, so you can’t come down on them hard when they escalate force… They shoot people, and someone else has to deal with the aftermath. It happens all over the place.

    If PMC employees participate in pro-active combat, the press call them mercenaries, and the PMCs mercenary companies. In the 1990s, four news media-identified mercenary companies, and the wars were:

    * Executive Outcomes – Angola, Sierra Leone, and other locations worldwide (closed 31 December 1998)
    * Sandline International – Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone (closed 16 April 2004)
    * Gurkha Security Guards, Ltd – Sierra Leone.
    * DynCorp International – Bosnia, Somalia, Angola, Haiti, Colombia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan (active)

    In 2004 the PMC business was boosted, because the US and Coalition governments hired them for security in Iraq. In March 2004, four Blackwater USA employees escorting food supplies and other equipment were attacked and killed in Fallujah, in a videotaped attack; the killings and subsequent dismemberment were a cause for the First Battle of Fallujah. Afghan war operations also boosted the business, many PMC employees are bodyguards for heads of state such as Hamid Karzai.

    In 2006, a U.S. congressional report listed a number of PMCs and other enterprises that have signed contracts to carry out anti-narcotics operations and related activities as part of Plan Colombia. DynCorp was among those contracted by the State Department, while others signed contracts with the Defense Department. Other companies from different countries, including Israel, have also signed contracts with the Colombian Defense Ministry to carry out security or military activities.

    The United Nations disapprove of PMCs (still, the UN hired Executive Outcomes for African logistic support work). Controversy arose elsewhere, Dyncorp’s pedophiliac sex trafficking in Bosnia during the Balkan war of the 1990s. The question is whether or not PMC soldiers are as accountable for their war zone actions as are the Bosniak armed forces. A common argument for using PMCs (used by the PMCs themselves; Sandline’s Corp’s whitepapers), is that PMCs may be help combat genocide and civilian slaughter where the UN are unwilling or unable to intervene.

    In February 2002, a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) report about PMCs noted that the military service demands of the UN and international civil organizations might mean that it is cheaper to pay PMCs than use soldiers. Yet, then, after considering using PMCs to support UN operations, the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, decided against it.[17]

    In October 2007 the United Nations released a two year study that stated, that although hired as “security guards”, private contractors were performing military duties. The report found that the use of contractors such as Blackwater was a “new form of mercenary activity” and illegal under International law; however the United States is not a signatory to the 1989 UN Mercenary Convention banning the use of mercenaries.

    wikipedia s.v. “Mercenary”

    By the way–my memory was correct: those four whacked BW guys were contracted out through another company to Halliburton and were delivering food.

    That was illegal under Blackwater’s contract, as I recall. Blackwater contracts with State as “bodyguards” for State personnel.

  6. Anti-Pinkerton Act

    The Anti-Pinkerton Act of 1893 (5 USC 3108) forbade the US Government from using Pinkerton National Detective Agency employees, or similar private police companies. In 1977, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted this statute as forbidding the US Government’s employing companies offering mercenary, quasi-military forces for hire. United States ex rel. Weinberger v. Equifax, 557 F.2d 456, 462 (5th Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 1035 (1978). There is a disagreement over whether or not this proscription is limited to the use of such forces as strikebreakers, because it is stated thus:

    The purpose of the Act and the legislative history reveal that an organization was “similar” to the Pinkerton Detective Agency only if it offered for hire mercenary, quasi-military forces as strikebreakers and armed guards. It had the secondary effect of deterring any other organization from providing such services lest it be branded a “similar organization.” The legislative history supports this view and no other.

    In the June 7, 1978 Letter to the Heads of Federal Departments and Agencies, the Comptroller General interpreted this decision in a way that carved out an exemption for “Guard and Protective Services.”

    A US Department of Defense interim rule (effective 16 June 2006) revises DoD Instruction 3020.41 to authorize contractors, other than private security contractors, to use deadly force against enemy armed forces only in self-defense. 71 Fed. Reg. 34826. Per that interim rule, private security contractors are authorized to use deadly force when protecting their client’s assets and persons, consistent with their contract’s mission statement. [One interpretation is that this authorizes contractors to engage in combat on behalf of the US Government.] It is the combatant commander’s responsibility to ensure that private security contract mission statements do not authorize performance of inherently Governmental military functions, i.e. preemptive attacks or assaults or raids, et cetera.

    Otherwise, civilians with US Armed Forces lose their law of war protection from direct attack, if and for such time as they directly participate in hostilities. On 18 August 2006, the US Comptroller General rejected bid protest arguments that US Army contracts violated the Anti-Pinkerton Act by requiring that contractors provide armed convoy escort vehicles and labor, weapons, and equipment for internal security operations at Victory Base Complex, Iraq. The Comptroller General reasoned the act was unviolated, because the contracts did not require contractors to provide quasi-military forces as strikebreakers. Yet, on 1 June 2007, the Washington Post reported: “A federal judge yesterday ordered the military to temporarily refrain from awarding the largest security contract in Iraq. The order followed an unusual series of events set off when a U.S. Army veteran, Brian X. Scott, filed a protest against the government practice of hiring what he calls mercenaries, according to sources familiar with the matter”.

    The contract, worth about $475 million, calls for a private company to provide intelligence services to the US Army and security for the Army Corps of Engineers on reconstruction work in Iraq. The case, which is being heard by the US Court of Federal Claims, puts on trial one of the most controversial and least understood aspects of the Iraq war: the outsourcing of military security to an estimated 20,000 armed contractors who operate with little oversight.

    [wikipedia s.v. “Mercenary”]

  7. Some highlights from Scahill’s article complied by Matt Armstrong of the Mountain Runner:

    According to former Blackwater officials, Blackwater, Regency and ESS were engaged in a classic war-profiteering scheme. Blackwater was paying its men $600 a day but billing Regency $815, according to the Raleigh News and Observer. “In addition,” the paper reports, “Blackwater billed Regency separately for all its overhead and costs in Iraq.” Regency would then bill ESS an unknown amount for these services. Kathy Potter told the News and Observer that Regency would “quote ESS a price, say $1,500 per man per day, and then tell Blackwater that it had quoted ESS $1,200.” ESS then contracted with Halliburton subsidiary KBR, which in turn billed the government an unknown amount of money for the same security services, according to the paper. KBR/Halliburton refuses to discuss the matter and will not confirm any relationship with ESS.

    All this was shady enough–but the real danger for Helvenston and the others lay in Blackwater’s decision to cut corners to make even more money. The original contract between Blackwater/Regency and ESS, obtained by The Nation, recognized that “the current threat in the Iraqi theater of operations” would remain “consistent and dangerous,” and called for a minimum of three men in each vehicle on security missions
    “with a minimum of two armored vehicles to support ESS movements.” [Emphasis added.]

    But on March 12, 2004, Blackwater and Regency signed a subcontract, which specified security provisions identical to the original except for one word: “armored.” Blackwater deleted it from the contract.

    “When they took that word ‘armored’ out, Blackwater was able to save $1.5 million in not buying armored vehicles, which they could then put in their pocket,” says attorney Miles. “These men were told that they’d be operating in armored vehicles. Had they been, I sincerely believe that they’d be alive today. They were killed by insurgents literally walking up and shooting them with small-arms fire. This was not a roadside bomb, it was not any other explosive device. It was merely small-arms fire, which could have been repelled by armored vehicles.”

    On March 30, 2004, Helvenston, Teague, Zovko and Batalona left Baghdad on the ESS security mission. The suit alleges that there were six guards available that day, but McQuown intervened and ordered only the four to be sent. The other two were kept behind at Blackwater’s Baghdad facility to perform clerical duties. A Blackwater official later boasted, the suit says, that they saved two lives by not sending all six men….

    The four men were, in fact, working under contracts guaranteeing that they would travel with a six-person team.

    …they charge that Blackwater knowingly refused to provide guaranteed safeguards, among them: They would have armored vehicles; there would be three men in each vehicle–a driver, a navigator and a rear gunner; and the rear gunner would be armed with a heavy automatic weapon, such as a “SAW Mach 46,” which can fire up to 850 rounds per minute, allowing the gunner to fight off any attacks from the rear. “None of that was true,” says attorney Callahan. Instead, each vehicle had only two men and far less powerful “Mach 4” guns, which they had not even had a chance to test out. “Without the big gun, without the third man, without the armored vehicle, they were sitting ducks,” says Callahan.

    …Without a detailed map, they took the most direct route, through the center of Falluja. According to Callahan, there was a safer alternative route that went around the city, which the men were unaware of because of Blackwater’s failure to conduct a “risk assessment” before the trip, as mandated by the contract…

    Attorney Marc Miles says that shortly after the suit was filed, he asked the court in North Carolina for an “expedited order” to depose John Potter. The deposition was set for January 28, 2005, and Miles was to fly to Alaska, where the Potters were living. But three days before the deposition, Miles says, “Blackwater hired Potter up, flew him to
    Washington where it’s my understanding he met with Blackwater representatives and their lawyers. [Blackwater] then flew him to Jordan for ultimate deployment in the Middle East,” Miles says. “Obviously they concealed a material witness by hiring him and sending him out of the country.”…Blackwater subsequently attempted to have Potter’s deposition order dissolved, but a federal court said no….

    Blackwater has not offered a rebuttal to the specific allegations made by the families, except to deny in general that they are valid. It has fought to have the case dismissed on grounds that because Blackwater is servicing US armed forces it cannot be sued for workers’ deaths or injuries and that all liability lies with the government. In its motion
    to dismiss the case in federal court, Blackwater argues that the families of the four men killed in Falluja are entitled only to government insurance payments. That’s why the company moved swiftly to apply for benefits for the families under the Defense Base Act.

    “What Blackwater is trying to do is to sweep all of their wrongful conduct into the Defense Base Act,” says Miles. “What they’re trying to do is to say, ‘Look–we can do anything we want and not be held accountable. We can send our men out to die so that we can pad our bottom line, and if anybody comes back at us, we have insurance.’ It’s essentially insurance to kill.”

    Course yall know Blackwater was in NO during the flood (contracted by FEMA), but did yall know there were apparently Israeli PMT in NO too (different contractor)?

  8. Course the question I have never got an answer to is how many Israeli contractors (PMC and other) were at Abu Gharaib and elsewhere in Iraq.

  9. Laurence,

    Shame on you for engaging in the same type of chicanery that would make the neocons proud. First of all the “foreigners” you are talking about are all green card holders who already have the right to live and work in the U.S. and already are or soon will will be eligible for citizenship anyway. The military simply expedites that citizenship. Green card holders are almost never referred to as “foreigners” in either the liberal or conservative press so for you to use the term and compare it to Hessians is deliberately deceptive. You say “Thanks to a generous citizenship to foreigners plan, about 8,000 foreigners join the U.S. military every year. Then we transport these “large armies of foreign mercenaries” overseas to do our dirty work.” First of all no one is being recruited from overseas. Second of all, if expedited citizenship for green card holders was a significant factor in recruiting, then the foreign-born would be overrepresented in the military. In fact the exact opposite is true. As shown below, The foreign born are roughly 12 percent of the U.S. population and only 5 percent of the U.S. military.

  10. At the start of the Iraq mess I was sent an e-mail. I don’t remember if it came from Blackwater or someone working for them in recruitment (or even just a scam). However, what really pissed me off was that they seems to know quite a few details of my time in the military. Things that I didn’t really care for anyone knowing let alone someone who is sending this stuff around the internet. About two years later I recieved a letter from the department of defense saying that I was one of the many soldiers who had had their info stolen during a hack at the pentagon. Shure makes me wonder what actually happended.


  11. Gives me a weird sense of relief just to know that there is absolutely nothing about this invasion/occupation of Iraq that has any connection to honesty or decency. It is a black hole for morality.

  12. Our rot is evident with our employing mercenaries and “renditions” in foreign countries. That our “leaders” (very loose term) still crow about amerikan freedoms and virtues tetifies to the nature of our citizenry when our leaders still boldly claim the America of yesterday is the same as the amerika of today and such bovine scat is accepted.

  13. Think “Rome, circa 400-476 A.D.” Or, perhaps a more apt comparison would be to look at the emergence of the Mamlukes in the Arab caliphates during the early Middle Ages. Having become disdainful of the idea of fighting their own wars, the Arabs enslaved foreigners to do their warfighting for them. In the end, these warriors wound up enslaving their masters/employers. True history has a way of repeating itself.

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